Friday, October 19, 2007


Shhh...Don't tell anyone, but my Guardian has caught three lows in the past two days!
But I did not say it out loud, and writing it will not jinx it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I've thought over and over again about this post, and what I should say.
A brief rundown of the events since my last post. At Allison's suggestion and my desperation, I put in new sensor in on Sunday, the 7th. I was hoping to make each sensor last about a week or so, because I had 4 sensors and a month to use them. That sensor seemed to do alright for a day or so, but my blood sugars were also pretty decent. Wednesday, I restarted the sensor, and got another decent day out of it. On Thursday however, everything fell apart. I got a "cal error" at lunch. It showed me in the high 200s, when I knew I was just fine. I had been keeping a close eye on my blood sugar, to see if an ever challenging bagel breakfast bolus was working like it should. I had been consistently clocking in at 100 to 120. Maybe I should haven't have calibrated then, but I was frustrated at it's inaccuracy. Later that day, in a major national exam, the Guardian just went crazy. First, it told me a high glucose was predicted. Whatever, I felt fine, and I was in the middle of this very important exam. Not 15 minutes later, "Fall Rate." This is supposed to mean my blood sugar is falling more than 3mg/dL. Again, I ignored it again. Not 5 minutes later, "Rise Rate." By this point, I was ready to throw the thing out the window. I wasn't supposed to have any electronic devices in the room. I took my chances, and brought the Guardian. Then, I was forced to check it every 5 minutes because it kept alerting. When I got done with the exam (which I passed with flying colors, despite the annoying interruptions) I placed another annoying phone call to Minimed, who did not even want to help me, saying I should contact my doctors office. Finally, she told me I should re-calibrate when I was positive my blood sugars were perfectly level. I felt like telling her- look, I'm diabetic, if I knew when my blood sugars were going to be perfectly level, I wouldn't need technology like the Guardian! She said if I wanted to be completely sure it was back in line with my blood glucose, to restart the sensor. That's what I did. All Thursday night, it alarmed like crazy. First high alarms, then low alarms, all of which were disproved by a fingerstick. After a very frustrating, sleepless night, I tore the sensor out and put the receiver back in the box. I had enough. I kept it off all weekend, while I wrestled with what to do. My ideas ranged from putting it back on, to driving it back to the doctor's office 3 weeks early and telling them never to give it to anyone else. Calling Minimed for help is no longer an option. I've had three unhelpful conversations with them, most ending with them swearing their product is practically flawless, and I must be doing something wrong. Granted, they can't tell me what that is, but it is not their problem. They seem to have a mental barrier to the fact that I did not buy the unit, that I'm only borrowing it. Sorry for the tangent, back to reality.
Sunday, the 14th, I decided to give it another shot. I was going to make sure there was no reason for error. I put the sensor it 4 hours after lunch, with no additional food or insulin. Chances were, my blood sugars were not going far. I waited the 2 hour warm up period, still eating nothing, and taking no insulin. I waited another 45 minutes after the first calibration before I ate anything and took any insulin. I am only calibrating the recommended 2 times a day(I had been doing 3), first time in the morning, after fasting, and now in the evening, which I have also made a fasting time of day to prevent any possible errors. I hate that I am modifying my life to appease a piece of equipment that is supposed to help me. The accuracy has improved minimally. If I am between 80 and 150, it is very close, almost always within the 20% guideline. As soon and I drop out of that range however, the Guardian is way, way off. I realize that even fingersticks are more accurate with normal numbers, but I am talking about a difference of at least 100 points. It still has not caught an actual low. Most of the time, it showed me holding steady in the 80-90 range, while my blood sugar is in the 50's. I have decided to get over my disappointment and move on. The biggest reason I wanted to borrow the Guardian is to get my basals nailed down really well. To do that, my blood sugars should be within the 80 to 150 range anyway. I will continue to monitor my blood sugars like I normally would (not the 20 or so times I did for several days trying to figure out what the heck was going on with the Guardian) and give up on the dream that this equipment could help me prevent highs and lows. Someday maybe it will get there, but it has not arrived for me. Not yet anyway.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Not Impressed

