The Journey: Episode Twenty-Five

OCTOBER 12, 2020

First update in a long while. I couldn’t afford my other insulin, Novolog 70/30 mix, so I decided to just keep taking my Lantus. I told my doctor about it and he said that’s fine. I just have to monitor my blood sugar more than I was before which was morning and night. He also wants me to check after I eat as well to see what elevates my sugar and all that.

My sugar has been more in range lately so that’s a plus. But I’m still experiencing more highs than lows. I’m taking my dog outside more because she’s getting restless at home now. Our room is too small but I don’t trust her bladder out in the rest of the house. She can’t be outside for too long, it’s really hot here and she overheats easily so I usually wait until after the sun is beyond Mauna Kea when it’s cooler on our side of the island and let her walk around. The fresh air has been a huge welcome for me. I can’t let her out of my sight. Last time she crawled under the bed and got stuck under there until we pulled her out.

Otherwise, life has been really off. My birthday was this past Friday and we got to go on a road trip to Waimea and back with my dog, she kind of enjoyed it. She was so tired afterwards. I wanted to go to the beach but it was Fall Break here and the beaches were crowded so maybe this week we’ll go to the beach.

That’s pretty much what’s going on right now. I need to come back to this blog and write some more. There are a lot of distractions in my life right now and I need to control them better.

The Journey: Episode Twenty-Four

SEPTEMBER 20, 2020

Some good news. I made the decision to lower my insulin dosage from 85 units to 80 units.Why? Mostly because it stings a hell of a lot when I do 85, but also because I want to stretch my insulin as long as I can. And I’ve been doing the 80 units for the last four days and so far my blood sugar levels have been more in range with 80 units than with 85 units. That’s a real surprise to me.

However, I did have one day that was high and I noticed that it was because I forgot to drink my cinnamon tea the night before. When I do drink my tea, my sugar is in range the next morning so that’s pretty awesome.

There’s not much left to talk about. Everything has pretty much been the same as far as not being able to afford my medications all the time. My husband’s birthday is on Wednesday and I plan to make him dinner for a change. He wants mashed potatoes and pork chops. If my grandma’s garden still has green beans, I plan to harvest some and cook some of those with dinner. I think he’d appreciate it if I made him dinner. He always makes dinner, he complains about it too but I know he likes doing it, he can practice cooking and cutting and he’s getting better at it. He is a cook after all.

I am also planning to make him Italian seasoning. I have almost all of the herbs and spices, and he’s been wanting some for a long time. I just need a container to put it in.

My dog had a stroke the Friday before last. She’s doing better after the vet, her recovery is slow-going but she’s walking more and she has an appetite which is good. Her head is tilted and she still kind of walks in circles but she’s walking straighter now. She has started to lose control of her peeing, She pees herself a lot now. We’re keeping a close eye on her. We have step in our room to get up into the rest of the house and today she got herself up that step which was really amazing for her. I hope her recovery goes smoothly.

Other than that, that’s pretty much what’s going on in my life. I do hope to order stickers this week. I’m still deciding which online seller to work with, although it does look like I’ll be working with Etsy, which isn’t so bad except that they have a lot of fees. But we’ll get there when we get there.

The Journey: Episode Twenty-Three

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

So I’m just waiting to get paid so I can get my new insulin. So far the Lantus is just barely working. I think the cinnamon tea really is helping. However, my dog’s health is in trouble and so I’ve had very little sleep in the last couple nights watching her and making sure she isn’t falling over. I’m so tired and I haven’t been able to eat anything that requires being away from her for too long so it’s not very healthy food the last couple of days and I know that it’s taking it’s toll on my diabetes. My blood sugar was high this morning from last night, 160 mg/dL.

I’m definitely not living the life right now. I’m also studying to take my SIE exam, hopefully next month. The SIE is a financial securities exam, it’s the entrance exam for the Series 6 and 63 that I need to take to become fully licensed and able to sell securities. It’s a bit difficult with all this new language to learn. But because of my dog’s health, I’ve put my studies on hold to take care of her.

