Concerned and overwhelmed

I've been diabetic for a little over 15 years now (I was diagnosed April 5, 1995), and was never in very good control (zero excuse except for female teenage-hood).  While I knew the consequences of poor glucose control intellectually, I never really absorbed the full implications of my disease.  Now, all of a sudden, I'm contemplating what I need to do to be able to start a family (someday) and have gotten overwhelmed with the realization that I've had it for a really long time without having  ever been in perfect control.  

I'm terrified about what this may mean for my future as a potential mother, and as a wife.  I'm not currently married but I'm in a serious relationship.  I don't want to be a drain.  I'm trying very hard to get in control, but I find it difficult to do so when I have crappy health insurance that won't even cover my insulin, let alone any of the tools I need to be in good control, such as even the basics like glucose strips, let alone sensors for my CGM.  The cost of this disease is overwhelming for an entry-level 25 year old with bad health insurance.  I just don't know how to get out of my little hole.

Hey! I think almost of of us (if not ALL of us) on here have had periods of poor control. You're not alone! But, all you can do is start turning things around now, not think back to the past. Even if you can't afford the CGM supplies, etc now, you can still do the best you can with good old meters and shots. I got my a1c in a range for pregnancy on injections and without a CGM. To get pregnant, most docs just want 3 months of good control, and will rarely care about the past unless you've developed certain complications that could affect pregnancy. Also, by the time you're a wife and then mother, maybe you'll have better insurance with your combined incomes and will be able to afford more supplies.

How's your current significant other -- supportive of you trying to get your diabetes under control? I think (for me at least) being supportive -- rather than lecturing me -- is really important. If the person loves you, they shouldn't think of the D as a drain, but as something necessary to manage to keep you as healthy a possible!

For me, I just try to make small changes one at a time so I don't get overwhelmed (e.g., get my post breakfast numbers under better control). Then, it's more attainable. Hang in there!!!

He's actually pretty good.  He wants me to be in the best control I can be and will help me when I need it.  He's very supportive and caring. 

One small step at a time is a good idea. I'll give it a shot.

HM,

When I read your post I was stunned. To be honest I think you and I are in the same shoes. I have been diabetic for around 17 years now, and to be honest I have been in terrible control since around 16. No reason in particular, just growing up and maybe a little rebelling. I have felt the same way as you about relationships, in fact I ended a very serious relationship once because I felt that all I would become is a drain. I have been trying to get myself under control as of lately but it just seems frustrating and whenever I screw up I just want to go back to old habits of not caring. Thats the hard part.

The one thing I have done that has helped a lot is forgive myself. I know I screwed up and made a lot of mistakes with my health in the past. I will probably have to face the consequences for my poor control at some point, but what happened in the past is in the past. The only thing I can do now is look to the future and tell myself that I will do everything in my power to be in better control from now on. I might make some mistakes and that is ok. I just pick it back up where I left off and try not to dwell on it or beat myself up about it. Trust me, a positive attitude really does go a long way.

As far as relationships go, I know now how foolish I was. The complications we may face later in life will be very tough on families, but thats why they are your family. If a person loves to be around you enough to get married, that person will still love you even if you are not so healthy later on in life. It would be unfair to deprive another person of your caring and love just because you think they will not be able to handle it when you are sick. Sadly, I cannot go back and start my relationship up again, as she has already moved on, but I know now never to make that mistake again. 

I hope I have helped at all, take care.

 

Dan

i would love to throw in some suggestions for you. I have been type 1 for 41 years now, so hopefully some of my trial and error discoveries can help other folks. For me, the real key to good control is just focusing on what I need to do to achieve good control within the next 3 hours. Meaning, I don't even look at the future beyond correcting what my levels are right now. Each time you do a correction, you take care of yourself for the next few hours. Now, for me, the key is testing often and adjusting often. When I do this, my a1c drops. When I don't test and adjust as often, it rises.

So the next issue is cost of supplies. I totally understand. The new health care laws will not help a great deal with costs, for co-pays go up and up each time the industry evaluates. But maybe there are some suggestions to help you. One is, are you living in a region of the country that has HEB grocery chain stores? If so, I recently discovered that they offer a generic HEB brand needle-syringe unit in both the normal sized needles and in my personal favorite, the tiny 31-gauge 5/16" needle. Much cheaper than the BD brand syringes that I have always used because there were no other options. This was an amazing discovery for me.

Furthermore, there are other ways to get cheaper supplies, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has a staff member who keeps on top of ways to help people who are uninsured or under-insured. I suggest that you go to the wwwjdrf.org website and click on the link to the Online Diabetes Support Team (ODST). Send 'em a message stating that you are seeking help with the cost of supplies because your insurance company's coverage is inadequate. They will send you to this gentleman, who may have some options for you. He keeps lists of aid available in various states. You have nothing to lose and may be able to get some help this way. I believe that some of the glucose monitor companies even offer aid with test strips, etc.

Last but not least, some brands of insulin are cheaper than others. I suggest that you call your insurance company and ask if switching brands may help you. I just found out that Blue Cross Blue Shield prefers to have people use the less expensive Levemir long-lasting insulin rather than Lantus Glargine insulin -- co-pay is less. Obviously, you would need to find out if switching brands would help and would need to work with your doctor to do this. It may or may not work for you well.

For women, part of glucose control is hormones. Some women find it impossible to achieve good control during certain times of the month because of high levels of hormones that work as insulin-blocking agents. So we become insulin-resistant at certain times of the month. I have never heard a doctor address this issue, but it can be a huge factor for some women while others don't notice as much difficulty. I suggest that you perhaps keep some sort of record of WHEN you find that your levels are high for days. Often, this is at the end of the monthly cycle, followed by a drop in glucose levels when those hormones drop and your body starts responding normally to insulin again. For me, finding this out and then watching the timing helped me achieve better control than in my youth when I did not know this link between hormones and insulin sensitivity. If you are one for whom this is a big issue, then eating a lower-carb diet on those days may help lower the high levels while you wait for hormones to equalize.