Monday, March 30, 2015

My Dexcom doesn't seem to like traveling

Hubby and I just got back from a long drive to MD for the weekend.  My sensor seemed to be a bit wonky and had a hard time tracking my numbers while we were there.  Not sure why, since it was a relatively new sensor.  Stress?  Hormones?  Allergic to traveling?  My Dexcom seems to have a mind of its own sometimes.
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Anyway, I decided since it was having a hard time that it was time to give it a change of scenery.  I put in a new sensor in a new location, just to see if it would help.  I now have it on my left leg, on the outside, running north to south (instead of east to west).  I put some Tegaderm tape over it to help it stay in place longer.  It's not too uncomfortable but will take a little bit of time to get used to. 
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Time for a Change

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Right now, my glucometer's 30-day average is 188 and my 14-day average is 208.  According to my Dexcom Studio software, my Feb 23rd - March 23rd average BG is 185.

I know I can do better, and I've come to realize that I'm the only one who can change my blood sugars.  My nurse practitioner can help, but she's really just there to make sure things are on target and looking good.  She's there for status updates and feedback.  I'm the one in the driver's seat, making the calls and living day-to-day with my diabetes.

So if it's up to me, and I can change things, why don't I?

You know, it's time I do.  I've already fought and won one battle.  Diabetes is a lifelong battle, but certainly not an impossible one.  So I'm going to do better.  I'm going to change my healthcare habits and improve my blood sugars.  I'm going to improve them so much that Carrie won't know what happened.

I've ordered a book that's going to help me do just that. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lovely numbers and Toxictabs

Since about noon today, my numbers have been amazing!  I had to have several glucotabs while working in Mom's garage, but it worked wonderfully! 

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My number dipped a little after dinner/dessert, so I figure I must've bolused a bit too much, but it's okay now.

I've actually been looking at the ingredient list on my bottle of glucotabs and I'm a bit concerned about some of the things they list.  The Citrus Punch ones are the ones I'm concerned about, but the Grape ones have several of the same ingredients. 

Anyway, here it is:  ReliOn's Citrus Punch glucotabs
Dextrose (D-Glucose), Potassium Citrate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate, Citric Acid, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Cottonseed), Ascorbic Acid, Malic Acid, FD&C Red #40 Aluminum Lake, Natural and Artificial Flavor.

Let me unpack this list, because there are a few things I don't think belong in glucotabs:

Dextrose (D-Glucose) = a natural form of glucose; one of its isomers.
Potassium Citrate = a potassium salt of citric acid; regulates acidity
Microcrystalline Cellulose refined wood pulp; composed of glucose units
Magnesium Stearate = salt containing magnesium and stearic acid; potentially harmful as stearic acid suppresses immunity (NOT GOOD!)
Citric Acid = natural preservative found in citrus fruits
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Cottonseed) = a by-product of industrial waste produced during cottonseed processing; GMO!  (EW!)
Ascorbic Acid = naturally occurring organic compound with antioxidant properties
Malic Acid = natural substance found in fruits and vegetables
FD&C Red #40 Aluminum Lake = contains dangerous amounts of aluminum and harmful carcinogens containing petroleum, antifreeze, and ammonia.  (UM, WHAT!?)
Natural and Artificial Flavor = edible and inedible chemicals

So, yeah, I'm seriously concerned about the things they put in these glucotabs.  (More like TOXICTABS!)

Methinks I should be looking for another source of fast acting sugar with which to treat my lows.
Stay turned for my next episode - what's in your insulin?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why I Take Cranberry Supplements Instead Of Drinking Cranberry Juice

Diabetes affects so many different aspects of your health.  Diabetics are easily susceptible to UTIs, or urinary tract infections.  The reason for this is because diabetics have a weakened immune system to help fight the bacteria and microbes that cause UTIs.  Females are more likely than males to develop UTIs, as well.    

When it comes to keeping UTIs at bay while also effectively keeping blood sugar numbers steady, I've found a wonderful alternative to cranberry juice.

Unlike cranberry juice (pure cranberry juice without any other fruit juices added), cranberry supplements are void of carbohydrates (sugar), which will affect blood sugar levels.  This means you can take the healthy supplements you need without carb-counting, bolusing, and worrying about your blood sugar spiking
Cranberry supplements, like these, are easy to find and inexpensive to purchase.  I got a two pack of Spring Valley Cranberry with Vitamin C added (extra immunity boost!) at Walmart for $6.  I take them as symptoms arise, and also at various times during the week to keep symptoms at bay.  They are so effective I have decided to never bother with cranberry juice again. 

I fought for my insulin...and WON!

There are always battles worth fighting.  Battles for the sake of your healthcare are those sorts of battles.

I grew frustrated with the news I was given about coverage for Levemir and Apidra being denied.  I contacted my health insurance agent and asked if I could switch back to my old insurance company.  Since the open enrollment period was over, he said that was not possible, but he suggested contacting Catamaran, my health insurance's pharmacy, to see if Apidra and Levemir were on their formulary.

I did so, and received a very good response - they were, and they needed prior authorization from my doctor to be filled.  I contacted my Endo's office via email (since they were closed at that time) and informed them that Novolog wasn't working for me and that both Levemir and Apidra could be filled with prior authorization through Catamaran.  Then I went about my weekend as best I could with the insulin I had, and waited to hear back from them. 
Yesterday morning, as I was preparing for our flight back home, I received a call from my Endo's office telling me that Levemir had been approved for a one year period!  An hour later, they called back and said that Apidra had also been approved!  They sent a prescription in to be filled for me for both insulins!