I’m hoping that when I get securities licensed I can sign people up for retirement accounts and savings accounts so I can make some income that I can use to build up the Young and Diabetic’s sticker inventory. By the way, I’m still taking pre orders for my first 6 stickers. I decided to keep it open a little while longer. If you want to check them out or place an order, you can check out my Instagram page and DM me.

So I had the blood test a week ago and then on Thursday, I had my doctor appointment and thankfully, my high blood pressure the week before was stress related, not health related. My blood pressure was much better at my appointment. My doctor said my liver function was elevated, I’m still not sure what that means. If you know, can you comment below and help a girl out? I have no idea how bad that is, he made it sound like it was bad.

It feels like everything’s kind of coming apart in my life right now and I know everything will be okay but at the same time, I feel like I don’t want to keep doing this. I wish time could stop, everything could stop and I can catch my breath and prepare myself for what’s ahead. Time is moving way too fast right now and yet each second ticks by devastatingly slow. It’s confusing and frustrating all at once.

What are some things I can control?

I can control when and how I take a shower. If Waiemi watches our dog, I can take my time in the shower to take care of myself and today I felt like I needed it.

I can control how much water I drink. I haven’t been very thirsty lately and that’s a really good sign with my diabetes since diabetes can cause dry mouth.

That’s kind of all I feel like I can control in my life right now, but I’m working on this. Mental health is so important and I haven’t paid enough attention to my mental health and with my dog’s health being what it is now, I know I’m going to hit a low soon and I need to prepare myself for it. She’s been the sunlight of my life for the last 16 years. I’m turning 26 next month, she’s been with me for more than half of my life. It’ll break my heart when she’s gone but I know that the last year of her life, she could have been in a worse off place but my husband and I brought her with us when my mom moved and she’s been living a comfortable life for the last year. She’s my baby and I love her so much.

The Journey: Episode Twenty Two

SEPTEMBER 6, 2020

So I couldn’t afford to get my Novolog Mix 70/30 this week. No shock there. My insurance preferred that I get the brand name insulin which was obviously more, almost $600 a box of five pens. So the pharmacy asked if I wanted to screw my insurance and go with the generic and I said okay. Hah $300 per box of five pens. Then I asked if they could take my GoodRX card, they said sure. That would have brought my insulin down to $132. Which that was still too high a cost this week with all of our bills we had to pay, including the insurance that won’t pay for my medications.

So instead I went back to KTA and refilled my Lantus for $99. So I’ve been taking that the last two nights again. Not sure when we’ll get the money to pay for the Novolog, if we’ll get that money. Unemployment is supposed to give us backpay for August but we don’t know when that is coming. I’ve resorted to selling life insurance to hopefully help pay the bills.

I say it like it’s a bad thing. It’s not. I genuinely think people should be getting life insurance right now, especially with the pandemic going on and unemployment still being high. I’m really glad I got my life insurance before I was diagnosed with diabetes because I could potentially be uninsurable. My husband is on my policy and he’s the only one currently working a stable job. If I were to lose him, his insurance could help me financially which would be great.

I think of all of my friends and family who aren’t insured and have children. If they caught COVID-19, their children would be at risk. It’s a sad thought. So I’m glad I was able to get one of my friends insured, as well as his wife and kids, because now they can rest easy knowing if anything were to happen, they would be okay financially.

If only that line of business was more stable. But that’s alright. We’re making do. I can’t get my insulin right away but that’s okay, we’ll get by. I’m hoping I can make more sticker sales so I can pay for my business expenses separate from my personal expenses. I just have to keep persevering. Good things will come, I know they will.

So I have to wait until my husband’s pay day and hope he gets paid enough for the bills and my insulin. He worked too much hours to qualify for unemployment this week and my unemployment doesn’t get filed until next Sunday. Pay day is Friday. I have a doctor appointment with my PCP for my regular pills. I might have to pay for those because apparently we no longer qualify for QUEST medical and they picked up on the copay that HMSA left me with so that’s probably another $40 right there.

