Middle of the Night

Dear Dexcom, Omnipod and my body — I hate these middle of the night lows!  It’s now 3:30am and I am now wide awake.

I had my typical-middle-of-the-night-alarm set to check my blood sugar level. My meter said I was 52mg/dL. My Dexcom said I was 49mg/dL. Whoops, how did that happen? For how long have I been like this? How did i miss it? It’s for nights like these that I love my Dexcom.

Tonight, we somehow missed hearing Dex vibrate and alerting that I was low. I guess my husband and I were both in a deep sleep. Middle of the Night Low Blood Sugars | www.IAmAType1Diabetic.com

I am not complaining, just annoyed with how frequently it does happen. Thank you Dexcom for catching my low blood sugar before it could be much much worse. I am proud to say that my blood sugars are much more controlled since using Dexcom (and having my hubby sleep next to me!) Now, I’m back off to sleep.

Gaining Control

With the use of Dexcom and advice from my endocrinologist, I have been watching my blood sugar levels much more tightly lately. My a1c from an endocrinologist visit 3 months ago was 7.3% (average BG of 163mg/dL). Recently, it has gone down to a 6.9% (average BG of 151mg/dL). With that extra encouragement from my doctor (and my husband), I feel like I can get it into a ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ range more quickly than ever before. In case you want to find out your a1c to blood sugar ratio, click here for a niffy little calculator.

Last night, I changed the settings on my Dexcom. It was set to alert for a LOW blood sugar at 70mg/dL, and a HIGH at 170mg/dL. Looking back on yesterday, I did not have one high blood sugar!! Wahoo! That is a huge accomplishment for whatever type of diabetic you are. I decided to change the settings on my Dexcom, with a HIGH of 150mg/dL to gain even tighter control.

Gaining Control of my Type 1 DiabetesRight now, I have reached my HIGH alert. I just had a LOW and may have over calculated. With my old calibrations, Dexcom wouldn’t have been going off yet. Instead, I have tested my blood sugar and already given myself insulin. On top of it all, I have decreased the rapid incline of the double arrows up to a slower increasing arrow of where my blood sugar levels are headed.

In the last couple days, I have felt like a super-woman — completely on top of my blood sugar levels! Hopefully I can stay on this positive track and get my a1c down even further.

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic

It is very hard to constantly balance my normal life, and my life with diabetes. Most people don’t understand the stresses I deal with on a daily basis. Today, I would like to share a “Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic”. These are everyday struggles that I and so many other type 1’s deal with everyday.

Day In the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.com
OmniPod Insulin Pump
Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.com
Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor

To start off, I need to show you the devices I use to manage my diabetes and explain how they work. My OmniPod Insulin Pump is a wireless pump attached to my body. It constantly is giving me insulin to keep my blood sugars down. This device gets changed every 3 days. Whenever I eat, I need to test my blood sugar level. I use the meter (the part I am holding) to check my level and to give myself extra insulin (aka bolus). Food, juice, carbs etc. raise my blood sugar level. Insulin in my pump bring it down. My goal is to keep my blood sugar levels between 80 – 140mg/dL. I also have the Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor which monitors my blood sugar levels. The sensor and transmitter are attached to my body (that’s my upper thy). The receiver is the pink part I’m holding that vibrates to alert me when I am higher or lower than my target range. For right now, I have low alerts set at 70mg/dL and my high alerts set to 170mg/dL. I wear these devices on my body 24/7, and they wirelessly communicate with the other devices you will see throughout this post.

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.com2:06am – My husband is yelling at me to turn shut my Dexcom off. Apparently it’s been vibrating and he can’t sleep. I am extremely drowsy and definitely not awake; I reach for it and knock it off the end table. Grab my OmniPod meter and try testing instead. Blood sugar level is 228mg/dL. Ugh, that’s why Dexcom is vibrating! Go to correct with bolus, and realize I never changed my pod before going to bed last night! Now I really need to get up.

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.comI realize I need to use the bathroom, as high blood sugars make me thirsty and use the bathroom more frequently. I do my business. Then, I quietly locate new pod, fill with insulin (as seen in this picture), rip off the old pod, prime new pod, use alcohol swab to clean new spot and stick it on my stomach. Pinch up the skin and bleep! New pod cannula is inserted. Now I can bolus for 1.15units of insulin to correct my high blood sugar. I then shut off Dexcom so my hubby doesn’t complain and go back bed.

