So It’s Been a While.

I know, I know. I should have blogged at least once last week. I fell through the cracks. I forgot. And truth be known, I was not really inspired to write anything really. It was a pretty uneventful week. I’m just kind of going through a “blah” time right now. Diabetes has been kicking my butt recently. Other than having a huge cyst on my leg from what, I do not know, that has gotten infected and am now on antibiotics for, and joining WeightWatchers Online to help change my diet, there’s nothing else to cause the erratic bg behavior.

Anyway, I promised to post some pics after I got my Dexcom and sensor going, and I know I haven’t done it yet, for which I am very sorry. I am posting some of them below, but be warned, they were done with my cell phone, so they aren’t that great:

My new pink skin! Ain't it CUUUTE?? 100, but going up again... Dexter's bear. He stays clipped to him at night. Same bg number! Wow!

first 7 days on dex

(I promise to publish more when I have them uploaded.)

Yes, that is a teddy bear in one of those pictures. It is the Build-A-Bear version of my hubby. He got it for our 10th month together when we were dating. He is wearing  a polo shirt and khaki shorts, which is what Erik wears all the time. So, since Erik’s nickname is “Big E” (he used to be a football player, so he’s still pretty built from his workout days), we named the bear “Little E”. He sleeps beside me at night with the dex receiver attached to him because it would otherwise lose signal at night if it was left on the night stand. I haven’t figured out why, because the sensor would never be more than 5 feet away. Since giving it to Little E to take care of at night, it has worked great so far.

The first week, the dex worked GREAT! My numbers were awesome in the fact of how close they were to my meter. The second sensor was okay, relatively close, but these last two have been off a pretty good bit. The last one has been reading me very low, even below 40, when I was still in the 80’s and 90’s, as well as very high, when I was only around 130-ish.  It is a great little tool, when it works for me. Maybe I have too much going on inside me for it to read correctly. Hopefully it will all straighten back out after this infection goes away.

When I uploaded it last week to look at my numbers (I have been playing with basal rates and have almost gotten them worked out), I looked at the highs verses the lows. I only had 3 highs, but I had 31 lows all in a two week period. NOT good. So, I adjusted my basals once again and I haven’t dropped low quite as much. It will be interesting to see how it all works out after I get it all straight.

I promise I will post again later this week. I have my second weigh-in for WeightWatchers on Thursday night, so I will probably write then. Take care everyone!

The Results Are In!

For those of you who keep up with my blog, you know that I have been trying to get my A1C down, not only for health reasons, but for family planning reasons as well. I talked about how I do my A1C countdowns and that my last week’s endo appointment lab result would determine my starting point result with the new Dexcom. This morning, I went and got my mail from the post office and there was a letter from my doctors office. I opened it up and it was my lab result.




Okay, so it may not have been as beautiful and flowery, but to me, it was the best thing I had ever seen. My A1C, to my recollection, has never been this low. Now, I know I have a lot of work to do to get it below 6, but I believe that it can be done.  So, until December, I will be counting down the days, keeping a very close eye on my glucose, and doing the best I can to get an even lower number.

And, by the way, there are 85 days to go.

How I Look Isn’t Always How I Feel.

This week is, as a lot of other d-bloggers have posted, Invisible Illness Week. So, since others were making their posts, I decided to work on one myself.

Diabetes is invisible to anyone that doesn’t have it or to anyone who isn’t a caretaker of a diabetic (i.e., a parent, spouse, family). After sitting down and trying to think of what a “normal” person would see if they were to see me on any given day, I thought it would be interesting to cross reference it to what is going on with what’s really happening:

A low:

A low to you looks like several different things. I am (a) tired (b) mad at anything that makes a sound because I just want to be a pain in the butt, (c) on a serious food binge, (d) drunk, (e) confused because I must have just had a brain fart, or (f) completely normal.

This is how I feel: I am (a) dizzy, (b) panicked because I don’t know how fast my glucose is dropping, (c) confused and frustrated because I can’t do the math in my head to calculate how much glucose I need to bring up my low without over correcting and going too high, (d) unable to see correctly because now my vision is either going gray peripherally or directly in front of me, (e) weird inside, and any sound tends to be amplified and it makes me feel as if everything is closing in on me, or (f)upset, mad, and teary-eyed because of how the low really just takes everything out of me and makes me feel like I am sick, and at times, worthless.