Don't give up hope in the midst of your battles.  Fight for your have more rights than you know when it comes to such things!  Investigate every opportunity!  You never know where the answer to your prayers will appear!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Failed Sensor

Last night I went to bed high (373).  I did a full correction - 5 units.  Normally I would be afraid to do a full correction but I'm so tired of being high while on this trip and Novolog hasn't really been working well for me anyway, so I thought, "What the heck?"  This morning I woke up and checked my receiver to see what had happened overnight.  This depressing but also encouraging (if that makes any sense) sight met my eyes.

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See that backwards J hook on the 16th from 12 am - 12pm?  Yeah, that was what had happened overnight.  Novolog is USELESS!!

My glucometer read 313.  I did another full correction, and a full bolus for breakfast.  2 hours later I'm down to 229.  I probably have another 2 hours to go before I reach my final threshold.

--->  I would NOT have to wait this long with Apidra.  It starts working in 15 minutes and lasts for 2-3 hours.  Novolog starts working in 20-30 minutes and lasts 3-4 hours.  I NEED Apidra!

Then, it finally happened.  My Dexcom sensor that's been giving me so much trouble this week finally failed.  I called Dexcom Tech Support and they said they'd send a replacement, but I won't be able to put in a new one until I get home tomorrow night.  I'm also going to be sending Dexcom some sort of tech report via email.

Today should prove to be a fun day.  I am hoping to go to the Appaloosa Museum (horses of the Native Americans!), and Uncle Csaba and Aunt Lisa are treating us to lunch.  :) 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Struggling to Stay Afloat

I don't know what it is...maybe a combination of things...but this week I've been struggling with my numbers.  Bad insulin (Apidra became cloudy), new insulin (Novolog), eating more carbs than usual, time zone changes...arg! 

I got so frustrated this morning I cried out to God for help. 

My Dexcom has been having trouble picking up my readings.  I ended up changing my sensor yesterday because it went for several hours without showing any numbers.

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Last night my number went up and, after a correction with Novolog, it only came down half way.  Then it started to go back up as my Levemir trickled off.  I gave a full correction with my meal bolus and now my Dexcom is showing the ??? symbol instead of my number.  It tried to tell me I was LOW 55...but I tested and my glucometer said I was 325...definitely NOT LOW!   

In other news, I have to fight my insurance company to cover my Apidra and Levemir because they want me to use their preferred insulin (Novolog & Lantus).  I'm sorry, but I've been using *their* preferred insulin and they don't do anything for me.  My numbers do not respond to those insulins...I need to use *my* preferred insulins.  I tried to see if I could switch to a different insurance company but apparently open enrollment is closed and I can't switch.  Time to put on my boxing gloves.  Insurance companies do NOT know what their patients need!     

Monday, March 9, 2015

Did you know...?

I inject 26 units of Levemir a day, or 9,490 units a year...using about 730 insulin syringes.

On average, I inject 20 units of Apidra every day, using 7,300 units and 1,825 syringes every year.

I test my blood sugar about 5 times a day or more, using at least 1,825 test strips and 1,825 lancets every year.

I go through 2,555 syringes every year.
I need 10 vials of Levemir and 8 vials of Apidra every year.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Early Morning Low

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Last night was rough.  Some nights I think I need more Levemir, and some nights I think I need less.  There really wasn't any additional insulin on board from dinner - we ate low carb (steak, broccoli) and had Italian Ice for dessert (with a full bolus).  Gave my Levemir on time and my number dropped to about 100 around 3 am.  I was up at that time anyway because I couldn't fall asleep, and I was checking my Dexcom every so often anyway as I watched my number drop.  I didn't want to fall asleep and wake up low a few minutes later.  So I had 2 glucotabs right before 3 am and watched it go up a little before finally falling asleep. 

A little after 6am my Dexcom gave me the LOW 70 alert.  I popped 4 glucotabs in my mouth and watched in agony as it dipped a little lower.  I restrained myself from gobbling down more glucotabs and kept eyeing my Dexcom every 5 minutes to see what it was doing.  It wasn't until 46 minutes had passed that I saw it start to climb into the 70s.  I fell asleep again (it topped out at 119 around 7:25am) and managed to sleep until about 11:30.  It was up to 179 by then, which is typical at the tail end of my Levemir dose.  A little correction and meal bolus ironed things out, but that was one rough night as far as sleeping goes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Oy vey - stress and hormones!

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Oy.  My numbers, I'll tell ya.  Oy.

Noticing the same trend - numbers lowering between noon and 6pm, elevating between 6pm and, primarily is the culprit, but also stress and hormones.  Even with a FULL correction at 6am this morning my number still didn't go down all the way.  Not til noon did it go down with a second correction.  So that tells me that hormones and stress are definitely playing a part. 

Also, 4 glucotabs (16 grams of carbs) took me from 83 to 173.  That's a 90 point increase, or 22.5 points per glucotab.  I'll redo the experiment to see if that's accurate but it's good to know what kind of effect on my blood sugar so many glucotabs have.

My average blood sugar is sitting at a pretty 183.  That's just for the past month or so, but if I can prolong/improve that number by my next appointment in 4 weeks, I'll have an A1C of 8% or better!