Saturday, August 11, 2012

Anxiety Help Needed

I’m hoping to find some answers.

As some of you may know, I have recently been dealing with some anxiety issues.  I will try to explain as easily as possible how I think it all came about. 

About four months or so ago I was at the kennel walking the dogs like I normally do.  I was with my friend and fellow volunteer Mike at the time and as we turn the corner around the block I get a whiff of what seemed to be spray paint or something to that effect.  At first it just seemed unpleasant but as we proceeded down the block the smell just intensified and I inhaled it the entire block.  I started to feel light headed and my pulse was racing, I thought for sure I was going to pass out.  Mike just kept saying “just keep walking; we are almost at the end of the block.  Don’t pass out on me.”  We finally get to the end of the block and I hit fresh air.  It was definitely a scary feeling but I didn’t give it too much thought and we just decided not to go back that way for a while.

Fast forward now about 2 weeks.  I visit my friend in CT with the intension of staying over to drive her back the next day with me so she can come see the kennel.  I get to her house and when I stepped into her kitchen I smelled the same smell I did back at the kennel.  I immediately left the room and started to panic mentally.  I told her I needed to go, that I didn’t feel comfortable there. I felt terrible but she was kind enough to drive back with me that same night.  We went for a walk and even lit the fire pit to see if that would help but I could not get that smell out of my head and I was worried about having a reaction.  She drove the car back for me but the entire ride I was completely freaking out and almost asked her to pull over on the highway so I could walk around.  It was the longest hour and 15 minutes of my life.  She tried to do everything to help me relax and told me I was having an anxiety attack. I didn’t even think it was that until she mentioned it and I realized that was in fact what I was having.  I haven’t had a panic attack in over 6 years and I only had one before due to exhaustion which I was hospitalized for. 

Ever since that day, I have been having trouble dealing with worrying about that smell and anxiety overcomes me.  I feel like I am more aware of my body and its reactions now make me intensify my anxiety.  I try to tell myself to relax, that none of the stuff I’m around or doing ever made me have a reaction.  I thought after finally having a break through with my diabetes (no longer depressed and taking care of myself), that things could only get better.  I have gone to the cardiologist and GI doctors to make sure I’m ok; thankfully the results have been good.  I am currently seeing a therapist and I do feel better with certain things but even just a hint of that smell and I’m 10 steps backwards. I even signed up for the gym to try and reduce my anxiety, which I will be starting to go to again next week.  I try not to Google anything because I am sure I will just freak out more.

So I am hoping that someone out there can help me with a few questions I have. One being, has anyone dealt with anxiety that is only brought on by certain smells?  Is there a way to completely desensitize myself to that smell?  People have said I should look into taking anti-anxiety meds but that is another huge fear of mine.  I am completely paranoid about taking new meds and worry about having life threatening side effects.  Which leads me to my other question, let’s say I take an anti-anxiety medication but my body is not allergic to it but my mind thinks it is, will I have the symptoms as if I were allergic?

I honestly think if I can get over this whole fear of smelling that smell and fear of medications, my life will be completely different.  My last question is: What if there’s no way to become completely desensitized to the smell, but if I’m on medication will I still have the anxiety symptoms?  A friend of mine mentioned that I may be suffering from PTSD because of the kennel and me worrying about feeling the same way I did that day. 

Any help is appreciated and I know this is a long post but I’m trying to do everything I can to get over this.  I even bought a mask for the odors but it’s hard to breathe in since it’s so hot out.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reaching out is a Beautiful Thing

