Sage and Sass

Sage and sassy wanderings of a curious mind.

Welcome Back…or it really is good to be alive. November 10, 2011


Well, it has been awhile. I missed you dear blog o’mine. For anyone who has loyally followed my blog, I apologize for the lapse. Been a rough road the last few months. It began with a move across town. This was a good move, into our own place. As you know if you have followed along, I am a type I diabetic. 25+ yrs now. What you may not know is this. Diabetes sucks. Well ok, so you may know that but did you know it can go all wonky even if you are under perfect control, eat right, exercise and test your glucose faithfully? I have struggled with this the entire time I have been diabetic. It is exhausting, truly. Full time job. And here is the kicker, you can still become life threateningly ill, even when you do it all right. That is why it is so hard to stay on top of it, you feel like you get nowhere. Like it is “all for nawt” as me English Usband says. So I have, as you can imagine being the sassy girl I am, not always taken good care of it.
That has not been the case in the last year or so. Been on the wagon so to speak. Doing it all, pricking my finger 5 times a day. Eating my fruits and veggies, counting my carbs. Programming all the info into my insulin pump like a good little girl. And what happens? I wake up one morning with DKA. Are you freaking kidding me???
For those of you who are unfamiliar with DKA, click on the red DKA above and it will take you to the link. This is what happened. Apparently I had an infection of some sort, possibly sinus. Ironically, the one other time I had DKA, when I was 6 months pregnant with my first child, I also had a sinus infection.  Things that make you go hmm.  I went to bed with a slightly elevated glucose of 161. I dosed accordingly on my pump and went to bed. Sometime during the night my cannula, the filament that stays inside your body to deliver the insulin, became kinked. Therefore, no insulin was being administered to my body. This is not good.
When I woke up it was to vomiting bile, urgent urination and loose stools. All at the same time. I was a little loopy and had trouble figuring out what was going on. I thought originally that maybe I had food poisoning as I am prone to that, especially living in Az. Then, the 3 lovely symptoms continued every 20 minutes so I really had no time to clear my head and focus. Not that I really could by that time. I was pretty gone, logically speaking, shortly after waking. I am really not sure how I made it to the bathroom for each bout of puking. But I did my bumbling best. I checked glucose several times. Changed the cannula and even tried an injection, all while clutching the trash can tightly. Glucose would not come down. It was too late. So by the time my girls got home from school I was just laying down, getting up, puking, laying back down. Just sort of on auto pilot. I remember thinking, “don’t puke on the floor, it will suck to have to clean that up”. Weird where you’re brain goes in a crisis.  And also weird how many colors bile comes in.  Who knew?
So, then the girls came home and my brain shifted to, “I am ok, can’t freak out the girls”. Well luckily I have trained them well in all matters diabetic. I managed to fool them for awhile, not that I wanted to fool them mind you, I just was incapable of thinking clearly. Survival instincts really boil down to a basic level when your body is in DKA. Another problem is that I maintain a “normal” appearance even when I am deathly ill or in this case functioning with a glucose level in the high 400’s. Everyone said I was speaking clearly and acting fine. I have no recollection of this. Fortunately, the girl’s figured it out and called my dad and husband. By the time they arrived I was just coherent enough to know I could not go in a car to the ER and paramedics were called. It was a good call and may have made a huge difference in the outcome. So I spent 3 days and 2 nights at the lovely (it really is) University Hospital while they brought me back down safely. I did have a relapse of the puking a few days after being released but it was just some fall out and edema left over that was taken care of by a day of IV fluids. The entire experience was excruciatingly painful. There are a entire days I do not remember and some I wish I could forget.
Here is what I do remember. A panic like no panic I have ever felt before. It sounds so cheesy to say but I really did almost die. My husband got rather testy with me when I tried to laugh that off. And here’s the truth, I felt it. I knew I was on the edge of not being around anymore and it scared the hell out of me. I am not a fearful person. So this came as quite a shock. The thing is, I was not afraid of dying. I will gladly walk on over when it is my time. I was afraid of what would happen if I were to die right then.
I know this is not so strange a concept but it really put me in a loop I am having trouble getting out of. I clearly remember a burning desire to beg my husband and father to make sure the girls stayed put and continued on their awesome lives without me. Luckily I never said those things out loud to them, I do not like to upset people by freaking out. But it was such a strong need.
It lit a fire under me arse to get things in order for sure but it also shook some things loose in me. The problem is I am not sure what they are, where they come from or how to deal with them. I don’t seem to be able to leave the house without an enormous amount of anxiety and tears. I am not, or I should say I never was, much of a crier. Suck it up and breathe is my personal motto. Thing is, I can’t. I am also extremely proactive, I am the fix it person. I can’t. I have tried. Why is this happening? I don’t know. Mulled it over, talked about it, prayed, meditated, screamed, taken it apart with the husband and looked under the hood. Nothing. A big fat nothing.  I have decided to take action in the form of counseling. Waiting for the referral as we speak.
So what’s the point of all this? I just want you to see the importance of being prepared. Don’t put off those seriously important things like living wills, directives, saying I love you, hugs even at awkward times. The importance of truly living.  Go on that trip you’ve always wanted to go on. Take that class. Play with your children, goof off with your friends, steal away with your honey. Do it, do it all. Do it now. You never know…you just never know.
BTW, I am so appreciative of my life and all that is in it. There are no words expressive enough. Thank you God for the extra time. I promise to use it wisely.

