Experiencing the Worse than You Syndrome Firsthand

Yesterday, I wrote about my long process of being given two new diagnoses of GERD and mild Gastroparesis. It took 5 months find answers, and the time between appointments was not fun at all.

So, during this time, I reached out to others in the gastro-world – just like so many in the diabetes online community have to find their way in their own new diagnoses. When I had my results from the gastric emptying scan, I joined a few groups on Facebook, looking for some feedback. It was then I felt so upset. I left one within 2 hours of joining because of the feedback I received.

I didn’t qualify to be in it.

One even said I didn’t have gastroparesis – everything was normal. That I was fine and overreacting.

I was looking for answers because I was new to this and confused. I didn’t have my own official diagnosis but I did have the test results (the radiology tech gave me the numbers after each scan). But rather than being met with support in their “support” group, I was met with comparisons of how others’ situations were so much worse (the “Worse than You” syndrome), and posts to basically say that my results weren’t a big deal. Which I knew they were only mild, but I wanted to connect with others who also had mild GP. To know what changes I needed to make, and what to expect. To find tips and tricks of things that helped them. To know if this was something that was pretty steady or a progressive condition. I knew I couldn’t have been the only one. But right off the bat, I had the feeling that I didn’t belong. That I didn’t “qualify” because I didn’t have a result of severe gastroparesis.

It was then, more than ever, that the anger of how some with Type 2 diabetes feel within the space of the Diabetes Online Community. Especially by some of those with Type 1 who can be not so nice. The ones who find it all too easy to point fingers and say, “Well, I have type 1 and so it’s not my fault and mine is so much more severe than yours,” or “You don’t know what it’s really like because all you have to do is modify and monitor your diet!” or “I wish I could just take a pill and be okay – you have no idea what it’s like to do all that it takes for us with real diabetes (like — seriously — what does that even mean!!??)” (And yes, I’ve really seen those statements being made.)

Similarly, in this group, because I didn’t have a very large amount left after 4 hours during my emptying scan, or because I wasn’t on a liquid diet or had any of the other equipment that some have to have when gastroparesis is very severe, I felt as if I didn’t have “real” gastroparesis. I have the equivalent of a Type 2 that only as to check their BG once a day and change their diet. But that doesn’t mean diabetes doesn’t affect their lives. They still do have that daily reminder. They do still have to go to a doctor for check-ups. They do still have to think of the worry of their condition possibly requiring more attention over time. And for most, it’s a completely new way of learning and getting used to different food and exercises.

There are many people with new diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes that have to go through the same guilt, frustration, and feeling of “what do I do now??” And now, having experienced a similar situation, I can personally see where so many would just rather not be in the mix.

And no, I’m not upset or, what is the term? Butthurt, I think is it? But it does make me concerned that we may be missing an opportunity to support and be there for some in the Type 2 community who simply just need to hear: “It’s okay, we’re here if you need us.”

While the urgency to know and learn about the two has two different pathways, both are changes in life – sometimes pretty big changes. Both can be traumatic at first. Both can be confusing and frustrating. But both deserve support and care. No one should feel like they need to “qualify” at some level to be in a general (name your condition) support group when they have real, legitimate questions or feelings of “what now?”

I’m glad to have known some in the DOC who also have GP that I could turn to and ask questions about their diagnosis and things they needed to change. Otherwise, I’d still probably be lost, especially since Dr. Google will have you losing.your.mind.

Coming to Grips with Another Diabetes Complication

In May, I was sitting at home, working away, when suddenly my heart started racing. My chest hurt, my shoulder hurt, my neck felt as if someone was squeezing it. I was trying not to panic because I knew it would just make things worse.

Frantically, I searched for the symptoms of heart attacks in women. The worst of the pain was in my neck region, which didn’t really fit anything I found.

It didn’t feel like heartburn – I had experienced many levels of heartburn before, so this wasn’t it. It went on for days. I suddenly couldn’t drink soda or flavored drinks or eat very much without chest and throat pain. Many foods just didn’t work with my tummy any longer.

I called my primary care physician and went to him that day. I described what happened, and all he could say was it was possibly GERD. So, since I had already tried things like Tums and Zantac (on a whim), he said to just start taking Prevacid and see how things were. If not any better in two weeks, to come back.

