Wow, that was no big deal!

Sometimes I feel as if I should write a daily blog about all my diabetic episodes. Yes, it may not be that interesting, but something comes up at least once a day. Today, it is my absolute anxiety and pure terror of my cgm.

A cgm is a continuous glucose monitor. After about 5 years of the doctors trying to convince my insurance I needed it, they approved it last year while I was training for the 2012 Ride to Cure Diabetes. I truly felt as if it was a god sent. The little sensor is able to tell my insulin pump what exactly my blood sugar is at any moment of the day. This really came in handy while I was on the bike for hours. I did not have to stop and check my blood sugar as often.

The first time I inserted the sensor, I was petrified. Can you believe someone who has given herself shots and inserted an insulin pump for a total of 25 years, can be scared of a little 1 inch sensor being inserted? I was and I couldn’t believe it! I was at my boyfriend’s house and it literally took me about an hour and a half and it had to be completely quiet (which is not exactly easy with 4 kids running around). I finally did it and thought to myself, wow, that was no big deal. However, it started bleeding and I had to re-do it. Blood can mess up the sensor’s ability to tell what the blood sugar is. I was texting my diabetic bff, Dana, and she was trying to text me through it. Lol.

Sensor

So, it is a year later and I am still petrified. This sensory emotion has still not gone away. Yes, it doesn’t take me 1 1/2 hours but I have to mentally prepare myself for the insertion. I pretend to insert it and finally about 10 minutes later, I am able to do it (usually by chance and the “accidental” force of my finger pushing the insertor). It still has to be completely quiet. However, I always think to myself, wow, that was no big deal….

I can’t wait for the day when I won’t have to say, wow, that was no big deal when it comes to Diabetic stuff. Someday, my life will not be mesmerized by just Diabetes and I can focus a little attention to more important matters, like psyching myself out to bungee jump! Then, I can think to myself, wow that was no big deal! Someday…..

XoXo,

Crystal

Please consider making a donation, big or small, to help me find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. I am cycling 111 miles this November in the Ride to Cure Diabetes. Click here to donate ——>Ride to Cure Diabetes

Thank you very much! Continue reading

2013 Training Starts Today!

I know I didn’t tell you how last year’s Ride for a Cure actually went… so here is a little run down of the weekend itself. I knew I wasn’t ready to ride the 111 miles in November come August so I recruited my boyfriend, Rob, to do the ride with me. I didn’t want to do it alone, even though during training, I had met some amazing people. He signed up through the Tour de Tucson and was able to ride with me. He was a God-sent that weekend and has pretty much been one during the entire time we have been dating. However, that weekend, he really showed his love and support and was there for me in every way. He was amazing. The day before the ride, I switched my mileage to the 42 mile ride and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish that one either but it was the least amount of mileage I could do. Rob and I had done some training leading up to the actual ride weekend but not enough to feel confident in my ability.

It was a beautiful day and we were staying in this amazing resort. Hint, hint, if you ever go to Tucson, make sure to try to stay at the Grand Pass Marriott Resort and Spa! They are INCREDIBLE. The ride started and while I was excited, I wasn’t looking forward to the hills. I still had not gotten my bearings on when to switch the gears and such. If you read about any of my experiences on the bike last year, this will not come as a surprise! Right after the ride starts, there is a hill. I couldn’t do it! I got off my bike and started to get really upset. I had not even rode 5 miles. Rob suggested I test my blood sugar and it was in the 300′s. OMG. This is why I was so overwhelmed and couldn’t feel as if I could ride the bike. I gave myself some insulin. Rob and I started on our way again. Throughout the ride, my blood sugar dropped and I was still having trouble with the hills. However, Rob was there with me and always had the right solution for me. I felt safe. I crossed the finish line with tears running down my face. I couldn’t believe I finished, I actually rode 42 miles on a bicycle. The finish line pictures weren’t pretty but hey… I did it! My mom was there to meet me at the finish line and she started to cry too. She was so proud of me!!!

So, anyways, it was a great experience. Lots of learning and the entire weekend was life changing. I signed up again to do the 2013 Ride for a Cure on the day registration opened. Curing Diabetes has become such a passion of mine. It affects so many people, people I love, and myself every moment of the day. There is never a break.

