A quick note to my (Moody) CGM Sensor

Dear Sensor,

I know, I know.  You are on day 9 of 24/7 work and you’re tired.  Believe me, I get it.  Your fatigue lead to a non-reading of “???” right at bed time last night.  When, I just happened to be running in the 300s (Damn you Cookout milkshake and your heavenly goodness).  I decided to see if perhaps you just needed a nap and would resurrect yourself as I have heard rumors of this happening.  I, being the responsible nervous diabetic (Hey, I just read a story about a 29 year old’s dead in bed death), set my alarm for 1:30 am to check my sugar.  Imagine my surprise when you not only resurrected, but you resurrected accurately!  Only off by 18, woot!  It lives!

But, sensor pal, you seem to have quite the case of the Mondays today (I do too – I am really angry that I didn’t win the powerball and am here, at the j.o.b). You, without consulting me, have decided that last night’s break wasn’t enough and you needed another nap this morning.  Seriously, how tired can you be?  Fine, nap, because, well, I’m at work and don’t have one of your pals around to replace you (mental note, throw spare sensor into my work bag).  You nap, you snore, and all of a sudden !buzz!, you are alive and ready to take on the world!

Or maybe not.  After your miraculous second resurrection, you informed me that my sugar was 274, when in reality it was 199.  That’s it; you are out of the circle of trust today, Sensor!  I will not be trusting your readings until I can replace you.

Wait just a minute.  I just checked my sugar and it’s 139, but you are telling me I’m 144.  Could it be?  Are you back and back for good?  Or are you just going to continue to drive me nuts like a pms-ing 16 year old girl going through a breakup?

What’s it going to be sensor?  Huh?

Fondly,
Your Master

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Diabetes Blog Week, Day 4.

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small – think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.)dblogweek

Hmmmmm, good question!  I feel like I haven’t mastered anything when it comes to my diabetes care.  I mean, I have mastered the motions, testing my sugar when needed, changing my pump sites, bolusing, etc.  But I am still, 14 1/2 years in, not 100% confident to say “Yes! I kick ass at diabetes!”  My sugars are not perfect, I don’t exercise every day, I still enjoy a carb or 20, and I have days where I’m crying out of frustration that I have to live with this crap for the rest of my life.  Sometimes my blood sugar is just a real jerk for no reason (like last night for example – for about 4 hours I was cruising between 43 and 80 despite 20 oz of OJ and two not-so-small spoonfuls of peanut butter).  Is there anyone out there who really has mastered diabetes?  Who can go to their endo every three months and know that their A1c is going to be 6.0?  Who has the perfect attitude when it comes to living with this?

But, the question wasn’t if you’ve mastered diabetes.  It’s about diabetes-related accomplishments.  Recently I made some pretty darn important care decisions.  As the Hubs and I want to have a small human in the next year or two, I knew that the time had come where I need to get serious and get as close as I can to mastering diabetes.  I decided to end my months-long pump holiday and resume pump therapy with the help of a CGM.  This was something I thought about for weeks months before finally accepting that I’m going to have to become a cyborg again.

You see, in theory, I love the pump.  Don’t have to carry around syringes or pens, your meal schedule can be more varied, and it offers better management for most people than multiple daily injections.  Blah, blah, blah.

But in reality, the pump is a pain in the butt.  Site changes, being connected all the time, it’s expensive, it beeps at you, it’s bulky and gets in the way, and it makes wearing dresses a headache!  My pump-cation had been glorious!  However, knowing all of the negatives that come with wearing a pump, I decided the best thing for my health and the health of a future pregnancy would be to get back on the pump and to get a CGM.  So the research began.

I googled, I youtubed, I blog-stalked.  Wow, there are a lot of people online sharing their experiences with various pumps and CGM setups.  The doctors and manufacturer’s’ sites will only tell you so much, these blogs were so helpful in sharing real-world experiences and opinions.  I especially found blogs written by women who are in similar life stages as me to be very helpful and was so happy to find their sites (Texting my Pancreas and SixUntilMe especially).   With the help of my new blogger buddies and the fabulous interwebs, I decided on the Dexcom G4 Platinum CGM and Animas Ping pump.  In black and silver – stylin’.

