Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

What’s wrong with this picture?

on August 28, 2012

For those who have never worn a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), let me explain what you are looking at. This is the screen of Jiminy, my Dexcom CGM.  The numbers on the left are mg/dl blood glucose (BG). Each dot on the graph represents my BG reading at 5 minute intervals.  This screen shows 3 hours worth of data, but you can also display 6, 12 and 24 hours by clicking the ok button.  The symbol in the upper right corner indicates that I am out of range of this receiver, which means that the transmitter (stuck in/on me) is more than 5 feet away. That’s the first problem with this picture – I was sleeping less than 2 feet away from Jiminy, but apparently it wasn’t aware of that.  You might also note that the time is 2:37 am. What in the world, you may be asking, are you doing taking a picture of your CGM screen at 2:37 am?  That’s another problem for another time……Just take it from me that as long as I was awake, I thought I might as well make a note of what I thought was an interesting phenomenon.

So what’s the interesting phenomenon, you ask? Well, maybe you ask. Maybe you don’t really care, in which case, you should probably stop reading now.  What you don’t see is that for several hours before this, my BG had been holding nicely steady at between 80 and 100.  You can see that at one point, near the left end of the graph, all of a sudden the readings take a nosedive and bottom out for about a half hour.  For some reason, I didn’t hear the alarms that must have been going on during that time, which is disturbing.  But what is most curious to me is that my BG just went up after that, all on its own!  I didn’t get up and eat something, I didn’t even wake up until more than 2 hours after it had bottomed out.  So if I am remembering the physiology I learned decades ago, my liver secreted glucagon because it “knew” that my BG was tumbling dangerously low. Glucagon acts to increase blood glucose by breaking down the glycogen in the liver to glucose and shooting it into the blood.   It’s nice to know that one of my internal organs is on the ball at 2:30 am.  My pancreas may be shot, but my liver is on the job!  There’s good news for you. Or at least for me.

I love my Dexcom, mostly.  It is incredibly helpful in my hour by hour management of this disease.  At times I hate it – usually when it beeps or buzzes at me repeatedly until I do something about my low or high BG.  That did happen today and I was ready to throw it out my office window.  But then there are times like 2:30 this  morning, when it shows me some marvelous physiological design that still works in my body, and reminds me that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”, broken pancreas and all.  So bring it on, diabetes, I’m equipped to do battle!

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One response to “What’s wrong with this picture?

  1. Colleen says:

    Mine loses the signal at night, often.
    And yup – my liver has been known to do the rescue thing, also.
    I don’t know what I did without the Dexcom, even when I’m ready to stomp on it!

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