Slainte’
~Sam

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To weed or not to weed…or you’re thinking of doing what??? June 30, 2011


  I suffer from chronic pain.  It sucks.  It really sucks.  I have known many others that suffered but until it happens to you personally, you really have absolutely no comprehension whatsoever what it is like.  I admit it, I am guilty, in the past, of thinking, “OMG when do you not feel bad?”, upon slipping up and asking one of them how they are doing.  That doesn’t make me a bad person, it is is just so hard to understand what chronic really means.  When you are relatively healthy your experience with pain or sickness is fleeting.  You get an injury or the flu and you bide your time or take drugs that knock out the pain and before you know it you are up and running again.  That is your reality so you tend to think it is everyone else’s also. 

  And how bout those drugs?  Ah the wonderful world of prescription painkillers.  I hear people talk about them in various degrees of awe.  There’s the typical younger response of,  “Dude, I twisted my ankle but I got some killer painkillers.”  Then there’s the middle aged, “the doc gave me some pretty heavy duty pain killers but I will only take them if I have to.”  My personal mind boggling favorite, “I’ve been on them for years, couldn’t get thru the day without them, they are prescription so they are safe.”  Really???  Ummm, newsflash, no they aren’t.  Not knocking them, just saying…wise up.  If you can take them and they help you, awesome for you but do not presume that because a doctor writes you a prescription they are without consequence.

   I, personally, cannot take pain killers.  I have allergic reactions to 90% of everything docs prescribe for me.  Not exaggerating.  New docs will say, “oh no problem, everyone can take this one and we’ll start you on a low dose.  You won’t even know you are taking them.”  And then I spend 3 weeks having side effects that make me sicker than the original condition.  And the docs are always so shocked by this.  “But, EVERYONE can take this!”  Apparently not.   I absolutely love my current doc, BTW.

insulin pump

What neuropathy does

What is my condition?  I have type I or juvenile diabetes.  I am on an insulin pump.  Been on insulin over half my life and now suffer from peripheral, autonomic and poly neuropathy.  The pain can be annoying or excruciating with varying degrees in between.  But there is never a day without pain.  I have suffered several setbacks along my diabetes path, some pretty scary and painful but I always beat them.  I won, I came out on top and I never let it get me down for long.  Until about 3 yrs ago when my body just started going all willy nilly on me.  Without going into a bunch of detail you don’t want to hear I will hit the highlights.  It began with nausea that led to about 6 months of not being able to keep food down or blood sugars stable.  Around this time I also started having what they call “no symptom hypoglycemia”, pretty technical term there isn’t it?  I have always been very fortunate in that I always had strong symptoms when I was dropping too low.  I would even wake up if I dropped in the middle of the night.  Not so anymore.  Scary?  You betcha.  All of this led to having my gall bladder removed.  Which may not have been necessary.  Too late now. 