We have over $200 in bills to pay this week and only $40 in our account. Super great fun right there. Healthcare should seriously be more affordable than this. Isn’t America just great? I’m just upset that I can’t afford my medication. It all just sucks, but I will never give up.

My message to all of you out there: Keep on moving, don’t give up, and especially don’t give up on yourself. You’ve got this and I’m right here with you every step of the way. You have some rooting in your corner, always on your side, all the way out here in Hawaii. Never, ever give up. You can fight this and you can make it out of this alive. I believe in you.

The Journey: Episode Twenty-One

AUGUST 30, 2020

I had my doctor appointment on Thursday. I’m a little confused. I told my doctor all about my difficulties with my 85 units of Lantus and my blood sugar not being within range. We were concerned that my A1C hadn’t improved. So he decided to prescribe Novolog Mix 70/30. He wants me to take 50 units twice a day, 15 minutes before a meal.

What I’m confused about is, am I taking both Lantus and Novolog? I forgot to ask on the phone appointment and when I called the office an hour later to change pharmacies. I had to go with the Walgreen’s in my area because of the price. CVS would have charged me almost $250 per box, whereas Walgreens could catch me at $140, I hope. I’d have to use GoodRx for this one. But if I still have to take Lantus, then it’s cheaper at CVS. Then my pills are all at another pharmacy. All of this because my health insurance won’t cover insulin.

So because I don’t know if I’m taking both, I ran out of Lantus, I don’t have any money for either of them, and my Walgreens was fresh out of Novolog so I have to wait until Monday afternoon to see if it came in and take my insurance cards to them. I also have to hope they’ll take my GoodRx for the price it says. If not then I’m not going to be able to take this insulin AT ALL. This is so frustrating, not being able to afford your medication.

My last dose was Thursday night and since then I’ve had to rely on my cinnamon tea and berberine supplements. Surprisingly, they’ve been holding me at an okay morning blood sugar. It’s not within range but it’s not over 150 either so that’s good. I’m wondering if my insulin really is working or if this whole time it’s been the tea and berberine that’s gotten my number down in the morning. I’d like to try and purchase at least one box of Novolog to see if it will be more effective.

I’m so upset. He was going to prescribe me Ozempic, which I know worked, but it was over $400 for ONE PEN. I had it for one month last year and I was only able to buy it because my sister and best friend loaned me money to get it. But I can’t afford it now with this pandemic. I don’t know what to do. We have bills to pay, my unemployment benefit claim is going to be up soon (and that was only $200 every two weeks), and my husband doesn’t make enough for the bills but too much to qualify for unemployment.

Because of this, I’ve decided to start selling merchandise for my blog. If the sales can cover the monthly costs for my blog, then that’s one less thing we have to worry about each month. If you’re interested in pre-ordering some stickers, you can find the post on Instagram or on my Facebook page.

Also, I’m trying to kickstart my merchandise so I can eventually open an online shop and prepare for World Diabetes Day and National Diabetes Awareness Month this November. I’m always coming up with sticker designs and there will be new ones added every time. This pre-order is to help me order more stickers. Please think about supporting. I know it’s not a great time right now with the pandemic but anything helps.

Hopefully, next week I’ll be able to update you folks that I was able to buy my insulin and my numbers are looking better. I have no idea what the future holds but I can only hope that it looks bright.

The Journey: Episode Twenty

AUGUST 23, 2020

Well nothing really to report. However, I got my blood test done for my A1C and my number isn’t looking too hot. I was at 7.9 in April and now I’m at 8.2. So it’s gone up a little bit and I’m not too happy about that. All the insulin injections and blood sugar checks and I’m no better. But on the bright side at least it’s not at 11% like it was last year so in a year’s time I’ve managed to drop by 3% so that’s good news.

My doctor appointment with my endocrinologist is this Thursday so I’ll have an update by next episode.