And so training begins… here is my experience from my first day of training for the 2013 Ride for a Cure.

I have to be completely honest here, I was not looking forward to getting on the bike again. I seriously have not sat on my saddle since the ride last November. You may wonder why I decided to do the ride again since apparently I am not an avid bike rider. It is not the actual ride itself (even though it was quite an incredible experience to push myself that far) but me coming back was because of my experience during the whole weekend. JDRF’s Ride for a Cure was such a life changing event and it helped to raise money to cure Type 1 Diabetes. All in all, it was worth the hard work and tears which got me across that finish line.

Anyways, back to the topic here, I was not looking forward to getting on the bike. Training started today for me as there was an official training session with Amazing Coach Mark this morning (isn’t it cool that when you sign up, you get training sessions with real coaches??)

Rob and I took the hour-long drive from Ramona and got there right on time. It was difficult getting up so early but we both knew we had to do it. On a side note, Rob, my amazingly sweet boyfriend, signed up officially to do the ride with me to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. This gesture was so heart-moving that I am still starry-eyed. <3 He did the ride with me last year but signed up through Tour de Tucson, therefore, he did not raise the money which benefits the research to find a cure for Diabetes. He went for moral support last year and I am sure that is why he is doing it again but it still was one of the best presents I have ever gotten. This year he is riding for me, to help find a cure for me.

God really blessed with me with him. Ok, ok back to bike ride, I got on the saddle this morning and the first loop around Fiesta Island was painful. Really painful. I was the last one in the group to finish the loop and most everyone besides Rob and Coach Mark were on their 2nd loop around the island when I finished the first loop. I have a new motto for this ride season, “Aww, there is nothing to it!”; however, on that note, I kept having thoughts run through my mind, “How am I going to do this? How am I going to be able to ride 111 miles this next November when I can’t even go around the loop?”

Coach Mark suggested I get my bike fitted because he said it didn’t look right. He then adjusted my seat about 2 inches higher. The 2nd loop around changed my entire bike riding experience! It wasn’t hard to bike anymore. Yes, it can be exhausting, but I could petal without exerting myself so much! I could do this! I am getting the rest of the bike fitted to me this next weekend as I was clearly shown that just raising the seat made all the difference. I can’t believe I rode 42 miles with this seat like that last November. Boy was that an experience!

I am excited now! More excited that I have every been about bike riding. It is not out of my reach. “Aww, there is nothing to it!” We rode about 15 miles and did some basic skills training. It was exciting to see my ride friends there from last year, Heidi and Janette. I just have a feeling this is going to be a great experience! It will push me like nothing else ever has, but it will be worth it in the end.

And you never know, I may just keep riding, even after Type 1 Diabetes is cured! Can’t wait for the next ride! Watch the YouTube video I made! It’s pretty awesome!

Please donate to my cause, please. Every dollar helps. When Diabetes is cured, you can know you made a difference! Click here to donate ——————> 2013 Ride for a Cure

XoXo, Crystal

Just another rare normalcy in this Diabetic’s life……

I wear an insulin pump. It is a device that adheres to my stomach through a patch with a tube that transmits the insulin into my stomach via a pager sized machine which holds insulin. This machine gives me insulin all day long and then I program it to give me more when I eat. I decided that an insulin pump was a better lifestyle than taking almost 15 shots a day. I now technically only take one shot every 3 days to reposition the pump and then program whenever I eat. I am not supposed to take the insulin pump off, except when I am taking a shower. The logistics of this can be very troublesome sometimes- like when I am thrown in a pool and have to immediately not think about swimming to safety per say but how I am going to get out of the water to save my insulin pump. My Diabetes has to come first always. That’s how this disease goes. Selfish! Geez…

Back to the insulin pump, this machine is a blessing; however, it does have its mishaps every now and again. For example, the time when I was in Vegas on a family vacation for my brother’s 21st birthday. The machine just decides to stop working. Luckily, I was with family and being that we are a “Diabetic” family, there were plenty of needles and insulin to get me through the 24 hour period it would take them to ship me another one. The timing on when this machine decides to malfunction is actually quite hilarious after the situation is over of course. I found it quite hilarious the machine decided to stop working as I am giving birth to my daughter. Thankfully, I was in a hospital and was able to get insulin via an I.V. However, the insulin pump does lead to interesting stories and a very adventuresome life.