Two weeks later, still in pain, I went back, and he simply said: “Okay, let’s try another brand”, so we went to Nexium.

Two weeks later, I was back. It’s still not helped as much as I would hope, although it was a bit better. So, the next step was an upper endoscopy. We had already checked for H-pylori and celiac, both of which came back negative.

The upper endoscopy came and went, and although the doctor told us “all was clear”, it did reveal a small hiatal hernia. When looking up symptoms, it did answer a LOT of questions.

So, the diagnosis, for the time being, was GERD (even though I didn’t feel any “heartburn” caused by the hernia, and likely what I felt was an esophageal spasm, which is triggered by GERD, and can be very painful and explain the sudden heart racing experience. Just like a strained muscle, it can take a long time to get better.

I was given another medication, Carafate, to take before meals to help even more since the Nexium still wasn’t enough, and was scheduled for a gastric emptying scan. The doctor wanted to rule out gastroparesis before trying another medication that would replace both the Nexium and Carafate, but can’t be taken if you have gastroparesis.

I went in for the scan thinking all would be fine. I ate the egg mixture and took my picture. I waited for the next picture 30 minutes later… and the next and the next…. up to 2 hours. The tech was nice, but also had me concerned, progressively asking questions as we took more photos: how long have you had diabetes? Do you know anything about gastroparesis? Do you take any medications to slow digestion? How well controlled is your diabetes?

At the 2 hour scan, I didn’t meet the requirements to stop the test. Nor at 3 hours. And not at 4, though, they stop the test anyway.

I knew what it meant, but I didn’t want to think about it. I had already been searching Google to know the criteria. I knew I hadn’t met it, but I didn’t want to *know* it. All I could think was I had failed. Another complication. Another failure in my medical history for doctors who don’t have a clue to be able to judge me by.

It took over a month to get the “official” paperwork because the gastroenterologist went on vacation for an extended period of time when I the day after I had the test done. I finally was able to get the paperwork:

Mildly Delayed Gastric Emptying

In other words, mild gastroparesis.

Which means, I can’t take the other medication.

Which means, I have both GERD and mild GP – both of which are associated complications of having diabetes for a long period of time.

I have learned that I need to remain on Nexium probably for the foreseeable future, which isn’t terrible. I’ve also learned the hard way that keeping blood sugars under 150mg/dL for *me* seems to keep away the GP symptoms (that I didn’t realize I even had until I was beginning to feel better).  If I don’t do those two things, I begin feeling miserable again.

I’ve also learned I need to give up on thinking its just a short-term thing. I thought I would be ok after I forgot to bring my my medicine on my trip to Vienna, and by the last day of my trip, I was not feeling well at all. I had also been higher than usual due to my stress of traveling, so both the mix of being in the 150-250 range just made for an uncomfortable time. Food was not my friend. I didn’t let it stop me from enjoying my time there, though.

So while I do have two new things to add to my list of complications, I’m very appreciative that they are not severe. I’m thankful that they are something I can live with and know how to take care of, and I know that there can be flare-ups (like I have right now due to my own fault), but it’s not something I can’t handle. I’m also very thankful to have the 670G pump because it has helped me TREMENDOUSLY in the last few months that I’ve been in auto mode.  The lower amounts of swings in my BG has helped to cut down on the symptoms, which I will be forever grateful.

I know I’ve been silent, but it’s something I wanted to process on my own. I’ve had to work through a lot of guilt. I’m thankful to have very close friends who have helped me deal with the mental aspect that comes with this new world as well.

I’m ok. I’m not going to let it get me down. I’m still determined to live the best I can.

My New Boyfriend, the Medtronic 670G

I have been a bit quiet lately, and that is mostly because I have wanted to give the 670G a chance with out diving in with posts. That, and I simply haven’t had time. I am happily busy with work and raising a family, which is what currently occupies most of my attention.

So, I started on the 670G on August 1st, and stayed in manual mode for 2 weeks. I believe that helped me a lot, especially since the 670G works differently than even the 630G. However, even from starting on the 670G, things were getting better. This is because the pump suspends insulin before I hit my low limit, AND it stays off only as long as I need it to. SO, If I only needed it paused for 30 minutes, that’s all it would suspend for, and my basal would be automatically resumed. (Unlike the 530G and 630G where it would stay on for the full 2 hours and stay that way). So right away, my rebounds were so much smoother, and I could treat with less carbs.

