Friday, September 21, 2007

Follow-up for CGMS

I went to the doctor's office yesterday to talk with my doctor about the results from my trial with the CGMS. It was very good, I think. We talked about the fact that it wasn't always correct with my meter results. But he was still very happy with my "graph" for the 3 days. He said that it looked like I had very few spikes in my blood sugars. The only things he seemed concerned about were my low blood sugars. Which is really what I have been worried about myself.
We decided to change a few of my basal rates and change my insulin to carb ratios for lunch time. These were things that I had contemplated doing myself, but wanted to wait to get the opinion of someone else.
I don't have any issues with making changes on my own, if I think they are needed. I just knew that a doctor's appointment was coming up, so I held off until I could talk to him about it. And turns out, he said to do exactly what I was going to do. It was nice affirmation that what I am doing is the right thing.
We talked a little bit more about my getting the CGMS for myself. He said he was going to send the letter to the insurance company to see what they would say. I really hope that they approve it. In my doctors words, it would be a tool to help me with my already good control. It would simply help me shave some more digits off my A1c. Which is exactly my idea. I want a LOWER A1c.
Sure, I know 6.7 is good. It's below the recommended 7.0. But it still isn't 6.0. Which is what I would love. Which would mean that my body is basically living like a non-diabetic most of the time. This means less damage. Less complications. And less wear and tear. And with 22 years of this diabetes thing already wearing and tearing on my body, the lower I can get my A1c, the happier I will be.
Wish me luck as I navigate the jungle known as the American health insurance system.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Diabetes: The Invisible Disease

This weekend was a long weekend for me. I left work early on Thursday and took Friday off. It was like a min-vacation. I really needed a break, so it was very nice. A friend and I went to Savannah, Tennessee to go to Darryl Worley's Tennessee River Run. Basically it was a festival-like concert on the Tennessee River at Pickwick State Park. It featured Savannah local Darryl Worley, the legendary Charlie Daniels, Trick Pony, and Jason Michael Carroll.

We spend the weekend at Pickwick State Park at their Inn, which was beautiful, clean, and had a wonderful view of the water from our fifth flood balcony. Just having those relaxing few days was very nice.

I have lived fairly close (about 45 minutes) to a lake most of my life. It has given me a love of the water. It is so peaceful and seems to bring a wonderful spirit to my heart. Even on the worst of days I can spend a few hours sitting on the edge of the water and the world seems to fall back into perspective.

Diabetes wise, I had a relatively easy weekend. Nothing about 180 and very few lows. The interesting thing that I discovered is how very invisible diabetes can be...except to other diabetics. I've always known that people don't realize I have diabetes most of the time. I've known people for months and them say, "I didn't know you were diabetic!" Others find out in a very short time. It just seems like it comes up sooner in conversation with some people than with other people.

While I was at the concert on Saturday night I was looking around at the people. I tend to be a people watcher at times. I think it is part of my inverted nature. There was a couple sitting about 15 feet away from me. They were probably in their early to mid 40's. The man got up and went to get something and I looked at the woman. She wasn't looking at me, but I saw her, very discretely, open a small cooler and get out a glucose monitor and some insulin. She was so good at hiding what she was doing, I didn't catch the brand names of either product, but I could tell that she checked her blood sugar. Then she drew up insulin in a syringe and gave herself an injection through her jeans. Unless you were really paying attention, you would never have known what was going on. Unless you were another diabetic, I would venture to say, you wouldn't have noticed it at all.

I didn't say anything to the lady. I don't know who she was, what type of diabetes she has, or anything else about her. But I know that we share a bond. She may never know about it, but I do.

So diabetes can be invisible. Almost. Us diabetics can almost always pick up on it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Adventures in Constant Glucose Monitoring

Okay, so I went on Friday to pick up the MiniMed minilink CGMS from my doctor's office. It was basically a loaner for 3 days. I left work at noon and headed, with a friend, out of town to go to my endo's office. My endo is about an hour from my house. My friend wanted to get some shopping in and needed to go to Verizon. I just needed to stop by my doctor's office and get "hooked-up" to the sensor.

I went into the office at about 1:30. This is when the nurse and I had agreed for me to come pick up the sensor. When I got there she came out to tell me that it hadn't been brought back by the last patient and asked me if I could come back closer to 3:30. I told her this was fine. We went to shop for a while & then headed back to the office.

When I got there I will have to say I was a little nervous. I don't really know why, but I think it might have been more "I'm on my way to get my brand new car" nervous more than a "I am getting ready to jump out of a plane" nervous. The nurse actually inserted the device for me. I was kind of disappointed about that, as I wanted to do it by myself, but that was okay. It didn't hurt and I was ready to go in about 5 minutes. Short and sweet. Just like I like my doctor's office visits.

My friend and I headed out to do some more shopping and to look at some things for her upcoming wedding. As we were leaving on store my pump all of a sudden starts beeping like crazy! It was like it had a mind of it's own. I got my pump out and read the screen: "Sensor Error: Sensor failure. Self test. See owner's manual."

