Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Decisions Decisions

I got an Animas Vibe pump a few months ago. Not having to carry a Dexcom receiver and my pump has been a welcome change. However, on Monday night, I had a six hour low while I slept.

It was chemo day, and after taking anti-nausea drugs that make me groggy, I slept all morning. Waking up and seeing I was low upset me. Waking up and realizing I was low for six hours, made me wonder why I even bother having a Dexcom.

The alarm is too short. A quick run through of Fur Elise, and then silence, followed by soft beeping, is not loud enough to wake me up. The pump is wrapped under blankets and the vibration isn't strong enough to wake me up.

What I'd like to have is a Night Mode switch. Make this pump scream like a banshee. LOW! Wake Up! Not a muffled Fur Elise and a gentle vibration that cannot be noticed under blankets.

I need my alarm to warn me of lows overnight night. That's why I have a Dexcom sensor. Well, not for long. My insurance company isn't covering Dexcom. So, I have to decide if I want to pay out of pocket and continue using it, or not.

Given that my Vibe Pump doesn't wake me up, is finding out I was low for the past 6 hours helpful? I felt upset the second I saw that long blue line of failure. I've used Dexcom for four years and I appreciate the extra data. It's better than running a basal test and waking up every few hours.

Decisions. Decisions.

For the most part, my pump settings are spot on. Because of Dexcom, I have an idea how high my BG is going to go after I eat. I've learned to bolus for coffee.  Dexcom helped me spot a rise in blood glucose that happens at 10 pm, whether I've had a snack or not, no matter how many carbs I ate during dinner. Around 10, my blood sugar spikes. Well, it did. Until I changed my pump's basal settings at 8 pm and made that spike disappear. Those trends, trends I can act on, have made a huge difference in how I treat my diabetes.

Fall alerts have helped me head off disaster, too. Same with rise alerts that let me know my pump has gone haywire. However, when I saw that long blue line of failure -- six hours of untreated low blood sugar -- I wondered if Dexcom has given me a false sense of security. What I trust it to do is wake me up when I'm low. Now I found out, I can sleep through alarms. Now I am wondering if Dexcom is worth it or not.

Can I manage my diabetes without a Dexcom? Have I learned enough from this tool to give it up? Should I fight my insurance company? Should I quietly surrender? Should I save up for sensors?

Decisions. Decisions.

My pump has automated much of my diabetes care. The ever changing basal rates keep me steady most of the time. I've got my corrections figured out. I've got my insulin to carb ratios figured out. I know how food is going to impact my blood sugar, for the most part, anyway. Still, there are surprises, like a six hour long low.

Decisions. Decisions.

 I made a good decision a few months ago and changed neurologists. My new doctor increased my chemo medication. More evil antibodies are dying ever week. My arms work now. It's an amazing change. I have so much more energy. During the last few weeks I was able to put new tile in the bathroom. I was able to grout all the tiles. I painted the ceiling and the walls. I even put in a new bathroom floor. My arms move, because I made a good decision and changed doctors. I'm wildly happy about this decision.

Deciding to give up my Dexcom, or pay out of pocket, feels like a lose/lose. However, there are numbers between zero and one hundred. There is more than off or on. I can pay for a few boxes of sensors a year, but not wear it all the time. Balance matters to me. I always seek balance in my life. It keeps me from being depressed and anxious about my health.

If anyone has a spare sensor and wants to mail it to me, contact me at thecellochick(at) Maybe we can make a trade. One thing I've learned is I'm not alone in my decision making, and that matters to me.

Let me turn this over to you...

If you had to pay out of pocket for Dexcom, would you do it? Would you give it up entirely? Or would you rely on finger sticks and only use Dexcom for basal testing? Leave a comment, or send me an email.

1 comment:

  1. My personal experience going on and off CGM is that part-time CGMing makes my blood sugar control worse, because while on the CGM I check mostly to calibrate and get in the habit of thinking no news is good news, bg-wise, which is a bad habit to be in if you're not wearing the CGM.
    I get easier and slightly better control with full time CGM compared to no CGM but LOTS of fingersticks. I get worse control with part-time CGM compared to either.



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