It’s 8 pm, on a Sunday night. But this isn’t just any old Sunday night.
I take my Lantus (long-acting) insulin every night at 8 pm. And have been doing so for almost 15 years (with a brief hiatus while I was pregnant). Even when I experimented and split the dose, it was 8 am and 8 pm.
But this night was different. This injection of Lantus was different. And not because it was a lower dose.
It was different because it was to be my last.
I woke up the next morning. Excited. Nervous. And blanketed by an unfamiliar calm.
I stand before my breakfast. Insulin pen in hand. Ready.
Well, almost ready.
Fuuuuuck. Okay. Breathe.
No matter what, each and every time I set out to inject myself with the drug that quite literally holds my life in its hands, I panic. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes a little. Sometimes barely at all. Sometimes I fall on the ground, pen in hand and tears running down my face – defeated.
But that has been my life for almost two decades. I absolutely HAVE TO take my insulin because without it I will die. And that isn’t being overly dramatic. It is the truth.
So you can imagine what kind of mindfuck having needle phobia does to a person who MUST inject themselves in order to stay alive.
Anyways, back to breakfast. And the necessary needle…
It was to be my last injection. Not just of my fast-acting insulin…but my last injection.
Done. Phew. Eat.
The family does the morning rally. Kiddo gets his things organized for school, planner in the bag, lunch all set. Hubby is running behind him making sure his bed is made, teeth are brushed. I am trying to scarf down the breakfast I bolused for but am struggling.
Most likely my nerves are getting the best of me and I can now barely swallow the nausea, let alone the granola and yogurt. Bleh.
We gather up all the things and climb in to the car. Kisses and hugs to the kiddo as we drop him off at school. We assure him everything is going to be fine, though in my Mommy-heart I know he will struggle through the day.
Hubby and I arrive at the hospital, with my ginormous bag of things in tow. Ready for the second part of my pump education class.
The part where you put an actual insulin pump on your body and IT gives you your insulin.
I simply cannot say enough good things about the educator guiding me through this process. She is one of the best (if not THE BEST) Diabetes professionals I have ever encountered. I am so grateful she entered my orbit for this journey.
The three of us sit down, after some hurried introductions (educator and husband had yet to meet, also OTIS), and dive in to the last of the learning. We discuss my dosing, basal rates, ratios for bolusing, the dietary restrictions for the next two weeks.
Naturally, it will take my body some time to adjust to this new regime (and external/cyborg body part). I am “limited” to a carb load of 30-40 grams per meal, which isn’t a big deal but means no outrageous treats. Yet.
Notes are made, buttons are pushed, menus scrolled, data entered…all that techy, good stuff.
And then the time comes.
Out comes a pod, a vial of insulin and OTIS.
OTIS is the name we have given my PDM. The kiddo helped with that. It was suggested by my pal that we name my pump. She had named hers and felt that it was important to personify the device. My pal felt it was important because the pump is a part of one’s Diabetes Team. Naming it makes it feel little more like it really is…and I completely agreed. So. OTIS is the newest member of my team.
It has been a while since I had held a vial of insulin, having switched back to pens a few years back. An oddly familiar and comforting sensation holding that glass bottle (though this time it was a bit different because I had found this brilliant product – a silicone vial cover!) in hand.
I draw the insulin from the vial and into the syringe that comes packed cozily alongside the pod. Then I insert the needle into the pod (NOT ME!) and inject the insulin. We all hear the 2 beeps and wait for the machine to prime. While it does, I prep the site for my first official pod placement.
With the educator’s guidance, I position the pod and slap that sucker on…then we all brace ourselves for the click, click, click, click – SNAP! of the cannula insertion.
Brea…wait, what!?!?! It’s done?
A few last little tidbits of information and then we are on our way.
And I am wearing a fucking insulin pump! Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit!
I feel slightly lighter as walk out of the office. Like a weight has been lifted.
That blanket of calm I awoke with now fully enveloping me.
This was a very BIG day.
A very fucking BIG day.
And now I wear my pancreas on the outside.
Time to start healing from the years of torture.
Today I am truly LIVING.