I’ve been drinking the cinnamon tea some more. I talked with my diabetes coach and she said there was no concrete evidence it really helps to lower your blood sugar. I decided to make an experiment of it. But I can only do it for a week. Here’s how it would work:

For three days, I won’t drink cinnamon tea, Wednesday I would drink only the nighttime tea, then the last three days I’ll drink both teas. I’ll eat the same food at the same time every day, take my medications at the same time and check my blood sugar at the same time. That means alarms will have to be set on my phone and I’d have to try and sleep around the same time to be able to wake up around the same time.

I have to wait a couple weeks so I can save up money to buy the food for meal prepping and more prescriptions. Plus, I’m not sure if my doctor is going to give me a new insulin and I’d like to give it at least a week to figure out how it works for me. But when I do start my experiment, I’ll record about it here. I’m kind of excited about it because it’s going to make me feel like a scientist with all the note taking and experimenting.

I’m going to try a couple of days without the tea to see if there is any significant change in my blood sugar readings. So far it’s been looking pretty good although I take my tea either right before or after taking my blood sugar right now so I have to figure out the best time to drink and check. I’ll figure it out eventually.

Oh hey a self love update! I bought a t-shirt and lounge pants with The Child on them and I love them so much. However, the pants were way too long for my short legs so I cut them off at the knees, just below the graphics. Which is good because I can’t inject insulin in my thighs with pants on. I love it like this and I can use the cut off material to either make pillows or face masks, I have options.

The t-shirt is kind of thick and big so I cut the sleeves and collar off and I turned it into a crop top. It comes down to my belly button and it’s very comfy. I’ve decided to use it as my new pajama set, it’s been kind of warm lately anyway. Maybe when it gets colder and I get a little bit more confident I can wear it out in public. I might do it with other shirts that I have. I’m totally in to crop tops right now.

I’ve had issues with loving myself lately with this pandemic and my diabetes so finding something that makes me feel great about myself is a win in these dark times. I greatly encourage you to find that something in your life that makes you love yourself and enjoy it. You don’t have to take it out in to public if you’re not comfortable with that but you deserve to love the way you look and who you are. No matter who you are and what you look like, you deserve to love yourself and the body you’re in.

The Journey: Episode Nineteen

SUNDAY, AUGUST 16, 2020

My blood sugar is looking a little bit better this week. I started drinking cinnamon tea about five days ago and my blood sugar has been in range more days than out of it. I’ve heard of the benefits of cinnamon tea on blood sugar levels and I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while and I finally got around to it. I’ve read that you can use either a cinnamon stick or one tablespoon of ground cinnamon, I finally found cinnamon sticks in a big container at my Walmart so I don’t have to do ground cinnamon.

One thing about cinnamon tea though, is make sure you’re not taking too much of it. It has a compound that could shutdown your liver if you ingest too much of it, but you’d have to take like either a lot or this one cinnamon that has a high amount of that compound. I can’t think of the name right now, so do your research before you start drinking this stuff.

It’s not so bad although if I let it sit for too long, like when I’m waiting for the water to cool down and I’ve forgotten it, it can get a bit spicy. One time I forgot it completely until the water was basically cold and the stick was sitting in the water and it was the spiciest drink I’ve ever had in my life it was a bit hard to swallow but I managed to drink it all. I think it works best when the water gets spicy.

My cinnamon stick stash

I’ve been using one stick twice a day, once in the morning and once before I take my insulin. Then I’ll take my blood sugar and prep my insulin. Man my insulin. I’m running low on funds to buy my insulin, fun times. So I’ve taken to using every drop of insulin I have. Before I’d throw away whatever was left in my pens if it couldn’t make a full dose, because I was afraid of sticking myself twice in a night, and for good reason too, it’s not fun twice in one night.

But since I won’t be able to afford it for much longer I’ve had to double up on needles every couple of days to make my 85 unit doses. It’s not fun and my left leg has already had to do it twice now. I’ve managed ten shots in my right thigh and I’m eight shots in on my left thigh with two nights doubling up. It wasn’t very fun, though last night it wasn’t too bad when the needles went in, but afterwards they both stung and the second one bled a little bit.

