Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Vocabulary of Chronic Illness




All chronic illnesses come with new vocabulary words. It’s why Making Sense of Nonsense: Medical Terminology And You, is one of the first classes we have to take at the University of Catastrophe. There isn’t a slower group or an Introduction to Medical Terminology class. Instead, as soon as we are diagnosed we hear assorted medical professionals speak in code. Somehow we have to decipher what they are saying, so we learn new words.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Diabetes Is Different

It’s been six months since I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I just typed that sentence and stared at the words. I’ve done the dance of the chronically ill since 1997. Living with — and sometimes around — serious illness is nothing new to me. I’ve been through surgeries and chemo, so when I heard I have diabetes I just decided to add it into my life. Diabetes would be another disease in a long line of illnesses that have tried to screw up my life and failed. And yet, the music of diabetes is more powerful than I realized.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Worst Mistake

I had a feeling this was inevitable. Like many people with diabetes I inject two different insulins every day.

There is Novolog.


And there is Levemir.


Levemir, the green insulin, is a long acting insulin. It does what my pancreas should be doing — giving me small amounts of steady insulin 24 hours a day. I use it once a day. Novolog is short acting. It is used with meals. I use 29 units of Levemir once every day and around 7 units of Novolog three times a day with each meal.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Simple!

 

OK maybe it's not quite this simple. Chronic illness is puzzling. I feel like a scrambled cube way too often. Then I remember I don't always have to know what to do next. It's OK to feel scrambled sometimes. Especially when solving one problem creates a new one. Today I don't have it together. Tomorrow will be better.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Post Chemo Celebration

It's been five years since I completed cycle 23 of IV chemotherapy. Five years ago I was bald. Today I brushed my hair.

Most of the time, brushing my hair is something I take for granted, but this morning I stopped and remembered being bald. I remembered waiting for my hair to grow back, and how I couldn't wait for my hair to be long enough to braid. This morning I braided my hair.

Hooray! I have hair! Yay for hair!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bye-Bye Bully

Not all of the lessons I've learned have been helpful, and one lesson in particular has haunted me for years. As I’m starting this blog I feel anxious. I’m worried I’m going to do this all wrong. I know where this cold slippery dread comes from. It’s from a lesson I learned far too well.

In high school I had a teacher who would read up until the first grammatical error and then grade. If the assignment was three pages long, and the first mistake was on the second page, it was an automatic F for not completing the assignment.

If I forgot a semi-colon in the third paragraph, I got an F. If I misspelled a word I got an F. Even if I just used the wrong dash, I got a failing grade. I don’t know what that crazy teacher was trying to teach, but I know what I learned from her.

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

If you are enrolled with your own major at the University of Catastrophe, please consult your doctor, therapist, attorney, auto mechanic, veterinarian, plumber, dietician, arborist, acupuncturist, manicurist, mother, local dairy council, shoe shine boy, or other equally qualified professional, for advice and assistance.

If you email me your personal information will not be shared without your permission and your email address will not be sold. I hate spam. Even with eggs.

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