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.com5:10am – I awake from OmniPod meter vibrating, telling me it’s been two hours since I changed my pod. “Please check blood sugar level.” Thirsty, so I already assume I’m high. Blood sugar reads 226mg/dL, Dexcom reads 228. Bolus 1.0 unit of insulin to correct. Get up to get a glass and drink some water. Why hasn’t my blood sugar gone down from my last bolus? I don’t care, I’ll correct again. I’m tired and going back to bed! This was one of those awful “I’m not getting any kinda sleep” kinda nights!

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.com8:10am – My husband woke up, and said it snowed. I got very excited and had to check it out… Yup, all the snow is there!

Since I got up, I decided to check my blood sugar to see if it went down. Blood sugar is 116mg/dL and Dexcom says 138mg/dL. Dexcom shows a red blood drop (in the top right hand corner) which means it needs to be calibrated.

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.comDexcom requires me to enter 2 blood sugars per day for calibration and to make sure it stays on track. After entering my correct blood sugar, Dex says I’m 123 mg/dL. I am perfectly ok with that! Go back to bed for an hour.

Around 10:00am, my husband asks me to get up, come outside and help him shovel a little bit. I get outta bed, grab my phone and Dexcom, throw on some boots and go out to play. I shoveled a little bit, but not too much of a workout. It was more fun to throw snowballs at the dog and watch her try to eat them!

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.comI should’ve realized that I skipped breakfast. Around 11:00am, Dexcom alerts me to a low blood sugar… a pretty low blood sugar (I don’t remember the number, but it was vibrating without me noticing).

Without testing, I run inside, grab a juicebox and go back outside. That’ll fix it for now, but I know I need some carbs to keep my blood sugar from dropping again.

Ahhh, but look at those pretty trees! (Yea, I got made fun of for taking this selfie… but I love the snow, so I don’t really care!)

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.com1:15pm – Just got done with snow shoveling, and had fixed that low blood sugar. I was still low… at least Dexcom was saying I was. Ate quickly without testing. I had eggs, toast and hash-brown potatoes. Now I’m going to pay the consequences for all those carbs. I’m going high as Dexcom can show you. Blood sugar reads 144mg/dL. I’m definitely going high, and quickly! Bolus 2.85 units of insulin for what I just ate.

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.com5:50pm – For dinner, we went out. Blood sugar is 154mg/dL which is slightly high, but good enough for me. I bolus for my sandwich and fries. I also have a glass of wine, which is always a miss for managing my blood sugar levels.

Shortly after dinner, I get extremely frustrated. My hormones start ranging. My frustration makes my blood sugar level goes up.

Annoyed. Aggravated. and High. Not a good combo.

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.com8:44pm – It’s been about an hour or so after the frustration that I realize I’m thirsty. I test my blood sugar at 269mg/dL. Yikes!!

Dexcom didn’t read it well, didn’t vibrate to alert me that I was high and was way off. It says my blood sugar is 166mg/dL. NOPE! Luckily it was time to recalibrate and I enter in my new blood sugar. It was still off, but a lot more accurate.

Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | www.iamatype1diabetic.com9:50pm – This is my bedtime reading… well my last test before I went to bed. It’s an early night as I have work earlier than normal in the morning. Bedtime reading is still high at 244mg/dL. Dexcom is reading 238 and dropping. I bolus another 1.0 unit just in case and try to get some sleep… Hopefully I don’t go low overnight!

Today was filled with a lot of lows and highs.. and not much in between. With my target range being 70 – 150mg/dL, I was only within my goal 33% of the day. Another 67% of the day was high. This is not a normal day for me… but it is proof of how the most minor things can throw off my blood sugar levels, and for hours afterwards! What I thought would be a typical day turned out to be much different than expected!

I am in the process of creating another blog post called “Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetics – Part 2,” which hopefully will be a much more “normal” day for me, and a regular work day. Stay tuned for what is to come.

New Year, New Health Insurance

The beginning of 2015 is upon us. With that said, there is always changes with health insurance, deductibles needing to be met and of course, supplies needing to be shipped out! The health insurance through my job actually runs from July 1, 2014 until June 31, 2015, so I don’t need to worry about any health insurance issues starting in 2015. I am about to reach my deductible and I thought it was smooth sailing from now until the end of June.

