Category Archives: People Who Don’t Know About Diabetes

Fan Mail: Amanda

Thanks for sending me mail! I love it. :)

Hi Claire! It’s Amanda from school :).  Although I could just tell you this in person on Tuesday, I figured that I know you love fan mail, so I may as well send you a message :D

I came across your blog from the link you put on Facebook, and although I don’t have diabetes, I clicked on it anyways and read several of your posts. I know we sort of know each other through school, but I’m glad I got to see this side of you through your blog. You are such a strong and inspirational girl and I think it’s wonderful how you’re not afraid to talk about diabetes both on this blog and in everyday life.

I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to exaggerate bad things that happen to me and make them seem like my life is so terrible. I have a bad hip that sometimes causes me a lot of pain. I have seasonal affective disorder and am in therapy for it. And a lot of times I convince myself that living like this is so awful. “I hate having to miss dance class because my hip is hurting” or “what will my roommates in college say when I have to do half an hour of light therapy each morning?” get me down easily. Hearing about what you deal with and how you keep a positive attitude helps remind me that I need to keep my mind off the little things and focus on what makes my life good. Really, dealing with things like a hurting hip or SAD isn’t nearly like dealing with diabetes, and I need to remember that more often.

So the bottom line: you are such an inspiration and I am blessed to know you :)

Thanks so much, Amanda, for taking the time to write me a note. It really means a lot to me.

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I Do More Work Than Randy Jackson

Warning: All information in this post is totally biased and based on no research. Lets face it; I’m teenage and very stubborn. I refuse to do any research before I write!

Type 2 Diabetes. As far as most people are concerned, this is the only kind of diabetes. I know, I know. It drives me crazy too. They’re wrong. Quite frankly, I don’t know much about type 2 diabetes. Except that people with it have to watch what they eat. And that they don’t test their blood sugars very often, sometimes just a few times a week.

Here’s what I do know. Well, not exactly know, but feel in my gut. That us type 1 diabetics, do more work then type 2 diabetics. We test often more the four times a day, we experience high and low blood sugars.  We mess with carb ratios and sensitivity rates. We memorize lists of carbs give ourselves shots and put pump sites in our bums.

Do type 2 diabetics do all this work? Now this may be a complete and utter guess, but I shouldn’t say so. In plain words: NO. While we spend a major portion of our time thinking about diabetes, all they do is take a pill.

And yet, why do they get all the credit? Ask anyone on the street what diabetes is, and they’ll say that it’s a disease you get if your eating habits are unhealthy. Hello? Salad is one of my favorite foods! Why should they be recognized, when we are the ones who do the work? And then you throw the celebrity factor into it. Randy Jackson, Larry King. I mean, they didn’t get famous because of diabetes, but when people say that they have to balance it on top of everything else and it makes them just so much more awesome, I want to gag.

I wish that more people knew what type 1 diabetes was, and the challenges that come with it. I’m not saying that I want people to act like they’re sorry for me, I get that enough, I just want them to know what diabetes is. Not that they can do anything, but that they respect the fact that type 1 diabetics work hard. And especially  that they know that it’s a completely different disease than type 2 diabetes.

Sincerely,

Claire Montgomery
Type 1 Diabetic, Teenage Diabetic Blogger, Easily Mad At Pop-Stars

A Diabetic’s Idea of a Joke

Here is a list of some funny things that have happened to me. These are the kind of things that any “normal” person wouldn’t laugh at.

1.  My grandfather thought he could give me shots because he has a diabetic cat. I had a huge bruise after he stuck the needle in my arm. I haven’t let him give me a shot since.

2.  When my Tae Kwon Do teacher found out that I had Diabetes, he patted my arm and said, “Don’t worry. It happens to all of us.”

3.  A week after I was diagnosed with Diabetes a friend sent me candy to make me feel better. It was traumatizing after I had just found out that I might never be able to have sugar again. It doesn’t matter now, as I would have just eaten it, but at the time my mom laughed and I cried.