A high:

A high to you looks like a few things too. I am (a) lazy, (b) ill-mannered, (c) drinking lots of water because I am trying to drink more water and not soda, or (d) normal.

A high makes me feel (a) VERY thirsty, (b) VERY tired, (c) very irritable, (d) sick, (e) worried because I cannot get my glucose down within range, and sometimes I feel (f) normal as if I weren’t high.

So, if you look at it from the “what you see is what you get” standpoint with diabetes, you never get what you see. You get a friend, husband, wife, mom, daughter, son, or coworker that is like you, but a little different. You get someone who has trouble with glucose levels that can make them do weird things and act some wacky ways some times, of which they have no control over at the current moment. You have someone who is day in and day out fighting to stay alive and sane throughout the madness of the disease. The only difference is, you cannot see it. It’s invisible to you. Not because the outward signals and signs don’t present themselves, but they present themselves in a way that could be misinterpreted or not noticed at all.

I am a daughter, wife, coworker, sister, and mom to 2 cats. I am a singer, pianist, choir director, photographer, insurance agent, computer and iPhone junkie. I am also a person with diabetes. If you are someone close to me, you know this already. But if you are not, you may never know unless you are told because on the outside I look normal. I look healthy. But I am not.

And so it begins… Again.

a1c result 1I am currently awaiting my results for my A1C from the blood work done Monday. My doctor’s office usually calls me within a few days to let me know the results, so right now, I am on pins and needles until I get the result (of which I will let you guys know and update it here as soon as I know!).

Not that any other result doesn’t matter, but this one REALLY matters to me. Why? Because it will officially be my starting point with the Dexcom sensor. Yep, that’s right. My Dexter was approved and started coloring my bg lines a week ago today. So, Monday being only two days ago, I am using it as an official starting point since I really don’t think five days of being on a CGM can really impact a three month average that much.

Already in one week I have seen where I need to make some changes. Not only with basal rates, bolus ratios, and correction factors, but also with diet. I have asked several people this and each one has their own theory of why it happens, but I apparently cannot consume dairy products. Every time I ate cheese, ice cream, or drank milk, my glucose would skyrocket from normal range of 80-ish into the 25-320 range! NOT GOOD! So, I have removed dairy from my diet as best I could. I have switched to soy milk (had to learn to bolus for that one too… can’t do a straight bolus, but have to go 70% upfront and 30% over 2 hours), and I have severely limited my cheese intake. Which, I know too much cheese is not good, but you have to understand. Cheese is my friend. Cheese was my comfort food after a long day at work. It was what I ran to the fridge for to cut a hunk of and relax in front of the t.v. and eat. I always thought that was much better than grabbing a big bag of chips or the tub of ice cream. I guess not.

Dairy was my first shocking “off-limits” discovery, and I’m sure there will be more to come. I have a lot to learn. Using a CGM isn’t perfect, but it does help fill in the gaps and helps to show you things you’ve never noticed before. My next appointment is set for December 15th. I am going to do my best to get an A1C below 7 next time.

And so my countdown begins again.

90 days to go…

Starting to color with my Crayolas

double duty Today marks the day that I started using my Dexcom Seven+.

I can tell you that I am honestly like a kid at Christmas when waiting for this kind of thing. Last night was terrible. The minutes and hours just seemed to DRAG by. Even today, the time between 8am and 1:30pm was SO long. I do declare that time pauses for those in anticipation just to pick at us.

My trainer turned out to be a really a nice lady. She actually explained that her two daughters and her husband all have type 1 diabetes. They all use a Dexcom and her daughters are currently on shot therapy for a vacation from the pump. After learning this, in a way, I looked at her differently. She doesn’t just sell this product, she uses and sees this thing personally with not only one person, but three. I took her advice more to heart with different tips she gave me.

