Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Glamorous Life

This morning was filled with appointments. So I was able to drive Hubby's Mini to the doctor's office to get my iPro sensor removed. I always hesitate to drive his car because I'm not used to it. I'm quite comfortable in my huge Chevy Uplander. But every time I drive his Mini Cooper I realize what a fun car it is. I felt so glamorous zipping down the freeway in such a stinkin cool car rocking out to music that I finally figured out how to find!


I had to push a lot of buttons to select the CD player but I finally got it. I was not going to blast NPR on my morning errands. The CD's were great because Hubby has a completely different mix in his car than I have. And my van is a little too obsessed with CD 1 track 1. It doesn't matter what CD you have as the first, once you get past all the songs you hear over and over it goes right back to CD 1 track 1 as soon as you start her up. I get tired of trying to skip to where I think it was last so I start all over or listen to one of the other CD's. Even if I put the discs on random, I still hear the same songs over and over and CD 1 track 1 more times than Milli Vanilli's Blame It On The Rain was played in 1990!


Awesome that the drive to the doctor's office takes longer than the nurse taking off the CGM sensor. But THANK HEAVENS that annoying thing is off! It was too far back on my waist and I could feel it EVERY time I moved. The tape would stretch and pinch and I swore the sensor would just pull out. I was very grateful to have it out. It actually hurt when she pulled it out. What am I getting myself into? I'm still excited to do the CGM. I just won't have it so far back. I can't have my pump sites that far back because they hurt, itch, and the tape comes off constantly.


After my whole 10 minute exchange at the doctor's office I took off for the dentist for the second half of my perio scaling and root planing. It was a much better experience this time. The nurse squirted that Hurricaine stuff in my mouth before she did anything. It's supposed to suppress my overactive gag reflex. For all I know it's some sore throat spray but it works like magic. The hygienist was able to really numb my mouth. Last time I was not so numb and I could feel EVERYTHING she was doing. It was really annoying. This time I was so numb. I still am. My mouth feels like it's 5 times its original size and I have a hard time saying s's! Last time I was eating lunch 30-45 minutes after getting home. It's already been over an hour and I am glad my blood sugar is high because I don't think I could eat anything right now! Hubby had his dentist appointment right as mine was ending. He's getting me a Jamba Juice on his way home.


So I went from glamorous hottie in a Mini Cooper to a frumpy mom in a mini van with slurred speech when I talk! I fully plan on changing into one of Hubby's big, soft T-shirts and sleeping off the rest of the anesthesia after I pick up Oldest Son from school. I'm so glamorous. Everyone wants to be me!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Diabetes = Zero Privacy

It takes a special person to be a celebrity. First of all, celebrities have to be ok with every part of their lives being public knowledge.


It does not take a special person to be diabetic. Autoimmune disorders are no respecters of persons. If you have diabetes and are willing to do what it takes to manage it, you can easily feel like a celebrity lab rat.


Believe it or not, I used to be a very private person. I didn't want anyone to know hardly anything about me. When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes I remember feeling so embarrassed as my parents rattled off relatives they told. I didn't want anyone to know. I guess I hoped it was a weird cold or something that would just go away. Or at least something I could deal with without ever having to tell anyone.


But people knew. My classmates didn't understand why I sat in the back of the room and ate a snack every day at 10 am. In many ways they were ignorant about diabetes. With the number of people affected by both types of diabetes, it's sad to realize how ignorant most people still are, including pharmacy staff. My parents arranged for a Diabetes Nurse Educator to come in and teach my class about diabetes. After that I got a lot of "I'll eat your cookie since you can't have it!" and pencils from my teacher for EVERY birthday celebration.


No surprise that when I moved to junior high I stopped telling people. My closest friends knew but only if they invited me to a slumber party. I spent the next several years telling people on an as needed basis. In college I was excited about the prospect of an insulin pump. I knew it was time I stop being the rebellious diabetic and actually start taking care of myself better. My mom had me talk to a nurse she worked with who wore a pump. I remember her telling me that diabetics who wear pumps have to be willing to answer a lot of questions. I wasn't sure if I was ready for that then. I have learned how to answer people's questions based on their interest level.