4.  My mother gave my grandfather strict instructions to go the store, and get some diet soda for Claire. Let’s repeat that. Diet. He came back with regular sodas that were all caffeine free. He thought that I couldn’t have caffeine.

Diabetic Jumping Rope5.  When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes my parents were terrified of giving me insulin when I was high. So whenever I was 300 they sent me outside to jump with a jumprope.

6.  I forget my Diabetes kit in the most random places: Tae Kwon Do, in a Mexican restaurant, etc. They all end with me running to that place as fast as I can or my parents driving me there.

7.  I took a shower and couldn’t find my pump to reconnect. The whole family searched the entire house, until I realized that it was just in the bathroom.

8.  I jumped into the pool with my pump on without realizing it. Then my mom looked down and I got out real quick. Luckily it was water proof.

9.  My hands were full of things and my brother was teasing me. Instead of throwing a towel or something at him I throw my insulin pump. It survived the encounter, and it was only about a foot long toss. My brother ducked.

10.  My pump tubing caught on the door knob and I tripped. I had bruises for the next two weeks.

Sincerely,

Claire Montgomery
Type 1 Diabetic, Diabetic Teenage Blogger, Odd Event Attracter

Give Me The Candy!

Low blood sugars in Mexico.

When I’m low at school, I eat Smarties. Unlike in the US, people here don’t really know that I have diabetes, where in the States, it was just some sort of random information that wasn’t big news.

Here, nobody knows about it. I mean, I don’t like to publicize the fact that I have diabetes, but it’s really hard to explain to people that I have it when they notice my insulin pump or see me testing my blood sugar, because I don’t speak Spanish, and my questioners usually don’t speak English. I can usually fumble out a sentence or two, but they just look at me blankly when I say, “Tengo diabetes.” (“I have diabetes.”) Then they nod wisely as if they know exactly what I’m talking about, but turn around and shrug at their neighbor. And I don’t have enough language skills to explain what it is.

So back to the Smarties issue. So, as you know, I eat Smarties when I’m low. I hang out with a strange group of friends at school in Mexico. Two girls speak pretty fluent English and another girl speaks a ton of English, but is in no way fluent. Her name is Adriana. Sofie and Atalya are the fluent ones.

So one day I made the mistake of giving them all Smarties and Adriana hasn’t left me alone since. “Can I have some candies? Can I have some candies? Can I have some candies?” She doesn’t understand that I have to have these candies or I’m in trouble if I’m low. Finally I got fed up with it and got Sofie to translate that if I didn’t have these candies, I could end up in serious trouble that might end up in a trip to the hospital. Adriana left me alone for about thirty seconds and then started asking me for more candies. Here’s what I say to this: Never give candy to someone who doesn’t understand why you might eventually need it.

Sincerely,

Claire Montgomery
Type 1 Diabetic, Diabetic Teenage Blogger, Candy Giver

I’m a Human Pincushion: Needles ‘N Things

A Teenage Diabetic Tests her Blood SugarIn which people ask me if it hurts to stick a needle into my finger.

The first thing that everyone asks me when they first see me testing is if it hurts. I find this to be very weird. I don’t know why, but I do.

And I never know how to answer. My answer varies from time to time. Currently its, “Oh, you get used to it.” I mean, I suppose sticking a needle into your finger does hurt, but I really don’t feel it any more. It’s just a norm for me.

And that’s the same with pump sets. I use the Medtronic Silhouette pump sets for my stomach. That’s where you have to actually stick a very long needle into yourself because the inserter doesn’t get the angle right. It’s a shallow angle, but you still have to stick a freakin’ needle into your body!!Silhouette pump sets for Diabetes
For my butt, I use the Medtronic Quick Set. This is much less stressful because I use the little blue inserter thingy, but still, an actual needle does go into my body.
Point taken about the pump sets, people ask me if it hurts then, also. And there, also, I don’t know how to answer. I mean, I suppose it does, and sometimes more than others, but is it really pain if you’re completely used to it?

