Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Perspective

on October 31, 2012

About every week or so, I take time to connect all of my devices (my Animas Ping insulin pump, my glucose meter and my Dexcom continuous glucose meter) to my computer and take a look at the information that these wonderful devices have collected.  This takes about a half hour or longer, depending on how long I take to really look over the data and whether or not I feel like I have problems to solve as a result of seeing the data.  I get graphs, tables, lists and reports, all of which are useful at some time or other. My favorite is the “My Success” report that I get from the Dexcom upload. In the old format (recently replaced by an update that looks cooler), little smiley faces showed up in the table comparing the past two weeks of data.  For example, if you had a lower average blood glucose this week over last week, you get a smiley face.  If not, you get an angry lightening bolt in a red triangle.  The reports are colorful too, with each day’s tracing of blood glucose readings (the Dexcom records BG every five minutes!) in a different color.  Looking over these reports feeds the scientist soul in me that has lain dormant for many years (I last did research in a real lab in 1987).  It’s a little strange to be looking at data that came from MY body, but I’ll take it.

But the best thing that this exercise gives me is perspective.  Diabetes is a 365/24/7 disease, and it is really easy to get caught up in the hour by hour (heck, even the minute by minute) events.  If this happens too much, it is really easy for me to get discouraged and think that I’m doing a lousy job of managing things.  You can imagine what this does to my confidence and self-approval rating.  Stepping back and taking a look at what has happened over the past week, or month, or even three months puts it all in perspective.  A case in point:  Yesterday my blood glucose was way over 200 for about 12 hours, for no reason that I could come up with.  I bolused with insulin many times during these hours in attempts to bring it down.  It would tease me by dropping from, say 250 to 190, then just turn around and head right back up to 260 or so.  My Dexcom faithfully buzzed me many times during the night to remind me how high I was, and I got up several times between 11 and 3 to verify my BG and dose yet again with insulin.  At a couple of points, I was so frustrated, that I dosed with WAY more insulin that my meter recommended.  That’s what’s known as a rage bolus…..(and thank God they didn’t work, or I would have been in deep trouble with an extremely low blood glucose….).   Finally at 3:30 am or so, I took a look at the tracing from the past 24 hours on my Dexcom.  What I saw was that the monster high started about 2 1/2 hours after lunch.  But lunch itself could not have been the culprit, so it had to be something besides the food.  Ahhhhh, yes.  I had been out to lunch with a friend and we sat next to the toasty warm fire for 2 hours. It felt great on a cold and rainy day.  However, I suspected that the insulin in my pump didn’t like that heat at all.  So, at 5 am, after another frustrating couple of hours with no decline in my BG, I got up and replaced the insulin in my pump with a fresh supply. I hated throwing out 50 units of insulin, but it might as well have been water for all the effect it was having on my blood sugar.  Happily, the fresh insulin had the immediate effect I had been looking for for hours and I was happily on my way to the pool with an almost normal blood sugar.

Now, there was a time when that kind of monster high would have really frustrated me and gotten me all tied up in knots.  I can’t say I was happy about it, but I did manage to make it through the situation with a relatively calm approach to it and fairly rational thinking (as rational as you can be when your brain is swimming in sugar syrup).  Why? Well, primarily it was the grace of God.  I have been learning that it doesn’t help to get all riled up about weird blood glucose events.  I really can rely on the power of Christ to cope with stuff like this.  My confidence is in Christ, not in my ability to keep my blood glucose in range (as worthy as that goal might be!)

But secondly, it really helps that I spend the time regularly to look at the bigger picture of my diabetes management, seeing the long term numbers and graphs.  12 hours isn’t a lot in the whole scheme of things, but in the middle of the night, it’s hard to remember that.  Knowing that it all averages out pretty well over the long haul really helps.  This perspective also keeps me motivated to keep on doing stuff like swimming and working out in the fitness center and eating relatively well.  Those graphs look a LOT better than they did this time last year, with far fewer wide swings from low to high.  That’s a good feeling. So thank you Animas and Dexcom for this gift of perspective and technology.  And thank God for His amazing grace, that gives me the strength to deal with it all.

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