Change is scary and although I had previously been on the MiniMed Paradigm pump, I was pretty nervous about going back on pump therapy.  I had a breakdown one night about the fears of the unknown and how much it sucks that I have to do this and think about these things a year before we even want to start trying for a baby.  He, however, reassured me that there are other ways to start a family and if I absolutely did not want to do this, I didn’t have to.  He also made the great point that if I hate it, I can quit.  He’s so smart.

Fast forward to today and I’m almost 2 weeks into my new cyborg life.  Have I mastered it?  Nope, not quite.  I’m still aware of the pump clipped to my pants and the CGM sensor and transmitter taped to my body.  I still feel dorky about my “diabetes tool belt”.  My sugars aren’t perfect and I definitely miss the freedom of not being attached.  But one thing I have mastered is my attitude that I’m just doing what I have to do.  And knowing that diabetes care is something that can be adjusted and modified to fit my needs at the time.  Not everyone needs to be on pump therapy.  It’s not the best course for every.single.person with a dead pancreas.  But for me, right now, it’s the best choice in regards to my goal of becoming a mother, and I’m cool with that.  Will it be my choice 5 years from now?  Who knows.  All we can really do in regards to our care is to make the best decision with the knowledge we have at the time.  I think a series of making the right decision and small accomplishments will lead me closer and closer to that whole mastering diabetes thing.  But for now, I feel like I’ve accomplished the right attitude.

Diabetes Blog week – Day 1. Dear Doctor…

dblogweekBeing a new blogger I decided a great way to get more involved in the Diabetes Online Community was to participate in this year’s Diabetes Blog week.  What a neat idea!  I am looking forward to being challenged and to really have to think about the topics.  I am excited to become more connected with my fellow d-bloggers.  Let’s get started!

Day 1
Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one’s daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don’t see? 

This is a tough one for me.  I am generally a pretty open and honest person, including with my medical team (sometimes to their great dismay).  And, I really like my endocrinologist.  I am lucky that I live in an area that has some of the best medical facilities in the country and I have gotten in with an endocrinologist’s office that has a wonderful team approach.  I love this.  I love that everything is in the same office and every person I see knows my history.  I have had some not so nice endocrinologists in the past – whether they lack bedside manner or a personality.  I would try to crack jokes with my last endo and it was like talking to a brick wall.  I hated going to see her because she expected perfection and would get frustrated with me when my A1c wasn’t a perfect 5.8, or my fasting blood sugars were over 100.  She would act as if I wasn’t trying, when I was trying my best with the knowledge I had and really was looking to her to say “OK, we’re doing XY&Z and it’s not really working how we want it to, so let’s try AB&C and see how that goes.”  I got none of this with her, instead I received lectures about my blood sugars and weight, deep sighs, and I swear I saw her roll her eyes a time or two.  Let’s just say I was not heartbroken when we moved and I left her.

I think some endocrinologists think that in theory, diabetes should be easy to manage – it’s just a numbers game.  I understand you are a doctor and “science-y” and this is the stuff that you enjoy.  But, living with diabetes is much different than numbers on a paper.  With diabetes 2+2 does not always = 4.  I think it’s important for doctors to know how many variables go into caring for yourself.  How sometimes your sugar just does not want stay above 80 and how frustrating this can be.  How you can do one workout one day and your sugar will drop, while the next day it will go sky-high.  A lot of the care for diabetes is instinct.  Sometimes our instinct is correct, sometimes it isn’t.  We, as patients, know our body’s best and we know when something isn’t right.  Please don’t dismiss us if we have concerns.

Like I said before, I’m very happy with my current diabetes team.  I’ve never felt bad about having an A1c in the 7s (heck, it was 8.7 when I started there).  I like that they listen to me when I have concerns and ask me what I think we should do to improve my numbers and overall health.  I am an active participant in my healthcare.  I’m not perfect and they don’t get angry at me because of this.

I think that if I could send a message to all of the endocrinologists I would encourage them to let their patients be involved.  Don’t bark orders at us, don’t get angry at us, work with us, not for us.  Remember that there is much more to this disease than insulin to carb ratios, taking shots every day, testing blood sugars.  Diabetes is a 24/7 job and it continues for us in between those quarterly appointments.  And, for Pete’s sake, laugh at our corny jokes.