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Wednesday
Jan182017

Stained Shirt

This may be a little too much gore for the average blog reader so you may want to skip this post.

Okay, so the last 2 out of 3 Dexcom sensors have caused me to bleed, a lot.

Here’s what happened. Before work one day I put on a new Dexcom sensor. I noticed it was barely hanging on before I hopped in the shower so I figured I would pull it and replace it afterwards.

It went on with no issues and I got dressed and headed off to work. All was normal or so I thought.

At around 9AM a co-worker walks into my office and notices these red marks on my arm. It looked like I scraped my arm up pretty bad. It didn’t hurt to touch it so I thought maybe it was ink. I looked at my desk to see if something had spilled and I put my arm in it but nothing was there. I started to rub my arm and the color started to come off.

That was when it hit me. My side was wet.

Now I use Skin Tac wipes every time I put on a sensor or a pump site. It makes my skin super sticky but it also feels kind of gross. My shirt sticks to my skin and it makes my side feel wet for pretty much that entire first day.

So I didn’t think anything of the feeling on my side.

I lifted my shirt up and saw a giant bloody spot on my undershirt. Immediately I had my co-worker take a photo and sent it to my doctor. Yuck!

For the next 3 hours I tried putting band-aids on it, taping gauze over it, using masking tape to wrap around my belly and hold paper towels on it, and even had packing tape holding a maxi pad on it.

Nothing would stop this teeny tiny hole from bleeding.

My doctor told me to come into his office which I did that afternoon. I was there at 1:30PM and was still bleeding. STILL!!!

He used some stuff called Bleed Cease and wrapped my body up in an elastic band to hold it in place. He told me to check it at 6PM to see if it is still bleeding but to not take off the Bleed Cease bandage until after 8PM.

At 6PM I lifted up the elastic band and saw a lot of blood seeping through. I covered it up and didn’t think about it until 8PM.

Sure enough at 8PM when I took off all the bandages it had finally stopped.

The next day I put on another sensor and had no issue whatsoever.

After a week or so that sensor was ready to fall off. I pulled it and replaced it. That was last Saturday. By 10AM I noticed red marks on my arm.

This time it took all night but it finally stopped after losing a lot of blood. Now I am scared to put another one on.

Have any of you had an issue like this?

Friday
Jan132017

Can I Celebrate?

This blog was started on this day in 2006. That was 11 years ago! For many of those years I wrote quite often but not recently. 

So can I celebrate an 11 year old blog when the past few have been sparse? 

The thing is I have a lot to share since a lot has happened. Stuff that falls into the category of why I started this in the first place.

To help others by sharing my stories in hopes of making lives a little easier. And so people who read this blog never feel alone. 

So what happened in 2016 that needs to be shared? Well, my diabetes went out of control for starters. Nothing I did would get my post meal bg's anywhere near where my doctor wanted them.

We tried Victoza, Trulicity, and some other type 2 drugs but nothing worked. And through all this my weight kept increasing. 

I was refilling my pump every other day because I needed so much insulin. So my doctor had me start using U-500 insulin. That is basically concentrated Regular insulin. So 1 unit of U-500 is like 5 units of Regular. Now as you probably know, Regular insulin has been around for a long time and it is not a very stable and predictable insulin. That being said my control only seemed to get worse.

And I got to the heaviest I have ever been. 

340 pounds.

I cannot believe I typed that for all to see but I had to share it, I know I am not alone so its okay.

By the end of March my doctor said we needed to consider bariatric surgery. He felt it would be more dangerous to not have some sort of weight loss surgery. 

My family and I met with a surgeon and after many discussions I decided to do it. It was not an easy decision at all but I knew I was doing it for the right reasons. I had tried to lose weight. I had tried to control my numbers. Nothing was working and this very well could be the thing that gets me to be at my healthiest. 

Months of doctors appointments, arguments with insurance, and education classes helped prepare me for an August surgery date. 