Another privacy issue with being diabetic is getting to see a doctor every 3 months. Regular people almost never see doctors. Hubby hasn't been to a doctor since my doctor scheduled him for an appointment after seeing Hubby had high blood pressure. It was kind of a funny situation. I had Hubby come with me to an appointment once. My doctor had me on the crinkly paper while he opened my pants to thump my stomach. Hubby said that really bugged him to see a male doctor so nonchalantly open my pants as if it was no big deal. Then the doctor rechecked my blood pressure. He always did it twice, once when I was sitting up and once while lying down. Out of the blue, he decided to check Hubby's blood pressure. It was pretty high from the adrenaline while he tried to decide between punching my doctor in the nose or realizing it was ok, he was my DOCTOR! But my point is, most non hypochondriacs don't see doctors regularly. So it is a little weird to have to go as often as I do.


I have been seeing my endocrinologist monthly since January. My control is not where either of us would like to see it so he makes adjustments and we look at the results in a month. Since I have been trying out the continuous glucose monitor I have been going even more frequently. It's not too bad. He's an endocrinologist so I get to keep all of my clothes on! And the Mini Med rep not only lets me keep my clothes on, he keeps the door wide open so nobody can think anything inappropriate is going on.


I try not to spend too much time thinking about the fact that my endo knows a lot of things about me based on the info he gets every time he downloads my pump. I've seen the printouts. You can piece together a lot of things if you wanted to! I'm sure he doesn't read too much into when and why I suspend my pump. But for me it does feel scary to have a pager sized piece of equipment tell so much about me.


Today I went in to get the iPro continuous glucose monitor for insurance purposes. Dave told me that I wouldn't be able to see any blood sugar readings on my pump. So I should do whatever I normally do. Then he told me that the more info I write down the better it is for everyone to analyze the data. So I have to record at least 4 readings a day. No problem. And it's highly recommended that I share what I eat and exercise activity levels, etc.


I'm back to feeling like a lab rat. I hate food logs. I am no Pamela Hansen (Running With Angels). I know I eat junk. Why would I want to write it down and risk being judged for my poor food choices? Dave could sense my hesitancy to the food log. So I told him I was having flashbacks to my second pregnancy when my perinatologist insisted on food logs. Then she would look at it disapprovingly and tell me that none of the food was healthy especially for a diabetic. I loved when she lectured me on Ramen noodles. Thanks Doc, my husband just lost his job, we have insurance until the end of the month (2 days after the layoff), I'm entering my third trimester of a high risk pregnancy, and you want to criticize me for eating cheap Ramen????


I'm getting over my personal privacy issues. But any invasion of my privacy that affects my health puts me on edge. We all draw the line somewhere.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Miracles

I just sent off a 30 day blood sugar log to Dave, the Mini Med rep I've been working with on the continuous glucose monitor. He called on Friday to tell me some interesting news with my insurance company. Last Wednesday my insurance company decided to change their policy. They now cover continuous glucose monitors for patients!!!! Wahoo! I was required to send in 30 days worth of blood sugar readings with at least 4 tests a day. Easy. I had to look at my graphs for 2 days while I was on the trial CGM to find some readings since I wasn't pricking my finger as often. Dave will talk with my endo about a good day for me to go in to have another trial CGM. This one will be a professional model so I won't be able to see any readings on my pump. I test and go about my business for a few days and then have all the info downloaded when I have the device removed. Hopefully, my 30 day log and the info from the new CGM trial will be enough for my insurance company to approve me. I really hope. I had several readings in the 50's but only one below 50. It happened early Friday morning, hours before Dave called.


It's somewhat depressing to me to write down my blood sugar readings. I never do. My endo downloads info from my pump every time I go in. Anyway, I can't believe how bad my readings actually are. Hubby said that hopefully the insurance company decides I need the CGM because of my roller coaster blood sugars. We'll see I guess. The graphs I got when I had the sensor taken off aren't as pretty as I thought they would be. But for a weekend, I was in pretty good control.


Yesterday Hubby was watching some show on the History channel about the top 7 ways the world will end. It was interesting to listen to while I was primping for church. At one point they were talking about how dependent people have become to computers and machines. They were talking about an incident in space where the computers could have killed the astronauts if the astronauts weren't able to override the computer systems.