You know, that would be my luck. I tear everything up. So I got out my cell phone and called the office back & told them what it said. She asked me if I could come back in. I went back & she looked at it. Studied the owner's manual. Pushed a few buttons. And them promptly looked at me and said, "I have no idea what's wrong. It's never done this before." Gee. How lucky can I get?? We finally got the screen to clear back up. It appeared to be working and she told me to go ahead and leave & if it didn't start working to come back in on Monday and they would try it again.

Luckily, I left and the sensor started working pretty quickly after that. I have no idea, still, what was wrong with it. I don't think the nurse does either. Oh, well.

Overall the weekend was a little crazy for me. I have about a million things to do and part of me become OCD about checking my pump & then testing my blood sugar to verify. For Friday evening, Saturday, & then Sunday morning, the CGMS was nearly 30 points off almost every time I tested. It failed to catch my low blood sugars a couple of times and there were some high blood sugars that didn't show up either.

To be honest, I was starting to get a little worried and frustrated with the whole deal. But then Sunday afternoon it started matching up. It was within 10 points nearly every time I tested. (If you listen closely you can hear the hallelujah chorus!) Then, I talked to someone today who told me that it usually takes them a few days before the CGSM and the meter start matching. This person wears the sensor for around a week at a time.

I have an appointment next week to discuss with my doctor the results of the three day trial. I am going to voice my concerns over the sensor not matching for the first couple of days. But, to be honest, I still want one. I think that the technology is going to keep improving and I think it is still a nice thing to have, especially if it starts matching up withing a few days.

I'm still not sure about the insurance thing. How that will go is still up in the air. I'll keep you all updated on how it goes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Long Weekend and CGMS News

So, it was a long weekend. No work yesterday. And I think I am more tired now than when I left work on Friday. So here's how my weekend went:
Friday I left work early. I went to meet a friend's sister to catch a ride to Shelbyville, Tennessee. Locals know that the last week in August through the first Saturday in September is the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. It is 11 days of horse shows that ends the first Saturday night in September and crowns the World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse. To some this may seem boring. To those who have experienced it, you know better. Just imagine the Kentucky Derby. Only 11 days long and all the horses are Tennessee Walking Horses instead of race horses. There is a lot of dressing up and expense that goes into the clothes and the shoes and the purses and the jewelry for the women. Not everyone dresses up, but it is almost like a contest for some of the people to see who can dress up the most.
Anyway, I went down on Friday night to catch the Friday night show and then the Saturday night show when the World Grand Champion was crowned. I have gone for the last three years and I have to say it is one of the highlights of my year. I stayed with friends who were also going and spent a lot of time running around. Below is a picture of Master of Jazz, this year's World Grand Champion with his trainer, Jimmy McConnell

The bad part on the diabetes (and the weight) was that I ate out. A lot. Every meal. It was hard to pick and sometimes just to find healthy foods. I don't always eat the best in the world, but I do try to keep a decent type diet. The really funny thing was that one of the concession stands at the show grounds (think cheesburgers, hot dogs, and funnel cakes) had "fresh fruit cup with dip" listed as an option! I was shocked. This just goes to show you that there are people trying to eat healthy in the world. I ordered the fruit cup (no dip). It was a good sized serving of fresh melon, grapes, and strawberries. It was nice. The really bad part is that I also ordered a serving of fried Oreos. That's right. You read that correctly. Fried Oreos. Basically they are dipped in funnel cake batter and then fried. And man were they good! I didn't think the would be, but I had to buy them just to see what they were. And they were the best thing I have had in a long time. Yes, I hear all you health nuts gasping in astonishment. That's okay. I understand. But I looked at it this way: At least I got fresh fruit and fried Oreos instead of a cheeseburger and fried Oreos. Which is what I really wanted.
So here's my advice to all the diabetics: try fried Oreos at least once in your life. You might like them.
I really didn't have any horrible lows. And not horrible highs. The highest my blood sugar was all weekend was around 170. And I did have a 59, but it was corrected with a juice box from my purse and a pack of Welch's fruit snacks.
So food wise, my weekend wasn't the healthiest. But blood sugar wise, I did okay. Eating all of schedule was a little weird. And eating at all hours of the day was very weird. But I survived.
And the most important thing is that the Celebration was wonderful and I had a great time!
Now for the CGMS news. My doctor's office called me today. They want me to come in Thursday or Friday to get the sensor from the doctor's office. I will basically borrow it for 3 days and then I will take it and my graph results back to my doctor. This may give him more to use when he asks the insurance company for me to get my own CGMS. Not to mention that I will have a basic idea of how it works and what to expect if I should get one of my own.
I am a little bit excited. And a little bit scared. I will keep you all updated on when I get the sensor and how my days with the sensor are working out.
Part of me thinks that I will hate it and not want one. The other part of me thinks I will love it and not want to worry about catching my low blood sugars anymore. That would be a miracle. And very nice.