So Kim at came up with the brilliant idea of creating a video project in which people with diabetes spread awareness to other people with diabetes who need to know that it gets better.  
"We could let them know that those dark times are something we all face; that we all experience. And that they never, ever have to be alone – because there are many of us out here going through the very same things." More information about the project can be found here:
I thank you Kim for bringing out the best in me and many others. 
I finally decided to participate in this project even though part of me was unsure. My main concern was getting negative feedback from the internet trolls and how I looked on camera, but I really started to think about it and realized that I wish I had the type of support I have now years ago. So even if I did get trolls, it would be worth it if I at least helped one person.  
Shortly after I posted my video, which could be seen here, I got some feedback on my video.
I messaged the person who gave me some feedback regading my video and I asked if they had dealt with depression or diabetes, this is what they messaged me back:
"I was really sympathizing with both. After dealing with diabetes for a long time, my teen years felt really awkward when I was the only one who carried around an insulin pump all the time. I slowly went from doing less management in front of my friends until a point where I basically acted like I didn't have a problem at all. But I didn't really have your luck, I've had about 11 seizures in my life between the ages of 7 to 19, my last seizure being May of this year. It turns out that I had epilepsy as well, so piling that on top of my other medical issues really made me feel isolated. So from there I started becoming more and more depressed and in the past month I started taking anti-seizure medication. Just having all of these things piled on top of each other made me feel like an alien, a freak, a robot, all of the above. Since I started the anti-seizure stuff I've become more and more depressed and have considered suicide on several occasions.
I just want to say your video actually gave me something to look to and make me feel like I wasn't alone. I don't know how much this says but seeing someone else going through a lot of the same things I was going through and knowing a lot of what I have felt for such a long time made me feel less alone in the world. I'm very grateful that you made the video and I'm really thankful for the support and I hope I can return the favor by passing it along and making others feel like they're not alone.
Anyway, I wanted to just say thank you for being you and I'm glad I don't feel alone and like someone understands my feelings for a change. You're awesome and you really helped me a lot. Thank you so much and hope we can have a nice talk again sometime."

This message meant so much to me, but it hurt to read because I was exactly in that place not too long ago.  If it wasn't for the Diabetes Online Community (D-OC) I probably wouldn't be so involved in diabetes advocacy at this point, but now I feel its part of my job to help those who feel they don't have a voice.  
I completely understand that some just don't feel comfortable enough to share their stories out loud, but at least if they can message us and communicate one on one, that works for me.  I've never felt so inspired until meeting everyone from the D-OC.
Please reach out if you feel alone, it doesn't just have to be regarding diabetes. Remember, there is always someone out there hoping to find some sort of support group but have no idea about going about it.  If you know someone who could use help, point them in the right direction, don't be overbearing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Biggest Supporter

This weeks D-Blog topic for May 11th was, "Your Biggest Supporter," is actually quite fitting since I wanted to write about my mom.  I'll also be translating this post in Spanish since I know it would mean a lot to my mom.  (My Spanish writing still needs improvement but im getting there)

There are truly not enough words or phrases to describe how amazing I think my mom is.  I think if I am half the person she is, then I consider myself blessed.

I asked my mom about the day I was diagnosed with diabetes and how it all took place.   She explained that she noticed I was always really tired, woke up with headaches and had dark shadows under my eyes.  She thought to herself "something is wrong with my child, I can feel it." She remembers one Halloween that I had eaten some candy and that the next day I got really sick, so that just added to the list of things that she noticed was wrong with me.  She took me to the doctor, had all the bloodwork done but the doctor said I was fine. She insisted "are you sure its not anemia or something, somethings wrong with her," but he just blew her off.  My mother followed her instincts and went for a second opinion, even my dad sided with the doctor and said that there was nothing wrong with me, that "you worry too much."

The day my mother took me to see another doctor, she had a dream that she had this big black scorpion on her back, that she couldnt remove it for the life of her, she said it was indication of the cross she was about to bear.

So the bloodwork came back and the doctor asked my mom to take me to the hospital to have some more tests done just to be sure.  Sure enough, I was diagnosed with diabetes, my sugar was about 680.

The endocronoligst that saw me at the hospital was the director of his department, he was leaving for El Salvador that day so he explained to my mom that I was not to leave the hospital until he returned.  My mother stayed by my bedside in the hopsital for 21 days.  This amazing woman would not leave my side.  I cant even imagine how tired she must of been, dealing with the nurses coming in and out of my room every couple of hours to test my sugars, she was sleeping on a chair, since they didnt have  a bed for her.  She did everything she could to make sure I was being taken care of.

As I got older, I was able to learn to take my own shots and do things for myself, this is where I completely lost control of my diabetes since I did not care at all, but every single night for a good 15 years my mom would ask "did you take your shot" I always said yes.

