I had a close call a few weeks ago and it knocked the wind out of me (both literally and figuratively). It scared my doctors. It scared my family. And for the first time in a long time, it scared me. Turns out, I’m not as invincible as I thought I was. I needed some self love and a reminder that I am not my disease. Now I’m back to normal and breathing easy.
But I need to make some changes.
I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since 6 days after my eighth birthday. It instilled a fear of doctors in me. Doctors never gave me good news. From the start it was, “you’ll be poking yourself four to six times a day for the rest of your life and giving yourself injections four times a day”. I became a human pin cushion at 8 years old. I had to grow up overnight and learn to count carbohydrates and calculate insulin to carb ratios. I had to learn division quickly to inject myself correctly at meals when my family wasn’t around. I had to take snacks and meter supplies in an annoying bag everywhere I went. I had to convince other kids my age, older, and younger that I was no different than them. As I became a teenager, I went to camp for kids with diabetes and met some amazing people. I highly recommend this to parents of kids with diabetes. While at camp, they often talked about how as teenagers we sometimes feel the need to rebel against our diabetes (and ways to overcome that feeling). Unfortunately, this teen angst continued for me when I left camp. I was on a pump but had it pumping insulin so regularly that I brushed off testing and taking insulin correctly when I ate. At 19, getting ready to start a wedding planning internship for the summer, I decided to go off my pump for a bit. I thought maybe this would jolt my body into doing something differently with my diabetes. Unfortunately, after almost 5 years off my pump, I realize I just let any control I had slowly slip away.
It’s easy to point the blame. It’s easy to come up with excuses. It’s hard to admit I gave up on myself. It’s harder to admit that I couldn’t take care of myself for the one person who cares more about me than even I do. If I’m not doing it for me, I should at least be doing it for Jason.
That was a tough pill to swallow but I immediately made an appointment to start looking back into pumps. I also started following other diabetics on Instagram to see how they are managing life and diabetes. I started reteaching myself about T1D by reading, Think Like A Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes by Gary Scheiner. I’m only about halfway through but it’s definitely got my brain churning up new ideas on how to eat better, exercise to promote insulin movement, and think about T1D in a more positive light.
A couple of weeks later, I was set to try out a Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor). Now that it’s been removed and the trial period is over, I’m ready to report back.
Pros: It beeps and vibrates to tell me that my sugar is above my set limit (300 or higher) or below (70 or lower). So I can either take some insulin or grab a snack.
I can see what my day looks like throughout the day rather than just a snapshot
It can connect to an app on my phone which I almost always have with me and I don’t have to reach around in my purse for the remote.
I can enter events that may have influenced my blood sugar as a note (sickness, exercise, snacks, etc.)
Cons: It doesn’t’ have an automatic injection site, you must push it in yourself (like a shot) but it’s a little difficult and cumbersome the first few times.
The remote must be within 20 feet of you at all times. – I struggled with this while we were riding because I wanted to be careful to keep it clean and in tact so I didn’t bring it on our dirt bike rides and therefore lost signal for 20 minutes at a time several times a day during the weekend. I did buy an armband like you would put a phone into when you ride but was too scared I would break it if I wrecked so I decided that will be used when I get my own.
It beeps loudly where ever I go with it when my blood sugar is out of wack (which is often for me) which embarrassed me at meetings, the bank, going out, and at night sleeping in a camper with other people.
Overall, I’m excited to see how the CGM will help me better my health for the future and looking forward to embracing this new technology!
*This post wasn’t written to make others feel sorry for me. It was written to be shared with other diabetics, other people, who’ve gotten burnt out on life lately. Even if I don’t know you personally, if you’re feeling the way I’ve felt lately, I don’t mind a message from a stranger. Sometimes that’s the first step in a new direction. Sometimes all it takes is a new friend to motivate you.