Guilty sharing?

My husband traveled out of the country two years ago for the first time .. and I was honestly a little worried about being left “alone” – at the time we had a 5 year old and the twins were 3 mos old. My blood sugars were still leveling out after giving birth, and to say I had a full plate was an understatement. I was tired – the boys were just starting to sleep more throughout the night, but there were still many many bottles to feed, and many many diapers to change, and I was going to be solo for almost 2 weeks. I reached out to several of my friends in the DOC – some I hadn’t even met yet in person. Just asking them to check in on me every now and then. Especially if they saw big gaps from when I was posting on social media. (Hmm… maybe that means I’m on social media too much? lol But I digress… ) And they all did that – and it truly helped me knowing there were people looking out for me.

This year when he went out of the country, I was in a much different situation. I still have some friends checking in on me, but mostly through the Share feature on my Dexcom. My husband is getting alarms while he’s on another continent, and I have a local friend that is 5 min away that gets alarms, and another good friend from the DOC is checking on me (shout out, Karen!). But I’m finding it interesting how different all 3 of their perspectives are on this technology.

Hubby – Appreciates that he can see my numbers (when he’s on WiFi – otherwise the cost of that would be outrageous! lol) But at the same time, it worries him if he wakes up and I’m in the 40s/50s and he is on the other side of the world and can’t do anything for me. Yesterday I hit 47 and it was middle of the day here, but middle of the night there, so he woke up the next morning to that alarm on his phone and it worried him, hoping I’d treated it and was ok. But there’s been several times he’s texted me asking if I’m ok.

Local friend – She has it set up to alarm her when I get below 75. So when she gets the alarms, she’ll text me and ask if I’ve eaten, or wants to figure out why I’m low and offer suggestions on maintaining a level bg going forward. (disclaimer – she is not T1, and I am the only real exposure she has to T1.) It is helpful to me knowing she’s 5 min away and can be here if for some reason I don’t answer her calls/texts if she sees a low.

Then there’s Karen. She lives in another state, but she offered to follow me to just be a check in if she sees I’m low. Doesn’t want to hover, and said that if she sees I’m low, she’ll just send a quick text to make sure I’m ok and make sure I’m treating it, and then she knows I’m good. She is also a T1 so she gets that when you’re in the middle of treating a low, all you need to do at that point is treat it and get past it. She is also well aware of the fact that you can feel very disoriented, so that’s why she just wants to make sure I’m on it and alert enough to treat it.

She and I had an interesting conversation yesterday that really stuck out to me. She said she felt bad bothering me by texting to see if I’m ok. I told her I appreciate the texts, and I’M the one that feels bad – I feel like I’m inconveniencing everyone that gets theses alarms (even though I’m close with all 3 people – it doesn’t matter.) Pretty much every time my alarms have gone off, one of the first thoughts I have is “I need to let [fill in the blanks] know I’m ok so they don’t worry.” And Karen said to me that I shouldn’t have to worry about inconveniencing THEM when I’M the one trying to get myself out of a low blood sugar situation.

I hadn’t thought about it like that – but that’s exactly what happens. I’m taking time out of treating myself – to let them know that I’m ok. I’ve heard many people say that guilt is something they really struggle with, where their diabetes is concerned. And I’d never really felt like that was a concern of mine … but I’m starting to see that maybe it does in fact play a part.

So will I still feel bad about “inconveniencing” them? Yes, probably. But these are people that I’m close with and they have all voluntarily offered to follow my numbers/receive alarms, because they care about ME and want to make sure I’m ok. And for that, I am eternally grateful. :)

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Team CGM

I cannot say enough times how thrilled I am with my new Dexcom. I love everything about it. I have friends (*ahem* Suzanne*) who have been telling me for years I should give it a try – but I couldn’t mentally get past the idea of having to carry around two separate devices. I knew I’d have to wear two sites – I was already doing that (well, when I wore my old one) but keeping up with a separate device just did not interest me. But honestly, that has not been bad at all. When I’m home, it sits on my kitchen counter by my meter, and it still picks up my readings no matter where I am in my house. When I leave, I put it in my purse. And at night, I put it on my nightstand so I can hear the alarms. I’ve even taught my 7 year old to be able to look at my BG on the screen, and also to silence the alarm when I know I’m high and it’s not yet down enough to not give the alarms anymore.