15 days before surgery I went on a liquid diet. My doctor changed my insulin to Novolog and we came up with new basal rates to make sure I didn't go low with my new smaller stomach. By the time I was ready for surgery I had lost 12 pounds. Months before that I had a lost some weight but not enough to make a real difference.

The surgery when well. I felt great afterwards and moved my daughter to college the week following. All was good. I went back to work two weeks later and everything seemed to be progressing as planned. 

Then I got sick. It felt like I was not getting enough water and protein, something I was warned about, and I had zero energy. I tried to eat drink protein shakes but could not keep them down. Then my blood sugar started to rise to the point my meter only read "HI." Weak and nauseous, I tried to eat but kept throwing everything up. This was DKA no doubt. My wife called 911 and I was off to the hospital.

When I got to the hospital I was having a hard time breathing. It was like I was panting. This was a new symptom for me. The ER nurses drew blood to run tests and tried to calm me down. A bit later the ER Doc tells my wife that I had a heart attack.

WHAT THE HELL? A HEART ATTACK?!?

And from what the tests said, it looked to have happened a few days before. 

So now I was in the hospital for DKA after I had a heart attack I didn't know about! I spent a few days in the hospital as they worked to get my bg under control. Then after I was no longer DKA they transported me to another hospital to have an angiogram. The angio showed I needed triple bypass surgery. 

The next day I was in surgery again for the bypass and spent the next 2 months recovering at home.

In the end, everything is good now. I have lost over 70 pounds. My energy level and overall feeling is awesome. My post meal bg's are the best they have been (I also started using inhaled insulin for boluses) in a long time.

There was a lot of emotional stuff I went through around all of this. Many things I want to explore and share. I just wanted to update everyone on where I have been and what went on in 2016 for this old ninja.

So I have a lot to celebrate besides starting this blog. But today I'll celebrate "Ninjabetic" anyway. 

Monday
May232016

It's been awhile

I have not posted since my Diaversary last year. Probably the longest stretch of keeping my mouth shut online, and it felt good.

Good in that I have not felt the need to rush to my computer each night to tell of all the diabetes drama in my life. Work has been so demanding that the last thing I want to do it look at a computer screen. So this mini vacation has been a good one for me.

The other side of it all is that I feel extremely far away from the DOC. I was so involved with all kinds of stuff from Vlogs to seminars to conventions and summits to podcasts and even rap battles! 

When I think back to all that stuff, the only thing I miss are all of my friends in the DOC. I know they are all still around and I am pretty sure they would welcome me back with open arms. That is one thing I know for sure, the DOC is made up of some exceptional, kind, loving, accepting people. I miss that.

I could play catch up on stuff going on but it would be better I think to let you know I am still around and will update you as we move along here. I am still as silly and crazy as ever. I still love all of you so much. I still have a non-functioning pancreas. And I still love bacon!

And hate clowns. ;)

Friday
Oct022015

A Quarter Of A Century

Twenty Five years ago today I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. 

Since that Monday evening I have had insulin injected into my body by either shots or insulin pumps. I have pricked my finger and attempted to manage this disease all 9125 days.

For many years my management was horrible and almost non existant. Finding other people with diabetes online made all the difference in the world. As did the new medicines and devices I use.

Still my life is not what I planned for it to be. Diabetes forced me to travel down a path I was not prepared for and has continually made that path difficult, but not impossible.

Twenty Five years doesn't feel as great as I sort of hoped it would. It only brings up the sad moments I have had and the fear of what the future holds, or doesn't. 

In my life, diabetes makes the future less mysterious and all the more scary. 

Happy diaversary to me.

Monday
Sep212015

My Scariest Moment Yet

It was 4AM on Sunday, August 16th. My wife woke up to use the restroom and upon returning to bed noticed that I had the blankets thrown off of me and I was covered in sweat. She knew I was low and grabbed my glucometer to check my bg. 

