Pain, Pain, Go Away…and Please Don’t Come Back

Such a small thing to cause so much pain

There is just something SO COOL about being able to see what’s inside your own body. Freaky cool.

Something happened last November. I have no idea what it was, but one morning I woke up, and the pain in my upper right shoulder up into the right side of my neck was excruciating. I thought, “Maybe I just slept on it wrong?” so I had my husband slap some Ben-Gay on it, and started going to the chiropractor. The chiro helped, a little. Made it bearable, at least, but as the months wore on, little things would irritate it and periodically make it worse (like, trying to do upper body exercise, pushing a lawnmower, or taking pictures for several hours using a DSLR camera that weighed about 2 lbs.)  I would ice it, take it easy, kept going to the chiropractor, tried not to sleep on it or do anything to exacerbate the pain, but nothing seemed to truly make it feel like it was on the mend.

In April, I finally had reached my limit of dealing with ONE MORE PAINFUL THING, so I went back to the orthopedist who had done my rotator cuff surgery (in that same shoulder, about 8 years ago.) Good news? My rotator cuff seems to be working fine, and that is not the issue. Bad news, we didn’t know what the issue truly was, but he seemed to think it was more neck-related and running into my shoulder than truly shoulder-related.

Started physical therapy, and had an MRI done. (Proof is in the pictures, I have a brain!) Turns out, it was my neck after all. See that tiny little protrusion from my C5-C6 vertebrae area into my spinal cord there in the picture, noted by the pink arrow? There’s the culprit. Or at least, we think it is. No telling what caused it, but dangit, that sucker causes some major pain. My Doc didn’t seem to think it warranted surgery, so we took the approach of continuing physical therapy, and he put me on Celebrex as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

So far, the Celebrex has been a dream come true. It doesn’t wreck my blood sugars (at least, not noticeably), and I haven’t had any terrible side effects. Now, the pain isn’t entirely gone, but at least I can put on my clothes, take a shower, drive, sleep, and occasionally pick up my daughter and hold her without wanting to chop off my entire right shoulder and neck. It’s getting better, slowly but surely, and I REALLY want it to stay that way. Pain is just exhausting, and I’d rather not have it, thank-you-very-much.

 

You Know Who You Are #DBlogWeek

Rounding out the prompts from #dblogweek last week – no week focusing on blogging about diabetes would be complete without sharing links to other blogs and their respective D-people of note. There are SO MANY wonderful diabetes advocates and bloggers out there that I could never name them all here, but I’ll make a valiant effort at noting a small collection of favorites.

So many circles of diabetes, friends, love

You know who you are….

  • The sassily perfect chick with the spunky kid so close in age to my own…. I read your blog, then met you, and immediately knew we would be friends.
  • The guy up in Minnesota who shares my love (although, mine is now nostalgic) for the Deltec Cozmo insulin pump. (And is part of the Diabetes Hope Conference TODAY!)
  • The first diabetes advocate/blogger I ever started reading who I finally got to meet, and drink copious amounts of wine with, in person in 2013.
  • The diabetic mommy who is on her way to becoming a mommy for the second time, and blogging all along the way.
  • The man who finds such wonderful happy mediums, and spends time to comment and provide valuable insights to others on a regular basis.
  • The knitter of yarn, and metaphorical knitter of people, whose Diabetes Blog Week helped me get started on this blog in the first place!
  • The girl with the portable pancreas who has been so supportive from afar, but I was thankfully able to hug her in person last year, and hope to do so again in the near future.
  • The continental traveler who is now sharing the consequences of hypoglycemia from across the continent.
  • The kindred spirit I’ve come to know through her blog, always striving for an A1C of below seven.
  • The local friend found through support groups and blogging, who keeps it real, one unit at a time.
  • The trio of amazing women who are involved and advocating on an almost daily basis to make life better for all of us with diabetes. Their support of all is inspiring, amazing, awesome.
  • The sweet girl (whose blog name reminds me of something my Mamaw would say) who is constantly exploring new tech and tools for her diabetes management, and makes sure we know about them, too.
  • The man with a family, a job – and oh yeah, Type 1 diabetes –  who has a penchant for making me start singing the song that inspired the name of his blog.
  • The girl-and-her-hubby (who are awesome at playing Euro-games) who are embarking on a similar journey as many of us – starting their married life journey, and hoping to conceive a family together.
  • The tongue in cheek mom of a T1 kid, who is staring down the barrel of T1 herself. (Hairy hugs to you, Bigfoot.)
  • The recently married and moved and involved-in-life-chaos-but-always-strong-and-helpful diabetic advocate – she’s flown through tons of stressers this year with flying colors.
  • The dancing girl with so much inner and outer beauty it makes me desperately wish I didn’t have two left feet.

You all should know who you are, because you are all part of the wonderful, mysterious, information-filled, knowledge-encouraging, thought-provoking world that is the Diabetes Online Community.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of my life!