I had an adventure today with my insulin pump. Being that the insulin pump is a pager sized machine and that it is not necessarily small, there are often times where finding a place to put this machine is a hassle. Most of the time the pump sits on the top of my pants attached with the belt clip. I have been in several weddings and have had to place the machine in some very interesting places, such as my cleavage, because there was no other place where it wouldn’t be obvious. Today I wore a dress to work. What to do with the insulin pump when wearing a dress that is fitted on top? Attach it to my panties. Yes, you read it right. I attach the insulin pump to my panties. I have done this a few times before and while I have to continuously adjust my underwear, it works. Today was not the case. I should have known when I was adjusting every couple of minutes. I decided to take a walk to Starbucks with my friend Sarah. As soon as we left the office, I notice that my panties are literally falling off because of the weight of the insulin pump. I tried to slyly step behind Sarah to adjust myself inconspicuously. She gave me this strange look and asked what I was doing. I decided to not divulge what was happening and I step to the side of her. Literally seconds later, my panties literally fall my ass and are hanging out around my mid-thigh. I kept a smile on my face and kept walking. I could not pull up my dress and pull up my panties due to us walking past a grocery store and other little stores on the way to Starbucks. There was nowhere to stop! So, I walked to Starbucks and then back again to the office with my panties around my thighs, praying with every step, they didn’t fall down around my ankles. Now that would have been embarrassing! This was just another rare normalcy in my life with Diabetes. Hoping they find a cure soon so I don’t find myself panty-less at work (again) giggling with embarrassment about how insulin is not a cure. If you want to make a donation to help me find a cure, please do! Do it for me or all the other girls who might just end up with panties around their ankles.  :)

Click on: http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/crystalmwilson

XoXo,

Crystal

24 years ago, my life changed in a matter of an instant.

My Diabetes Story

I’ve been having some diabetic complications over the past couple of days and inspired by one of my fellow riders, Jenny Vandevelde, I posted about how I was feeling on Facebook. I don’t usually do that when it comes to my Diabetes. Having been diagnosed over 24 years ago, I was taught at a very young age that Diabetes is just an add-on to my life and it does not define me nor does it confine me. I am a normal girl (woman) who just has to take a few extra steps every day. I was taught to not make a big deal out of it; to just deal with it and move on. However, I learned a couple of things over the past couple days.

1. It is a big deal! I have been sweeping my Diabetes under the rug for about 20 years now. I have been testing my blood sugar whenever I “have the time” so that I do not make myself center of attention. Taking insulin for the meals I have eaten hours later so I don’t have to bring attention to myself with the beeps of my insulin pump, and not telling people exactly how much it affects my life. I try to not mention the Diabetes unless the moment deems it absolutely necessary. I didn’t even tell my boyfriend that I had Diabetes until after we had been talking for a few weeks or so.

2. Due to the responses I got on Facebook when I posted how I had been feeling lately, I realized that people don’t really know my story, my Diabetes story. Yes, the people whom have known me my whole life know the intricate details but for the most part, people just know that I am a “Diabetic”. It’s just a label that goes in the Crystal files, much like 32 years old, single mother, loves to laugh, Diabetic…. I try to not share too much about how it affects me or why I am a completely different person than I was 24 years ago because I was diagnosed.

I have Type 1 Diabetes. It’s not the kind of Diabetes that most people hear about everyday on the news. This disease is genetic and it normally affects young children and not because they are overweight. Every Type 1 Diabetic has their own story and they are all worth listening to. We go through so much in 24 hours that a lot of people don’t realize how much exactly it influences our day, our relationships, our sexuality, our life.

So, here is my story.