I recently had a conversation with my mom about the CGM I used. She was saying that she was surprised it worked the way it did. She thought it would let my pump know what my blood sugar was and my pump would automatically give insulin as needed. I could see where she was coming from and that would be cool. But I told her that I love being the final say in what happens to my body. I can override my pump anytime I want. With my pump tracking the active insulin in my body and me knowing how my body reacts to different things at different times of the day, I know whether or not I should override my pump's suggestions. Or shut off my basal rates for a while. I do that at church a lot especially when I sub in Primary. I don't see how I can leave my class to eat if I need to and I certainly don't want to eat in front of them. So I anticipate lows and try to avoid them.


Hubby told me that scientists are working on something interesting for diabetics. He said they have created these tiny computers that can be injected into a diabetic maybe once a year or so. The computers will regulate the body's blood sugars the way the pancreas did before it stopped working. So the computers will act as insulin when needed and other computers are designed to be glucose when needed. That is amazing to me. I know that some people have had stem cells implanted and their Type 1 diabetes is completely cured. I want that! I am happy that stem cell research is moving away from embryonic stem cells. Scientists are learning now that you can get stem cells from just about anywhere. I could have a small hole cut into my arm and they could get stem cells from that! I saw that on TV a while ago. I could use my own stem cells to cure all of my autoimmune disorders. Now that would be awesome!


It's incredible to think that it wasn't that long ago that diabetes started being managed with animal insulin and now they have cloned human insulin (what I use). Blood sugar monitoring has gone from peeing on a stick to being able to poke your own finger and see accurate results in 5 seconds. The first year I went to diabetic camp, the counselors were talking about when they were younger and they had to pee on a stick several times a day to monitor their blood sugar. There was no other way. These were people maybe 10-20 years older than me!!!! Now we have pump therapy and continuous glucose monitors to better monitor diabetes. Diabetics can afford these things while surgery is still a little risky and definitely not affordable to everyone. What else will they come up with to increase diabetic control and comfort?


I was certainly not a pioneer as a diabetic bearing her own children but I will never forget being a teenager and hearing horror story after horror story of women who did try to have their own children. As soon as someone knew I was diabetic they immediately said I couldn't have my own kids. This was in the late 80's to mid 90's! I am astounded at the medical miracles that keep me alive and brought my children here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Disney Pixar Gratuitous Sex Scene

While doing some online research for Oldest Son’s oral report on sea anemones, it has come to my attention that the opening scene in Finding Nemo is actually a sex scene! Scandalous I know!


How did I find this information? I learned that clown fish are the only fish that are not affected by the poisonous stings of sea anemones. Clown fish are actually covered in a slimy mucous which protects them from being stung. However, if the mucous is rubbed off somehow and the clown fish returns to its home in an anemone the clown fish will be stung and can even die. Clown fish live in anemones while cleaning the anemone's tentacles and scaring away anemone predators. The anemone protects the clown fish from predators as well. The clown fish attracts prey for the anemone and gets to eat the leftovers. It's a win win situation.


So how in the world did I learn that the opening Finding Nemo scene is actually a sex scene? I was writing the script for the movie we are making for Oldest Son’s oral report. More on that later. Anyway, I wanted to say something about the clown fish not being affected by the stings. But I wasn't sure what it was they were covered in. I was pretty sure it was mucous, but I have learned a lot in the last few days about anemones and other oceanic animals so I wasn't sure. I googled clown fish and found out that some of the mating behaviors of clown fish include chasing, biting, and extending fins. If you remember the opening scene in Finding Nemo there is a lot of flirtatious chasing between Marlin and Coral before you see the eggs at the base of the sea anemone. Which is where clown fish lay their eggs.


The only thing that was inaccurate in Finding Nemo is the fact that clown fish are hermaphrodites. They are males first, and develop into females as they mature. If a female dies, one of the largest males becomes female and the rest of the clown fish move up a rank on the hierarchy. So really Marlin should have become a girl after Coral died. But I'm sure the writers felt that fact would be incredibly confusing to children so they skipped it.