I have been using the case that came with the Dexcom when I need to wear it on me (when I don’t have my purse with me – which isn’t often, since I have to carry so many other diabetes supplies) and I’m not a fan of it, so I just ordered my first Tallygear case – much cuter and I like that it can just hook on anything pretty much. So I’m excited to get it!

My husband was recently traveling out of the country, and my Dexcom alarm went off saying I was 55. I thought surely that was wrong because I did not feel low at all. I checked it and sure enough – it was 60. Around that same time, I got a text from my husband – who as I just mentioned, was on a separate continent – asking if I was ok. He’d gotten the alarm on his phone that I was low (Don’t worry – he was on wifi so it’s all good.) #WeAreNotWaiting

Made me realize again just how cool this technology is. And how incredibly fortunate I am to have it. The Share feature was one of the selling points to me wanting the Dexcom, but I have fallen in love with all the other features of it, too. The Share feature is just a bonus in my book.

When I have to calibrate, and I don’t have the data for 2 hours, I feel lost. It’s crazy. I used to go months in between wearing my old CGM and how I can barely go two hours. My dr told me at my last appt that he doesn’t see how someone can effectively manage their diabetes without wearing a CGM. I get where he’s coming from, but I know that there are many people who are very diligent with their diabetes management and are perfectly capable of doing it without the use of a CGM. But for me, personally, I can’t imagine going back to not using one. But YDMV. ;)

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Endo Appt Update

I am still loving my new Endo! Saw him yesterday and the appt went very well. I love that he listens to my questions and gives me suggestions. And seems very thorough. I know some of you might be thinking, “Aren’t all doctors like that?” I speak from experience, that no, they are not all like that.

The first thing they checked was my a1c. It was down .2 from my last appt. Not a huge decrease but it’s a decrease nonetheless and it’s still in a perfectly good range, so I was happy with it. I credit a lot of that to my Dexcom.

My bg was 93 when she checked it – which that never happens. It’s almost always a little up at my appt (Murphy’s Law) but I made myself a green smoothie for breakfast a couple of hours earlier, so I’m sure that helped. ;)

They checked my blood pressure – this was one thing I’d wanted to talk to him about. It was 109/69. I’ve been on blood pressure meds since I was 19. My first Endo had put me on it not because I had bp issues but because I was having kidney issues (this was 1 year since my dx) and this particular drug was also known to help with kidney function, as well as being a bp med… so I went on it. And over the years, I did start to have high blood pressure (140/90ish) so I’ve been on one brand or another for 20 years.

Last weekend my hubby and I went on a weekend getaway and I’d forgotten to take my bp meds. I felt fine. The day after we came home, I took it and my bp dropped – I felt super dizzy and seeing spots, etc. Checked it at home and it was low (116/60-something). That’s not super low, but it’s low for me. The only thing different was that I’d taken my pill, so I opted to not take it for the next few days since I knew I had my appt coming up. So I was super excited when they checked it and it was perfectly normal. He and I talked about it, and he said let’s stop taking it and just check from home a few times a week to make sure it’s not creeping back up.

I also talked to him about my upcoming trip to London. I leave in 2 1/2 weeks and needed a letter for travel, and had questions about what to expect from a time zone change, to the walking, etc. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t need to lower my basal by at least 20% with all the walking. And to just carry plenty of snacks/glucose with me. Check.

He also felt my thyroid and asked again when I’d had my last biopsy on the large nodule I have. It’s been about 3 1/2-4 years ago so he wanted to do an ultrasound to take a look at it. I hate those moments because you don’t know what the dr is looking at. After he was finished, he did show me everything he’d done/seen/measured. He doesn’t have the original lab results from the biopsy (I need to send them to him) but he measured it, and also said it looks like a new nodule is forming off of the big one. So he measured that one, too. And said we’ll keep an eye on it, but he’s not concerned. Said if it continues to grow, he will likely send me in for another biopsy just to make sure it’s ok, and then discuss removal. But I was immensely relieved that he wasn’t concerned. :)

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Full circle?