She tried to wake me up so I could prick my own finger but I was not responsive so she did it.

26.

She tried to wake me up and tore open a packet of glucose gel to try and get me to take. My teeth were clenched together and I would not open my mouth. My wife grabbed the glucagon shot and woke my son up to call 911 while she gave me the dose. 

Not knowing how quickly I would recover she stuck the needle in my thigh and injected the dose into me. My son handing the phone to her and she told the emergency operator what was happening. In just a few minutes the paramedics showed up to work on me. 

The first thing they did was a finger stick.

21.

They gave me a bag of Dextrose through an IV and decided to take me to the hospital since I was still unresponsive.

At this point I believe I can tell you the first thing I remember.

I was having a really creepy dream that was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The right upper corner of my vision had images flashing like a movie theater in the distance. The images were changing so quickly that I could not make sense of any of it. Noises were also coming into my ears in pulses that I could not understand. I remember thinking that this was something I had never experienced and this nightmare was one I was going to have to just ride out. There was no way for my brain to slow down and make sense of what this was. It was terrifying. 

"Is this really happening?" I heard myself say to someone standing over me. They were really tall because they had to bend over or else they would hit there heads on the ceiling! 

"Yes, we are taking you to the hospital." I could feel movement and hear creaking of the ambulance shocks. Maybe it was speed bumps or a drive way? 

A second later I was in another room. BEEP. People were bustling around me. BEEP BEEP. Talking to each other although I could not understand what any of them were saying. BEEP. Above me I saw a surgical lamp. The light was off but on the inside of the BEEP shade I saw a warning label. Numbers and statistics were being shared around the room. BEEP BEEP. I tried to read that warning label but I couldn't make out the words except "WARNING." 

"Warning: This light will remain hot even after the light is off." 

I kept reading that warning over and over. It was keeping me in that room and not letting me sink into the abyss I just came from. The beeping was going but I understood that I was in the hospital. Something happened, but what?

Just then I hear my wife's voice and instantly I start sobbing. "What happened?" I asked through tears and she said that I was low and would not wake up.

The emergency room workers asked me questions and I answered them as completely and accurately as possible. Thinking the more I say will help ground me and keep me alert. It was a weird defence mechanism. 

They checked my bg and it was in the 300's although I felt still terribly low. The doctors and staff let me rest while my wife came and talked to me. She started telling me what happened and I could not believe it. When she told me about the way I was clenching my jaw I realized how sore my face felt. And also that I was still holding my mouth shut with the same intesity she described. 

A nurse came by about an hour later and checked my bg. It was 127. She thought that was strange, as did I so she cleaned another finger and tried again. 130. She walked around my bed and cleaned a finger off of my other hand. 129. 

That drop in bg got me sent up to ICU. While I was there the doctor on duty came by to meet me. He told me that he was going to keep me in ICU for the next few hours to make sure my bg was stable. He also said he wanted to keep my bg around 200 for the next 24 hours for some reason. 

After around 4 hours I was moved up to the Cardiac Care Unit for observation. After a few hours there the doctor came back around and was happy that my bg was pretty much in the low 200's for the last few checks the nurses had done.

"Alright Mr. Simmons, we are going to run you through the night in the 200's and tomorrow we will send you home as long as we don't have any drops happen okay?" 

What are you gonna do right? I felt like I could go home but I knew it wouldn't hurt to stay overnight and I didn't want to put my wife through any more drama if something did happen. 

Around 4PM  the next day I was released to go home. My bg had been pretty much the same all night so  the doctor felt it was okay for me to go home 

The next day I made an appointment to see my doctor. That was an eye opening appointment that I will have to tell in another post since this one is already a novel. 

Anyhow, this event has really gotten to me. The thought of how close I came to checking out, how blessed and lucky I am to have a wife who knew what was happening and responded so quickly. How lucky I am she woke up when she did. Who knows what would have happened if she didn't?

Actually, we all know which is why it was so scary.