This project has been very interesting to me to learn about different sea creatures. I believe that a lot of research went into the making of Finding Nemo. My sister said all the dentist scenes were accurate and hilarious. And now we know that the opening scene is "racier" than we originally thought! Maybe you can watch Finding Nemo this weekend with your family and enjoy how accurate it is.


Update and statement retraction! I have watched the opening Finding Nemo scene and I apologize for saying it was an implied sex scene. The eggs have already been laid and are resting peacefully in a hole near the bottom of the sea anemone. Meanwhile Marlin is very proud of his choice of sea anemone that will house his family. Coral is more subtly impressed. The chasing was very short lived, inside the anemone, and it was Marlin and Coral remembering how they met. Sorry for raising or dashing any hopes and dreams.


And for all you sickos who do searches for Pixar sex (all two of you so far), there are no Pixar sex scenes! Sorry.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Life as a Bionic Woman

Being constantly hooked up to a machine almost never crosses my mind. I am so used to my life the way it is. Adding a second component to my machine lifeline seemed weird at first but since Friday, I have decided that I love the continuous glucose monitor!
In the beginning I felt completely disconnected from the world. I understood that I only needed to check my blood sugar with my glucometer twice a day to calibrate the sensor. So I came home on Friday ready for lunch. But I couldn't find any blood sugar readings on my pump. I found graphs but there was no data. Hubby was in meeting after meeting so I couldn't get a hold of him. I was about to give up and call the Mini Med rep to sheepishly admit my own stupidity but decided to email a text message to Hubby instead. Then the data finally started and I quickly emailed back that all was well.


With the push of one button I could instantly see a blood sugar reading as well as a graph showing my blood sugar trends. I learned that if my blood sugar was rising there was an arrow pointing up. If it was rising quickly there were two arrows. The same was true if my blood sugar was dropping. I loved how easy it was to see where I was as often as I wanted to. I was checking out the graphs obsessively all day Friday. It was just too cool.


The absolute best part for me was when I woke up early one morning feeling hot, sweaty and shaky. It's a feeling that words don't describe very well but I know that feeling as low blood sugar. Many times I have woken up and instantly known I was dropping very low without really even consciously feeling some of the classic low blood sugar symptoms. But the best part about having the CGM sensor in my side was pushing the ESC button on my pump to instantly see that yes, I was low and was dropping. So I ate my fruit snacks that are always by the side of my bed and was able to go back to sleep. Without the sensor I would have eaten and gone back to sleep. But sometimes I wake up for the day with high blood sugar because I didn't need that much of a snack. Or sometimes I wake up for the day with a low blood sugar reading again and I wish I had tested to document the two low numbers. The CGM captured everything! I love it.


The sensor is no longer in my body. I had it removed this morning. The office staff printed out several pages of data for my chart and they made a copy for me. So Hubby can go nuts with his analytical skills.
The sensor was fantastic until I turned it into a snarling mess right before going to the doctor's office. I checked my blood sugar right before breakfast. But like an idiot, I completely forgot to bolus for my carbs. (Sadly, I used to be sharp, witty, and on top of things mentally. Then I had 3 kids!) In the shower I was starting to feel like my blood sugar was dropping. When I got out I tried to remember if I even bolused for breakfast. Checking my bolus history showed that no, my last bolus was for dinner last night. But I was indeed dropping low. I wasn't too concerned since this is pretty common. Especially on days when I don't exercise. Weird, I know. So I had a snack maybe 45 minutes before I was supposed to calibrate the sensor. Oops. Now I know why Dave (Mini Med rep) told me to calibrate before eating!


I tested and got a reading of 240. My pump showed my blood sugar at 73 and dropping. Hmm, that was a pretty big discrepancy. So I tested again. I got a reading of 237. Ok, I'm high but probably because I just ate. One thing I learned with the sensor was that my stomach doesn't read my blood sugar as quickly as my fingers do. So if I was low before a meal it would take a pretty long time for the sensor to catch up and read the food in my bloodstream. I assumed that was what was happening this morning. Well, about 30 minutes or so later, my pump starts buzzing like crazy. I was about to turn out of the neighborhood at this point. So I stop and my pump is giving me a warning that the calibration wasn't good. Try again. So I test. I'm still over 200. The pump wasn't reading my blood sugars because it was trying to calibrate. I thought by that time my body would have recognized the food I had eaten an hour or more earlier.


