Friday, April 15, 2011

Time to start something new..

So, here goes nothing. I recently found my Livejournal stuff that I wrote 6-7ish years ago when I was 20/21. Apparently I had over 200 posts! I had no idea I wrote that much about my life but I do remember feeling like it really helped me to cope with all of life's drama. I had stuff in there about my jobs, my family, my friends (and in some bad moods I made my posts private so it was like a real diary and I said kind of mean things sometimes.. but the funny part is that the 2 people I wrote about in private entries, are still my best friends... one of them is now my wife). Since that time a lot has changed/happened, and I think its time I give whats now called blogging another chance.

At this point in my life, I've pretty much achieved all of the goals I had set for myself, something I'm very proud of. I've gotten the degree I wanted, I own a dog, and I have a loving marriage with an amazing woman. Yes I said marriage. We were married in 2008 while it was legal in California. We created a baby out of a lot of love and just a tiny bit of sperm, and little Sofia is now almost 8 months old. There are still 2 more lifetime goals that I want to reach. The first is having a successful pregnancy, and birthing a healthy baby, as a diabetic mother. This one is somewhat in the near future and I kind of started on that journey last week. I'll get into the details in a second. But the other goal, is to own a home, and that my friends, is a very long way off as far as I can tell. Reason? Two words. Student loans. Uh...... yea.

But back to the pregnancy goal. After fighting my insurance company for over a year, I was finally approved for a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (often referred to as CGM or CGMS). This is a device that will track my blood sugar every 5 minutes, show me my blood glucose reading, and also tell me in which direction my blood sugar levels are going on a little cell phone sized wireless device. Amazing right?

I started using the CGM (a Dexcom 7) last Thursday. It was really interesting because with my insulin pump, I have to do very little in terms of its attachment to my body. I currently am using the Omnipod wireless and tubeless pump, and luckily for me it has an automatic insertion method. I press a button on the Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM, kind of like the pump's remote control) and it does all of the work of inserting a small plastic tube called a cannula, under my skin to allow the pump to deliver insulin directly into my body. My biggest concern when setting up my pump is to make sure there is enough insulin in the pump to last me for 3 days, and to make sure that the adhesive bandaid type fabric that holds the pump onto my body is nice an flat and seals all the way around the pump. With the Dexcom CGM, I understood that from the moment I inserted it, I would not be given any information until the first 2 hours had elapsed. This is very different from my pump, which allows me to utilize any option I want immediately after the insertion is complete. But I think that all good things in life are worth waiting for so I've got no complaints there.

On the first full day I was extremely frustrated because I was having very high readings from the CGM, and I confirmed all of these high readings with my regular meter (integrated into the PDM) and I just could not seem to get my blood sugar levels to come down. It seemed like it didn't matter how much insulin I did, my levels just remained so high. At that point I was feeling helpless, and it seems silly to feel helpless when you have two devices attached to your body that are supposed to help you to feel in more control, but all I could do was wait for the insulin to kick in, and hope that happened fast. It took a few hours but eventually my blood sugar levels came back down. I'm still not sure if the high readings were due to stress, or by body reacting to the soreness at the CGM site (on my abdomen, the only location of the body the CGM has been approved for use) or what, but I was super frustrated.

The next day I had planned to walk to our daughter's pediatrician's office which is about 2 miles away to see how exercise would affect my blood sugar. I had a bowl of cereal which usually makes me spike pretty high and did about half of the insulin I would normally do. About 3/4 of the way to the office I was at almost 200, but my exercise managed to keep me from hitting that point. I got there, picked up the paperwork I needed, and headed across the street to the park. My numbers stayed in a slightly high range at the park, but I had prepared myself for that because I wanted to see how much the walk home would bring my numbers down. When I left the park I was at 150 and as I occasionally glanced at my receiver through out the walk, I watched my blood sugar steadily come down. When I opened my front door, I was at 104 with a straight down arrow, meaning that my blood sugar was dropping 1-2 mg/dl per minute. The arrow that I mentioned is shown on the CGMs receiver (the cell phone thing) and shows the "trend" of your blood sugar. If your blood sugar levels are staying pretty steady, then you get a sideways arrow, if they are increasing you can get an arrow pointed diagonally up, saying it's rising at a certain rate, a straight up arrow, saying it's rising kind of quickly, and a double up arrow means its rising really quickly. Same thing goes for the down arrows, diagonal, single down, double down. I wound up hitting 80, still with a down arrow, and knew I'd need some juice to keep my blood sugar from dropping too low. The juice started to kick in a few minutes later, and I wound up around 100 in just a short while. It was a really interesting experience and was the first positive one I had with the CGM. We all know that exercise is good for us, but for me to be able to actually see the exercise having such an impact on my sugar made me feel really good.

Since Friday, I've had good days and bad days. I think thusfar the hardest part for me has been when I feel like I've estimated the amount of carbohydrates I'm going to eat correctly, I do the amount of insulin I think I need, and I sit there obsessing over my receiver, watching my blood sugar levels go up. That just makes me feel like I'm a bad diabetic and that I have no idea how much insulin my body needs. But after 2 years of doing this, I've gotten pretty good at estimating (most of the time) and I think the problem is that I'm not waiting long enough to check my blood sugar levels. The body is going to have some blood sugar spikes when you eat certain things, but if I didn't have a CGM up and running on my body, I would probably not know about these spikes, and I wouldn't feel so frustrated, as when I tested 2 hours later, I'd probably be back in a healthy range. Having and utilizing a CGM could easily drive a person insane, and to avoid that outcome for myself, I'm starting to train myself to look at it less.

Yes, this is getting kind of long for an entry, but it's hard to get everything I've been dealing with for the last week out in one short burst. It's something new, and of course there is a learning curve. I just have to learn to let myself learn. How's that for a sentence? I need to give myself time to adjust to a new system, and that is something I've always struggled with. When I need to learn something new, I hate the process. I always feel like I would like to fast forward 2 months to the time where I've finally gotten the hang of whatever it is I'm learning. Then again, everything in life is a learning process.

So the CGM is my first step towards getting my body ready to attempt getting pregnant. I've started to exercise more lately even though I like to think I stay moderately active. In the winter and spring I play in an indoor basketball league, and in the summer I play softball. I really enjoy taking walks when the weather is nice, and I've been able to do some of that more recently as the winter weather is finally winding down. Notice its almost late April and I'm not counting Mother Nature's winter weather as down for the count yet? It's sad but true here in New York. The climate is definitely changing, and I don't think its a good change.

I'm hoping I can keep this updated pretty regularly. Guess we'll all just have to wait and see.....