The suffering I put my mom through is unbelieveble, but she always managed to keep a postive attitude.  My mother has a very interesting background and the things she has been through would amaze you, for her to be as level-headed and sane as she is, is beyond me.  I dont know where I would be if I didnt have her support, I love her more than I could ever put into words.  The faith and strength I have for certain situations all come from my mom.  The thought of not having my mom around always brings me to tears.

If it weren't for my mothers persistance on having me checked out, I would not be here today.

The D-OC (Diabetes Online Community) is now a huge part of my life and I thank you all for your wonderful support, so dont you worry, a big thank you post will be coming your way shortly. I just had to express how much my mother means to me, Id give an arm, a leg, an eye, a heart for this woman without hestiation. Be sure to thank anyone who supports you and helps you cope, they deserve it for all the emotional abuse we put them through.

I love you Mom.

No hay realmente bastantes palabras o frases para describir cuanto yo pienso de mi mamá. Pienso si soy la mitad de la persona que ella es, que me considero bendecida.

Le pregunté a mi mamá sobre el día que fui diagnosticado con la Diabetes y como esto ocurrió. Ella explicó que ella notó que yo siempre estaba cansada, me desperté con dolores de cabeza y tenía sombras oscuras bajo mis ojos. Ella pensó "algo tiene mi niña, puedo sentirlo." Ella recuerda un dia de los muertos que yo había comido algún caramelo y que al día siguiente me estaba realmente enferma, de modo que sólo añadido a la lista de cosas que ella notó que estaba mal conmigo. Ella me llevo al doctor, tenía todo los examanes de sangre hecho pero el doctor dijo que estuve bien.  Ella insistió "esta usted seguro, no es anemia o algo?" pero él solo dijo que no. Mi madre siguió sus instintos y fue para una segunda opinión, hasta mi papá penso como el medico y dijo que no había nada incorrecto conmigo, que "usted se preocupa demasiado."
El día que mi madre me llevo para ver a otro doctor, ella tenía un sueño que ella tenía a un Escorpión negro grande en su espalda, que ella que no podia quitarse, ella dijo que esto era la indicación de la cruz que ella iba a cargar. Entonces los resultados de mi examen de sangre volvió y el doctor pidió a mi mamá que me llevara al hospital para tener algunas pruebas más hechas sólo para estar seguro. Bastante seguro, fui diagnosticado con la Diabetes, mi azúcar era aproximadamente 680. El doctor que me vio en el hospital era el director de su departamento, él se iba para El Salvador ese día entonces él explicó a mi mamá que yo no debía irme del hospital hasta que él volviera. Mi madre se quedó por mi lado de la cama en el hopsital durante 21 días. La mujer asombrosa no dejaría mi lado. Ni quiero imaginanarme que cansada ella debio de estar, con las enfermeras entrarando y saliendo de mi cuarto cada poco de horas para tomar mis azúcares, ella dormía en una silla, ya que ellos no tienen una cama para ella. Ella hizo todo que ella podría para asegurarse que yo estaba muy cuidada.
Cuando me hice más viejo, yo era capaz de aprender a tomar mis propios tiros y hacer cosas para mí, este es donde completamente perdí el control de mi diabetes ya que no me preocupé en absoluto, pero cada noche durante unos 15 años buenos mi mamá preguntaría "hizo usted toma su tiro" yo siempre decía sí. El sufrimiento por el que puse a mi mamá es unbelieveble, pero ella siempre lograba guardar una cabeza de postive. Mi madre tiene un fondo muy interesante y las cosas por las que ella ha sido le asombraría, para ella para ser como el nivel encabezado y sano como ella es, es beyone mí. Yo que dont conocen donde yo sería si didnt tengo su apoyo, la amo más que yo podría poner alguna vez en palabras. La fe y fuerza que tengo para ciertas situaciones todos vienen de mi mamá.
EL DOC (Diabetes Comunidad en Línea) es ahora una parte enorme de mi vida y le agradezco todos por su maravilloso apoyo, no se preocupa, su poste de gracias grande esta en camino dentro de poco. Sólo tenia que expresar cuánto amo a mi mamá,  quiere decir, yo daria un brazo, una pierna, un ojo, un corazón para esta mujer sin pensarlo dos veces. Le amo Mamá.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Its Pumpin Time

