Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas to me: Dexcom

It's the holidays. It's the time of year that people with diabetes sometimes just say shag it and bolus and bolus and bolus, and sometimes forget if they had bolused and bolus again. There's treats and candy and chocolate everywhere, there are potluck meals with endless carbs and fats that last for hours, there's sleeping in and staying up late...and for those who partake there's alcohol.

So, naturally my new (to me) Dexcom 7+ system arrived on Christmas Eve. I was excited. I am a huge tech geek when it comes to diabetes management, and any thing that can give me more data to try and manage the better. 

I also haven't written much about it, but I have been having some pretty bad night time lows for the past 8 months. It seems any minor adjustments for my night time basals were fruitless...if I wasn't low I was running pretty high in the low teens (around 200s). So I started getting up 2-3 times a night to check and either treat a low or high. I don't remember one night in the past 6-8 months waking up to test and seeing a number I didn't either have to eat for or adjust a correction/basal increase for. And let me tell you, trying to figure out how much of a percentage to increase a basal for at 13.4 at 3:30 am when you have to be up at 6 and refreshed enough to drive 40 km to's hard. I missed the mark a lot. I would wake up at 2.0 some days, and 15.4 the others. It felt like no matter what adjustments I made were fruitless. I called for an appointment to my endocrinologist and CDE in June and was told I would get an appointment in the mail. Which I did.....for April 2013.

The wacky night time sugars usually evened off by 10 am and I would run around 6.0 all day, which was great until I was going to bed again. I started to get kind of edgy internally at night. I hated having to check in the dark, and even more I hated eating in the middle of the night. That's so many calories I just didn't have the opportunity to burn off which could have lead to weight gain. It didn't, I didn't lose a pound despite my efforts....but I definitely didn't gain. Math was never my strong suit but the last 8 months have definitely improved that with having to guess as how much my temp basal would lower me by what percentage at what time.

Anyway, I put a call out on twitter for a Dexcom 7+. I offered to pay a small amount for someones used Dexcom and a few sensors. Within an hour I had given my address to a very special friend for her system and another offered to send me a sensor.  So as of now I have three sensors and the system. I do need more sensors but for the time being this should give me about a month to adjust and sleep a little more soundly.

Note: I am still looking for sensors, if you or someone you know would like to sell me some at a small price please let me know.

Anyway, here is my first 24 hours with a Dexcom:

Um yeah. I was advised to wait until after the holidays to start, however my Christmas was extremely low key this year. No alcohol, not a whole lot of treats, I spent most of yesterday (blissfully) alone with my dog, we even went for a hike in the woods, cooked a low key dinner and enjoyed opening presents with Todd in the evening. In a word: It was fabulous. In another word it was typical for me. So yes, if I had family gatherings, a big party, lots of food to snack on...I probably would have waited, but yesterday's only difference was there was a blissful gift exchange and an extra set of foot rubs for.

The first night (Christmas eve) was awful. I had 4 low blood sugars and two more alarms for double down arrows. It was exactly what I needed to start. Yesterday morning I adjusted my night time basals according to the handy graph. So last night....well you can see last night...that's the giant clump that's hovering between 220 (12.2) and 300 (16.6). So I needed a site change and will try some basals out tonight.

The biggest thing this has done for me is provided me peace of mind. I now have warnings for my lows any time. Before I usually would start to feel a low around 2.5 and I would feel incredibly high at 8.5. So I can start to get in touch with what my lows feel like as they approach and same with my highs.

It will take some tweaking and adjusting but there was absolutely no better way to spend my Christmas. I am so happy to have a bit of peace of mind.

I will update maybe in a week or so on my progress, but for now: let the addiction to the data begin.

Also: Merry Christmas if you celebrate :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 in diabetes. It was a big one.

This year.

This year has been a year filled with defining who I am.

When you live with a chronic illness that is often seen in the public eye as something you have created, when you live being overweight no matter what you do to change that, when you live with people in your life who point these things out to you regularly it can be easy to start to believe what you see and hear.

For years of my life I always thought that I just wasn't doing enough to lose weight or control my diabetes. I was always made to believe that no matter what my effort was, it wasn't enough and I was doing it wrong.

What people who are outside of diabetes (no matter the type) don't know, what people who are outside of being overweight don't know, is that it just isn't their place unless they are part of the patients medical team.

In April, I decided I was going to change how I saw the world. It sounds lofty and like the words of a daydreamer, but there was a moment in time where I said this is it, this is me and I am who I am. Nobody from that point on could make me feel like any less of a person because of how I appeared to them or how they were going to view me due to my diabetes.

It has been an incredible transformation personally. My outlook in every aspect of my life has changed dramatically, and I have maintained to still be the person I have been striving to be. 

I decided that I want to tell people what real life is like with diabetes, so I jumped on twitter and searched diabetes. It happened that I stumbled on a #dsma chat night. That was where I needed to be at that exact time. The online diabetes community has provided me with the empowerment that I needed to remain committed to my personal development. I have made a multitude of friends through the online community. I have helped start the first Canada-centered diabetes online chat, I have witnessed chats in Great Britain, Australia, Italy, France, South Africa and more. A very special thank you goes out to members of the Diabetes Online Community for being a warm blanket when I was very cold.

I now know that no matter what any outside source says to me about my weight or diabetes, I have a place to turn to. I don't have to keep my thoughts inside and assume the person probably meant well, and even consider that maybe they are right.