I have to admit — I was super scared going into auto mode. I seriously didn’t think I wanted to even use it. But, I went in and went through with it, and I’m so glad I did.

Now — here is where the title reference comes in. While I was at AADE, I talked with a Medtronic rep for a long time about auto mode. She told me the best advice she has been able to give her patients is to look at the system like starting a brand new relationship. ( I mean, what first date doesn’t try to “sell” you and exaggerate their features a bit teensy when you meet them?) You have to give it time and patience. With that in mind, and comments from others to say that it takes about a month to three months to get the system adjusted to you, I didn’t go into it with expectations that flipping me over to auto mode would be a cruise-control switch, because it’s not.

Here is my assessment: The 670G in auto mode is an automatic basal control pump. There is no worry over increasing or decreasing basals or suspending if needed. It does most all of the background work for you. The key to making this system work it’s best is to be sure your insulin-to-carb ratio and correction factor is as close to accurate as possible. The only problem there is that a lot of times, our basal rates, even just a tiny bit, may be masking part of what you need as a bolus. So that is the part that takes the most time to adjust. I just made abig adjustment to my breakfast IC ratio and it helped a LOT.

Now, this may not seem like much, but honestly, this system has helped me so much, I don’t know that I could go back to a standard pump. I mean, I would if I had to, but this system has helped to ease SO much of the mental burden that is there on a daily basis. I don’t have those glorious flat pattern days just yet, but not going from the 40’s to the 400’s day after day is a HUGE help.

I uploaded my pump last night and ran a comparison between the last two weeks and the two weeks prior. There are still bumps and things, but my stats have improved a lot, without much change in how I do things at all:

You can see, I’m slowly getting more green on that graph 🙂 That is an 11% increase of time-in-range in just 2 weeks. I’m sure I could get it even higher if I really buckle down on things like pre-bolusing. I have also been so busy some days that I forget to bolus, and I won’t remember until I get my high alarm. So cracking down on that will help too I’m sure.

My estimated A1c has also dropped 0.5%.

I’m not the OCD PWD that I used to be. I don’t have the time to sit down, upload, and analyze like I used to. My A1c has been hovering much higher than I feel comfortable with. So, if you are someone coming from using the pump with already great control, there will be an adjustment period where your numbers will be higher because the system will try to be conservative while it learns you. This is where a lot of new users are getting frustrated because they expect it to be great for them right off the bat, when in reality, there is the same learning curve for the in-control crowd as there is the not-so-in-control crowd (like myself) Since I was already staying high all too much of the time, I didn’t notice the curve as much.

Now, I’m staying in-range roughly 80% of the time, and my lows and highs have been reduced for sure. I’m gaining my ability to feel lows slowly again. And, as a matter of fact, most of the time, I don’t even know I’ve had a low unless I look at my pump. By the time I do, the system has taken care of it for me. Only the big ones that come from really miscalculating carbs are the ones I know about.

What about the sensor? The accuracy?

So, a lot of what I am loving is that I’m not having to “give up” anything by coming over from Dexcom to their Guardian 3 sensor. Even the improved Enlite wasn’t as good as the Guardian! I do change out my sensor every 7 days just because I feel better to not extend a sensor that my pump is relying on readings from. It’s my own personal quirk, I guess.

I’m still uploading photos to my @sugarandsites Instagram photo feed though if you’d like to see them in comparison to my meter, and a brilliant lady also created a hashtag #medtronicaccuracy if you’d like to take a peek at those.

But in short, I’m getting the same accuracy from the Guardian 3 as I did with Dexcom, and I follow the same “rules” as I did with Dexcom. I wear the sensor on my thigh or my arm, never my belly (they just do NOT work there for me). I calibrate in the morning, in the afternoon, and before bed, and with no arrows. It’s really not that big of a deal. While at AADE, I wore my Dexcom so that my family at home could see my numbers (I hadn’t gotten my Nightscout set up yet), and there were times when the Guardian 3 was even closer to my BG meter than Dexcom. So, in my view, there is no longer a question about accuracy comparison.

Of course, I’m sure you all may have more questions for me, and if you do, please let me know! I’m more than happy to reply and give my experiences with the system so far.

