CGM Dilemma

I have been wearing a Medtronic pump for years – off and on since 1998 (consistently since 2007). I love my pump. Took a slight detour with another pump company when my warranty was out a few years ago, and quickly returned that one and came back within a month. I also wore the Medtronic CGM for quite a while. I loved having that data so accessible. But what I did not love was wearing the actual sensor. Inserting it was like using a torture device. And there were several other things I did not care for. I kept hearing about this new system that was coming down the pipeline .. but I was “stuck” (pun intended) with what I had until I was out of warranty.

Earlier this year I switched to Dexcom, based on a recommendation from my new Endocrinologist. And I LOVED it from the first moment the nurse put the trial one on me. I love the fact that it doesn’t hurt at all to insert it. I can put it in my right arm, using my left hand (I’m right handed) with no problems. I can get a good 14 days out of the sensor (even though the FDA recommendation is 7 days. YDMV.) I have found the data to be consistently accurate. I love that I can share my blood sugars with my husband and a couple of close friends (which is now available via Medtronic’s new system – keep reading.)

Yesterday I got an email from the distributor where I buy my Dexcom sensors and they told me that I am eligible for an upgrade to the new G5, because my current G4 will be out of warranty this month. So I approved the upgrade and it’s shipped and is already headed my way. (Sorry to those that are having to wait so long for theirs!!) :(

Fast forward a couple of hours and I get a call from Medtronic. Reminding me that my pump is also out of warranty this month (that 4 years FLEW by) and started telling me about the new Enlite 530g system. The guy was super friendly. Even when I told him I wear a Dexcom and I love it.

But here’s where my dilemma comes into play.

I can “upgrade” my current pump and get a brand new one same as the one I have (Paradigm). But this pump will not talk to the new sensors, should I ever try them out.

Or I can upgrade to the new Enlite 530g system. The only way to do that, though, is to get a box of sensors with my pump. And I’m not sure if insurance will cover the sensors since I just placed an order for my Dexcom sensors. But the downside is – I don’t want to go with the Paradigm and then decide a year or two down the road that I really want to try out the Enlite system and not be able to until my 4 year warranty is up. I’d like to know whether or not I like the Enlite system before I commit to another 4 year pump warranty …….

Decisions … decisions …..

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“You ok, Mommy?”

My 2 year old twins are now starting to see my diabetes … they of course don’t understand it yet, but they are paying attention. Lately, every time I check my blood sugar, one of them will ask me, “You ok, Mommy?”

Or when they see me change my insulin pump site, they ask, “You ok, Mommy?”

Or when they see me change my Dexcom sensor, they ask “You ok, Mommy?”

And I make a point to never grimace or say “ouch” (out loud) when I do either of those things, but I think they are paying such close attention to every single thing I do/say, that they recognize that what I’m doing might hurt. They’ve never seen an actual needle go in me, not that they would understand at this point if they had.

My boys also love my Dexcom. And when they hear it beep, they know where to go to get it for me. They call it “Mommy’s Neck Bomb” HAHA Sounds kinda like the word Dexcom, right? ;)

I’ve said this many times before… that part of me hates that my kids have to be exposed to diabetes. But I also appreciate the fact that they will all grow up knowing what it is, so that’s at least 3 less people in this world that will believe the myths associated with it ;) My 7 year old has had teachers in the past tell me that if he hears something about diabetes, he will say that his mommy has diabetes. And he LOVES going to the JDRF walk every year. He has always called it the “diabetes walk”. I hope my twins enjoy it as much as he always has. This past weekend I went to my 23rd walk!

2015 JDRF Walk

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Lemons out of Lemonade?

In the past 30 days, I’ve had two different friends reach out to me because a family member has had a young child diagnosed with Type 1. One was a 7 year old girl, and the other is a 6 year old boy.

Both of them were families I did not know. But via the applicable friend that approached me, I reached out to these moms and introduced myself, and offered support. Have I ever been in their shoes? No. But I do know what it’s like to LIVE with diabetes. And to have it come in and flip your world UPside down. And if nothing else, I can be an ear for them to talk to, cry to/with, vent to, ask questions, whatever they need.

Do I like having diabetes? Not even a teensy part of me likes it. But my perspective has always been to turn a positive into a negative, so if I can help, even in the slightest way, another person to see that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel – and to be an example that their child CAN live a perfectly normal life, and have a family in the future, then to me it’s worth it.

I heard a speaker this morning at a MOPS event say that suffering helps us to minister and be a support to others that are suffering. So I look at it like that – if I was not living with diabetes, then I would not be able to support others that are also living with it. So everything I’ve gone through in the last 23 years, is currently helping people that I did not even know I would know. (…that sounds like a scene from “Friends”…)

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Social Media Burnout? #DOCBurnout2015

When I first started seeing the plugs for today’s blog topic for Diabetes Social Media Burnout (#DOCburnout2015), I thought “I’m not burned out, I’m just busy …. ” But then I realized I haven’t been consistent in blogging in a really long time. Every single day amidst diaper changes or fixing breakfast/lunch, or folding laundry, or …. (I could go on and on lol) I think about things to blog about. And sometimes I even think to write down those topics, so I can write about it later. Some of the ideas are “little” day to day things that happen in regards to my diabetes. Others are bigger (like traveling internationally – I still haven’t finished THAT blog post.) But I never seem to get around to doing it. Or most of my posts stay in “Draft” mode for way too long.

Does that make me burned out? I’m not sure.

I think it means that I have other things going on right now -like being a stay at home mom to my little ones (twin toddlers require a LOT Of attention, in case you were wondering!) ;)

I always have really good intentions to blog. Or to join #DSMA on Wednesday nights. But after getting everyone bathed and in bed, I sit down to relax (or eat my own dinner) and then before I know it, I look up and it’s 9pm and DSMA is over. Before having the twins, I was on there every week. And I blogged 3-4 times a week. It was all relatively new to me. But don’t get me wrong – the DOC has still been a game changer for me. I’ve made great friends – some I’ve even been fortunate enough to meet in person.

But most importantly it’s given me the opportunity to make friends that get it. Friends that voluntarily offered to follow my Dexcom Share, and will text me from across the country, in the middle of the night, to make sure I’m ok and ask if I’m treating my low blood sugar. Friends that I know I can message and/or text and ask questions about my pump settings or troubleshoot ideas off of them.

So maybe I have been burned out on blogging, and using other diabetes social media outlets – but I’m still connected to the DOC. And I am sure I”ll come back around as often as before. I will always have things to talk about -that’s for sure! :)

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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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