Diabetes Fantasy

 

Do other women with type 1 who use insulin pumps have the same fantasy I do? Do they spend time longing for the day when their insulin dosing requirements are carefully calibrated into three specific pump patterns: one for the “normal” every-day days, one for the week before their period, and one for the times where they’ve inadvertently ingested gluten?

 

I was revealing the particulars of this fantasy to a friend when she suggested that maybe a diabetes educator could help make this fantasy a reality.

 

This was when I entered the realm of fantasy. I became bionic. After meeting with the diabetes educator we decided that the next step was for me to wear a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM).  I would wear the device for one week, gather data and give myself a chance to experience first-hand having the technology as part of my diabetes care.

 

I wore the contraption for that week.  The CGM sensor was inserted into the left side of my abdomen opposite the insulin pump site.  I carried the receiver with me in my left pant pocket during the day and nestled it by my pillow at night.  During work hours I placed the receiver under the computer monitor for easy access viewing of the real-time graph and trend arrows of my blood sugar. With the graph I could clearly see when my blood sugar was out of my balanced range.  I logged everything I ate and drank, from my morning coffee to the couple spoonfuls of homemade avocado chocolate pudding after dinner.  I recorded all physical activity along with any increased amounts of stress, from a deadline at work to worrying about a friend.  I logged everything.  And I felt superhuman! More than ever, I felt plugged in (literally!) to my diabetes care.

 

With diabetes I am constantly calculating.  Measuring life’s potential effect on my blood sugar.  By life, I am referring to all those factors of living that play a role in blood sugar control:  what I choose to feed myself, whether or not I exercised before I ate or if I am planning to afterward, if I am about to begin my period, or if I am tired or sick or stressed.  I have become an expert in my unique diabetes math, recalibrating and continually learning how to support blood sugar that is not too high, yet also not too low.

 

And now here I was in the present. Not calculating and calibrating like a closet mathematician. What I loved most about wearing the CGM was that it allowed me to live more fully in the present.   I first made this realization when GS and I went on a 12-mile hike in the Columbia River Gorge. Instead of fretting about my blood sugar while hiking and whether or not we should stop and take a break to test – all I had to do was look down at the CGM attached to my belt loop. That allowed me to take in the scenery of the many layers of basalt exposed on the cliff walls, a half a dozen waterfalls and marvel at a tunnel chipped through solid rock behind a 120-foot waterfall.   I was more connected: with nature, with myself, and more engaged in the conversation with GS and our shared experience.

 

As a person who is really good (yet practicing on becoming less skilled) at jumping ten steps ahead or behind in my mind about ‘what if’ scenarios, I fully embrace and welcome anything that can help me stay right here in this very moment. Who knew that my fantasy could not be something out in front of me, but something right within me!

 

Comments (7)

  1. That is awesome Katie!  Information is great especially when it allows you to enjoy life more fully.  Isn’t that interesting that this new technology actually helped you to be more mindful on your hike.  Often it seems technology has the opposite affect.  So happy for you.  Cheers to long hikes.  =)

  2. amy at

    I’m tempted…but as someone who has a love/hate relationship with my omnipod, I wonder how you felt about wearing 2 pieces of medical equipment on your physical self? Did it bother you at all or did the pros of the added info outweigh the cons? 

  3. Katie Decker
    Katie Decker at

    Amy, It took me a couple of days to get used to having two things with me at all times.  Honestly with my insulin pump I usually forget about it during the day since I wear it in my bra and dose the insulin through the blood glucose monitor.  The first two days of wearing the sensor I was reminded how it felt the first two days on the insulin pump, being VERY aware of the technology.  I was struck by my emotional response to being so connected. At first I did not like being reminded that I have diabetes on a regular basis with the CGM. The emotional and physical adjustment to being more connected to diabetes took less than a week because I quickly realized the pros definitely outweighed the cons! 

  4. Chris at

    Katie – congrats on a successful transition to being plugged in with both devices. I am curious about your comment that you “dose based on the blood glucose monitor”? What blood glucose monitor are you using that allows you to dose from it? Congrats again and best wishes!

  5. Katie Decker
    Katie Decker at

    Thank you Chris.  I am on the Animas Ping insulin pump.  The dosing feature was a key swaying factor for me in deciding to try something different. 

  6. Katie… Thanks for expressing what life is like for us type 1s! Great news on using the CGM! I tried one when they first came out and after a few months I gave up on it. I found the data overwhelming and not accurate enough to make informed insulin dosing decisions. I am wondering if the technology has improved over the past few years.

    Do you have the recipe for the chocolate avocado pudding? YUM! 

  7. Katie Decker
    Katie Decker at

    Hi Karen, Thank you for the comment.  I love the CGM, especially the alert feature that wakes me up in the middle of the night if I drop below my target range.  I was educated that you are not to make dosing decisions based on the CGM.  Regardless, it is helpful to have it as another source of information.  I can’t remember which recipe I used for the avocado pudding, but this one looks similar to one of the ones I was making over the summer.  http://www.forgivingmartha.com/2011/06/avocado-chocolate-pudding.html

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