Now that I am married and have officially changed my last name, I have the luxury of choosing to keep my own health insurance or go onto my husband’s health insurance policy. After doing research between his family policy and mine, it turns out that his insurance is a hell of a lot better that what is offered at my job, with a very minimal deductible to be met. Even after the deductible was met, his insurance will cover my diabetes supplies at 90% (verses the 50% my job was offering).

New Year, New Health Insurance | www.iamatype1diabetic.comFor the last month, I’ve known that I will be changing insurance in 2015. In an effort to save money, I purposely only ordered a one month supply of OmniPods, test strips and insulin. I thought I would be “OK” with the amount of dexcom sensors that I had, so I didn’t order any extra of that.

On December 30th, we received our new health insurance cards in the mail. I quickly called Insulet (maker of Omnipod) to give them my new insurance, as well as Neighborhood Diabetes (where I get my strips from) and Dexcom’s reorder department. They all said I would need to wait until the policy was in full effect on January 1st before they can send out supplies. Because the 2nd was a Friday and many offices did not open, I have to patiently wait to hear back from them in the coming week.

Unfortunately, today I ripped off my last dexcom sensor. I have been at a loss of not checking the reciever every 20 minutes or so! I feel like a teenager who lost their cell phone; waiting impatiently to call the insurance company so a new one can be ordered. I have been testing my blood sugars a lot more than usual today. I feel like my blood sugars have been all over because I can’t see the typical trend from dexcom of where they are headed.

From testing more, I am using more test strips. I seem to be running low on those too!

Luckily tomorrow is Monday and a normal “back to work” day. I will be on the phone first thing to order all my supplies, and pray that they will be delivered quickly. This girl needs to know what her blood sugar number is!

Dexcom Software with Artificial Pancreas Algorithm

FDA Approves Dexcom Software with Artificial Pancreas Algorithm | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

 

 

There has been a lot of good news out this week in the Diabetes Community! Today, I get to share that the FDA approved new Decom software with artificial pancreas algorithm. Earlier this week, I posted about experimental encapsulated cell replacement therapy called VC-01™.  Both are getting us diabetics closer and closer to that “cure” we have been searching for since the invention of insulin!

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Dexcom, Inc., (NASDAQ:DXCM), a leader in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved new software for the Dexcom G4® PLATINUM CGM. The new Software 505features the same advanced algorithm as used in artificial pancreas research around the world. The software will impact the performance of the Dexcom G4 PLATINUM, already considered the most accurate CGM system on the market today. The software will be made available free of charge to adult patients using the Dexcom G4 PLATINUM.

“Patients will be able to go online and download the software, or they will receive the software preloaded onto their Dexcom receiver with new orders,” said Terrence Gregg, CEO, Dexcom. “This latest software enhancement to the Dexcom G4 Platinum will make the performance level comparable to episodic blood glucose finger sticks; this is a significant step in the evolution of CGM becoming the standard-of-care over blood glucose meters for people with diabetes.”

Dexcom, Inc., headquartered in San Diego, California, develops and markets continuous glucose monitoring systems for use by diabetes patients, as well as blood glucose monitoring systems used by healthcare providers in hospital critical care settings.

Available to Dexcom CGM users at no charge, and those who are 18 years and older, the NEW Software 505 features the same algorithm used in the Artificial Pancreas Research and is available to  existing Dexcom customers for free! The Dexcom Update Tool will guide you through the download process. For those who are already using Dexcom G4 PLATINUM, of course you want to download the software! Here is where you can download.

Unfortunately, I cannot. Hopefully, it’s just for the moment. I am an Mac  girl, and this is currently only available for PC! :/

If you don’t currently use Dexcom or have a Continous Glucose Monitor, watch the video below about how it has made life so much easier!

August 8, 2014 -- Our Wedding Day | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

My Heart Beats

Today is the big day. Today is my wedding day.

When Your Around... My Heart Beats Like I've Got Low Blood Sugar | Today's the Big Day! | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

Hopefully, I will be having some low blood sugar levels today! I would like to pig out — but I am scared to think that today is going to work out that way… even though I have a (partially) sugar-free wedding cake!

I have no idea what to expect from my blood sugar levels. I have no idea how my nerves, excitement, and those pesky little alcoholic drinks are going to effect me. I have no idea if my pump placement (on my leg currently) is going to change the way in which my body reacts to my insulin. Or if my dexcom is actually going to be close enough to me to do its job.