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TCOYD Saturday Snapshots #DBlogWeek

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s Monday, and technically #dblogweek is over, but I couldn’t bear to leave the week of writing prompts unfinished. Karen is so amazing for organizing it, and I’m so grateful to her for being a large part of the impetus to get me started in blogging in the first place! (It was Diabetes Blog Week 2013 when I really got the gumption to start Fifteen Wait Fifteen – 1 year now, yay!)

Saturday, I spent the majority of the day attending the Taking Control Of Your Diabetes conference in Raleigh, NC. It was my first time attending, so I had no idea what to expect. I’ll let the pictures describe it from here on out…..

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Opening words by Dr. Steven Edelman, founder and director of TCOYD. He is a type 1 himself! He was a great presenter, and a little more racy than I expected, but in a super fun way!

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This slide made me giggle, because the first 2 bullets that show “typical” Type 1 diabetic traits most certainly do not apply to me. Thankfully, he had the disclaimer of “usually” in there.

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This slide didn’t make me giggle at all – more like, tons of “yeah, ugh,” because the variables that affect sugars on a daily basis seem limitless, and too many to number or put on just one slide.

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You can’t go to a conference without seeing people you know! Two wonderful friends and fellow type 1s – Carlyn (from oneunitatatime.wordpress.com) and Karen, my hula hoop instructor!

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Branden Russell of Team Novo Nordisk, and Dr. Edelman staring intently at his smartphone. Maybe they were trying to take a selfie? More info on Team Novo Nordisk at www.teamnovonordisk.com

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In the intro, there was a lot of talk geared towards Type 2s, but this year, they did have breakouts and different sessions that were Type 1 or Type 2 specific.

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Oops, I’m pretty sure I dropped these in one of the sessions. At least I was able to follow them like cookie crumbs and find my way back to my chair!

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Seeing a Star Trek Federation cover for an OmniPod made me ALMOST want to switch from using my Medtronic 723. Almost.

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Carlyn, Alex, and Erika manning the JDRF booth at TCOYD. Just a few of my favorite peeps!

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Dr. Jeremy Pettus giving a talk about “Alcohol and Diabetes – Do they mix?” Interesting to me (obviously, since I do enjoy my red wine)….found out some new things, as well as having some other things I already knew confirmed. I’ll have to save the info for a blog post sometime. More info and some videos featuring Dr. Pettus at www.thedoctorschannel.com

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Before I left the conference, I stopped by to see several friends who were manning other informational booths. Here’s a blurry picture with Donna – an awesome Type 2 who was volunteering at the ADA booth.

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What does 50 years with type 1 diabetes look like? I had never before seen it in person, but today I did! I was lucky enought to meet and hang out a bit with Mary Beth from Columbia, NC who is a Joslin 50 year medalist. HERO! That in itself made the conference more than worth it.

 

 

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My Neverending Story #DBlogWeek

It was dark. In the beginning, it’s always dark.
The times in between are huge Nothings. I am bored…..

Then suddenly, I heard an opening, a crinkle, a rip, a zip, and then the light – oh, the beautiful, glorious light! I was blinded for a moment, and as my world came into focus, I saw her….an eyebrow raised, a curious look on her face, her eyes squinting and bleary. What time was it? Oh, late.

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, scrrrip! of my bodily pockets….I was laid open and exposed like a Tauntaun being used for warmth on Hoth. (That girl and her sci-fi references, geesh. I’ve picked up on more of them than I realized.)
She usually only removes a couple of my prized possessions at a time….a bottle of clear liquid with an orange cap, and the blue and white monster-jabber that doesn’t work anymore, but holds the clear snake in place while she is doing whatever-it-is-that-she-does. But tonight, she took out one of the copper and black cylinders of energy. Ohhhh, one of THOSE nights. She mutters something about, “changing every freaking thing at the same time,” under her breath. Bzzzzt bzzzt bzzzt sounds echo through the room.

She moves away from me, and I hear more rustling and activity. I see a flash of a purple something in her hand, and I hear a metallic whirring and screeching sound.  Papers and plastic crinkle, a couple of hissing sounds of…something opening, maybe? I don’t have a good angle to see what she is doing, but then she took the bottle of liquid, and has some sort of metal-jabber-tube attached to it now. A spray of band-aid smelling liquid comes my way, and soaks into my fabric. Eh, no worries. It was kind of a nice sprinkle. She turns away, and finishes connecting all the things she was connecting, and deftly hides the purple device somewhere on her person. Wow, that just magically disappeared under her clothes…where did it go? Wait – I see a dim light coming from her chest area. Ah, got it.

Back to me now, she returns the blue and white monster-jabber, and the now 1/3 empty bottle of liquid. She holds me in place as she works my one metal finger around the outside teeth of the world I encompass….zerrrrpppp….. and then abruptly, all is dark again. I hope she gets some rest tonight. I’ve got maybe 3 days before I see her again…does she sleep that entire time, as I do? I’ve lost count of the number of times we have spent together like this. It’s always the same, but sometimes different. She is my world, and I am hers, neverending.