Always Double-Check Your Replacement Insulin Pump Settings!

I’ve had many replacement pumps in my years of pumping. To my recollection, I had:

  • 1 Disetronic replacement
  • 1 Accu-chek Spirit replacement
  • 1 Animas Ping replacement
  • 2 Medtronic Revel replacements
  • 5 or 6 Tandem t:slim replacements
  • and now, I’m on my second Medtronic 630G replacement.

So, as it should seem, I’m pretty well-versed at what to do. You know, upload the old pump if possible to save all of the history and settings. Once you have the replacement in-hand, go through the process of setting up the pump using that data you uploaded. However, I’m not usually one to look at the upload because my settings are simple and straightforward.

And, until this week, I have never missed a setting.

Rewind to Tuesday. I had missed the initial delivery of the 630G pump replacement because I had to take my daughter to her check up (which had gone well). I rushed to try to make it home so to avoid another hour-long trip to go pick it up, but alas, I missed them. And, at the time, I didn’t think I would be home Wednesday at the time they were going to deliver it, so we made the trip to go get it. Which, we almost didn’t, because UPS had some sort of problem releasing my package and I came thiiiiiiis close to almost having had it sent back, even though it was sitting right there in front of me. But, in a miracle event, somehow the UPS clerk was able to get it to release and we went home.

It was late, so I went through the settings to get it started up. I was more worried about whether I could save my 2-day old sensor than anything, which where the problem came in at. I rushed through my settings, forgetting ONE very important one.

For the last few mornings, I’ve been waking up with very high blood sugars. Wednesday, I thought it was my panic attack over the low I had to which I ate way more than I should have, but forgot to correct for after I started coming up. So, I was almost 600 mg/dL when I awoke and sick as ever.

But I came down within a few hours with some rather large boluses. I thought that would be normal since once I’m over 250 mg/dL, I typically need to add more to the dose.

I had been staying a bit high through the day, but I had been stressed a lot lately, and drinking way more coffee than water, so I thought that must have been the trouble.

Wednesday night before bed, I was high, but again, not terribly, so I took a bolus and increased my basal rate.

Thursday morning, I was almost 400 when I woke up, despite an increased basal rate and a bolus around 4am.

My day went relatively the same as Wednesday. My son had his summer reading camp awards ceremony that morning, and when I got home, it was full-steam into work-mode, with lots of coffee and Diet Coke. I still thought it was strange I was struggling to bring down some highs, but I mean, it could be anything, right?

I could be getting sick… It could be about the time for a mid-cycle bump due to ovulation… It could be that I really need some water in my veins….soooo many things!

So, last night, before bed, I took a bolus yet again for an almost 300 high (we had also eaten canteloupe and watermelon a couple hours before) that I thought should have been down by then, and I set a 125% basal rate, and went to bed.

This morning, I woke up sick yet again, and clocked in at 398 mg/gL. So, I uploaded my pump to see if I could spot anything at all that could be the cause. Then, that’s when I saw it.

I had a 0u basal rate.


Again, I have had wayyyy to many replacement pumps in my life, and settings are crucial to set right away. Basal is almost always my very first one to set. I have NO idea how that happened. I’m still kicking myself. I mean, it’s set for sure now, but HOW ON EARTH!??? DID I MISS THAT!? Also, hoooowwww could I not realize that before? I mean, does that mean I, indeed, have too high of an insulin-to-carb ratio? So. many. questions!

So the moral of this story, kids: always have a check list. Always go back in and review those settings. Don’t think because you’ve done it lots of times before, that you’re impervious to a mistake like this.

Which leads me to a pump manufacturer request: Please make a plug-and-program option into your pump software? That would make switching over so much easier, and reduce human error such as this! Please, thank you 🙂


Our Decision to Switch to Medtronic Minimed 630G Insulin Pump – Part 2

This part may be a bit long, so go get some coffee and settle in. There is a lot to cover here 🙂

Ahhhh….coffeeeeeee…. (Pixabay)

I started on the Medtronic 630G pump on 5/1/17 – the day I received it. This is a bonus of having a small endo office – they can pretty much work you in at any time for device training.

So, in the boxes were the pump box, sensor box, and meter box. Along with lots of papers and training books. I had also already watched the training videos and played with a demo too, so I had a general idea of what to expect.