Will it be a high day, a low day, or an “ok” day? I guess I just have to wait and find out. Stay tuned!

I guess this blog post really doesn’t have a point… but I needed to vent about how scared I am… and how excited I am. Today is the day that every little girl dreams of, and today is this little girl’s big debut.

My fiancé is a great big part of my life, and has helped me to gain better control of my diabetes. He wakes me up every morning to make sure I check my blood sugars, and is on top of my case when I eat things I shouldn’t be eating.

He has been there with me through the thick and the thin, the highs and the low blood sugars, and shows me every morning how much he loves and cares for me. I know he’ll  make a great husband, and I’ll be his imperfect  little wife.

We have been awaiting this day for a year and a half… and it’s finally here! Wish me luck in tying the knot with this lucky man pictured above.

Calibrate on a Steady Trend

Calibrate on a Steady Trend | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

As this image illustrates, you can enhance your CGM sensor precision by calibrating it when on a fairly steady BG trend line. This is helpful anytime and every time you calibrate (i.e., enter a BG reading collected from your standard meter…make sure to use the best technique for this: if not…garbage in, garbage out).

Also, don’t over load the CGM device with all your daily blood sugars, that will often just confuse the software and give ??? readings or simply wrong output data.

One other tip is to aim to calibrate in the range you try to stay in. In other words, if you calibrate at a very high value (over 200 mg/dl), you might have difficulty getting accurate readings down in the 70-150 mg/l range.

Now on the first day of a new sensor session it’s ok to give the system a couple extra readings as the sensor settles in. This particular image is the “re-start” of the same sensor I’ve worn 3 full cycles, now starting a 4th. I might be able to get another week out of this. We’ll see. Share this tip with others as you wish.

New Dexcom G4 System | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

Dexcom Seven Plus Vs. G4

New Dexcom G4 System | www.iamatype1diabetic.com New Dexcom G4 System | www.iamatype1diabetic.com
My new Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitor arrived, and I am one happy gal! Put the sensor on Monday night… And it has ALREADY prevented me from having two bad middle-of-the-night low blood sugars. Phew! Maybe I’ll get my fiance off of my back about those bad lows!

The g4 system is quite a bit different from the old seven plus system. Firstly (and most favoritely of mine) is that is comes in an array of colors. I ordered the pink — to match my OmniPod case and my personality. That’s all your choice, I just thought it was a neat idea by Dexcom.

The sensor on the G4 is so much better than the seven plus system too. My blood sugars used to be way off from my meter to my CGM, and of course they are never going to be 100% of the time the same, the new G4 system is certainly winning. The makers of Dexcom certainly stepped up their game with this new system.

The G4 system also has extra alerts if you want to turn them on. Since I am still getting used to the new system, I turned all the alerts on. I want to know when my blood sugars are rising or falling quickly. I want to know when I have been “out of range” or too far away from the machine for it to read my blood sugar levels. I want the snooze to notify me again — if it’s been an 45 minutes (that’s adjustable) and my sugar level hasn’t gone down (for highs) or gone up (for lows).

Another big change is the way you get alarmed with the G4 system. In seven plus, I had my settings always on vibrate. I rarely ever changed it because I would be afraid that I would forget to change it back to vibrate. It never woke me up in the middle of the night. I would leave it on vibrate simply because I didn’t want the alarm to go off at school or work, and have to explain that it was NOT my cell phone. With the G4 system, you can also change the “ringtones” or the alert settings. All of them automatically vibrate first, and if you don’t respond within 5 minutes, then it will correctly ring to alarm. The rep at Dexcom said that was so people using the G4 system wouldn’t have to worry about changing from vibrate to ring and vice verses, as long as they would respond to it in an orderly fashion.

The Dexcom rap called me today explain the differences between seven plus and g4, and asked if I had questions regarding the new system. Honestly, I didn’t really have any questions. I think it was all pretty self explanatory, and how to put on a sensor and use the system itself was similar to the seven plus system.

If you are interested in learning more about how to put on sensor or simply how to use a Dexcom, watch this video. This is from my seven plus system — but like I’ve mentioned, it’s pretty similar. I’ll make a new video in 5 days or so when I change my sensor.