How a Broken Bone Affects my ‘Betes

I still can’t believe that I broke my wrist…again. At least I changed it up a little this time and broke my left one instead!

A broken bone is a broken bone, but my healing experience has been very different compared to last time.

For starters, when I broke my right wrist a couple of years ago, it was in the middle of winter (I slipped and fell on ice in the driveway). I was put into a cast that I wore for 4-6 weeks that felt like 4-6 months because of the challenges I faced. Between attempting to become ambidextrous as I built up strength in my left hand and taking a solo trip to Atlanta, Georgia to film a commercial for Dexcom, I did my best to work around my injury…even though I felt incredibly defeated in the face of the limitations it imposed; specifically, I felt that I couldn’t keep up with the exercise regimen I’d worked so hard to establish. I feared that I’d exacerbate the injury, so I didn’t even try to work around it.

This time around, it’s summer. The break happened after I tripped and fell down some stairs (klutz, much?). I’m wearing a brace for 3-6 weeks instead of a cast: My orthopedist said it’d be much more comfortable versus a cast, which can get seriously stinky and sweaty in the warm weather. And rather than stressing about how I’ll continue to exercise while also allowing myself to heal, I’ve made modifications that have kept my body, broken bone, and ‘betes happy.

How a Broken Bone Affects my 'Betes
Can anyone else spot the lone strand of fur, courtesy of my dog, stuck to my brace?!

I guess I learned from the last broken bone that it’s better to keep moving in some way, shape, or form than dwell too much on the injury itself. In other words, I’ve been trying hard to focus on the things I can still do while I’m wearing a brace as opposed to the things I cannot do. For example, my broken wrist can’t stop me from taking daily walks or, when I’m feeling more ambitious, going for an occasional run. It can’t stop me from making the shift to lower-body-focused workouts or core strengthening routines. I refuse to let this injury be the reason that I get sloppy with my nutrition or workout routines, and it certainly isn’t an excuse to become unmotivated in terms of my diabetes care. If anything, it might just be the reason that I tighten things up and make some much-needed improvements.

They say that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade…so I’m going to try, because a broken wrist won’t stop me from getting something good out of this less-than-ideal situation.

 

 

 

 

Insulin Pumps and X-Rays: What’s the Protocol?

I’m re-upping this post that I initially published on February 5, 2018, because…it’s happened again. I have another broken bone! This time, it’s a chauffeur’s fracture, which is just a fancy way of saying that I have a break along my radius due to falling on my outstretched hand. Fortunately, the X-ray process went much smoother this time around – I actually referred to this blog post so I could remember exactly what I was told about insulin pumps and X-rays! Hopefully, this helps other people who had the same questions as me. 

“You have to remove your insulin pump before we can take your X-rays,” the technician said to me. I stared at him, and responded point-blank, “What? No, I can’t take it off.” I tried to hide the panic in my voice, but it quavered as tears stung my eyes.

“Well, let me check our insulin pump protocol…” his voice trailed off as he left me in the dark room with my right arm held up in the air in an attempt to mitigate the throbbing sensation going up and down my forearm.

Insulin Pumps and X-Rays_ What's the Protocol_
Here you can see an X-ray that shows where the break is (follow the yellow arrow), me looking miserable in the doctor’s office but still rocking my #insulin4all face mask, and my lovely new brace which I get to wear for 3-6 weeks.

When I fell and broke my ulna a couple weeks ago, my insulin pump was one of the last things to cross my mind as I was shuffled from doctor to doctor and one medical facility after the other. All I could concentrate on was the injury – how severe was it? Would I be able to work? Could I keep up my exercise regimen? Was I going to need surgery? My diabetes, for once, was far from my thoughts.

But this instantly changed when I went to get an X-ray. When the technician told me that I’d have to remove my pump, I wanted to shout at him, “No! If I do that, my blood sugar will skyrocket! You can’t expect me to do that!” It was hard to keep calm, and my emotions were already running amok due to the chaos of the morning so far. So even as I tried to fight the tears, a couple escaped and ran down my cheeks. When he came back into the room, the X-ray technician’s expression changed. He looked at me empathetically.

“It’ll be okay. Come on, let’s call your endocrinologist. We’ll see what she has to say and get this all figured out.”

Twenty minutes later, after a series of phone calls and a few accidental hang-ups, we received confirmation that I could, indeed, wear my pump for the X-ray. The nurse practitioner who I spoke with at my endo’s office said that it was safe as long as I wore the protective vest. “It’s really only a problem if you’re going in for an MRI or a CAT scan, because those involve magnets,” he told me.

Once I got off the phone, I ran over to the X-ray technician and explained it to him. He smiled at me and said, “Got it. Let’s get these pictures over with – you’ve already had quite a day so far.”

I nodded and thanked him for his patience. He was right, I was overwhelmed from the events of the day – it wasn’t even noon yet – but in hindsight, I’m glad that the technician didn’t try to fight me when I said I couldn’t remove my pump. His willingness to hear me out was huge. It’s not easy to be your own advocate in a high-stress situation like that. But I’m proud of myself for speaking up and getting the answers we needed. Everything worked out in the end – well, except for that pesky broken-bone bit.

 

On the Road to Recovery

I shared the story of how I broke a bone in my arm last month. I was pretty down in the dumps about it, so I’m particularly pleased to say today that I am 90% healed from the injury!