Needles are just a second nature to us diabetics.

And that brings me to a HUGE pet peeve of mine: People who say that they can’t stand needles.

Even my best friend says this. “Oh, I can’t stand needles. I’d, like, die, if I ever got Diabetes.” I absolutely HATE that. My first reaction is to think, “Well, honey, I’d rather get shots and poked instead of die a very long and painful death.” And for people who faint when encountering a needle: bah!!

Dad got his blood drawn for some diabetes tests by two diabetics. The test was at my diabetes camp, and not really private. So there were maybe sixty or so other diabetics in the room, and his two diabetic blood drawers. You can take this numbing cream if you want, but because Dad was with these two diabetics, and with all those people in the room, he didn’t take it to try to look all tough. I mean, it doesn’t hurt that bad, but when your surrounded by people who get poked daily, you can’t cry. Me? I laughed.

And an interesting piece of information, people can’t stand watching me give myself a set change, but they love to watch me poke myself. Odd, eh?

Sincerely,

Claire Montgomery
Type 1 Diabetic, Diabetic Self Pump Set Inserter, Human Pincushion

A Diabetic Viking

In which we talk about Diabetes but the teacher ignores my thoughts.

When I was in 6th grade my Social Studies class learned about the Vikings. These are some of the things that my class mates and I discovered about Vikings. They had awesome ships that were good out in the ocean and in rivers. That they looted a lot of towns. And that many English words come from them, including “Son” and “Berserk”.

You see, the Vikings had a group of absolutely crazy men who could seem to defeat anything. These men were called Berserkers. (Hence the word “berserk”.)  So my Social Studies teacher, Mrs. N., told us that historians now think that these Berserkers were so good at fighting and so crazy because they had some certain diseases. Diseases like Diabetes.

Then Mrs. N. and the rest of the class started to try to figure out examples of people today who had Diabetes. There was a wide speculation and I sat there trying not to laugh. My friend Sofie was sitting next to me grinning. She glances over at me and winks.

“Oh! Oh! I know! That Broncos Quarterback! Jay Cutler! He has Diabetes!” says Mrs. N.

At this point I decide to take some action. I raise my hand and say, “I have diabetes.” Mrs. Nelson keeps talking, and completely ignoring me. However, more than half the class turn around. But my teacher continues to ignore me. Sofie and I both crack up laughing.

Thankfully, the bell wrings so we don’t get in trouble.

Personally, I think that this story is hilarious. I don’t know if my teacher didn’t hear me, but she knew I had diabetes. But really, I guess I don’t mind that she didn’t hear me or whatever, because now I have a hilarious story. Which is just as good.

Sincerely,

Claire Montgomery
Type 1 Diabetic, Story Teller With Diabetes, Ignored Teenager

A Low Dilemma

In which people bombard me with questions at my candy eating habits due to low blood sugars.

While I’m low I eat Smarties. Everyone thinks I eat Smarties for fun. It’s actually quite the contrary. I hate Smarties. I eat them for lows because then I can’t be tempted to eat them when I’m not. My dad thinks I am really mature for restricting myself, but the truth is, I can never catch up with bolusing (giving myself insulin via pump) and almost always end up being high. If you haven’t guessed by now, I hate being high.

Low blood sugars make almost everyone confused. For instance, when most people think of Diabetes, they think of a person who is restricted in their eating habits and sugar intake. So most everyone does a double take when they see me stuffing Smarties into my mouth.

And then when hear the reasoning behind my eating habits, they want the candy. This is quite annoying, as you might imagine.

Hence, the reason I carry Smarties. I suppose the biggest reason is that they are easy to put into a bag and stuff into my pencil bag. Also, they are easy to stuff into my mouth without people noticing. Though of course, some people do notice, which is where the dilemma comes in.