Anyway, the time went by with the trainer very fast. She started off explaining the Dexcom receiver to me. I know it’s her job, but I had already read every bit of material they had sent twice or more and played with the receiver to set alarms (I know, that’s a no-no, but I couldn’t help it!!!) Then we got down to business. We got everything set up with the insertion device, got the Skin Tac placed, placed the insertion device right where it was needed. I pulled the safety latch out and got ready to push the plunger, and I wimped out. ME! You’d think after all these years of poking needles in me, I wouldn’t be nervous. Then, before I knew it, she pushed the plunger and it was in. I am here to profess to everyone of you who is reading this, I AM A DOWNRIGHT, HONEST-TO-GOODNESS CHICKEN!!! I felt so silly after it was in and all was done that I was that scared of it.

It was activated at around 2:30, so by 4:30, I should be able to do my calibration entries. Then I should be able to see my trends come up.  I’ll be starting to color with my Crayolas! How cool is that?!?!? I’ll write later and post some pics of my trends later.

(OH, by the way, for those of you who remember the A1C countdown blog, I officially have 5 days left. My appointment is Monday, so I will be getting it done then. It usually takes a couple of days to get the results, so in a week from today, I should have my new number to tell you guys!)

I got the Crayola!

I GOT THE CRAYOLA! MOM GOT ME THE CRAYOLA!!! (If you’re confused, please refer to my prior post about Comparing CGM’s to Crayons)

I went home Monday and had a message on my phone that Dexcom had called. I called back and couldn’t speak with the rep that hand been handling my case, so I talked with the gentleman who answered the phone. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: I was calling ( my rep ) because she just called me and I missed her call. Can you please look and see what she may have been calling about?

Rep: Yes, give me just a moment. Ah, it looks as if she was calling to let you know we have your approval and we were going ahead with the shipping details.

Me: Are you sure? It’s actually approved? You aren’t just looking at where they verified the benefits? The insurance company wrote back and approved it?

Rep: Yes, that’s what I think it’s saying, but if you would like for me to have ( my rep) return your call, I’d be glad to do so.

Me: Yes, please. I’ve already left her a voicemail, but that would be okay too.

~End of conversation

So, I waited an hour and didn’t hear anything back. I was like a little kid at Christmas. That hour may as well been a whole day… or week. Lots of clothes got folded during that time (when I’m anxious or mad, I clean). 

I later decided to call back and I finally got my rep. She was so nice. She confirmed that everything had been approved by insurance that morning and they were set to send everything out. I wasn’t expecting a decision that soon!  And neither was my rep. She said it was the fastest turn around she had seen. I was floored!  We got everything squared away and my brand new Dexcom Seven+ meter is now on it’s way. It is set to arrive Friday, but since I will not be here to receive it, I have called FedEx to hold it until Tuesday.

I have also already contacted my trainer and she will be here on the 9th if the shipment works out as planned, so, fingers crossed, I will be CGMing on Tuesday of next week!!!It's here!

**9/3/09 It is here!!! Now, to wait on training!! I will put up a new blog post when the training is completed along with pictures. Thanks you guys for all your support!!!

Having my cake and eating it too!

1245941805XiCGtiToday, I am celebrating my 25th birthday. I am at that age where people start dreading getting older because the only thing they have to look forward to is trying to unsuccessfully stop time even up until the night before the big 3-0. I, on the other hand, am not. I see birthdays as a celebration, no matter what the age may be.

For my birthday, I have a goal to not overly worry about my diabetes on this day. Of course, I am not going to go overboard and just completely ignore it (and, yes, tomorrow, I’ll go back to being my regular diabetes worrier and freak out over any bg reading that is out of line), but I am not going to let it take first place today. I will go out and enjoy every minute of my day to the best of my ability. Not only because birthdays are days for family, friends, and cake and ice cream, but because it is a reminder that I have, for one more day, lived to see another year into my life. Diabetes takes a lot out of you, it causes damage if not controlled, and some even lose their lives to it. But, today, God has let me cross that mid-twenty mark. I am alive, and, outside of diabetes, I am well.  I am thankful for every minute, day, and year I have lived. So tonight, when me and my hubby go out for my celebratory dinner (not forgetting to count my carbs carefully), I will order desert, I will order cake and I will eat it too! 🙂

Comparing CGMs to Crayons…

The start of this adventure was back in December of 2008 after I started on my OmniPod system. I was getting much better control with this pump because, unlike my prior pump, this one had things like “Insulin on Board”, “Bolus Calculator”, and all that good stuff, not to mention, it was the perfect, closed loop system in my opinion because the PDM had the built in monitor as well. Everything could be kept in a neat, nice little pouch inside of my purse.