I was a very energetic and vivacious 8-year-old. I was a very social child, a social butterfly, as my mother describes me. I was constantly busy with activities from Brownies, dance, to Tee Ball. It’s so hard to imagine myself being this way because while I still have similar attributes now, I am definitely not that much of a social butterfly now. Did the diagnosis really change me all that much? Does having Diabetes not allow a young girl to be social? I often wonder how I can get myself back to that place. But I suppose that is a whole other blog that needs to be started. :)

It’s really sad to think that until today I did not remember the exact date I was diagnosed (or at least temporarily diagnosed by my mother). April 3, 1988, I woke up and it was Easter morning. I remember going to the mantle and sifting through my white Easter basket. It was full of candy and delicious goodies that I could not wait to devour. My parents were still sleeping as my brother and I ate our breakfast of jelly beans and chocolate goodies. I remember that Shane and I traded a few pieces here and there and that all the good pieces of candy were definitely gone by the time our parents woke up.

My mom, being a typical mother, woke up and couldn’t believe how much candy we ate. She was flabbergasted and her motherly instinct took away our baskets shortly after she woke up. “No more for you two! I can’t believe how much candy you ate and it’s not even 7am!” I laugh now thinking about how I do the same with my daughter. That was my last “normal” Easter morning. Later that morning, my life changed forever. I got violently ill. I was severely dehydrated and I believe I drank almost 4 gallons of water by myself over the course of the day. I can still remember how heavy my body felt and how it took what little energy I had left to walk to the bathroom over 20 times in a period of a couple of hours. I was reactively lethargic and I remember my father having to pick me up when I didn’t have the energy to lift my head. Hearing the voice of my mother speaking to my father in her scared and frustrated voice still replays in mind, “She has Diabetes, Willy! I know it.” Denial being a defense mechanism for my father, he did not believe it.

Now, let me give you a little background on how prevalent Diabetes is in my family. A lot of my father’s family members, from both his maternal and paternal sides, had Type 2 Diabetes. My dad’s sister’s daughter, Mallorie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 3 years old, about a year before me. Shortly following my diagnosis, Mallorie’s older brother and younger sister were all diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as well. My mother had every reason to be concerned and due to the most recent diagnosis of Mallorie, she definitely knew what she was diagnosing.

I went to the doctor the next day and I remember sitting down on the table. My mother explained that I had Diabetes and much like my Father, the doctor was a little hesitant to believe the self-diagnosis. He ran some tests but told us not to worry and just go on as “normal.” After the appointment, we went to the grocery store and I remember discussing with my mother that we should just start eating like I am a Diabetic. Normalcy was no longer an option. I knew the end result and so did she. In 2 days, the tests came back; Diabetes was my new “normal”.

Thankfully, I was not hospitalized like most newly diagnosed Diabetics. My mother quit her job and took the summer off to focus on getting us as a family familiar with Diabetes. While, I am grateful my mother took this time to understand the ins and outs of Diabetes, this summer put a strain on our family unit as a whole. My parents had decided to divorce by the end of the year; finalizing their divorce Valentine’s Day of 1989. That summer will always remain to be a great one in my memory. My mother had every day to spend with us and she took us all over the city while closely watching over my Diabetes. She was my guardian angel. She still remains to hold that title as she is the only one who knows how to fix my complications from Diabetes. My precious mother has kept me out of the hospital more times than not. I have only been hospitalized once for my Diabetes.

My mother taught me never to treat Diabetes like it was a disease. She wanted the best for me and made sure that Diabetes was never an excuse of why I could not do an activity. While her intentions were good, I do not believe, she meant for it to be as extreme as I have made it to be. Diabetes is an active part of my life and people deserve to know how it affects me. Diabetes affects every moment of my day. There is not a moment in my life that I can forget about it. My day is filled with testing my blood sugar, programming insulin into my pump, making sure I eat properly, calculating the carbohydrates on all the food I intake, and deciphering moment by moment whether I feel “normal”. I am not normal by the world’s standards and I am just beginning to accept that for me being different is quite all right. I’d rather not be “normal”—at least until the day this disease no longer affects my family, my friends or I. I’m praying and hoping this ride for a cure results in a big step towards curing Diabetes, especially Juvenile Diabetes, forever.

http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/crystalmwilson

Future cyclist? I fear not…. Life lessons learned from getting on a bike.

