I’ve had Type 2 Diabetes for 21 years now, on insulin for about 18 months. I take 40 units of Lantus once a day and 10 units of Novolog 3 times a day. I am also on 500 mg Metformin.
I’ve had pyelonephritis (kidney infection) several times, the first hospitalization for it when I was 18-years old. There have been other stays in the hospital for IV antibiotics as well, but it’s been a few years.
During that interim, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 kidney disease. A visit to the nephrologist was awesome, his telling me to not worry too much about it as long as I kept my Blood Glucoses (BGs) under control.
Off and on, labs have shown no kidney stress at all, yet others would, once again, state the Stage 3 kidney disease. My last couple of years’ labs have been pretty good, so I had put the issue on the back burner.
I’ve been having back pain, often a tell-tale sign of “pyelo” (a kidney infection), but was passing it off as… back pain! My urge to pee has been really weird and my not peeing often should have flagged what was happening sooner. It just has been so long since I’ve had any kidney issues, I missed the early signs.
Before I got these labs taken 2 days ago, I thought I’d kicked the pyelo on my own, without antibiotics. Now I am not so sure.
I got a call from the NP’s office that my kidney labs are way off and the upcoming surgery I am scheduled for on February 2 (to have my gallbladder removed… to be discussed separately) might have to be delayed. I go this morning to discuss my labs and have them repeated stat.
It’s scary, these kidney issues. I don’t want to have dialysis… Stage 4 of kidney disease.
At first, I was on the kind you keep in the refrigerator and draw up in a syringe with a needle. Good lord, those are pain in the ass.
Not having one clue of all the options, my Insurance Liaison asked if I would rather have pens. I asked what the difference was and she said, “They don’t need to be refrigerated.”
I got the pens and loved them right away.
I keep them in my top drawer with all my pens.
I am on both Lantus (long-acting insulin) and NovoLog (more immediate insulin), so poke myself 4 times a day.
Now, as a midwife, I know to draw up solutions with one needle, then change needles and use that new one for the injection. Pushing the needle through the rubber at the top of the vial flattens the tip slightly and when you put that in the leg or arm, it hurts more.
But when I use the lancet on my finger to test my blood glucose before giving myself insulin…
… I (lazily) use and re-use them. They are annoying to change (4-6 times a day), so it’s just easier to leave it in the mechanism each time. I know, I know… beyond the lazy factor, not too sanitary, either. Especially when I am supposed to be worrying about infections. (I hear you! CHANGE THE LANCETS!)
So when I got the needles for the pens, I thought, “I can be lazy with these needles, too.”
And I was.
The one thing with the pens that was different from the refrigerated insulin was the injections freakin’ hurt! It wasn’t unusual to bleed a little after the injection and I also got plenty of bruises.
I don’t recall the reasoning behind it, but a couple of weeks ago, I changed the needle after each injection. Was I experimenting? I have no idea. But let me tell you, when I began changing the needle each time…
… the pain upon injection vanished! The bleeding and bruises? Gone.
What a dork I was re-using the needles.
Clearly, with each stab into my flesh, it flattened those really thin needles enough to damage the skin and tissue.
I’ve had Type 2 Diabetes since I was 34-years old… for 22 years now. My entire Cuban family had diabetes as well; skinny, fat and inbetween. My entire life, I watched my pot-bellied relatives manipulate their insulin so they could eat and drink whatever they wanted. I watched as they lost their eyesight, had heart attacks, then had feet and hands cut off from infections. My grandfather died before I was born from complications of diabetes. My grandmother, aunt, uncle all died from diabetic complications. It seems I am next on the list.
My Blood Glucoses (BGs) are almost impossible to control. I have been having to take steroids (SoluMedrol & prednisone) because of several allergic reactions lately. (One reaction was to Azo… the other to the 6th iron infusion I had… that one sent me into the hospital because I was scratching myself bloody and using scissors to scratch my back… also bloody.)
My diet is comprised of almost all carbs for a variety of medical reasons, including dental. Exercise is impossible. I am destined (doomed?) to using insulin to get my BGs under control.
Whenever I see doctors, they ask if my feet are numb, tingling or hurt. I have said no for many years. Now, however, they are beginning to hurt more and I realize the pre-pain feeling I’ve had has been like a tight sock on my right foot. Now, at night, there is distinct pain.