I have been trying to reorganize my diabetes supplies. My upcoming trip to London prompted this, but I’ve realized overall I need to be more organized. And where better to start than my diabetes supplies that I access every single day??

I currently have a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag where I keep my go to items. One infusion set, the inserter, a reservoir, my insulin vial that I’m currently using, AAA batteries for my pump, a variety of tapes, prep pads, etc. It’s the bag I grab when it’s time for a site change.

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I’ve been using this for a couple of years now and it works fine. But as you can see, it’s pretty messy.

And when I travel, I have a pink Libby Lu drawstring backpack that was my step daughter’s that I’ve been using for about 10 years now- I just load it with all my extra supplies and put it in my carry on bag. Again, not very organized.

I’ve been looking into several options for daily storage, as well as something efficient for traveling. My first thought was Myabetic– those cases are awesome. But it looks like they’re geared more toward storing MDI supplies, and not as much for pump supplies – those infusion sets and inserters take up a lot of room!

Then my friend, Sarah, told me she uses a cosmetic bag from Initials Inc. It looked really good so it’s still an option.

I have been known to overthink things too much. ;)

Well, tonight I remembered that I still have my very first case that I was given in the hospital almost 23 years ago when I was Dx’d. It was ginormous to carry everywhere I went. I carried my meter, bottle of test strips, syringes, a vial of insulin, a freezer pack that I had to remember to freeze when I was at home, ketone strips, alcohol wipes.. It was a lot. And it was huge. I always carried huge purses so it would fit.

But now I’m thinking it might actually work for my go to bag vs the cosmetic bag I currently use?? Wouldn’t that be ironic to come full circle.

I put my current meter next to it for size reference.

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And here it is with almost all my go to supplies that I mentioned above – the only hing that won’t fit is my inserter, which could be a problem because I can’t put on a new infusion set without it. :/

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I’m still open to suggestions if anyone has any? Favorite way to store your “go bag” that carries all your go to supplies, as well as any efficient tips you have for traveling with all your supplies, specifically pump supplies.

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Traveling internationally with diabetes

Next month I am taking my first international trip as a grown up .. The only time I’ve left the US is when I went to Mexico on a couple of mission trips in high school, and that doesn’t really count. ;) I do remember, though, the 2nd trip we took there was just a few months into my new diagnosis and I was still on 5 daily shots a day. I remember having to keep my insulin in the community fridge and being worried someone was going to break it – there were a lot of teenagers in/out of that fridge. And one night we drove as a group to McDonald’s for dinner – it was quite a ways away and we got there and I realized I’d forgotten my insulin at the camp. Our Youth pastor drove me all the way back to get it, and by the time I got back to McDonald’s, everyone had finished eating but they politely waited for me.

So now I’m all grown up, a wife and mommy, and I’m traveling to London with a small group of 6 people. I’m trying to prepare as much as I can ahead of time. But I’ve never been that far from home. I know diabetics travel internationally every day -I personally know several who do it, and I have asked their opinions. But I’m having to plan out everything from – how many extra supplies do I pack? Have to have extra pump supplies and extra insulin. And batteries for my pump and for my meter. And syringes in case my pump fails or malfunctions. Thinking about what’s the best way to carry my supplies so they’re not all loose in my suitcase. And how much of my supplies do I carry in my backpack during the day while we’re out walking 5+ miles each day.

And thinking about will I need to do a temp basal to increase my daily amount to counter all the walking we’ll be doing? That part I won’t know till I get there. I do know we won’t be eating 3 square meals a day. We will get up and have a big breakfast, then be on the go the rest of the day. Some people will only bring protein bars and/or beef jerky and that will suffice for the day. I know that’s not the best option for me, especially with all the walking. So I’ll have to figure that out. I’m told there are places we can eat along the way so I’m hoping I can either take enough snacks to keep me going, or to stop for eat least a second big meal for the day.

I am more comfortable with all of this now that I have my Dexcom. And one of my friends going has said she’d put the Share app on her phone so she can get alerts if I start to go too low.

Lots of unknowns going into this, but doing my best to plan as much as I can ahead of time. Just making me realize how much more goes into traveling with diabetes. But at least I know I can do it and I cannot wait to have this experience!!