It was brought to my attention years ago by my endocrinologist, but I just shrugged it off and always decided against it, to be honest I just never cared about my health back then and didn't want the hassle of learning to use a pump or wearing one.  But just like with anything else in life, you get older and realize what you're doing is not the best thing, you wise up, more willing to hear other peoples opinion.          
The real turning point for me happened when a doctor mentioned to me that my sugar was in the 500's, I definitely did not think it was that high. I thought to myself, I need help and I need it fast. First thing I did was call Winthrop University Medical Center and looked for a new endocrinologist, since the one I had previously moved.  
So my appointment was made. I met with the Endocrinologist, I was extremely honest about how I was taking care of myself, or not taking care of myself rather. She was beyond nice and explained all my options thoroughly.  She told me the best option for me would be the pump but that she recommended I try the Novolog pen first to be able to learn how to carb count and see how I liked it.        
I later met with the nurse practitioner (Eileen), who is beyond amazing. She explained that she wanted to get me on a CGM (continuous glucose monitor, it checks your sugar every five minutes) for a few days, to see why my sugar was dropping so low in the middle of the night and whats causing the constant fluctuation in the numbers.  I wore the CGM for about five days.  
When I met with Eileen again, she printed out my sugars  for the last five days and my chart looked horrible! I hated how it looked and I asked: "Well what else can we do to help these numbers look better?"

She brought up the pump and asked if I felt more comfortable with the idea of the pump now. I didn't even have to think twice about it and said yes.  She brought in various pumps to look at and went over them with me. I decided to go with the Animas Ping. I liked the fact that you can control your pump with the same meter you test with and dont have to pull the pump out to adjust your doses, plus it looked cool.  She told me she would call the rep and provide them with some information so they can contact me. I was so excited.       
So Animas called me a day later, I spoke with Ross Patton.  Ross made this process so easy and he had so much patience with me. I provided him with all the insurance information and anything else he needed. The only thing that made this process drawn out was that it took me forever to get blood work done, since the insurance needed a C-peptide test done. Ross always followed up with me (for at least three weeks).  
I finally got the blood work in and Ross said everything had been approved, that my insurance covered 80 percent of the costs, that left me with some payments to make. I explained that I could not provided the 20 percent at the moment, he asked if I could put a down payment of at least 10 percent, I explained that I could not. He stated that as soon as I could make a payment to get in touch with him.
I would say within a minute of hanging up the phone, he called me back. He explained that if I could not make payment now, that there is a possibility of financial help, that If  i could provide him with my last two pay stubs and last tax return, that he would forward the information and we would know if they could help.  
If your household does not bring in more than $77,000 than you are eligible for financial help, they can provide up to $1,100.  Thankfully, everything checked out and I did not have to pay a dime for my pump, Ross had it shipped out the next day. I wish every rep we ran into was as kind and helpful as Ross Patton. Had I felt that I was being treated poorly or trying to be "bought" in some way, I may not have chosen to pump with Animas at all.  I'm so glad this process was so easy.         
So now I start my pumping lessons May 17th, I can't wait! I will be sure to share with you how that goes as well.  I know I was beyond nervous when deciding about the pump, but from everyone I've spoken to, it seems the benefits out weigh the risks.   

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dont Suffer In Silence

Please bare with me, as this will be a lengthy post, but I promise, you or someone you know feels or felt the exact same way at one point.