Using the pump wasn’t my concern at all since it worked pretty similar to other pumps — it delivers insulin based on your settings. Okay, no biggie. The biggie for me was whether I could trust the CGM or not. This is a big question for many, especially if you are die-hard dedicated Dexcom user as well.

See, I had the 530G before with Enlite. I did not have good success at all. It was rarely correct, and I was going through sensors every 3 or so days. It wasn’t worth the hassle it was giving me. But, I had been keeping my eye on the 630G since it was available, and I wanted to see what other’s were experiencing. The consensus was that the 630G was much better somehow. I believe they updated the algorithm a bit, and it was supposed to be a vast improvement.

The game-changer that helped the transition:

I made the decision that others had (CarolCluka and CoolReeRee ) to keep my Dexcom sensor attached until I was fully comfortable. This lasted about 3 weeks. I kept my Dexcom connected to my Glooko account because I can connect Glooko to Medtronic Carelink, and I could see how they both compared. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least:

Of course, there are times when the sensors didn’t line up perfectly, but as you can see, they’re pretty on-point with each other.

I’ve had pretty good success, and so much that I disconnected from my Dexcom after 3 weeks and felt completely comfortable doing so.

The good, the bad, and the tips…

Now, let me tell you… it hasn’t been all cupcakes and rainbows for the last almost-two-months. I did go through about a week or so of wildly inaccurate readings. So much that I reconnected my Dexcom. See, the problem is that you cannot jump into the Medtronic system with the experience of Dexcom. You have to wipe that mindset out and start over.

First and foremost, you have to calibrate at least twice a day, but it is recommended to be 3 times at a minimum, and 4 max. So, I’ve developed a routine – I calibrate when I wake up, again before lunch, and before bed. The system stays pretty accurate if I do that, which is no problem really, because it’s not hard to do. I’ve never been one to feel comfortable enough to dose off of my Dexcom, so I always test before eating. All it takes is a click to calibrate, and then a click to go to the bolus wizard. No big deal at all.

Second, there are rules: (I’m sure they could apply to Dexcom too to help make it be more accurate, but these are sort of a must-follow in my opinion if you are on Medtronic’s system)

  1. Follow the “B” rule when learning your own calibration schedule: Before breakfast, before lunch, before supper, before bed. Find three of those that fit YOUR schedule and when you know you’ll be least likely to be trending wildly (aka – no arrows)
  2. Do NOT calibrate if you have bolused in the last 2 hours. The sensor is less likely to be as accurate since you have bolused in that time, and a calibration could confuse the sensor.
  3. If the sensor is “off”, especially when waking up first thing in the morning, try drinking some water and walk around a bit. This gets the interstitial fluid moving around the sensor again. It will likely re-align itself within 30 minutes or so.
  4. Be patient. I cannot stress this enough. If coming from Dexcom, you may be used to the instantaneous calibrations. The sensor can take 10-15 minutes to accept a calibration, especially if the values are very different (up to 60mg/dL). If it is above 60mg/dL, try the drinking and walking bit. If it doesn’t realign, call tech support for help or a new sensor. They can help you upload your pump and look for specific things that could be interfering with the sensor communication.
  5. When inserting the sensor and taping, BE GENTLE! Taping the sensor head down too hard or pulling the transmitter tape flap too hard and tight on top of the transmitter can cause the sensor to pull out just a bit from the skin, which can cause big trouble. If you set it up softly, it will be nice to you.

After I called tech support, I found that I was being too rough with taping, and not being patient with the calibrations. Since then, I’ve been able to go back to Enlight sensor values only, and it’s been just as good as it was when I first started. Heck, it’s even caught real, legit lows that the Dexcom didn’t.

In the past couple of months, I have been greatly impressed with the CGM of the Medtronic 630G pump. I’ve caught myself at times in awe of it, really.

Why the 630G now and not wait for the 670G?

One question I was asked already on Facebook was “why not wait until the 670G?” The reason is that I wasn’t sure I could trust the sensor to make the call to give me insulin if I were going above range. Cutting off my basal for a couple of hours is one thing — giving me insulin when I don’t need it is a whole other realm, and I wanted to be sure I could trust the system. I am on the list for the 670G, and I should be able to get it next month once my sensor order is due (that’s how they time when you get it if you’re on the pathway program).

