In March, I had an appointment with the nurse practitioner at my endochrinology office. I have been meeting with Amy for 4 years now and I love her to the end of the earth. She is calm, listens, and has helped me be such a better diabetic, as strange as that sounds. I mean first, she changed my diagnosis from a type II to a type I which altered my treatment plan dramatically all those years ago. She and the nurses on staff got me through my pregnancy with Quinn healthy and safe and I don't know what I would do with out her. In fact, she's a little bit older and if she were ever to retire, I just don't know what I would do.
Anyway, the last few months, being a diabetic has been pretty challenging. My blood sugars have been out of whack, one of the insulin's I was using, Lantus, seemed to stop working and, when you are supposed to wake up with your blood sugars between 90-120 and you are in the 200's, there is a problem.
After months of thinking about it, and just not feeling well, I was ready when my March appointment came, to talk to Amy about a pump.
First, I wore a sensor for a 5 day study to see what exactly my blood sugar was doing every day. The sensor recorded a glucose level every 5 minutes for 5 days, turned that data into charts and the short version is, I needed to be on a pump. My body was doing something called "insulin pooling" which means that when I was taking large doses, of Lantus in particular, it was basically just hanging out in my body, my body not being able to convert the insulin into the right molecules to work. So, even though I was shooting up 30 units of this long lasting insulin twice a day, I was maybe getting the benefit of half of those units.
Not the best thing for someone whose body cannot create it's own insulin.
I got my insulin pump, whom I've named Dieter, on April 8th. The learning curve to getting all my insulin doses set up correctly has been a roller coaster. It's been hard. The first 10 days, I just wasn't getting enough insulin and I was pretty miserable. But now, as I enter the third full week, things are going well and I'm pretty "Pumped" about the whole thing.
Last week, things got even cooler when I added a sensor to the whole set-up. The sensor takes continuous glucose data and sends it to my pump, giving me a ball park number of where my blood sugar levels are approximately. If I get too low, like I did at 4 am this morning, then the pump vibrates and chimes until I wake up and take care of things. That is a lifesaver. It means that I wake up when my number is 67 because the pump woke me up, instead of waking up on my own with my blood sugar in the 30's.
I change the sensor every 6 days. I change the infusion site for my pump every two and a half days. This, in exchange for 4-6 needle pokes into my arms and gut every single day - for the last 10 years. Now, the needles for both insertion devices are pretty big - and a little intimidating at first, but I've gotten used to it and it's all good.
This July (2016) I will have been a diagnosed Diabetic for 10 years. Ten years is a long time and if I sit down and think about the fact that I have to deal with this the rest of my life, and that it has the potential to do super rotten things to my body (eye sight, nerve damage, etc.) then it's pretty depressing and frustrating. But, this pump may make the next 10 years a little bit easier to manage. It doesn't fix everything, but it is, right now, making a huge difference.