I’ve kind of come to terms with double shots some nights, anything to save money really. I’m just upset that I have two insurances and neither of them will pay for my insulin. I’m not sure if my insulin is a life-saving drug, but it’s so important to my health and they won’t cover it, like it’s some optional drug that I don’t need. They’ll pay for my cortisone cream for my eczema but not my insulin. Thank goodness for a manufacturer coupon that makes it cheaper for me, but at $100 a box every couple of weeks is still ridiculous.

This is so ridiculous. But hopefully with the cinnamon tea, exercise, and lower carb intake my blood sugar will be able to get under better control. I hope I can get another insulin or something that I can take a smaller dosage and maybe cheaper? Who knows. Here’s to hoping for a better future for myself.

Big Announcement!

So I made the decision to create some sticker designs that I want to make available for you folks to purchase and stick everywhere and on everything. The stickers just came in and they look really good.

I’m super excited to have these guys up for you. These are just some of the designs I have available right now. So far I have seven stickers designed, I’m just trying to figure out how I’m going to sell them. I could create a shop page on this blog, I’m just not sure how WordPress’ shop program works and if it’s worth it. Or I could create a shop on Etsy, Square, Shopify, etc. but there are a lot of fees with those.

The other thing about this venture is that it does cost money up front to bring these stickers in, so it might be awhile before I can actually start selling these, but I definitely want to make these available for you guys.

F*CK diabetes

This design comes in red and black as well as blue and white.

It’s easily my favorite design. I figure the blue design could help identify you as Type 1 diabetic and the red design as a Type 2 diabetic.

Don’t be a PRICK

This design only comes in this coloration.

I love this design, I just wish it came as a die cut instead of a plain rectangle.

Type 2 diabetic

This is a smaller sticker that comes only in red.

My husband and I think it could come in a bigger size, but what do you think? It’s the smaller of the three.

Here are the other designs I have created, I only got these three as samples to see if the company was really all that. Needless to say, yes they are all that. The watermarks are there to protect my work from any thieves out there.

Why sell stickers?

Well I love stickers and I created these for myself, but then I loved the design so much that I thought maybe you folks might like them too. My husband likes them. He particularly likes the F*ck diabetes in red.

I’d like to hear your opinion on these stickers.

The Journey: Episode Eighteen

AUGUST 10, 2020

So conditions have been unchanged since the last journey update. I went one night without injecting my insulin and the next morning I woke up and my blood glucose was 210 mg/dL. I’m not sure how it would have been if I had taken my insulin that night because we had dinner kind of late that night, after 7pm, and it was pretty carb heavy. But then there’s today. I ate dinner way before 6pm and it wasn’t very carb heavy. When I took my blood glucose at 9am, kind of late because I woke up late, it was 179! So that’s very frustrating.

I think my insulin injections aren’t working as well as they were when I first started taking them. They’re still working thank goodness, but not nearly enough. It’s only a slight change in my numbers between not taking and taking my insulin. So I’m basically paying $99 every two weeks or so for a drug that’s supposed to be helping me, but isn’t.

And that’s another thing. I have Lantus. It’s 5 pens of about 310units each. I’m at 85units now, I can only get three doses from each pen. I don’t use it all the way to 0 because I don’t want to inject myself twice, it’s bad enough doing one each night, plus there are always bubbles no matter how hard I try. I have a coupon card which helps me get my boxes at a discount, I’m not sure what the discount is, but I only pay $99. However, when I tried to fill my prescription on the last week of July, the Pharmacy said if they were to fill it then, I would have to pay full price, but if I waited until next week, it would be $99. Neither of my insurances companies cover my insulin, which completely fucking sucks, so I had to wait, thankfully I had enough left to be able to wait. But now I go through one box in two weeks and I wonder if they’ll be able to fill it at the discounted price. I think I might have to double inject this time just to make it stretch, which doesn’t sound fun at all.

Liliuokalani Park and Gardens – Hilo,HI

My next prescription of Lantus, I’m moving to another pharmacy where it will be hopefully cheaper for me. If not, then I have no idea what to do and I’m screwed. Unless my doctor can give me another insulin which would be a lot better, if it’s cheaper.