Well, as always with getting better, lower numbers, you also get more of the not so good, lower low numbers as well. I could deal with them at the time because there were only a few per week, or I’d only have one really bad day in the week where they just wouldn’t come up. But as with any time you make adjustments to lower the still-high-highs, you are more prone to getting the lows. Well, over time, I am losing the ability to tell when I am dropping low. It’s not quite as bad as some, but where I used to be able to feel a low coming on in the 80-70 range, it’s now down to the 50-40 range, and that, to me, is scary. I have a fear that I will drop too low and not be able to tell anyone what is happening or what to do. I’ve heard many of the horror stories of people passing out, and I have done so myself, and that is something I do not wish to revisit again. So, I decided to apply for a Freestyle Navigator CGM. I chose this one because it would take the same strips as my OmniPod PDM. We filed the paperwork, hassled with my unwilling doctor to get the papers signed, and waited for approval.

The weeks went by and finally I got a call from Abbott that said my insurance had denied my request due to lack of medical necessity. Okay, first off, I would like to know what doctor read my file and said that I, a diabetic of 20+ years, could not show evidence through my testing that I needed a CGM. It’s kind of like when you are a kid and you want to get crayons from the store. You want the best… you want Crayola. But your mom says, “no, these are just as good”, and gets you the dollar store waxy crayons that when you color with them, you get more wax than color on your paper. You are asking the insurance company for the Crayola… The insurance company basically says no and gives you the waxy crayon… They say “No, you can manage your glucose just as well with only doing 8-10 checks a day as opposed to having 288 readings per day, and you should have no problem attaining a great A1C to reflect it.” We were going to file for an appeal, but I never received the papers in the mail. I decided just to give it a rest and try to do my best on my own. Since then, the aim for tighter numbers has given me more lows, still in the 50-40 range, but with less symptoms than before, and also leaving me with killer headaches. Ones that have even recently caused me to lose time work because they would physically make me too sick to work. I looked over my readings on my CoPilot system, and it showed a LOT of lows in the below 50 range happening more frequently than before, most of them unnoticed…

I submitted paperwork back on the 11th of this month to Dexcom to try for their 7Plus CGM since there are reports that they are teaming up with Insulet to somehow integrate the two systems. This morning, the representative informed me that they have already verified my benefits, and were waiting on a fax from my doctors office (a new doctor, due to problems with my old doctor, we switched. That will be covered in another blog. My new one is much better and is in favor of and promotes CGMs as well), then they were submitting everything they had to my insurance company for preauthorization. So the wait begins. I am hopeful… wishful… and am being as patient as I can possibly be right now.

A1c Countdown

blood_viles So, as a diabetic, we know that every three months the wonderful a1c test rolls around to tell our doctors how we have been doing since our last visit three months prior.

I always dreaded my a1c tests. I would do anything to get out of going. Fake sick, be out of town, absolutely could not get out of work that day… all because I knew when I went, I would have a high result. I would even try to cram in the best numbers I could get the month before the visit so my doctor wouldn’t fuss for me not having enough readings ( I would actually go an entire week without testing at times before this month came!!! AAAH!!) and causing the high numbers. And truth be known, I was just in denial of what was really going on. I was diabetic, always had been, I just didn’t want to be. I thought if I just ignored it, it wouldn’t matter and I’d be just fine. After all, I had lived this long, why would anything happen to me if I continued on? Well, I am here to say that I was terribly wrong. You can’t hide from diabetes, it’s a part of you. You can’t ignore it, it will let itself be known one way or another. When I finally opened my eyes, I realized what I was doing to myself. I didn’t know just how terrible I felt everyday until I started doing what I was supposed to do. I also didn’t realize the damage that was being done…