I am on the list for the 670G, and I should be able to get it next month once my sensor order is due (that’s how they time when you get it if you’re on the pathway program). I can use the pump similar to how the 630G works now when I get it, and then wait to be trained on “auto-mode” later. I am cautiously excited to see how it works, but I’m also not going to be entirely upset if it doesn’t live up to the hype I’ve seen. Mostly, because I know the experience is going to be different for everyone, and I know it can be a learning curve even if you’re coming over from the 630G.

And, to be completely honest, it would be the same hesitancy whether it was the Medtronic system or one that incorporated Dexcom. Anything that augments how my insulin is delivered, I’m going to be very hesitant about. I guess I’m just old-fashioned and have been burned by eagerness one too many times.

Where to view more if you’re interested:

I’ve been trying to keep this to myself and a few close friends in the beginning just in case this new experience caused me to be upset and disappointed. I prepared myself for the worst, thinking it would be no different than the 530G. Maybe that’s why I’m so much more surprised than I thought I would be.

So, instead of blowing up their phones with text or Facebook messages, I decided to revive my Sugar and Sites domain for Instagram and Tumblr, and get my thoughts out there.

You can click on the image and it will take you to the Instagram page I’ve been using. Let me know in the comments what you think, and if you have any other questions. From those, I’ll make a Part 3.

Which brings me to my next thought: I may begin transitioning from Sugabetic to Sugar and Sites overtime. I’ll still keep Sugabetic alive, but maybe on a free WordPress site. I’ll handle the transition as smoothly as possible, but there may be a few days that things will be down. Until then, feel free to follow me on IG for updates about the pump experience 🙂 


Our Decision to Switch to Medtronic Minimed 630G Insulin Pump – Part 1

A few months ago, I was at home with the kids, and didn’t feel quite right. After a quick fingerstick, I saw that I was in the 20’s. In a panic, I couldn’t get anyone on the phone to talk with me until my sugars came up. I began to “eat the kitchen”, as it were. I finally reached my sister-in-law, who came to sit with the kids until I could get back to myself again.

After that day, I was scared out of my mind to go below 100 if I was at home with the kids by myself. So, I started running my numbers higher — much higher than I’m comfortable with, and I knew I would be risking damage doing so.

That’s when I realized, Dexcom Share wasn’t enough. It’s great to be able to Share and have people call to check on you… but what if they can’t actually reach you? My son and daughter can’t use my iPhone just yet (he can’t remember my unlock code), and neither know how to use a glucagon kit.

I looked into the Loop system, but honestly, while I love that everyone is so willing to jump on board, I’m not. I’m not confident in my own abilities to make this thing happen since it’s something done from home. I don’t mind tinkering and playing with Nightscout because it’s not directly affecting my insulin dosing, whereas the Loop system does. That’s a-okay if you’re on it – I’m not trying to down the system or anything. I’m just not comfortable with the idea of using it myself.

So, we looked into Medtronic. I know. It’s known as the big evil empire of the insulin pump world. And, while I am interested in the 670G, I was more interested it the 630G since it suspends insulin if the user is low. I know this is the exact same technology as 530G, but somewhere along the way, they’ve improved the CGM technology. I kept reading about how sucky the 530G was but that the 630G was much better on different sites, like Instagram and TuDiabetes, and a few others. People who had absolutely zero success on the 530G were being impressed and excited about the 630G.

After a lot of debate and hemming and hawing about it, I decided to take the plunge. I was going to trade in my Tandem using the Switch-to-System program, but I couldn’t afford the $1249 out of pocket to do the switch. So, on a whim and a prayer, we submitted for insurance coverage. Backed with letters from myself and my doctor, along with pages of blood sugars showing the amount and severity of the lows I had been having, we held our breath and waited.

On the evening of 4/28/2017 just after 5pm, we got the approval from my insurance. And, on 5/1/2017, I began as a Medtronic pumper again.