I drove on figuring if there was a problem my pump would warn me once I made it to the doctor's office. The drive doesn't take that long. My pump started buzzing like crazy and there was nothing I could do about it. I was on the freeway! By the time I pulled into the parking lot ready to test again and try to recalibrate, my pump had the warning: Bad Sensor. That made me laugh a little. There was no icon on the screen indicating that the sensor was communicating with my pump. I cleared the warning, got my kids out of the van (my plans for babysitters fell through and I knew it would be a really short visit), and was ready to tell whoever that I totally messed up the sensor!


Dave held the door open for me so I could get my entourage inside. I was surprised to see him since I had talked to him yesterday about bringing the kids and he said he wouldn't be there. He thought I would go in the afternoon. Anyway, I told him I messed up the sensor! He said it was ok and we both awkwardly waited in the teeny waiting room for one of the receptionist/nurses to say they were ready to take me back to another teeny room. Having Baby Girl in her stroller was good because it kept her contained but the stroller was pretty big for how small that office is. The girls behind the desk said hi and then realized I had all my kids with me. So then they had to peer over the counter at my children and ooh and ahh over them. Then my doctor walks over to see what all the commotion was about and one girl says something about my kids. He looked and seemed like he thought they were cute. My favorite part was when he looked up at me and said, "Are these all yours?" I love living in California where I am considered an anomaly. I am young for having kids and I have 3 of them. Two years apart! And yes, I planned it that way!!!!


Once the circus side show lost its appeal I went into a room where the nurse removed the sensor. She asked where my paperwork was. My heart stopped a little. I didn't remember being given any. She was ready to give Dave a good talking to which made me feel bad. But he explained to her that she was thinking of a different kind of sensor and he showed her how to download the info from my pump.


I got the info and Dave asked a couple of health questions he normally asks over the phone. Like age, height and weight. He was so embarrassed to ask me face to face such personal questions. But it was all to see if my insurance will cover me having a CGM sensor. Normally he would call but I was right there so he was able to email himself from his phone. Anyway, I'm hoping I can get one because that was very cool. He asked me to fax him 4 days of blood sugars. Then he told me that if at all possible I need to have a couple readings below 50 because that is a magic number for the insurance companies. I told him I guess I could try exercising when I know I'm already dropping low. He said he will work with whatever I give him. I hope he doesn't have to lie for me. I will do my best but I don't drop below 50 very often. It's the worst feeling in the world when I do. Those are the times I eat until I feel better even though I know I'm not supposed to.


Living my life according to numbers on machines is interesting. But it keeps me alive and that's why I do it. My kids know how scared I get about changing my pump sites. Younger Son said something about me thinking it was scary. I agreed that it is scary for me. He said, "It keeps you alive?" I told him yes and that's why I do it. I am Bionic Woman. Hear me roar!

Friday, April 10, 2009

CGM Update

The Mini Med rep was the same guy I had talked to on the phone in December. He called to update info about me at Mini Med and to recommend endocrinologists to me since the one I was seeing was no longer going to practice endocrinology. He was a super nice guy on the phone and really easy to talk to. He's just as nice in real life.


I know you are all on pins and needles waiting to hear how the inserting of the CGM went. He was talking about how it worked and mentioned that he would put it in. I wasn't sure if I heard right because I had it in my head that I was going to have to admit to being a baby about the whole thing. My adrenaline was pumping over this whole appointment. In fact, my triceps are sore from gripping the steering wheel so tightly as I drove to my doom! The anticipation was killing me so when he was ready to insert the device I was visibly nervous. He kept asking if I was ok and reassuring me that it feels the same as inserting an infusion set. I told him I was fine and to just do it. He offered to count. No, just do it! Even though it didn't hurt at all I still flinched a little when it went in.


