Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Diabetes Arsenal

As I touched on in a previous post, the most difficult part of healing after my pancreatectomy was learning how to manage my diabetes. There is so much information out there pertaining to Type 2 Diabetes and constantly hearing those messages got me confused about how I would or wouldn't be restricted as a  Type 1 Diabetic. Technically, I am a  Pancreatogenic Diabetic since I have no pancreas at all, but trying to explain that to people is even more difficult than explaining the differences between Type 1 and Type 2.

I'm happy to say there are some tools and technology that make being an insulin dependent diabetic a lot easier to cope with - my insulin pump and my continuous glucose monitor.

BTW - sorry about the orientation of the pics below. The blogging software isn't very friendly for orienting and editing photos.

I use an Omnipod Insulin Pump. This pump is the only one on the US market that has no tubing which means I can swim and shower without having to remove it. 
Clockwise from top: Omnipod Pump, Blood Glucose
Test Strips, and Omnipod Controller.
Every 3 days I take the old pod off and 'prime' a new pump with insulin. I then stick it on a good, fatty place - typically my butt - activate the pump and *pop* a cannula gets inserted in my skin and I start getting my insulin. Overall I am really happy with this system though I would appreciate a smaller pod. I'm surprised that more people don't ask what the lump on my butt is. Surprised, but thankful I suppose that I don't have to explain.

I was very reluctant to begin using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) - I already felt a bit like the bionic woman with one piece of technology attached to my butt - but my endocrinologist kept pushing and I eventually gave in after doing a trial and seeing just how powerful it is to have a constant view of how my blood glucose is trending. I use a Dexcom 7 CGM:
CGM applicator and CGM sensor.
Every 2 to 4 weeks I change my sensor out with the applicator. Wish I could say the application process is as easy as the pump - it's not - this one really hurts when it goes in because the needle in the applicator is bigger and it needs to insert a wire. Typically I put the CGM on my lower tummy where I've got an inch to pinch. A CGM monitors your blood glucose based on interstitial fluid rather than blood. This is not as accurate as blood and your actually blood glucose (BG) can vary as much as by 30 points but generally mine is within 10-15 points of my actual BG. I love being able to follow my BG trends visually and I'm pretty obsessed with checking it throughout the day - even when racing. It's a little less reliable when training or racing than a normal day so if I see it saying anything less than 140 I like to start shoving in some sugar.

You'll notice that in the picture above that my BG was 203 when I took the picture. *Sigh* That's what happens when you eat your breakfast starting with a BG of 80 and don't want to bolus and make your BG even lower - so I forgot to bolus. That's been happening a lot lately - gotta get that figured out.

I carry both my Omnipod and Dexcom controller with me when training or racing over long distances. If I could tell these companies anything it would be to make these things smaller. I had to buy new purses after my surgery just to accommodate all this stuff! I particularly look a little silly running with all this gear. In a future post I'll show you how I accomplish that.

Researchers are getting closer to actually integrating pumps and CGMs together so that they 'talk' to each other and would effectively act as an artificial pancreas. I'm very excited about that possibility and am crossing my fingers it will be soon though I really shouldn't get my hopes up since the pace of FDA approvals is glacier like. I suppose that's fair as a malfunctioning insulin pump will - there's no way to be delicate about this - kill you. 

I'll spare you the PG13 pics of what these devices look like once they're actually attached. :)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for being an athlete. It in inspires all the other Type1 1 diabetics who have to regularly explain why it is possible to be an athlete and a diabetic. You are an inspiration, pump and all...