I started to hear about people all around the world who were feeling what I was feeling. I was starting to realize that I am not alone in taking everything head on and not taking what others say at face value.

On my path to better myself, I am trying to better understand the motives of people's actions towards me, specifically my weight and my diabetes. A lot of the time it is a lack of understanding and comprehension of what is going on in my body. As many times as I patiently try to explain that I am doing the best I can.

But what I have really come to realize, and this is my biggest learned lesson of 2012:

It can't be said enough. Everyone has things to deal with. Some seem more serious than others, but if we all would take two steps back from a comment we are about to make to or about another person and just remember that everyone is fighting a hard battle, I think we might get somewhere in making this world a better place to live.

This post is my December entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A minefield

Friends, I am ready to cry, nay I HAVE cried today. twice.

I am so frustrated. I don't know what to do. I need some advice.

My sugars have been off the charts for three days. I can't get them down. I am  battling with everything I have.

I have been through 4 infusion sets, 3 catridges, tubing, a new bottle of insulin, injections, and no matter what My sugar will NOT stay down.

I have had a +60% basal rate for two days. I drop sporadically but then I spike high again.

I feel exhausted. My eyes are burning, the tears are stringing from behind them.

I am not sick, I am quite average. I do have a little extra stress in my life, but certainly nothing crazy and nothing I haven't dealt with before. These sugars are adding to my stress. I am finding it hard to focus, and I just want something to give.

I feel like every single orange dot is a mine waiting to be stepped on.

My average blood sugar spiked to over 10 from the lovely 6.9 it was last week. This is NUTS. and I feel like CRAP.

Help? Ideas? Anyone?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sweaty infusion set

Today my sugars have been hovering around 12-19 all day. Corrections, temp basals....nothing seemed to work. I replaced everything yesterday (cannula, tubing, cartridge, insulin) so I assumed it was all good.

Tonight I had 15g carb with supper and instead of my usual 1:10 ratio I have 1:5 plus a correction. 2 hours later my sugar is still climbing so I decided to pull my cannula.

This is what I saw (it was on my butt so I didn't see it up close until I pulled it)

It seems like some of the insulin wasn't going in all day? I guess? I have never seen this sort of insulin condensation on my infusion sets. It's definitely insulin, I wiped it with a q-tip to smell it and make sure.

Has anyone experienced this?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

You know, life isn't bad at all.

Sometimes I feel deflated at my efforts I put into things only to get a miniscule return. It happens, I put in a lot to projects, relationships and my personal (diabetes) care.  I always grew up being told you get out what you put into something, but I have come to the realization that it just doesn't always ring true.

Coming to terms with the fact that I may very well put a lot more in to something than I get out of it has taken a lot of pressure off myself to achieve all of these lofty goals I set.

I am slowly starting to take power away from events, things and people which held so much power over how I felt about myself and it is incredibly eye opening and the self-realization that I am not awful at everything I do or try is really a breath of fresh air.

I won't get into great detail, since my year-end wrap up will include all of the details about my journey of taking the power away from my diabetes, but I will say this has been incredibly effective.

I didn't realize this is what I was doing until I bought Ginger Viera's book Emotional Eating with Diabetes

Everyone should read her book. Everyone. It has helped me put into real thoughts things that have really been helping me the past few months.

 Ok. I am eating A LOT of candy and probably should go for a walk or something. YAY HOLIDAY SEASON :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A mish mash

I have been trying to write this post for almost a week. I can't seem to get past a few sentences before I scrap the idea.

I wanted to wrap up Diabetes Awareness Month with an epic post about how I felt at the end.

I felt no different. I don't know why I thought I would. It's not to say I felt bad, I felt good about our efforts to be honest, but I always do.

The World Diabetes Day chat on the 14th was an absolute highlight for me. To be able to log in to any time of the day and be able to take part in a truly meaningful and dedicated conversation about real issues that people with diabetes face all the time was a great relief.

I started this blog because I wanted to chronicle my life with diabetes. I wanted an outlet to write, because I am so passionate about writing and I don't get the opportunity to do it in my "day" job. I didn't know what I was going to get out of starting this little tiny blog in a far corner.

This November was the second Diabetes Month in all of my 23 years that I felt hopeful. I felt that one day I may not have to live with this illness, I felt hopeful that maybe just maybe the words I spill out on to my figurative page may help someone out of a dark place in their life.

I would be lying if I said I didn't always have a diabetes community. When I was first diagnosed I went to camp almost immediately. I still have friends that I see regular that went to camp with me. I volunteer with them, drink with them, eat with them, and everything in between. I love my girlfriends (and guy friends) that I made at camp.

But I just need to touch on something that happened this week in the DOC that has floored me.

I posted on twitter that I would like a Dexcom system. I need one in fact. I have anxiety when I go to the gym or on a bike ride because my blood sugar drops quickly with exercise, and lately I haven't been feeling my lows until I am around 2.0. So I put the call out, I had an offer of an entire system in under 10 no cost. I am so thankful. For the privacy of the person who is sending me this system I won't post who it is, but they know who they are and they can rest assured I will pay it forward.

I still do not have extra sensors. One other person offered to send me one extra that they had (and thank you thank you thank you!!), but other than that I am out of luck. Does any one have any they could sell me or donate to me? I really just want enough for a few months so I can understand why I cant sleep at night because I am so low. If you can, contact me on twitter or through the comment section :)

There you have it. I am not even reading this post before getting it out there. It's disjointed. It's my wrap up of diabetes month. It's necessary.