Walking to Stars Hollow

Well, in a sense, anyway…

I’ve known for a while that I needed to get back to walking for some time now, I’ve just been making up excuse after excuse as to why I couldn’t:

  • the treadmill was cluttered
  • I’m too tired, I’ve worked/cleaned/chased kids all day
  • yada-yada-1432923_640
    Photo credit: Pixabay – geralt

    I don’t want to deal with basal rates right now

  • I’m doing too well with my glucose control and exercise right now would just screw it up
  • I’m too busy with the kids, work, blahhhh blaahhh..
  • Exercise helps the most in the morning, and I’m too tired in the morning since the toddler still won’t sleep through the night.
  • I don’t need to, I walk enough keeping up with the toddler now since she walks everywhere and gets into everything

On and on and on. Seriously. And on…

But I finally just took a deep breath and made myself realize that:

  • my diabetes will always be here (hello, no cure yet… still waiting,) so therefore, the challenges around balancing insulin requirements will always be here,
  • Photo credit: Pixabay - Clker-Free-Vector-Images
    Photo credit: Pixabay – Clker-Free-Vector-Images

    exercise is a weird thing in that if you don’t have energy, exercise will help give you energy. Unless there’s some other underlying cause like hypothyroidism (which I have, and also just had medication adjusted for this week) as well as things like anemia (which I have had, and it is a tired feeling beyond belief.)

  • exercise, while it is helpful for your day if you can do it in the morning and you do burn more calories, does not have to be in the morning. Fit it in whenever you can, just do it.
  • I have two kids… they need to see me exercising to take care of my body so that they know it’s a very important part of staying healthy, even if it’s just for 20-30 minutes a day.

I love watching Gilmore Girls. I’m a total geek. I’ve watched it through THREE times since it’s been on Netflix. It’s one of those shows that just draws you in, and you wonder what it would be like to live in a dreamy town like that. I get lost in the episode and time is up before I realize it. I love watching the show, and I know that each episode runs at least 40 minutes.

1Wb7vCqPiZPOjBcB.jpgMy solution? Rather than spend that 40 minutes doing nothing, I’m going to walk and watch. People walk to music, I walk to Gilmore Girls episodes. For those 40 minutes, I walk step by step to a little imaginary town of Stars Hollow so that being on the treadmill isn’t so boring.

40 minutes on a treadmill will be just over 2 miles if you walk at a 3 mph pace. My goal? 35/3.5/3.5 (because I like ratios.) 35 minutes at 3.5 mph, at a 3.5 percent incline. This gives 5 minutes left over, to be split between beginning and end for warm up and cool down, which is important for your heart and muscles; and I still get my 2 miles in.

After I’m comfortable with that, I plan on upping to 40/4/4, and just doing my warm up/cool down outside of watching the show. I’ve actually been going over my time limit a bit in efforts to knock down some highs by walking.

One of my “good” days

I’ve actually been going over my time limit a bit in efforts to knock down some highs by walking. Not that taking insulin for a high is bad (it’s NOT,) but if a simple 10-minute burst of walking can help curb the spike, I’m all for it.

Now, I’m on a mission. I know how much I want to exercise. Now, I just have to fit it in with life with diabetes, which can be hard. Meltdowns from frustration due to lows and timing have happened and probably will happen again. But I’m not going to let it stop me.

I can do this and I will do this.

Pump to MDI: Pleasantly Surprised

I know I haven’t written in quite a while, and mostly because I haven’t had time. I’ve had plenty to say, though, trust me. So I’ll try to spare you and give you the Cliff’s Notes version of what’s been going on the last two months since starting on MDI (multiple daily injections).

IMG_4204When I came home from the beach that day, I had no idea how long I would actually take a pump break for. Usually, it would only be for the weekend… if that long. I always felt much safer using an insulin pump for reasons like temp basals and such.

But in addition to feeling safer, I felt unashamed. It’s crazy — me, the advocate for those who prefer MDI and wish to inject anywhere they want to — was suddenly the one who felt too self-conscious to dose in public. With an insulin pump, I didn’t care. No matter where it was stashed, I would pull, shake, or shimmy that bad boy out and bolus without batting an eye to see who may be staring. Now? I find myself injecting in the car before going into a restaurant… or ducking into the bathroom.  In my mind, others are staring at me and judging me for taking my shot in public. I’m slowly getting out of this mindset though, and trying to move past it.

But, I’ve loved being tube-free. I went back on my pump last weekend because we were going to have pizza, which is something I have no idea how to dose for on MDI, and I wanted to be able to extend my bolus like I’ve always done. And, not wanting to waste the insulin, I stayed on the pump for 2 days before taking it off again. During which time, I constantly fumbled with where to put it and I almost ripped my site out practically every time I went to the restroom. It’s crazy how quickly I adjusted to being without an insulin pump. The freedom feels amazing.