I know I’m lucky: My healing time was relatively quick. I spent just over four weeks in a cast. Others can spend six or more weeks trapped in layers of medical gauze and tape. I had my cast removed one month and four days after the accident happened, and my orthopedist advised me to wear a brace for another week to ten days as my arm got used to mobility again.

9C46EB0E-1D4B-4FBB-9B2A-F6CD0511D206
Naturally, I decked out the brace with stickers. Peep the cactus.

Yes, the broken bone was a total bummer. It slowed me down, messed up my exercise regimen (and my diet), and made me moody. But the experience may have been the kick I needed to get back on track with my overall health and take the best possible care of myself.

So the road to recovery looks promising. Now, I’m just looking forward to getting clearance to hit the boxing gym again and get reacquainted with my fitness.

Insulin Pumps and X-rays

“You have to remove your insulin pump before we can take your X-rays,” the technician said to me. I stared at him, and responded point-blank, “What? No, I can’t take it off.” I tried to hide the panic in my voice, but it quavered as tears stung my eyes.

“Well, let me check our insulin pump protocol…” his voice trailed off as he left me in the dark room with my right arm held up in the air in an attempt to mitigate the throbbing sensation going up and down my forearm.

IMG_3979
That pod on my arm can’t simply be removed on command.

When I fell and broke my ulna a couple weeks ago, my insulin pump was one of the last things to cross my mind as I was shuffled from doctor to doctor and one medical facility after the other. All I could concentrate on was the injury – how severe was it? Would I be able to work? Could I keep up my exercise regimen? Was I going to need surgery? My diabetes, for once, was far from my thoughts.

But this instantly changed when I went to get an X-ray. When the technician told me that I’d have to remove my pump, I wanted to shout at him, “No! If I do that, my blood sugar will skyrocket! You can’t expect me to do that!” It was hard to keep calm, and my emotions were already running amok due to the chaos of the morning so far. So even as I tried to fight the tears, a couple escaped and ran down my cheeks. When he came back into the room, the X-ray technician’s expression changed. He looked at me empathetically.

“It’ll be okay. Come on, let’s call your endocrinologist. We’ll see what she has to say and get this all figured out.”

Twenty minutes later, after a series of phone calls and a few accidental hang-ups, we received confirmation that I could, indeed, wear my pump for the X-ray. The nurse practitioner who I spoke with at my endo’s office said that it was safe as long as I wore the protective vest. “It’s really only a problem if you’re going in for an MRI or a CAT scan, because those involve magnets,” he told me.

Once I got off the phone, I ran over to the X-ray technician and explained it to him. He smiled at me and said, “Got it. Let’s get these pictures over with – you’ve already had quite a day so far.”

I nodded and thanked him for his patience. He was right, I was overwhelmed from the events of the day – it wasn’t even noon yet – but in hindsight, I’m glad that the technician didn’t try to fight me when I said I couldn’t remove my pump. His willingness to hear me out was huge. It’s not easy to be your own advocate in a high-stress situation like that. But I’m proud of myself for speaking up and getting the answers we needed. Everything worked out in the end – well, except for that pesky broken-bone bit.

Undeterred by a Broken Ulna

The morning of Tuesday, January 23rd, I took a bit of a tumble. I fell on some black ice in my driveway and managed to fracture a bone in the process: my ulna, which is the longer and thinner bone located in the forearm. I broke the one located in my dominant arm and have spent the past few days in a brace. I’ll get a real cast put on it early next week.

B465792C-7E97-4827-A609-EECF7165390B
Please enjoy this gratuitous shot of my arm in a brace, featuring the sleeve of my dinosaur sweatshirt.

I waited a few days before writing a blog post about it for several reasons. For starters, I struggled with teaching myself how to type with limited range of motion in one hand. Actually, I struggled doing most things with just one hand. Brushing my hair, putting clothes on, feeding myself…every mundane task has become a challenge. It’s been especially difficult to accept that I need to allot myself twice the amount of time to do just about anything because I have no choice but to move slowly. I’m an incredibly impatient person, so this has been a hard truth to come to terms with. But I’m getting there.

Taking care of my diabetes is also included on the list of everyday tasks that are now tricky. I dislike having to rely on others for help, but I’ve got to say that changing my pod with one hand is far from easy. It feels like I’d be flirting with disaster if I were to hold a precious vial of insulin in an awkward grip as I made an attempt to fill a syringe, then a pod, with my shaky left hand. Fortunately, my parents are more than willing to help me when I need it – thanks guys – and I’m able to do other things, like check my blood sugar, on my own.

The healing process is expected to be about six weeks, so it won’t be too bad. I’m just going to have to adapt to life with one functioning arm/hand. There’s one thing that’s certain, though: I’m not going to let this stop me from doing anything I want to do! (Within reason, of course. Let’s just say I won’t be taking a boxing class any time soon, even though I’d really like to.) Just like diabetes, a broken bone can’t stop me. I’ve even managed to get 10,000 or more steps each day since the injury happened – including the day of the fracture! I could’ve chosen to pardon myself from exercise and stew over the pain, but I wanted to prove to myself that I’m both physically and mentally stronger than my excuses. After all, the rest of my body is in perfect working order. I’ve just got to keep it that way!