Good idea! No, it's a GREAT idea.

Although I’ve had a Minimed pump for several years now, I still pay homage to my original pump, the glorious and end-of-lifed Deltec Cozmo, by continuing to use it’s diabetes-supplies-case.

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(Took advantage of the wildcard option of Tell Me a Story for #dblogweek today.)

Fake It ’til You Make It #DBlogWeek

Mantras and more is the #dblogweek topic for today, and ironically (because yesterday was supposed to only be about the things that bring us down), I already touched upon the core thought and attitude that does wonders to get me through the really tough times in diabetes management, in life – in everything.

“Fake it ’til you make it.”

I’m not sure where I first heard that advice….maybe it was from the Life Coach I worked with back in 2004…..a dark time in my 10th year of having T1D when I would punch myself in the proverbial face everyday with negative speak and was ridiculously hard on myself for everything involving every facet of my life. I was alone, I wasn’t married/didn’t have a family like I always thought I would have by then, I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career,  I felt fat, I felt worthless, I felt sick, I just felt awful. All the time. The early 2000s were tough, but I finally snapped out of it, and spent a lot of time working on myself, working on my attitude, and discovered that I could “fake it ’til I made it.”

Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. FranklMaybe I read that phrase on some self-help website talking about the power of positive thinking. Maybe I heard it in reference to one of my favorite quotes by Viktor Frankl….”Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (If you haven’t read his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” I highly recommend that you do.)

In his own way, back in the concentration camps, Viktor chose to fake it ’til he made it. He survived through some seriously awful things. Experiences no one should ever have to have. (I’m being very short in my summation – would rather you read the book than hear my layman’s review of it.) But through it all, he made the choice to stay upbeat, and control his response to all the things that happened to him. It really was the last thing he had any control over in his life.

I made that choice as well, somewhere in 2004/2005. No matter how crappy I felt, how badly I felt the world had somehow wronged me, or how down on myself I was, I put a smile on my face, and told myself it was going to be a GOOD day, I was a good person, and good things would happen. I made a conscious effort to stop saying negative things about myself….stopped saying them in the mirror when I was having a crying jag, and tried to stop saying them around other people as a defense mechanism. If someone complimented me on something, I said, “thank you,” instead of noting 10 reasons why it was nothing great/important/good. <– That one is still hard to do sometimes. It’s hard to take criticism, but even harder to take applause and appreciation.

In essence, I faked it until I made it. Funny how, once I made that decision in my head, all sorts of nice things started happening in my life. I got the gumption to help start a non-profit schnauzer rescue, I got a raise and a promotion at my job, and I met this guy – this awesome guy! – who eventually became my husband, and now we have a daughter. The big things in life I always wanted finally were in my grasp. And it was so worth it.

There will always be bad things that happen, bad times we have to go through, and no matter what positive spin you put on your life, life-itself-will-be-hard-to-get-through. Our loved ones will die. We face physical and mental adversities every single day. With diabetes, we suffer the same exhausting trials and tribulations over and over.

But the one mantra I will say, day-in-day-out is: Fake it ’til you make it.
Because, even though at first you may be faking, before you know it, you WILL make it!

 

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Don’t Bring Me Down #DBlogWeek

While today’s #dblogweek prompt is supposed to be about things that bring you down, I had to add something upbeat to temper it a little. (So, read through my post, then click on the “Don’t Bring Me Down” video. You’re welcome.)

I’m generally a positive person, and I do feel that if you harp on and always look to find the negative, you most definitely will find it. Every. Single. Time. By dwelling on the “bad,” you open yourself up to the self-fulfilling prophecy of seeing & experiencing everything in a negative way. It’s OK to think of what gets you down and recognize it’s existence…just don’t let it overwhelm or overtake you.

What gets me down? Here are the current top 3:

  • Pain. The all-day-every-day pains that I have in my feet, knees, back, shoulder, neck. It’s the other “invisible” disease that I hide from people. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, so most of the time, I try not to let it show. There’s no point in mentioning it day-in-day-out, because talking won’t help it. I hope when I lose more weight, a lot of these pains will go away. I hope.
  • Exhaustion. Sheer exhaustion from dealing with diabetes 24×7. Having that exhaustion keep me from doing something fun is the real pisser.
  • Getting hijacked. When I am on a schedule, or have to be at a place at a certain time, and diabetes rears it’s ugly head with a mind-numbing low, and everything is thrown to heck in a hand-basket. Grrr. Especially when I need a clear head for a work meeting, and all I can do is quaff a juice box and hope I don’t sound like a crazy person on the conference call.

Those things will surely get me down, but, to put a positive spin on it….I  get knocked down, but I get up again…..Oooo, another good song to listen to! (….just one of many ways how I distract myself from getting bogged down with the bad – fake it until you make it! 🙂 )

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