When he was done he asked again if I was ok and I told him that I was nervous because I was expecting him to tell me to do it. Then I told him that I don't change my own pump sites. I told him my husband does it. So he told me to tell Hubby that he is a great husband! He is a great husband but maybe it means even more coming from a Mini Med rep.


He had a soft board in his bag with CGM devices and infusion sets in it. Using that, he demonstrated how to insert the device. It goes in at an angle and you slide the inserter back at an angle to get it off the device once it's in the skin. He calls it the moon walk to get the inserter off.


At the end of the appointment he asked if he had completely overwhelmed me with information. I told him I was fine. But once I left I felt like I had walked out of math class or something. Do you remember how you understood everything the teacher said while you were in the room but as soon as you had to leave and do it on your own your brain turned off? I do have his business card with his cell phone number in case I get lost.


If I understand everything he said correctly, he said I have to calibrate it twice a day 12 hours apart. Or before I go to bed so I don't get an alarm to calibrate at 3 am if I calibrated at 3 pm! So that means I only have to test my blood sugar twice a day! He said that most likely there will be a discrepancy between the CGM and my meter. That's because different parts of the body absorb sugar at different rates. He said that you could prick 3 different fingers and get 3 different blood sugar results. I have done that! He also said that even though the numbers may not match the CGM device will show which direction my blood sugar is going. So I could get some number like 300 and rather than immediately think to take insulin to correct the high, I can see that my blood sugar is heading down. I guess this is supposed to be more accurate than meter testing and blindly correcting highs and lows. He said that most likely in the next 5-6 years, meters will become obsolete.


He set up my pump so it will alarm me when I have a high blood sugar reading or a low blood sugar reading. So I can react accordingly. I can snooze either alarm. The high alarm can be snoozed for an hour while a low alarm will be like 5 minutes because I should do something about a low alarm faster!


It's completely waterproof so I can shower, bathe, swim, or hot tub with no issues. I am not allowed to go scuba diving however. It will hold information for 40 minutes while I'm disconnected from the pump. When I reconnect to the pump, it will download the info from the time I was disconnected. For anyone who doesn't know, the pump is not waterproof. I have what is called a quick release on the infusion set so I can disconnect the pump to shower, swim, blah blah blah while the infusion set stays in my skin.
Speaking of infusion sets, apparently I am one of very few people to still use a Paradigm Sof-Set Ultimate QR. He doesn't even carry those around anymore and told me that he thinks they may be discontinued in the next 2 years. He kept apologizing for being so surprised to see my sof-set infusion set. He said there was nothing wrong with using that type of infusion set and he wasn't judging me. I joked that he shouldn't judge me out loud anyway! That's the type of infusion set I have used all 8.5 years I've been on a pump. In fact, when I switched to the Paradigm pump the Mini Med person I talked to on the phone suggested I keep the same infusion sets because I was used to how they work.


He showed me one type that doesn't even use an inserter. I would have full control to push the needle into my skin on my own. The needle was the teeniest thing I've ever seen too. Ultra short and thin. But I don't know if I could do it after all these years. I'm probably stupid for making the pump correct my highs all the time. If you have a couple of highs in a row, doctors suggest you inject insulin and change the pump site. I have not given myself an injection in 8.5 years. I hope I never have to as long as I live! I have a syringe that you can dial in the dose. My endo's nurse gave it to me when I was pregnant with Baby Girl because it delivers insulin faster than the pump. I was annoyed that it would take almost 20 minutes to deliver 20 plus units of insulin. I could eat faster than my pump was delivering the obscene amounts of insulin I required while pregnant. I have never used it. It's still sitting in my cupboard.


So this little device the rep put in my side will stay there doing its thing until next week when I go back to the office to have it removed. Right now I can't even feel it. At first I could kind of feel it. It's higher on my abdomen than my pump site right now. I can always feel my sights more when they are high. That is one benefit of 3 c-sections. I have almost no feeling in my lower abdomen because the nerves have been cut.


Driving home I was thinking that maybe the benefits do outweigh the drama. Maybe I do want to permanently do this whole CGM thing. It's smaller than I thought it would be. If I were to point out where it is on my side you could tell even under my shirt. But the pictures I have seen make it look much bigger than it really is. I don't know.


