Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bleeding Me

I am a type 1 diabetic. I was diagnosed in August 1990. For treatment, I wear a Minimed 721 insulin pump which infuses Apidra into me. I have been an insulin pump user since summer of 1998, starting with the Minimed 507C insulin pump. Prior to that time, I took insulin injections 3 times a day.

Part of the fun stuff which comes with being diabetic is the nearly constant blood letting. Looking beyond the thorn in my side (read: my infusion sets, which consist of a 9mm cannula sticking in my side), I have a nearly constant assault on my finger tips caused by regular blood glucose testing (7x a day). Then there is the regularly scheduled (read: every 3 months) blood tests (i.e. Hemoglobin A1c).

Over time, my fingertips have gotten used to the constant barrage of finger sticking. Right now, I barely feel the cold steel when it pricks my fingers so damn often. I barely notice the impact anymore. It only takes a short soak in water to make the damage painfully visible.

I have never gotten used to the blood tests, though. They are something burned into my memory from day 1 of my diabetic life. I still remember being in the hospital so damn long ago when I was diagnosed, having the steel stabbed into my arms every 4 hours, then every 8 hours then once a day... up until I was released. Needless to say, I have an intense hated for the tests.

Making matters worse, my former doctor did a great job of requesting testing where 4 or more vials of blood were drawn. On one occasion, he gave wrote orders for a series of tests which ended up being 8 vials of blood drawn. We are no longer on speaking terms.

Now, one bad thing about all of this is that I, regrettably, so far have never had the common courtesy or luck to pass out after a blood test. Yes, after 8 vials drawn I was still alert and somewhat mobile, albeit I was very weakened.

After my "regular" blood work, I tend to be in a pretty bad state: I am weakened, my arm is virtually useless for days, caffeine deprived (most dangerous!), hungry (I have to do a 8 - 12 fast for the tests), and deprived of the sweet release of unconsciousness. Lets not forget that I get to deal with the resulting nerve damage.

With all that pushing me down, there is only one thing I do: keep on pushing on. To simply state what I must do: Refuse. Resist. Rebel. Rage.

More simply put: Never fucking stop. Never fucking give up.

I push myself beyond the limits. I would rather drop in my tracks than give up or give in. I refuse to let this take me down. I will fight on with every ounce of energy. Furthermore, I do not want anyone to see me being held back by this.

Why? As strange as this sounds, I just don't want it to win. I feel that I have lost so much because of my diabetes, and I refuse to let it take more. It claimed my childhood, so I refuse to allow it to take parts of my adulthood. For some, this may be difficult to understand, and that is ok... this is one of those things that you just have to be there and live through it to truly understand.