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!