Can’t Afford To Live…

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a terrible way to die. It’s what happens when you don’t have enough insulin. Your blood sugar gets so high that your blood becomes highly acidic, your cells dehydrate, and your body stops functioning.

The price of insulin in the U.S. has more than doubled since 2012. That has put the life-saving hormone out of reach for some people with diabetes, and has left others scrambling for solutions to afford the one thing they need to live. I’m one of those scrambling.

Most people’s bodies create insulin, which regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. In the U.S., the roughly 1.25 million of us with Type 1 diabetes have to buy insulin at a pharmacy because our pancreases stopped producing it.

Rationing insulin is a dangerous solution. Still, 1 in 4 people with diabetes admits to having done it. I’ve done it. My first vial of insulin cost $24.56 in 2010, after insurance. Eight years later, I pay more than $100.

the list price for a single vial of insulin is more than $250, without insurance. Most patients use two to four vials per month (I personally use two). Without insurance or other forms of medical assistance, those prices can get out of hand quickly.

Something should and needs to be done about it before even more people die simply because they can’t afford this life saving and needed medication.

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What The Health Are Y’all Doing? 

Okay so I’m sure by now you’ve seen or heard about the documentary on Netflix called What The Health. This is another health documentary in the same vein as others like Supersize me and Food Inc. Similar information as well. Nothing new under the sun.

Anyway this documentary has sparked a new craze of people going vegan. Cool. Whatever. I’ve been a vegetarian/pescatarian for about a solid 3 years and I love it. I could possibly go vegan but I love honey. Yeah, honey. See honey is a byproduct of bees and a bee is considered an animal. In order to be vegan you can’t eat any meat or any meat byproducts. When my friend told me about the honey I knew right then and there that I was not down with that vegan life. Nope. Not for me.

Getting back to the film. I didn’t really like it. Take that back, I really didn’t like the documentarian. Documenter? Documentarian? Anyway, the guy that was doing the documentary. He seemed to be kind of douchè-ish. Plus his name was Kip. I mean he spent the first half, pretty much, of this thing calling the different associations like American diabetes, cancer and Susan G komen and asking all these high level questions to low level employees. Why would you call and ask the first customer service rep you get on the line questions like why they have certain things on their website and/or are promoting things that you feel are opposite of what they should stand for? You should be asking marketing not the lowest rung on the totem pole. I’ve worked customer service before and gotten calls from douchè-ish people like this and I tend to either transfer them to the corporate headquarters help line or just hang up. They have no clue as to why you think beef causes diabetes but there are beef recipes on the website, Kip! Did I mention his name is Kip?

So if you haven’t seen it yet when you do watch it fast forward about an hour. The real gem in this, if you can make it past Kip’s douchè-ish (yes, I am trying to make that a word) attitude, is when they talk about the health benefits of a plant based diet. They break down many of the myths around food in general as well as show a few ‘real’ cases of people that had miraculous turn arounds with their health by switching to a plant based diet. I put real in quotations because we don’t know if these people really had problems before and changed or if it was just an act. Not saying Kip is a liar but you can only trust someone named Kip only so much.

Now, switching from a mainly meat to plant based diet should not be an overnight thing like some people are trying or claiming to do.  As with any transition, it is most effective when done over a period of time. While some people have said they have been able to quit things cold turkey with no looking back this is not the case for the majority. Slowly cutting things out of your diet is a better and healthier approach than to just stop altogether. That’s just my opinion so take it as you may.

I just want you to be happy and healthy. I also want you to do your research before you just dive into being vegan or any change in your diet. There are several things said in this film that aren’t necessarily true. I mean it seemed like he made some pretty outlandish claims in an attempt to scare you into being vegan. Do your Googles! Research for yourself and don’t go by another person’s opinion of what’s good or bad for you. When it comes to health what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander. Again and I can’t say this enough, do your research and consult with a doctor or nutritionist or a dietician. Someone that can not only advise you but also help you transition your lifestyle.

Yes, I said lifestyle. This is a lifestyle change not just a diet. If you haven’t noticed there aren’t too many, if any vegan or vegetarian fast food spots. That means meal prepping and/or knowing what and when you plan to eat ahead of time. No more ‘oh I’ll just run out and grab a bite to eat’ life for you. It sucks but this is the life you chose or rather the one Kip chose for you…

I’m one of those people that eats to live instead of living to eat. While I love food and experiencing different stuff I also don’t eat food or things just because it’s there. I use food as fuel and not as some sort of guilty pleasure. I used to do that but over time I had to evolve past that. Thanks, Type 1 diabetes and Ciliac disease…

I say all of that to say this. If you see this film and it makes you want to eat healthier or even become vegan then good for you but always always always do your research beforehand to make sure it’s the right decision for you. That’s with anything really though. If you see this and decide to keep living the way you are then that’s cool too. Like I said earlier what’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. Weigh your options and as always do what is best for you.

Get Checked Out

 

Have you ever had that little twang, tweak or itch that just won’t go away?  You know it’s there and it’s not supposed to be but you keep putting it off because you don’t think it’s causing any real damage and it will go away or maybe it was just over exerted yourself the day before. Why wonder? Just go to the doctor and get it checked out.

Would you rather pay $35-50 now or $10-100,000 later? We are in the age of modern medicine with all kinds of technological advances. In other words, if there is something wrong, and it’s caught early enough, there is more than likely a cure for it. You just have to actually go to the doctor to get checked out.

I know that this is something that men don’t like to do. I am included in that bunch. I hate going to the doctor but I still go. I am a type 1 diabetic and I get a check-up every 6 months to ensure that everything is working and doing what it is supposed to be doing.  You take your car in for routine maintenance work right?  You are careful about what type of gas you put into it right?  Your body shouldn’t be any different. You should be mindful and careful of what you eat and also go to the doctor to proper maintenance.