I have had a number of odd experiences involving lows and candy. For example, last year I was low in Science class. A girl, we’ll call her Agent X, saw me eating the candy. So Agent X, naturally wanting the candy, asks me why I am eating candy. When  I explain that I am a diabetic and that I am having a low, she nods, satisfied. Then she smiles and says, “Yah, I’m a diabetic too.” Agent X laughs. To this day, I still haven’t gotten the joke.

When I was in 6th grade I was in an advanced math class with the worst bunch of 7th graders in the school. So of course I am seated next to a mean boy, who in the next week takes my empty desk as an opportunity to steal my Smarties. I never traced their theft to Mr. Mean Boy, but I’ve always assumed it was him, as he’d seen me eating Smarties before. The next class the teacher moved me to sit with a perfectly nice, and not to mention sane, 6th grade girl named Sarah.

Just this year I was low and a girl noticed me eating candy. “Claire, you bad a**,” she said. “You’re eating candy.” That’s the first time I’ve ever been cussed at, by the way. I find it odd that I was cussed at for inhaling sugar. So I quickly explained that I was a diabetic.

So, I think that the solution to this problem is to say that everyone goes wacko around candy. Everyone except the diabetic in the group, of course, who immediately pull their pump out, and bolus up.

Sincerely,

Claire Montgomery
Type 1 Diabetic, Teenage Blogger, Candy Eater

An Updated Version of My Letter

Guess what? In Mexico everyone speaks Spanish. So because I’ve moved to Mexico, I translated my letter into Spanish so my teachers will understand.

Estimado Maestro(a):

Me interesa informarle que tengo Diabetes Tipo 1 y platicarle lo que esto significa para Usted como mi maestro(a) y para mí como su estudiante.

No se si sabe o no, pero las personas con diabetes como yo, tienen que ajustar manualmente sus niveles de azúcar en la sangre, dado que el páncreas no funciona adecuadamente.

Esto significa que:

* De 6 a 10 veces por día tengo que comprobar mis niveles de azúcar en la sangre. Es posible que usted me vea picando mi dedo y después poniendo una gota de sangre en mi probador (sobre todo cuando no me siento bien, debo verificar mis niveles de glucosa).

* Cada vez que como algo (incluyendo comida ligera) tengo que suministrarme insulina.

* Si mi nivel de azúcar en la sangre es demasiado alto me siento horrible, tengo problemas aprendiendo cosas y puedo parecer enferma. Después de que me reviso, si es necesario, debo suministrarme insulina para que mi nivel de azúcar baje (la insulina me ayuda, pero se requieren 45 minutos como mínimo para que funcione… no es muy rápido).

* Si mi nivel de azúcar en la sangre es demasiado bajo, también me siento mal. En este caso lo debo corregir ingiriendo azúcar. Le pido de antemano su apoyo y permiso para ello. Si es que como dulcecitos sabrá que me siento mal y estoy tratando de corregir mis niveles de azúcar (siempre estoy preparada para ello, con dulces en mi bolsa). El corregir mis niveles de azúcar cuando están demasiado bajos sólo requiere unos minutos. Es mucho más fácil que cuando mis niveles están demasiado altos.

* Siempre tengo un aparato electrónico conmigo. No es un celular, es un aparato especial para suministrarme insulina.

* Si estoy actuando un poco raro (cansada, muy quieta o me quedo dormida) por favor haga tres cosas inmediatamente:

1. Dígame que compruebe mis niveles de glucosa inmediatamente.

2. Si mis niveles están demasiado bajos, deme azúcar: dulces, refrescos, jugos, lo que sea rápido (he tenido diabetes desde 2007 y esto no ha pasado pero debemos estar preparados).

3. Llame a mis padres y a una enfermera, si hay una.

Estoy orgullosa de mi habilidad de vivir con esta enfermedad. Soy muy sana, deportista y no tengo restricciones en mi dieta. Esta enfermedad forma gran parte de mi vida y es muy importante que usted sepa como funciona. Me dará mucho gusto responder sus preguntas y de antemano agradezco su apoyo.

Su nueva estudiante,

Claire Montgomery