My numbers aren’t worse on MDI as I expected either, but quite the contrary. My averages are roughly 10-15mg/dL lower than what they are on my insulin pump, to which I have been pleasantly surprised. I have no idea why there is a difference, but part of me wonders if actually injecting the insulin is better for my skin and metabolism verses an infusion.

IMG_4148Of course, it could be because of the awesomeness of the basal insulin that I’ve been using, Tresiba. I honestly love it. Out of all of the ones I’ve tried (Levemir, Toujeo, and Tresiba), it’s been the most steady, and as long as I bolus correctly for meals, my BG is not nearly as “swingy” as it is with other basal insulins. I don’t notice any peaks, and I can take it every 24 hours without worrying about it running out in my system.

Now, my pump warranty is up in 5 months. I’ve been on the fence about what to do — to get a new pump or simply keep going with MDI and use my current pump as a backup or if I wanted to switch over for a break or anything. Then comes the question of which pump to go with… to stay with Tandem, or go back to Animas or Minimed, or go with Accu-chek since I love their Expert and Connect system. I mean, it’s a big decision. It’s one that I have to be confident that I’ll be happy I’ve made as I’ll have that pump for another 4 years.

Either way… I’m happy and comfortable currently with my MDI treatment. It’s going well, and for the first time, I don’t feel the urgency to run and put my pump back on. It’s almost like… freedom.

Bolus Advice: MDI With Less Math

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to the beach for the day after church. It was a nice, cool, breezy day and it was good to get away and relax for a bit.

We were on our way home, and we stopped to get a frozen yogurt treat with the kids. I bolused with my pump, and half way through, I received an occlusion. The second one for that weekend.

True, this may not be a big deal, but it was the final straw for me. It’s true — occlusions are things that come with the territory when using an insulin pump, and that specific event isn’t what had me frustrated. It was a lot of things:  having a curious baby who likes to pull on my tubing, sites that were seeming to fail after just 2 days, and the more and more frequent “bleeder” sites.

That last occlusion was it. We made it home and I pulled out my Levemir backup pen that my endocrinologist always gives me to keep on hand in the case of pump failure. I had no idea how this was going to go, but my frustration outweighed my fear of the unknown-to-me territory of MDI (multiple daily injections).

I took my total basal amount, added 20%, took the injection, and unhooked my pump. It’s been in my desk drawer ever since.

As soon as I injected the Levemir and started to get ready to inject for supper, I felt overwhelmed by things like accurately calculating doses and keeping up with IOB (insulin on board), and I quickly emailed my Accu-Chek rep and pleaded with her to chat with me that night or the next day to set up my Connect App in my phone.

Why would I need her?

See, Accu-Chek now has a meter, the Accu-Chek Connect, that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and you can see your readings, log food and insulin doses, and even program the app to text your readings to a family member if you need help.

It also has an option for Bolus Advice. With this enabled (via prescription from your health care professional), you can use the glucose number that is sent to your phone to calculate insulin doses if you are a MDI user. To me, this is great because it’s like having the best part of the pump without the pump!

The app even lets you see how the calculation works, and whether you need to increase for correction, decrease for active insulin, or if you’re low — how much food to eat. It’s really intuitive.

I honestly don’t know that I would still be on MDI if it weren’t for this app. I’m loving being pump-free without having to be bogged down with math.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be on MDI, but I don’t feel as if I need to rush. I feel comfortable to be pump free as long as I have help calculating my doses and keeping up with active insulin — which is exactly what this system does.

While the meter was provided to me at no charge, I was not asked to review it. This is my honest opinion from the bottom of my heart. I cannot be more thankful that there is a company that not only wants to create an insulin pump product, but also to help those on MDI to have the best care possible.

And The PumpPeelz Giftcard Winners Are…

Hey everyone!! I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to post the winners of the PumpPeelz giftcard Giveaway yesterday. Things got a little hectic around here and I didn’t get a chance.

Today, I used a random number generator online to choose 3 winners, and here they are:

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PP Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Isela, Erika, and Megan!!! You guys will be getting an email from PumpPeelz with your gift card code.


Thank you to everyone who entered!!!