Yea the stress of not having enough money to buy my medication and the stress of my medication not working is very…stressful. I’ve been so stressed out lately that I had a breakdown, in front of my boss. Thankfully she was so kind and understanding. We worked out my schedule so I only work one to two hours a day from home and it’s been working a lot so far. I feel less stressed and I’m getting more work done.

I’m looking in to meditation to try and help get my stress levels down on the regular and take time for myself more often. I’ve got a lot of lovely scented candles that I’ve been lighting and it’s been lifting my spirits.

I hope if you’re facing these same hardships in your diabetic journey, that you’ll take some time for yourself. Your mental health is so important and we always forget to take care of ourselves. Go take a nice warm bath. Drink some tea and read your favorite book. Go take a walk outside in the sunshine today. Take some time to slow down and enjoy your life. Even though you have diabetes, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this life you were given. Smile at yourself in the mirror and take a minute to love being you. I love you. I am here for you. We can get through this together. You’ve got this!

The Journey: Episode Seventeen

AUGUST 3, 2020

So it’s been a long while since I last posted. A lot had been going on during July with helping my sister with her move and then cleaning up after she left, she left a surprising amount of stuff behind. We had a ceremony for my dad’s ashes in July which took a lot of planning. Then there was our storage unit we had to go through. It was all very overwhelming and I hadn’t expected on taking a hiatus from The Young and Diabetic, so I deeply and sincerely apologize.

On to the journey, not so great. So I’ve been injecting in to my thighs for a bit, it’s not super fun, but it doesn’t hurt as much as injecting in to my abdomen. I actually miscalculated the injections in my thighs and only did 15 shots per thigh when I could have done a lot more, but I used quite a bit of my outer thighs so I decided to give them a rest for two weeks and went back to injecting in to my abdomen, man it was sore. I forgot how sensitive my abdomen was. My pen only does up to 80 units but I’ve gone up to 85 units of insulin which means in the middle of injecting, I have to stop and twist the plunger back 5 units to make 85. I definitely don’t want to reinject the needle. HELL NO!

I use a One Drop meter and with it I have a monthly subscription for test strips. Thanks to the monthly subscription, I have access to a diabetes coach. My coach, Rachel, had asked me if I ever talked with my doctor about possibly switching to another insulin brand that was stronger so I could do smaller dosages. I didn’t even know that was a thing! I was worried that my doctor would switch me to an insulin that needed to be taken with each meal. I think a stronger but smaller dosage would be great because a larger dosage takes forever to inject.

My next doctor appointment is on August 25th so I’ll definitely bring it up with my doctor. Then we’ll see what we can do. Right now, I’m injecting in my thighs again. I’m on my right thigh and I’m going to do about ten injections on my thigh in a line with a 1/4″ distance between injection sites before moving to the next thigh.

I’m still really upset that now I have to stop mid-injection to up my dosage by 5 units and my hands involuntarily shake and move the needle AND MY GLUCOSE IS STILL HIGH! It’s so frustrating and a couple of times, I’ve bled because my hand shakes too much and it all just sucks.

Honolii Beach Park – Hilo, HI

My glucose ranges from 120 to 170 in the morning and anything above 125 is an evil number and it’s like no matter what I do I can’t seem to keep my numbers down. Some times it’ll be nice and low but I don’t know what I did to get that number and when I try to replicate it the next day, my number is over 150, like WTF!?

So annoying and so frustrating. I feel like I’m stressing out and I can’t stop stressing and I feel like everyone around me is adding to my stress and it’s getting overwhelming. I can’t even get a good night’s sleep. I’m lucky if I fall asleep before 10pm. Sometimes I won’t fall asleep until almost 3am. Like what is going on with my body! I’m sorry I didn’t mean to just lay all that out for you.

Anyway, I’m going to keep pushing ahead and I’m going to try to get back on my content schedule as best as I can, even though this one is a day late. Please don’t worry about me, I’ll get through this. I always do.