Image

Every time I get on a bike, I realize that I really have no real life experience riding a bike. Don’t get me wrong, of course I learned how to ride a bike when I was younger. The scars plus the small pieces of gravel I still have on my knees, I have to prove for that experience. lol. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever really had a positive experience with a bike. However, I still continue to trek on and get on a bike. Maybe it’s a personal goal I want to achieve or maybe I am just glutton for punishment. Either way, I am here and I have made a promise to not only myself but to everyone who has donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation on my behalf, that I will get on that bike and ride in November in Tucson, Arizona.

I swear I need to take a Cycling 101 course just to learn how to ride and take care of the 2007 Specialized Dolce Elite bicycle I have purchased. If you think cycling is as easy as just getting on and pedaling, let me correct you, you are wrong, and so was I! You have to prepare or else you will find yourself in the middle of a trail with a flat tire. First lesson I learned from training for the 100 mile bike ride, check your tires! If they look low, put air in them. I noticed one of the fancy dancy French tires was a little low but because I wanted to just get on and ride, I went anyway—only to find myself riding a bicycle with an almost complete flat tire, in which another rider had to tell me or else I would not have known. Needless to say, I had to walk the bike back to my car. I believe I spent about 15 minutes riding and the rest walking. Not the best first experience. Oh and don’t think you can go to the gas station and fill those tires up either—nope, you need a specialized bike pump because they are French tires. So, $75 later, I venture out for another try. I can do this! I can do this? Right?

3 miles into the ride, I realize that the petals are spinning and the tires are not moving! Oh no! So, I take out my cell phone (which I learned from the first ride is a mandatory accessory) and call my brother, Shane. Let me just give you a little information about my darling brother: 6’8, athletic, toned, mechanically minded, and a cyclist. He has been riding his bike instead of using his car for years now. He would rather cycle than drive any day. He knows more about bikes than I could even fathom knowing—and he claims to not know enough. He is almost a complete opposite human of me. So, anyways, back to the moment where I figured out my bicycle was basically broken. I am literally in the middle of a trail with shrubbery all around me. I keep trying to get off and get back on; as well as trying to change the gears (both front and back) with no luck. So I pull over and try with one hand to call my brother with the other hand trying to hold up my bicycle. It was quite a sight, I tell you. I am pretty awkward anyway when it comes to being athletic so this moment will forever be imprinted on my memory. Shane of course does not answer. What am I going to do? People are passing me and they are just walking. Do I walk back? Do I try to figure it out myself? I try Shane again. Try him again and again. 4th try, he picks up. I guess the obsessive calling from his big sister meant she really needed to talk to him. I explain what is going on and of course he starts talking “bike”. “The chain has fallen off Crystal. Do you see the chain?” Of course I see the chain; I am not that cyclist illiterate. “Is it sitting on the chain rings?” Chain rings? What is that? The gears? I’m not sure; there are three of the gear thingies…. He explains if the petals are moving but the tires do not move the chain is off. Great. How do I hold up the bike which doesn’t have a kick stand and try to put the chain back on? “Lean it up against a tree, Crystal.” I can hear the frustration in his voice. Grrr… cyclists are such an elite club! I have no idea about these kinds of things.

After walking the bike for about 3 minutes, I finally find an outhouse. Literally it was an outhouse. The sun is going down and I am starting to get nervous. The park closes at 8pm and I don’t want to not be able to get out. Finally I get my bearings and figure out how to put the chain back on. My hands are covered in oil and I am grateful I took my biking gloves off. I get back on the bike and push myself to go the fastest I can possibly go. I will not and cannot be trapped in the park. Silently, I am wondering why people are still walking the other way….Don’t they need to get out too???? Once back at the car, it takes me a good 10 minutes to get the bike actually back on the bike rack. I leave the park and its 7:58pm. Whew (sigh of relief), I just made it. Lesson learned from this experience: Actually take some time and learn about the machine I am riding. Why is there a right gear shifter and a left gear shifter? When do you change gears? Etc…. Practice makes perfect or so they say. I may not become a master cycler during this journey but I will not let a seat with two wheels get the best of me. I will survive and conquer this mission all in the name of Juvenile Diabetes.

 Until the next adventure, remember, Insulin is not a cure!