            I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 5, I am now 25.  I didn’t start taking care of myself until I was 23 (that’s not a good thing, but at least I am now).  It took me 18 years to realize how much damage I was actually doing to myself.  Any time I went my endo I would always say Im going to try harder and will do everything as instructed.  That of course would only last about 2 or 3 days.  I never took my blood sugar, I saw it as a pain in the ass more than anything. I didn’t want to carry around a meter or shots to correct high blood sugars.  My mom did everything she could to keep me controlled but its impossible to control a young child/teenager.  I would eat anything and everything and I just didn’t care.  Basically the doctor tried to give me a sliding scale but I never used it, I would just say I did but didn’t.  I would take 20 NPH in the morning and 11NPH at night, that’s it.  I only remembering using regular when my mom had to give me shots, but once I learned to do it on my own, I slowly stopped caring altogether.  I look at that regimen now and think its insane. How could I have only been taking a total of 31 NPH through out the day and eating everything I wanted. I basically lived with a headache 24/7, if I didn’t have a headache I thought something was wrong.  I didn’t think it had to do with my diabetes, but surely enough, which I will get into in a bit it was.  I was very naïve with my diabetes, I think I just never wanted to accept it.  Not until about 2 years ago when I started a full time job and noticed that my headaches were interfering with my work completely that I decided to see a neurologist.  From there the neuro had me get some mri’s done to see what the issue was.  To make a long story short, I had 2 bulging discs in my neck and ended up going to physical therapy, the headaches seemed to fade away, I still had them but not as frequent, so I thought it was due to that.
            As time progressed I was getting annoyed with the diabetes and decided I wanted to find out if I was eligible for a transplant (at the time, to me a transplant was the only answer, I know now that’s not true at all).  I went to see the surgeon and he explained to me that I was very young and other than the diabetes I was pretty healthy.  He said to at least try the pump and that if I still felt the same way in 6 months to come back and see him.  I agreed and decided to find a new endo (since my other endo moved away months ago but I didn’t care enough to look for a new one… I know I know Bad Diabetic). I found an endo who right off the jump rubbed me the wrong way. I tried explaining that new meds made me nervous (I had a bad experience previously that put me in the hospital) and that if maybe we could try a sliding scale and gradually try her new meds.  It was basically her way or no way.  The only thing that gave me a shock value at that visit was that she told me my blood sugar was about 500.  I decided to call the office where my previous doctor worked and tried to find someone in that facility (Winthrop University in Mineola, NY), which they did and set me up with an appointment.  I sat down with the endo and discussed everything that had been going on, I was very honest and explained that I never took care of myself and never cared to but I finally “woke up” and knew I had to change or I was going to end up dead.  She then set me up with the diabetic educator, this woman is such an amazing person, there are no words to describe how wonderful she is, she changed me completely.  Her compassion and understanding helped me so much.  With her willing to work with me with the NPH I felt like, you know what, if she’s willing to work with me then I should trust her. I just had a feeling about her being right that I decided to try the Novolog pen and the Lantus Pen.  She put me on a regime and explained that it was very important that I always test.  I was determined to follow directions this time no matter what.  My A1C at that point was about 10.8 (terrible!).
            A few months go by and I start to notice a HUGE change in how I felt.  I was no longer getting headaches as frequently.  But the one thing that I noticed was that I didn’t feel angry or depressed as I always did.  My entire life I felt depressed and angry, I never knew why, sure there were something’s that clearly could affect me but sometimes it was nothing that stood out.  In high school I went through major depression and constantly thought about ending my life. The only thing that stopped me was that I knew it was selfish and it would destroy my family.  Though a social worker at my school helped me out as well. But what Im trying to get at here is that the depression and anger went away. I felt at peace with myself, something I had never felt ever.  Its like taking a deep breathe and believing everything was going to be alright.  I would now go out of my way to do favors, I enjoyed visiting relatives and spending time with them. Even they saw the change in me, I was never a mean person but they can just tell I was different.  The one thing I noticed too was that I wouldn’t have to use the bathroom every two hours either, I could go about 8 hours now without having to pee, it was amazing! I remember when I told my endo she said, its nice to pee like a normal person huh? (lol Love her)The next time I visited my endo my A1C was 7.1! it has never been that low. I was proud of myself.  At this time as well is when I found the DOC, you guys are the most amazing group of individuals I have ever come across.   I wish I had found this support group when I was younger, but then again back then I hated everything that had to do with diabetes.
            My whole reason for posting this is because I want to reach out to anyone who is going through the same thing or knows something who is.  All I remember is being embarrassed to have anyone found out I was diabetic and dealing with it in silence.  Please do not suffer in silence.  If you want, email me, msg me, call me. I would be more than willing to chat with anyone. Depression is a hell of a thing.
            I’d like to think I’m a lucky diabetic, the reason I say that is because I always remember my doctor telling me complications start after 10 years, I’ve had this for 20 and im doing great, any time I would have a deep cut or surgery I would heal so quickly, but not everyone is the same so I urge you to take care of yourself now then when its too late. I know its hard but the DOC is here for you, just reach out. 
            If you took the time to read all of this, I appreciate it.