Having my gallbladder out did stop the nausea for a while.  But then about two years ago a whole new round of symptoms started kicking my butt.  Excruciating bouts of pain that would start with my whole body burning, then sensitivity to touch or clothing and then stabbing pain and then back to the sensitivity and burning and then back to normal.  These flare ups as I call them would last anywhere from 3 to 6 days and then I would have about 10 days before the next one hit.  Working was out of the question, I never knew when they would hit or how long they would last.  God bless my dear Usband!  Long story short, I now take Cymbalta to control the flare ups, which it does to a certain point.  While I no longer have the flare ups that completely grounded me, what I have instead is a constant version of it that never lets up.  Don’t get me wrong it is preferrable to the flare ups.  Oh and did I mention I have to take another med to protect my kidneys from the Cymbalta? 

  So this constant or chronic pain is what brings me to the title of this blog.  I can’t deal with this pain anymore.  I need some relief.  I need to be my old self or at least an older version of it.  I am not a cranky, miserable person.  I am a happy, spunky, pro-active, git her done person.  I am a hugger dammit!  Now I am limited to touching only when it will not cause me to shriek in pain.  And I am tired of it.  I am doing all I can do to correct, control and live with this and it is not enough.  I need relief.  I have tried everything recommended for the pain and nothing has helped.  And then I remembered…

  Once, in my early twenty’s I was having a pretty painful bout of pancreatitis.  It was bad.  The very dear friend whose couch I was crashing on at the time of this bout got sick of watching my suffering and all but forced me to smoke some weed.  I had no insurance at the time and no money, so I was screwed.  She convinced me to do it, didn’t take much convincing to be honest and much to my surprise and relief, the pain let up enough to let me sleep and go back to work the next day.  It was a miracle.  All was right in my world again.

  Now personally, I have always thought it was insane that pot is illegal when alcohol which is much more destructive, is not.  But that’s just me.  I am not getting into the debate over legalizing marijuana here.  I will state my opinion, it is natural, it is beneficial, I think it should be legal.  Read the history, it might surprise you.  However, I come from a very conservative, religious background.  And I believe in following the law.  When in Rome and all that.  So when the memory of the relief I got all those years ago popped back into my head recently, most likely due to the fact that Az is now a medical marijuana state, you can imagine I was torn. 

  To weed or not to weed?  That was the question.  The answer?  Weed, definitely.  It didn’t really take much thought.  It is legal in Az. now and my condition makes me a candidate.  Yea, yea there’s the whole federal issue still but, I want my life back.  So I talked it over with my Usband and our girl’s.  They were very supportive and on board with anything that would give me some relief.  Then I turned my attention to my folks.  I brought it up first just as a discussion, you know, “how bout that medical marijuana issue.”  Surprisingly my mom and dad didn’t have much of an opinion on it.  So I let them know I was considering it.  My mom laughed it off and said whatever works, I know you need something.  Dad was overly concerned with the controversy and possibility of being arrested federally.  I told him I was willing to risk it.  He didn’t like that. 

  Anyway I took the plunge, I got my medical records and went to a recommending doc.  I got my recommendation and now I am waiting for my card.  Now, since Arizona has the dispensaries on hold, I must decide whether to grow my own or use a “caregiver”.  I would like to grow my own just to ensure the organic part of it and all that but, I do not have a green thumb.  I kill weeds on accident, no pun intended.  Hmmmm, what to do, what to do…I am sure there will be more on this subject.  In the meantime, what is your opinion and or experience on this subject??? 

Inquiring minds want to know!

Slainte’   ~Sam        BTW, I really do recommend educating yourself.  No matter what your views.  Do not let a doctor or any health care person make decisions for you.  Know what you are taking, know the alternatives and be a responsible health care patient.  It’s important!