I also thought that I really hate being me sometimes. Some days I hate being "spirited" and being so intense over everything. You know how people like to say that some people have the challenges they do because they can handle it the best? It may be true but it doesn't mean that the challenges are any easier. Hubby always says that he could never do the things I have to do. Some days I don't want to do them either. Some days I wish I could just be normal.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

CGM

A CGM is a continuous glucose monitor. It's a cool idea. It gives an up to date accurate reading of one's blood sugar every 5 minutes or so. 24/7. Great idea right? I guess.


My doctor told me about it back in 2006. I thought it was a great idea until I realized how it worked. It's separate from my insulin pump. In fact, it is a separate site from my pump site. So if I were to get a CGM I would have two infusion sets in my stomach. Two little bumps under my shirt or pants (depending on where it is on my stomach at the time) and two little plastic tails coming out of my stomach. The good news is the CGM doesn't infuse anything so I can get away with changing the site every 5 days rather than every 2-3. Also since it doesn't infuse anything into my body, it shouldn't irritate my skin. If I could I would scratch my skin right off. My insulin pump sites itch like crazy ALL THE TIME! When I change the site it feels like a mosquito bite. Kind of looks like one too. Well, maybe if the mosquito was the size of a humming bird. I have been known to scratch old sites until they bleed. So the idea of having another piece of plastic poked into my skin is not thrilling to me.


I got my first insulin pump days before Hubby and I started dating. He watched the tutorial video with me and set up all my pump settings for me. It was like a cool toy to him. Thank heavens because I'm slow to learn new technology. Well, I was a big girl (meaning I was 22 years old) so did everything myself. I pushed a button on the infusion inserter that shoved a needle into my stomach like a dart. Then I taped around the needle and pulled the needle out leaving a very short and small flexible cannula in my stomach for a couple of days. Then I would do it all over again in a few days when the insulin ran out.


This process was absolutely horrifying to me. I can test my own blood sugar no problem. Pushing that button doesn't scare me at all and really it never did. The lancet is thicker and looks more like a medieval torture device than any syringe or needle I've put into my body to inject my daily dose of insulin. But even then I've never had a problem poking my finger. Injecting insulin was more traumatizing. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes over Labor Day Weekend, 3 months before my 10th birthday. Because of my age I was expected to give my own injections. I stayed in Primary Children's Hospital for a full week because I was not allowed to go home until I could give my own injections. I practiced on oranges, nurses, and my parents (using saline solution of course!) with no problem. But doing it to myself was a different story. I got over my fear by slowly shoving the needle in my arm or leg. I felt more in control when I did it slowly. My family thought I was crazy but they also respected that it worked for me.


So the insulin pump was a scary thing because the inserter button is an all or nothing thing. There is no slowly pushing a button, although I tried that for a few years. And truthfully, sometimes it hurts while other times I hardly notice anything at all. That fact really played into my fears. Why would I want to push a button that may or may not result in pain?
I agonized over every infusion set change. I would kneel at my bedside sweating while I tried to talk myself into just pushing the button already. Once I let Hubby watch me. It was good for him to see how to do it in case of whatever. But I think he was shocked to see me break out in a cold sweat over it.


Soon after Oldest Son was born I was in the process of trying to change my site. That was the worst day. After an hour of sheer terror and agony over pushing a button, I still hadn't done it. I was a sobbing mess by the time Hubby came in to help me. But I was so worked up by then that it took another hour of me crying hysterically before I let him do it for me. We made a pact then and there that he would always push the button for me and pull out the needle. I have done it for myself maybe 2 or 3 times when it was necessary due to the infusion set coming out on its own or the cannula getting bent so I was not getting any insulin and Hubby wasn't home. But it was only because I managed to push the button before I convinced myself to call a neighbor for help. Now if there is an emergency I make Oldest Son or Younger Son push the button for me and I take a deep breath to take the needle out on my own.


I know. Bravery is not my strong point. I fully plan on spending my last days in a full care facility as I battle some sort of mental illness. I'm actually not kidding.


