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My Medicine Cabinet.

Insulin.

It’s the core of my daily maintenance routine.  The stuff is crucial and I’m completely hooked.  (I would have said “pumped” but the pun would have been too obvious.  Tune in later for more subtle puns.) 

So when I was first diagnosed, insulin was the crux of my regimen.  Whether it was NPH, Lente, UltraLente, Lantus, Regular or Humalog, insulin was all that my body required to keep it running tight.A Cauldron of Supplments

Then hormones hit. 

Puberty brought on the “Jane becomes a woman” pubery filmstrip from middle school moment, as she twirls around once and sparkles emit from her long, brown hair.  Apparently, just twirling around and radiating glitter takes care of the whole puberty mess.  No direct mention of menstruation, acne, growth spurts and womanly curves.  No subdirectory of an adolescent girl with diabetes, trying to reign in her bloodsugars, keep insulin levels steady, and make sure the monthly cycle was cycling correctly.

At the tail end of the puberty adventure, the birth control pill was introduced into my routine.  I mean, when you’re 16 years old and experiencing your monthly period one or twice a season (at best), a little regimentation is needed.  I didn’t feel too strangely about the birth control, though, because I was planning on utilizing birth control once I decided to become sexually active (yes yes, Mother, in addition to other methods and no, Mother, it was like 40 years later that I decided to …), so I just had a hormonal headstart.

Insulin and birth control.  Normal.

Now that I am in my 20’s, however, I’m noticing that my medicine cabinet isn’t just toothpaste and eye makeup remover anymore.  In addition to insulin and birth control, I am taking a blood pressure medication called Altace to keep both my pressure and my kidneys in check.  The decision to make this part of my regimen came after realizing that the cotton wool spot from last year was directly caused by the slight elevation of my blood pressure.  Thankfully, Altace and my dedication to the gym made that cotton wool spot history. 

Insulin.  Birth control.  Now Altace.

The list of prescription medications is joined by an arsenal of supplements, on any given day.  There’s the pre-natal vitamin (to keep my natals … pre-ed), cranberry extract pills to ward off urinary tract infections, the mystical and magical L-Glutamine, Garlique to keep cholesterol in check, and a bottle of cinnamon pills and flax seed oil that I’ve yet to crack open. 

Insulin.  Birth control.  Altace.  A cornucopia of supplemental goodies.

My body feels like a cauldron sometimes, swirling with attempts to stay healthy. 

I read today that type one diabetes takes an hour per day to maintain.  One hour.  And I thought about my medicine cabinet, the efforts Chris and I take to keep our kitchen stocked with healthy foods, and the daily excursions to the gym … an hour??  Hardly.  Managing diabetes is a moment-to-moment endeavor.

And I thought about my own life.  And the life of the girl planning her wedding.  The guys going on vacation.  The woman starting fresh.  The woman expecting her child.  The style of a busy life.  The quiet conversations. 

And I thought of each of you, doing what you do every day, and achieving such success with such grace.  While we may not be acheiving this with the same glittery ease that good ol' Jane twirled through puberty, we do a damn fine job indeed. 

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Comments

Kerri,

Funny, you've mentioned your "blood pressure medication" many times before... I didn't realize it was Altace.

I've been taking Altace for almost two years, but they prescribed it for me simply for delaying kidney complications. I have really low blood pressure to begin with.

Huh.

You're so right about the daily grind of diabetes maintenance, but man, all the tools we have now are pretty cool!

my doc says it takes 15 minutes a day to manage.

I really need to find a new doc...

We do do a fine job (that was funny, saying "do do", hehe).

I feel that it's a constant job - it's not only the day to day "tasks" that may only take a small bit of time, but also all of the preparation, organization, planning, anticipating, and all that stuff that goes on.

I've requested some vacation time from that job - but the "management" is really really bad about that kind of thing.

I think I need to go hang with George & Kevin.

I really needed to hear (or read) those words.

Dang, we kick ass huh! :)

I was looking at my medicine cabinet the other day and thought, "I don't think my grandma had this many medicines" but I know they are all needed.

Hear, hear. If you can believe it, I actually went OFF a few meds once the whole pregnancy thing became a reality. But between me and the Mister, our medicine cabinets look like a bunch of senior citizens'--and we're only in our 30s.

Absolutely.

At one point in my life I was on 3 (THREE!!!) anti-depressants, 2 anti-anxiety pills, 2 pain medications, 2 hypertensives, insulin, and birth control pills. I had a HUMONGOUS lock box filled with all my meds. A few years ago, frustrated with the overwhelming amount of doctors appointments needed to maintain this huge amount of meds, along with the huge amount of money, I stopped taking all but the insulin and birth control pills. I started with all the psych meds. My doctors weren’t willing to take me off, so I just stopped. Not something I recommend anyone do, but it worked well for me! Soon after followed a drastic lowering of my blood pressure. Im not sure if it was because I stopped taking all of the psych meds or not, I just know that my doctor ordered the cessation of the hypertensives soon after as I was having dizzy spells from low blood pressure. In the year after stopping my psych and hypertensive meds, I also lost around 40 lbs. Three years later, I am doing better than I ever remember doing, both psychologically and physically. I have chosen to naturally treat whatever I can, and in most cases I reject prescriptions when offered. I now take only insulin and birth control pills. My blood pressure is perfect. My weight, although most days I wish it were lower, is fairly normal. I’m pretty happy with the number of prescriptions I take! Im hoping that I don’t have to increase that number any time soon! RX’s kill me financially!

"An hour a day."

If only.

But yes, I think we're all doing a damn fine job.

And, while at the moment Joseph's only medication is insulin, this post still hit home today as we just received Joseph's quarterly shipment of pump supplies -- boxes of infusion sets, cartridges, IV Prep, IV 3000...

Each and every time I unpack one of these boxes, I'm amazed that we need (and use) every bit of it's contents.

Kerri--
I am taking a grad class called "Trends in Nutrition" which devoted to dietary supplement in nutrition. I am currently researching flaxseed. If I hear any other good things (or bad things to stay away from for that matter) I will pass on the info, because you know...your medicine cabinet isn't full enough as it is!! :)

It may be that managing diabetes (as in testing, bolusing ect.) "only" takes an hour a day, but diabetes still requires 24/7 attention, making it difficult to actually believe in the "one hour a day" :-)
The medicine cabinet....ahh, where to start? :-) Besides insulin, mine consist of two different inhalers for asthma, antihistamine, calcium supplement (ordered by my endo due to one blood test on the low side, but I must admit that I don't think this supplement is doing much difference) and then the different supplementary stuff like vitamins and fish oil. It is always a challenge to remember all of it when going off for vacation and the like. I use to joke with the fact that I have to carry a well-assorted private pharmacy along with me on those occations :-)

FYI, were you aware that in November 2005, the FDA approved a generic version of (known generically as ramipril)? If not, look into it, as the cost savings could be worth it!

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