I am on day 4 of the Guardian, and I'm not going to lie, I'm disappointed. We all know there are peaks and valleys in our blood sugars. I wish they didn't happen, and I try and prevent them, but usually when I graph out my blood sugars there they are, the hills and valleys of highs and lows. With the Guardian, there are no hills or valleys, there are only ant hills and minor puddles. It has only caught one low blood sugar, and never shows me as high as my blood says I am. With lows, it might say I go down to 82 or so, not the 50's I'm actually experiencing. The Guardian might show I'm up to 200, but a finger stick shows I'm actually 260. Last night, I went down to 60, and the Guardian showed me holding steadily at 150. I'm sorry, but that is a huge, unacceptable difference. The first full day I had the Guardian, I was ready to believe every number it showed me. I just did a minimum number of blood sugar checks before meals, and fully thought that my blood sugars really were that amazing, almost never straying outside of the 80 to 120 range. Now I am not that sure. I am still checking my blood sugar 8 to 10 times a day. I hope as time goes on that maybe I find out why it shows such differences, but for now, I just don't trust it. I am greatly disappointed in this piece of equipment. I thought this was the next greatest, life changing piece of equipment. I thought maybe it would be worth fighting the insurance company for coverage, but for now I think it would be a waste of time.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

19 Years

Nineteen years ago today, I was diagnosed with diabetes.
Today, I feel very diabetic. That might sound strange to some. There are some days when diabetes sinks into the background and routines take over. Today though it is on the forefront of my mind. On my left side, I wear my Cozmo and Quick-set, almost silently delivering insulin. On the right, the Guardian RT and mini-link transmitter, attempting to tell me if the pump is giving me the right amount if insulin. These are part of my life now and they are reminders of what I need to do to survive and thrive.
I’ve thought a lot lately how diabetes has altered my life, and it is something that I can not honestly answer. It is such a part of me, that I cannot image what life would be like if I had never gotten this disease. Has it made me more sympathetic? Maybe. More cautious? Perhaps. Less spontaneous? Probably. But this is who I am now. I am a college student. I am a Christian. I am a daughter and an aunt. I am also a diabetic. That’s just the way it is.
I am not celebrating today, and I’m not mourning it either. It’s just another day in my life. A day like the past 6,935 that happens to include insulin, blood sugar checks and carbohydrate counting.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

First Impressions

I am officially hooked up to a Guardian Real Time System. They gave me a whole new setup, so I felt like I was getting it "for real" and that I didn't have to give it back in a month. I am unsure about my feelings of it yet. It is too soon, and I've had too many issues. From the beginning:
One of my biggest fears was wearing and inserting the sensor. I was expecting the insertion of the sensor to hurt like &^*$ because it went in at an angle (angled sites and I have a bad history) and then the nurse offered me ice, saying most everyone used it. After about a minute of sitting there with the ice on my stomach, and getting more nervous by the second, I just went for it. I did not hurt a bit. It takes a little bit of work to get the inserter off of the site, and it is a little nerve wracking. With a pump site, you mess it up, and it's not that big of a deal. With a sensor, it's like flushing twenty dollar bills down the toilet. Overall, a lot easier than I thought. It actually hurt less than my pump sites.
After my training was done, they sent me on my way, with the instruction to do a 2 hour calibration check before the system would actually start working. Not 15 minutes down the road, I got a "sensor error" alert. Not exactly what I wanted to see. After pouring through the manual, I finally found out that one of those alerts is really no big deal, but multiple alerts aren't so great. Ok, I'm good to go. I thought. Until 20 minutes later, when I got the same alert. Soo I called the Minimed people, who had me restart the 2 hour start up period. So 5 hours after my initial appointment, I was finally getting readings. For a few hours, it went pretty well. I checked the number on the screen every 15 minutes or so, just for the joy of it. I felt like it was fairly accurate, until about half an hour ago, when I could feel myself falling. But the graph stayed steady. As I was walking back to my room from a friends house, I became more and more sure that I was dropping. But the Guardian did not agree. I know it takes some time to catch up with rapidly changing numbers, but I felt like I was dropping for a good half an hour. I checked, and my meter said 75. Not exactly an emergency, but not the 188 the Guardian claimed. Here's where I made my first big mistake: I plugged that number into the Guardian. Bad move. It needs calibration numbers that are not rapidly changing. After it thought for a good long while, I got a "cal error." So I'm not getting any data now, and I'm in the waiting game for my blood sugar to even out so I can calibrate it again. I'm hoping it becomes more accurate as time goes on, and I learn how to best take advantage of this technology.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I did it

I participated in the JDRF walk. Not the one I normally go to, but one that took place several weeks later. It was actually a lot of fun. There were a lot more people at this walk, and it was a lot more upbeat. They had face painting and a lot of things my niece would love. The walk was thru the heart of downtown, and I got to see a lot of things that I never would have seen before. Although I did not raise a lot of money, I'm really glad I ended up doing it, even if it was a last minute affair.
This week is a pretty significant D week. Tomorrow I get my temporary Guardian CGMS. I want to love it, but I'm trying to be realistic and realize that there will probably be times when I will hate it.
Wednesday will be my diagnosis anniversary. I will have been living with this disease for 19 years.
Needless to say, this will be a trying week for me. Look for frequent updates.