Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bad site

Ok, so I don't have time for an in-depth, thought-provoking post this week because . . . I'm in Cleveland, Ohio! For my brother's wedding! I'm so excited to be here for him. Since I'm in Florida and he's in Ohio, we don't get to see each other much (couple times a year) so not only am I super stoked to just be spending time with him, it's that much better that it's on such a happy occasion!

Plus, today happens to be Brad and my anniversary. Four years married today! Make that four great years. So we are taking it easy today and just having fun together. We're visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the day. Tonight we'll be going to an uber fancy dinner at a restaurant that is built into the side of a cliff that overlooks Lake Erie. (It's actually a recommendation from Adam, my bro, and it's where he proposed to Lacey, my future sis-in-law. It looked too cool to pass up!)

After today, we will officially be in wedding mode for the rest of the weekend. So I won't have any time to post. But I'll be seeing you next week when I'm back in sunny Florida! And I'll have some exciting news to share!

So, I'll leave you with a quick (gross) pic that exemplifies why two things drive me crazy: 1) pump sites on my back and 2) trying clothes on. I took it last week after a grissly find on my part. (Squeamish beware: blood ahead!)

I was in a store the other day trying clothes on and that meant that my site was taking a mega-beating. Pants on. Pants off. Shirt on. Shirt off. Up. Down. Wiggle. Etc. . . I usually disconnect my pump because, knowing me, I'm bound to rip it off. I tend to get tangled in my tubing (embarrassingly easily) and if I'm not careful before I rip my jeans off, my pump and site go with them!! But even when I disconnect, the site itself still inevitably gets snagged, bumped and generally beaten. My site being in the back tends to make it worse since I can't see it or avoid it easily.

Anyway, after going to the store and trying a bunch of clothes on, I ran some more errands and came home. I could tell that I was high (had to pee, felt dehydrated and just generally yucky). I tested and sure enough, I was high. So my rervoir was close to empty so I just decided to do a whole set change. As soon as I felt my site (which was in my flank) I could tell it was wet. Ah HA!! I figured it was leaking insulin. NOPE! It was blood. Ewwwww!

I ripped it out and changed everything, which I was planning to do anyway, but it sucked that I probably would have noticed the bad site hours earlier if it had been in the front. AND it probably only happened because I roughed myself up in the fitting room.

Am I the only diabetic girl uncoordinated enough to not be able to try on clothes without inflicting personal damage? ::sigh::

~Layne

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Human with "upgrades"

Since I've been on the pump I've been in relatively close contact with my Endo nurse practitioner, Julie. We exchange emails at least a couple times a month. I send her my latest blood sugars and we talk about patterns and trends and (if we need to) do some tweaking.

My blood sugars have been pretty good overall except when I'm at work. I have a very unusual work schedule and it pretty much guarantees unpredictable blood sugars. Because I don't have a "normal" schedule it's been relatively difficult for Julie and I to find patterns in my blood sugars. So she asked if I'd be interested in wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) so that we can get a better picture. And I was game. I've never really thought that a CGM was for me but I was interested to see what all the fuss was about. Plus it was a nice (free!) way to trial a CGM if I ever was considering getting one!

When I went to my next appointment I was told that a Dexcom rep had been trying to convince the office to trial one of their CGMs and I was going to be the guinea pig. Fine by me! Since I'm on the Animas Ping, I wouldn't be able to wear the MiniMed CGM anyway and I was hoping to trial the Dexcom since (if I were to get one) that would be the CGM I would pick.

I have to admit it was better than what I was expecting. I feel like I've heard tons of stories of it being a royal pain, constantly needing to be calibrated, always alarming, never being accurate, being finicky about when and where you can place a sensor . . . yada, yada, yada. I was nervous that it would be annoying, cumbersome and barely helpful. But really it wasn't bad.

I wore it for a week and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to use and calibrate. I still tested my blood sugar often but it was nice to see trends and to catch the highs and lows before they really became issues. I really appreciated the data it gave me at night, when I would otherwise sleep through bad numbers and never know about them! The first couple of days I thought the alarms would drive me nuts, especially at night. But once I tweaked the settings, they got much better. For example, I'm pretty aware of my lows and don't really need to be BEEEEP'd at if my blood sugar is 70 or 80. So I just turned the low alarm off. (No matter what the Dexcom will alarm if you go below 55 mg/dl.)

I ended up pulling it on the 6th day. (Dexcom sensors can technically last 7 days but most people say that they get more like 10 days out of them.) It's a fairly large site, especially compared to my pump site, and it was getting uncomfortable (itchy, red, etc). Plus, I was getting annoyed that it was taking up valuable real estate on my abdomen.

The Dexcom rep was awesome and gave me the software disc and cableso that I could download my numbers to my computer without having to wait for my next appointment to go over the data. So I was able to download my numbers immediately and took them to Julie a couple of days later. I really like the format of the Dexcom software and how it shows you your data and I ended up getting some great information from wearing it. After the trial, I was seriously considering getting one, if for no other reason than a possible future pregnancy. I mean, as tight as I'd like my numbers to be, a CGM would be invaluable, especially at night when I go 8 hours in a row without testing.

So anyway, that's the overview on my Dexcom trial. I definitely came out on the other side with my mind changed. I still don't think that CGMs are all wonderful and sunshine and rainbows or that they are for me all the time. But I can definitely see their value now, where before they seemed a little worthless and overhyped.

But there was one more aspect of my experience that I haven't gone over. The robot factor. It's something I've heard people talk about in the DOC for a while. How, with a pump or CGM or both, they can start feeling mechanical and robot-like. So this last bit is the story of my husband's reaction to that idea.

So the first night I have the CGM sensor in place, I'm laying in bed showing Brad all my new gadgets. I've explained what a CGM is and what all the pieces do and I started telling him how I've heard other DOC-ers complain that they feel robotic wearing all this stuff. I go on to say that I never really identified with that feeling until I looked down and saw my belly covered in pump sites and sensors. So told him that I did kinda feel like a robot.

"You'd really be more of a cyborg," was his response.

::blink::blink::

And with this question I knew I was getting myself in trouble: "What's the difference?"

He was grinning at this point and he told me, "Well, a robot is all machine. But a cyborg is like a human with upgrades!"

Thanks, honey, I love you too.

~Layne

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Slacker

Ok, so since D-Blog week I've been a total bum about updating. I've still been reading my blogroll like a fiend and commenting but I just haven't had the energy to finish a post! We've been pretty busy lately and life's been crazy and I've been sick and, oh yeah! In the middle of all that I turned another year older.

Ugh.

That's right folks, I'm 28. Just kissing 30. Thirty? 3. 0. Wow. Weird. I feel like I need to keep saying it so that I'll be used to it by the time it actually happens. On a brighter note, Brad will, in 19 days, actually BE 30! Holy freakin' crap, I'm married to an old man! ;-) And nothing makes me feel younger than reminding him of his impending doom. Daily.

Alright, I have a couple of unfinished posts backlogged . . . (I told you, I'm such a total slacker) . . so I'll be working on those and trying to post more. A couple of fun new things I wanted to post about on the diabetes front (because even when they are medical, new gadgets are fun, dammit!) Maybe I'll even post again today!

Or maybe tomorrow.

~Layne