Season Two: Episode Three

FEBRUARY 1, 2021

I’m sorry I haven’t been updating lately. I have been so busy with work that I can’t seem to find any time to blog these days, but I’m going to try and at least post ONCE a month for you folks. So far the update is neither good nor bad.

I have lost some weight just by cutting down on rice. If I even have rice in a day, it’s usually not a lot, maybe one or two scoops (about a cup) at any given mealtime. Most days I just go without rice and I’ll have mashed potatoes instead or nothing at all. Plus I’m consciously choosing more vegetables and proteins in my diet. I’ve managed to finally go below 212 pounds. I’ve been at about 212 pounds for several months, since the pandemic started. I’ve finally managed to keep my weight below 210 for a month so that’s an upside.

The downside is I haven’t been doing my insulin. I’m not sure how my medical is working out in the new year and I haven’t been in to see my doctor yet so I’m just making what I have already stretch, plus I still hate the needles I have and 99% of the time, they make me bleed and they are way more painful than my old needles. I have to find time to call my insurance company and make sure I’m still covered. But I am still unable to pay for a second insulin so I’m not sure when I’m going to see my endocrinologist again. Not too worried about it though.

I’m trying to take care of my diabetes on my own with diet and exercise and with what I’m doing I’m actually losing weight so who knows, if I lose enough weight and keep it off, I might be able to manage my diabetes better. My PCP always said if I just lost enough weight, I would be better off. Although he never told me how, I’ve had to manage on my own.

I am making arrangements to meet with a dietician so I can make my own diabetes meal plan and find what foods are best for me and all that jazz, so I’m excited about that. Work keeps me busy enough that I can keep myself moving and burning calories so I think I’ll be okay for now. I just have to get better at eating.

Thank you for sticking with me for this long. I am still selling stickers on my Etsy page. I hope to design and release new stickers in the next month or two. But for now I’ve been so busy and I just wanted to let you folks know that I am okay.

The Journey: Episode Twenty-Six

NOVEMBER 8, 2020

Well nothing really good has happened. My endocrinologist has decided he can’t help me if I can’t afford my medication. Like thanks, man. I can barely afford my Lantus every two weeks and another insulin would be pushing it. I finally met the deductible for my health insurance this year and it only lasts until December 31, 2020 then my deductible starts all over again. I have to pay $6500 before they pay for anything. I’m not sure if my deductible will change next year.

So whenever I get a job and I’m able to pay for additional medication, he said I can give him a call and we can get started on another insulin. I’m hoping that I can get my blood sugar under better control before then so I won’t need it. I was doing so well with my blood sugar before and now it’s so out of control.

I suspect it started after my dog had a stroke and I was up most of the night and day keeping an eye on her to make sure she didn’t get hurt or crawl under the bed. Her condition didn’t improve and we had to put her down on October 27th and my blood sugar still hasn’t improved. I really miss her and her death hit me pretty hard. I’m getting better though and since I no longer have to take care of her, I can now apply for a job, but with coronavirus, they’re pretty slim pickings and I’m concerned for my own health with my compromised immune system.

All I can do right now is take care of myself. I need to make sure I eat healthier, sleep better, and exercise more. If I can find a job, we could hopefully move out of my grandma’s house and find a place of our own. I’ve been really stressed so I also need to better manage my stress. It’s all a bit much but I can do it. I am also taking an online hypertension management class offered through a local program. It’s only on Thursday night for three weeks but I’ve already learned a lot from the first class.

I am a little more motivated to work on my diet now. I am aiming for a low-fat, low-sodium, and low-carb diet to help manage my hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes. They are also going to sign me up for a nutrition class they offer and get me in contact with one of their dieticians. I haven’t been able to meet with one since my diagnosis three years ago so this will be great.

I am also going to make an effort to eat more fruits and veggies as well as exercise more. Just getting out of the house will do me good I think.

Other than that, I’m pretty much in a worse place than a couple months ago and there’s a lot of work I have to put in to get back to where I was and improve on that. Right now, I weigh about 211 pounds so I have a lot of work to lose 10% of my body weight, which is my goal.

Money is always going to be a problem for my husband and I right now during this pandemic and the only way to remedy it is for me to find a job. Until then, I am also selling stickers on my Etsy shop. It’s not much but it can help keep my blog running without using my own money.

I have three designs ready to print, I just need the money for them, which I’m saving up for. I’m also designing a couple more. I really like making the stickers. It’s a lot of fun. I am also thinking of making enamel or acrylic pins using the same designs. This is very exciting!

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 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.