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Random much?

One of my 2 yr old twins has been sick and recently I took him to an after hours pediatric clinic.

After we’d given him two breathing treatments, the dr was sitting in front of me (with my son in my lap) and we were going over the “what to watch fors” and out of the blue this happens ..

Dr: So a lot of times I have patients ask me how to know if their child is diabetic. And I always tell them to test their blood sugar when the child is sick. That’s when to test.

Me: Uh … that’s random.. I’m diabetic?

Dr: I know. I saw your insulin pump. So anyway, I always tell the parent if there’s any doubt, it’s always best to test when the child is sick. I know people say it’s good to get fasting blood sugars, and what not, but I’m telling you, the time to check is when the child is sick.

Me: Uhh … ok. Well I’m not concerned about him having diabetes at this point. Just here for the pneumonia. ;)

Dr: Oh I know. Just thought I’d share that with you in case you ever have any doubts.

Can you say random? I thought that was odd. I’m sure he meant well. But it was a very random, very odd conversation. I may have been sleep deprived from my sick child not sleeping because of his cough for a couple of days, but I felt like he was acting as though he was an expert, because he was qualified to work in an after hours pediatric clinic. I left the conversation by assuring him that I’ve been diabetic for 22+ years and I’m pretty confident I’d know what symptoms to look for, but thanked him for his suggestion. :)

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Dexcom Trial – Update #2

I was able to put the new loaner Dexcom on Monday, at the dr’s office, and it worked great. I never lost a signal throughout the night, and woke up Tuesday morning and everything looked good.

Tuesday night, as I was stepping over a Lego in my son’s room, I bumped into the door frame, subsequently knocking off the Dex. #whompwhomp

Luckily, it did not hurt when it came off, but I was super bummed because by that point, I had only had it less than 48 hours.

I called my dr’s office Wednesday morning when they opened to see if I could run by to get another one put on .. the nurse was super apologetic and checked with the billing department. Unfortunately, insurance would not approve a 2nd trial sensor, but she said if I wanted to swing by, I could pay out of pocket for one. I opted not to do that. I luckily had two friends offer me one from their personal stash (thank you, Suzanne and Krista!!!) so I was able to get one and then just had to figure out how to put it on myself last night. ;)

I found a YouTube video on inserting the Dex, and it was very simple to do. Again, like the first time, it did not hurt at all. It still just felt like a pin prick.

Here are my thoughts as I’m a couple of days into this now:

The tape on the first one did not stick well for me at all. It was already bubbly after the first couple of hours of wearing it. But I’ve been told now by many that using Skin Tac helps tremendously – and I was able to use some when I put this 2nd site on. (It is very sticky! Even my shirt was sticking to the area for a little while.)

The site itself is very big compared to my Medtronic sensor. It sticks out a lot more (see above re: knocking it off on the door frame.) I think I maybe knocked off my Medtronic sensor only once or twice in the last 8 years?

dex in hand

The tape area is still very itchy – it was itchy on my arm site and it’s still a little bothersome on my abdomen site.

I put on the new site around 8:30pm last night, and had to wait the 2 hours to calibrate. I was high (bad swag’ing at dinner apparently) so I had the high alarm go off a few times after I’d gone to bed – but it was not too bad.

But as much as it’s a tad uncomfortable/unattractive to wear, I am loving the data and the technology aspect of it – I love the fact I can see it on my iPhone. And that my husband can see it on his, especially when he’s traveling. I’m not a huge techy person, so that stuff is not usually a big deal to me. But for some reason, I’m loving these feature on the Dexcom.

Another big difference I’ve noticed is that when I wear my Medtronic sensor on my arm, I cannot sleep on that side that the sensor is in, because I get a “Lost Sensor” error throughout the night. But Monday night, I slept on the side that my sensor was in, and I had no problems. Same thing with last night – I slept on the side that my current sensor is in on my abdomen, and had no problems and never lost connection with the receiver. During the evening, I left it sitting in the living room and was able to go throughout the house and never once lost the signal.

So, overall, I’m still very happy with it .. I’ll get to wear it until Monday so we’ll see what happens between now and then! :)

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