Besides the foot pain, I also have what seems to be untreatable diarrhea. Taking 30 Immodium a day does nothing to quell the issue. Lomotil doesn’t do a thing either. The GI Doc said I need to get the Endo to help. I see the Endo on Monday. Hope they are able to give me something else. It is distressing, always having to dash to the toilet… pretty challenging trying to work.
I have some Cymbalta from when I was rx’d it for depression and read that was one good medication for the neuropathy. Hopefully, someone will rx it (or something else) to help with the pain.
One More Medical Problem
I have an ongoing list of medical crap I am dealing with, all because of being fat. My fat life is (quite literally) piling on the complications.
I’ve done dozens of diets, been prescribed Black Beauties & other speed (starting at age 8), belonged to many gyms, taken Phen-Fen (with success, but with heart valve damage), tried Topamax (fail), used Wellbutrin (fail), had a Roux en Y Gastric Bypass (with fabulous success, then epic failure), done hypnosis & acupuncture (fail & fail), become a daily Mindfulness Meditation fanatic (fail for weight loss/huge win for pain relief), have tried to have anorexia, then bulimia, hand-written hundreds of thousands of journal pages, letting them “hold” my pain, shame, revulsion, self-hate, wishes, fears, hopes &, eventually, resolution with my size.
I remain in resolution.
I will never diet or take diet drugs again. Ever.
Time & Money
Thinking about the masses of time and money I’ve spent trying to lose weight makes my head spin.
Going to the gym
Writing out menus
Researching rules and techniques for success
Real life or online support group meetings, including social networks talking about losing/gaining weight
Shopping slower to read labels and make sure food is “appropriate”
Learning new cooking methods
Fighting with family about the change in foods in the fridge and cupboards
Probably eventually buying more “bad” food for my family because they whined so much about foisting my diet on them
$28,000 cash for RNY gastric bypass (GB)
Can I include the time and money (including the taxpayer’s) for the years of therapy discussing and crying about all of this?
I was a Fat Activist in the mid-late 80’s, mostly in the lesbian community. I’ve written about being fat-positive for almost 3 decades.
In the beginning, when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s, I was healthy… labs were fine, no diabetes, my joints or feet didn’t hurt. I crowed (bragged, was arrogant) about how it was the fat-hating that made fat people sick and die, not the fat itself.
Now, at 56-years old, I see how delusional I was. I am well on the road to dying before most people in my family did, and they all had diabetes, too. My future resides in my memories of my Cuban relatives & the diabetes complications they endured before dying. Heart attacks, going blind, having toes, then feet cut off, eventually dying in a coma because the body just gave up.
I see it coming as if it was a roaring train heading right for me.
Litany of Pain
Here are my fat-related illnesses and issues:
Type 2 Diabetes (diagnosed at 34 years old), now on 2 insulins and metformin
I heal terribly because of the diabetes, often needing antibiotics for residual infections
Stage 3 Kidney Disease from the diabetes
Pain with every step I take
Osteoporosis and arthritis in my feet, which have broken 3 times just from walking for exercise, and one foot breaking while swimming
Broke one foot falling off the Wii Fit Board trying to exercise… needed 3 surgeries to repair
Arthritis in my lower back, was on opioids for 8+ years for the back pain, becoming incredibly addicted, finally getting clean 3 years ago (yay me!) Now I use Mindfulness Meditation for pain relief, though many times I wish for some Norco.
It took me years to find surgeons I felt safe with to get my 4 hernias repaired (one surgery) and then my gallbladder out (a separate surgery, with 3 hospital visits afterwards because of infection)… several turning me away because of my enormous belly size (blessedly, I found the docs and those issues are resolved)
Bone loss from possibly 2 main sources: lack of exercise & the GB
Walking with a walker, but should be in an electric wheelchair, my feet hurting so badly
Using an electric wheelchair when I shop
My world has gradually become smaller and smaller. After 32 years in birth work (where I hurt daily as well), I am now a sedentary Phone Sex Operator. I live in a small space and leave the house only for doctor appointments, physical therapy, shopping and seeing my doggies at mom’s house.
Writing that makes me sad.
Part 2 On Its Way
In Part 2 of My Wall-E-esque Life, I will talk about the place the Fat Advocacy Movement does have in our lives. While it might not be health (despite the incessant refrain that it does), it is most assuredly have an enormous place in our physical and emotional world.