Continuous Monitoring


After a brief hiatus, I’m back with great news: I got a continuous glucose monitor.  Yes — somehow, despite all the horror stories that I’ve heard about trying to get insurance coverage, I managed to rush through an order for Abbott’s Freestyle Navigator, and had it within two weeks of initiating the request. Crazy.

It’s been an interesting experience wearing it (more thoughts to follow) but I can tell already that wearing a CGM requires reevaluating how you look at diabetes. The thing that makes it great — allowing you to see your blood sugar in real time — also reinforces what an imperfect science diabetic control is. I don’t think I was prepared for the psychological effect of having my blood sugar available at the push of a button.

For example: the first week I wore it, I ate my normal breakfast of a yogurt smoothie sweetened with splenda, and was disturbed to watch my blood sugar creep up as the morning wore on, plateauing at around 180. I tried taking some insulin, but when I checked the monitor several minutes later and didn’t see any change, I took some more. And then a little more. Nothing. Then around noon I went to an intense spinning class and watched as my glucose precipitously dropped from 180 to 70 in the course of an hour. By the time I got back to my office my entire face was sweating and my body was shaking, and when I took an actual blood glucose reading, it was 34 — one of the lowest readings I’ve gotten in the 8 years that I’ve had diabetes. I was dealing with what I think must be a common complication of getting a new CGM — the ability to see your glucose level so easily makes you forget that you have to be patient.

Since then, I haven’t had any crazy lows. But while I’m thrilled to have my CGM, I’m also aware that it’s making me harder on myself than I was before,  which is an impressive accomplishment. Now the trick is to learn some balance: I need to learn how to read and react to its numbers without overreacting.

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