My turning point came after I turned 23 (19 years post-diagnosis). After being married for a few months, conversations started to lead to the subject of pregnancy at some point in the next few years. I knew I had always been told that your a1c has to be perfect before getting pregnant, so I started testing and doing as told. Now, my a1c is not perfect, but it is improving.  The damage that was being done has reversed. The tables of diabetes are being turned. I am now controlling my diabetes, it’s not controlling me. The biggest improvement is that now, I look forward to my doctor visits and a1c tests. I even have a countdown clock on my computer desktop that tells me how many days I have left to go until the next appointment and test. I am excited and have fingers crossed that it will be better than the last one. I may not be on target yet, but if I’m even just a smidge closer or even right where I was last time, I will see it as having done a good job. And if it’s higher, I may throw a little fit at first, but I will pick myself up and start my countdown again. Life is too precious to not take care of yourself and enjoy it.

By the way, as of today, I have 31 one days left on my countdown. Check back in late September for the result!

The diabetic pincushions

This week has been rather challenging for me. Other than the normal stresses of work and family, diabetes has decided to really throw me for a loop.

The past few weeks, looking over my CoPilot software that I upload my PDM to, I have had quite a number of “green numbers” (you know, the good ones…. the ones that fall within range). Yes, there have been a few outside of it, but it is a very exciting thing to see when you upload your readings to find yourself looking at a sea of green blocks showing how good you have managed yourself recently.

Well, that streak ended yesterday morning. I did my usual routine of getting up and getting ready for work, checking glucose before breakfast only to be shocked to see “341mg/dl” come on my screen in big bold numbers. I was very upset to say the least. I changed my insulin pod, corrected and decided to wait a few hours before eating breakfast to be sure the ghastly number was on it’s way down. I was finally getting really hungry, so I checked at the two hour marker only to be further disappointed with a 374mg/dl!! I could not believe what I was seeing! My mouth literally fell open! What is going on here? Thought to myself, well, maybe the pod change is just delaying the absorption a little, I’ll wait a little longer…. 398mg/dl was the next reading. By this time, I had enough of the highs and removed the pod and went on pen shots. Took my Lantus for basal and Apidra for correction and went about my business. By the end of the day, after my fingers felt sore from all the pricking and checking every hour or so, I was back to normal (or close enough to it) that I thought, “FINALLY, we’re out of the woods!”….

Not so. This morning, once again, bg was 300mg/dl. “WHAT? NOT THIS AGAIN”, I thought to myself. “Why” was the only question that was crossing my mind. I thought I had fixed it. I went on the pens… carefully took the right amount at each poke of the needle… bg was great before bed. So, I did the same as yesterday, I tried to postpone breakfast to see if it would come down after a correction shot… and it did, some. 237 was my number after waiting an hour. Being very aggravated and hungry at this point, I decided to eat a light snack. 2 hours later, I’m back at 317… 30 minutes later, 310…. not much was changing and I was getting sick. That icky feeling you get when your glucose is high for too long. I had enough. I called the doctors office and got a call back in an hour asking me to come in. He looked at everything, checked me out for sickness, and could not conclude what was going on either, so we bumped up my basal rates and we’re changing my insulin brand to Novolog at my next pod change. He attributes the highs to heat. It is possible, so we’ll see I guess. Bg did finally reach 152, but is going back up. Currently at 178mg/dl. So with the insulin resistance going in high gear these few days, I may be switching back to pens and changing a few other factors (like insulin to carb ratios, correction factors, that kind of thing) until this wave is over.

Looking at my fingers and my arm, I look as if I have been made into a pincushion. All of my fingers have little freckles from all the pokes and my arms have tiny little bruise spots from the shots. It reminds me a lot of how a pincushion looks after a seamstress has used one a few times with all the new holes left from the needles being stuck in it. Of course, they get worn after a while and you can’t tell it, but it’s the new ones you can really see it on. This week, I have used fingers I usually don’t use to test with.. they are my little pincushions… the diabetic’s pincushions.