So back to the CGM. Like I said, I first was introduced to the idea in 2006. I have never had insurance that would cover it. Secretly I have been so glad for that! For the last couple of months Hubby has been trying to get me to tell my doctor I want to do a trial with the CGM just so we could get a better idea of what's going on with my blood sugars. I finally remembered to say something yesterday. My doctor didn't act like it was necessary. So I freely admitted that I wasn't interested in it other than just to see more information. The nurse called the Mini Med representative that they work with. And she called me today to tell me that he will be in their office on Friday. I'm supposed to go back then to get all my gear.


Shoot me now! I'm not thrilled but I agreed to the appointment. Then when I got off the phone I had a flashback to the summer of 2000, when I was sitting in the doctor's office with a Mini Med representative as he made me hook myself up to the pump. When I was nervous to "push the button" he tried to tell me it was no big deal and most of the reps hook themselves up to a pump that infuses saline solution just so they know how it feels and what it's like to have a pump. His little speech didn't help at all!


I can just see it. I will have to do this myself and frankly I don't want to. I'm all about honesty nowadays. I don't care what anyone thinks of me. I am 31 years old. I don't play sports because I'm afraid of the ball and I'm too uncoordinated. My phobias include (but are not limited to) spiders, wide open spaces, large crowds, driving, public, and pushing needles into my stomach. Judge all you want but I'm not inserting the CGM myself!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More or less

My kids are obsessed with the new Playhouse Disney character, Special Agent Oso. When I got back from the endocrinologist today, I got no hi from Middle Child. No, I got a lot of whining about eating more snacks and watching Special Agent Oso.

Being the pushover I am I let him watch 3 episodes. I have not sat down to watch a whole episode but in hearing the show in the background I have learned a few things. First of all, saying the phrase more or less at the end of just about anything is funny.

It's all part of the plan, more or less.
Nice plan, more or less.
He can't come to the phone right now, he's in the bathtub, more or less.
I'm making lunch, more or less.
See, that's funny!


Believe it or not, I have learned a lot from this character. More or less. One formulaic part of the show is that there are 3 steps. Parker asked me why there are 3 steps. I told him that all problems can be solved in 3 steps, at least on this show! So I have decided to put that theory to the test. More or less.


I am very frustrated with my diabetes control. I told this to the doctor today. I told him that I was perfect for 2 pregnancies. The third one my blood sugars were up and down and not very consistent. But they are still up and down. I told him the erratic swings in blood sugars makes me have headaches. I just want to go back to normal! He was understanding. I like this doctor.
I could get really discouraged about things or I can look on the bright side of life. My A1c test result was 6.8. That's good. I'll just forget about the fact that my blood sugars are rarely in range so the 6.8 is a result of being low more often than high.
Here are my 3 steps to solve my problem. More or less!

  1. Keep doing what I'm doing. Count carbs and bolus accordingly. Keep checking my blood sugar often. Exercise. My blood sugars seem slightly more predictable when I exercise.
  2. Believe in myself. I am a big believer in mind over matter. Quite often if I believe it, it comes true. So if I believe I can manage my blood sugars better I will. I have done it before. Maybe I have let too many doubts in.
  3. Pray. I have a daily thought book that my Grandma and Mom made for me a long time ago. Today's thought is: I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. ~ Abraham Lincoln

When my home teachers came to visit a couple weeks ago one of them said that he was talking to his wife about new responsibilities he had at work. He was concerned about doing a good job and some responsibilities were very challenging to him. She asked if he had prayed about it. He then wondered why the thought had never occured to him before to pray about this concern of his.

Today I thought a lot about how I dealt with my type 1 diabetes while I was pregnant. I prayed constantly for help in managing my diabetes then. I did my best and left the rest up to the Lord. I am so glad I will never be pregnant again because I don't think I can emotionally live through another pregnancy. I learned more and more about the risks involved each time I was pregnant. Just today as I was waiting to see my doctor I flipped through a magazine all about thyroid issues. I had no idea hypothyroidism could potentially cause problems for an unborn baby! Good heavens! It's amazing my kids are normal. More or less.

I will always be grateful for my miracle babies. But now that they are here I would like to stay alive long enough to watch them grow up. So hopefully my 3 steps will help accomplish that goal. More or less.