XoXo,

Crystal

http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/crystalmwilson

 

Fabulous FUN-raising has SPRUNG just as Spring begins!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March was full of fundraising opportunities for me. I always get so excited planning the events and of course praying that people will show. :)

In the beginning of May, I hosted a rummage sale where 100% of the proceeds would benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. I needed a lot of help that day and thankfully my brother Shane, our friend John, Sandra, my Mom, and my beautiful daughter Caylei were all there to help. Caylei hosted a bake sale and sold delicious yummies. We had a great turn-out and had a lot of great donations. We raised a total of $225!!! Whoo Hoo!

Two weeks later, I hosted my first Souplantation FUN-raiser. I encouraged people to invite as many people as they could and offered a massage gift certificate from Massage Envy to the person whom brought the most people in. This event was a lot of fun. My brother, Shane, actually won the gift card bringing over 20 people, with Jon and Shannon close behind him. Shane’s friend Andrew Wehring is a Diabetic and even invited his parents! It was great to see everyone there.  I received the check a few days ago for $57.37. That was great considering we got 15% of the proceeds for everyone whom came in with my flyer. It also brought my total amount raised to $1096.37!!

I am trying to think of some awesome fundraisers for the upcoming months- maybe a wine tasting, definitely another rummage sale….. $2903.63 more to go to reach my goal!!! I am confident this is what God wants me to be doing this year. I just bought an amazing 2007 Specialized Dolce Elite Road Bike as well! It is amazing. Just what I need for the bike ride. The training actually starts this month.

I have met most of the people I will be training with and I have decided to change my riding location to Tucson, Arizona for the November ride. Everyone is so amazing but Tucson seemed like a better location with the hotel and let me be quite honest, I love Arizona. I can’t wait to start training and get to know the people in my riding group.

Until next time… just remember Insulin is not a cure!

XoXo,

Crystal

http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/crystalmwilson

A weekend of binge-ing and the feelings associated with it…..

Grrr. Since Thursday, I have been binge-ing. I do this to myself ever so often. Whenever I think back to why I would actually do this to myself, Nurse Joanne Shartel’s words come rushing back to me. It was early 2003 and she had come over to my house to show me how to use the insulin pump. After about 4 years, she had finally convinced me an insulin pump would be the answer to all my Diabetic needs and problems. Then came those famous words, “On the pump, you can eat whatever you want. All  you have to do is program the food in the pump, and whoila, insulin will cover it.” Really, I could eat whatever I wanted? Are you sure. She confirmed it again, Yes, you can eat whatever you want. No more having to avoid sugar as long as you program.

Now, here it is, 9 years later, and I find myself binge-ing, on carbs and sugar. I will literally make myself sick, for example, today I had a piece of Coconut Cream Pie, a whole package of Chocolate Rocky Road (well almost the whole packet), as well as a half bag of White Cheddar Popcorn and about half a box of Pretzel Thins. Just writing down everything I ate, makes me feel sick again. I just want this to stop. I want this madness to stop. Seriously, it’s been 24 years for me, is this ever going to end? Am I ever going to be ok by eating a piece of candy?

There are more side effects to the days I binge. My blood sugar goes extremely high, almost instantaneously. Even if I have programmed my pump to distribute insulin, my blood sugar rises quite quickly. Most of the time, I find the insulin is just not fast enough. Does that stop me? No. This makes me upset. When my blood sugars are high, I get moody. Irritated, quickly frustrated, just p.o.’d. I tend to take it out on everyone around me. However, while I should know that this is occurring because of what I decided to put into my body, my brain has detected that reasoning to be poison and will avoid the self-realization. It’s literally not until I am fed up with myself, that I finally realize that I should check my blood sugar. Usually it is in the 400′s. This happened today and my pump was out of insulin. Oh and did I mention I was away from the house so I had to wait the hour to get back home. Yeah, I was feeling pretty sick when I got home.

Is that piece of candy really worth it? No, not even the pie. It’s not worth the feeling; however, self-gratification usually wins the battle. I’m on a mission this year to help Diabetes not only for myself but for everyone.

On this Sunday, February 26th, 2012, I will make a pledge to stop the binge-ing. I make this pledge to help myself feel better physically and emotionally. I make this pledge to help be a good example for all the other Diabetics whom crave sugar. Once again, I have proven to myself, insulin is not a cure! I need to stop treating it like it is.

Here’s to a better week.

XoXo,

Crystal