I know what some of you are thinking. You are thinking how can I go to the doctor if I don’t have any insurance? I really can’t afford it.  You can’t afford to be sick either. There’s a little thing called the Healthcare exchange program that provides insurance for people in just such a case. Check it out and get some insurance. If you have insurance and are paying a premium on it every month, use it.  That’s all I have to say, sorry for the rant but preventative medicine can save money and lives.

Carb Counting

Carb counting is a must when you are a diabetic. Counting the number of carbs in your meal and dividing that by the number of units of insulin you need to give yourself is time consuming and can be downright confusing at times. Yet and still it must be done for every meal. The difficult part is when you go out to eat. You’re never quite sure how many carbs are in the meal because they don’t supply you with a nutrition label to read from so you have to guesstimate. After many years I kind of have it down to a science and I can kind of eyeball the amount of carbs in the meal but that is not a given every time. I have had episodes where I over estimated or underestimated the amount and found myself in a bit of a pickle.

Reading nutrition labels on all packages is a must. You do not want to go grocery shopping with me, trust that. Once I find something that I like and learn how it affects my body I will eat only that. There are only a few things that I eat on a constant basis. This is more because I know the carb count and it is easier when it comes time to administer insulin. I do like to eat different types of food but I have to be careful with experimenting.

Diabetics are natural mathematicians whether they know it or not.  I thought I was horrible at math until I got carb counting down. Now I can do it without a calculator and almost on auto pilot, I automatically know that this amount of food will equal this amount of insulin. 98.5% of the time I’m right.

National Diabetes Awareness Month

November marks national Diabetes Awareness month. As a type 1 diabetic, this is kind of a special month for me. Not only is thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays but I also get the chance to spread awareness about type 1 Diabetes and its affects on me and my fellow t1d’s.

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First, let’s dispel the myth of the look of a person with Diabetes. Not all diabetics are unhealthy people that didn’t eat correctly and/or exercise. I am a type 1 diabetic, so this is something that is an auto immune disorder that occurred naturally. My pancreas just decided to stop working. I am an avid runner and I’m all about healthy living. I didn’t create this because of my lifestyle choices.

Another myth is that I can’t have sugar. Umm… Without sugar I would die. My pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin aka glucose aka sugar to support and breakdown the food that I consume. While in the case of most type 2 diabetics, they may over produce insulin and yeah maybe they should stay away from the sugar because their body produces too much.

I stick myself at least 10-12 times per day to test my levels and that is on a light day. I test once when I wake up, before and after every meal and again before I go to sleep. I give myself an insulin shot in the morning on my long lasting/slow release insulin and a shot of my fast acting insulin before every meal. So imagine getting a flu shot at least three times a day everyday of your life. Not to mention the numb fingertips from the constant pricking to test my blood in the morning, before and after each meal, and whenever I feel a little out of whack.

This life is not easy. When you see a diabetic, especially a type 1 diabetic, hopefully you’ll understand a bit of what we go through. Oh and did I mention the carb/calorie counting and converting to units of insulin? Oh my gosh!! You need to be a mathematician to understand it all. We do what we have to do to stay alive and hopefully one day there will be a cure. Until then we just keep pushing.

Diabetes Sucks

Anyone with any type of auto immune disease can relate. Diabetes sucks! It’s like my body is attacking itself and I’m pretty much helpless.  There is no real control just management when it comes to making sure that your levels are in a certain range to keep you somewhat healthy.

Yesterday I did something stupid. I went to give blood. That’s not the stupid part. The stupid part was that I didn’t eat right before I have blood. This ended up dropping my blood glucose levels down to dangerous levels.  I ate breakfast so I figured that I would be okay. Yeah, I thought wrong. I ended up in the emergency room because I couldn’t get my levels to come up and needed some injections to help. I ended being admitted for observation because it seemed to be taking too long for me to get back to normal do they wanted to watch over me as a precaution.

Now I’m sitting here in this hospital room reevaluating my life and some of the health choices that I make. Now I have to be more diligent in checking my levels. As most people that have something like this for a long time, I have this thing of instead of checking my levels for accuracy I go by how I ‘feel’. Well, that ‘feeling’ let me down yesterday. I need to be careful about what I eat and don’t eat.

Even though the diabetes struggle is real, there are things that I can do to make it less of a struggle. Proper diet and exercise are too priority and key to keeping my levels where they need to be. I have the exercise portion down but I definitely need to work on the diet part. It’s really tough and time consuming to manage this disorder but it’s something that I have to do. I’m just so mad and frustrated with myself for this little mistake that lead to me being in this hospital. I shouldn’t be here right now.

What You Eat Don’t Make Me…

I have to start by saying that I love food. All types of food. But there lies a problem. I’m constantly eating things that I know I shouldn’t be eating. Things that I know for sure will make me sick to my stomach but I eat it anyway. Why? Because it tastes so good! I’m also a glutton for punishment.

It’s not like I’m eating something that I don’t know will make me sick and then it does. I’m talking eating things that I have put on a list to not eat because they’re tried and true that I will be hurting if I eat it. I can’t help myself sometimes. What do you do when the thing you love consistently hurts you in the end? You have to slowly ween yourself off of it. This goes for people as well as food.

I have to stop letting things destroy me just because I like them or it. It’s not good behavior and the only person that is suffering in the end is me. This stops now. I’m not longer going to allow myself to be hurt and pained by obstacles that I know are there to cause me harm. New life. New rules.