Monday, April 20, 2015

Life After Dexcom

Well, since my insurance isn't covering Dexcom, and I cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket, I had to let go of my Dexcom. A few days ago, I took the plunge and ripped off my three-week-old Dexcom Sensor. It was strange at first, like something really important was missing. I found myself pulling my Vibe pump out of my pocket, and seeing a blank blue line where my Dexcom graph should be. It was stressful, like having my cell phone taken away.

After a few days, I realized just how often I looked at my screen. Check the screen, BG is 114. 10 minutes later... Check the screen, BG is 119. 15 minutes later... Check the screen, BG is 111.

Once I took off Dexcom, I felt liberated. I thought about diabetes so much less! Instead of getting constant feedback, I have my finger sticks and that's it. It was weird at first. Now, I am getting used to it.

Also, for the most part, I know my daily BG patterns. I know that when I wake up in the morning, insulin will be less effective than an eye dropper full of water on a grass fire. Dawn phenomenon blows. Around 11:00, that goes away and my insulin sensitivity kicks into overdrive. Between 11:00 am and 5 pm, my BG is going to be in the 70-115 range. I know that between 5 pm and 11:00 pm, my BG is going to be elevated from dinner, and then drift down into the 120’s. That is my typical daily pattern. If I eat more carbs than usual, I’ll test more often and keep an eye on it. If I feel funny, I’ll test and see what’s up. I do miss the trending, but I can substitute for it by testing again in half an hour or so.

The main thing I'm doing to look after my diabetes is keeping consistent with my food. Taking care of my diabetic dog means feeding her the same foods, in the same amounts, twice a day. Keeping things consistent makes looking after April's diabetes much easier. After a few weeks of looking after April, I realized I can do the same thing.

I eat the same thing for breakfast every day. I eat the same lunch every day. I've been doing this for several months now, and I don't mind at all. Choosing to eat the same thing every day has eased the blood sugar roller coaster. I know that breakfast will raise my blood sugar x amount. Lunch will raise it y amount. I have less lows because I'm not chasing an unexpected high with more insulin, and then crashing because my insulin sensitivity is in overdrive mode and I bolused too much. I know that my worst lows come in the mid-afternoon, and I'm ready for them. Eating the same meals twice a day has made my life much easier.

Truthfully, if there was a Human Chow, 100% nutritionally complete, delicious, kibbles for people, I'd eat Human Chow twice a day and be fine.

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Some days, I wish a genius would come up with Human Chow. Whatcha having for breakfast? Kibbles in a bowl. Yum. Whatcha having for lunch? Kibbles in a bowl. Yum. Ooh, it's cinnamon flavor. My favorite.

My only variables are dinner and (ahem) after dinner snacks. So, I keep my meter handy at night. My only problem with testing more is I have more trash. I keep missing the little trashcan on the floor and my little strips are getting everywhere. I got myself this little desktop trashcan on Amazon to put on my bedside table. I hope it helps me keep the mess down.

The only scary thing about giving up Dexcom has been sleeping. I relied on Dexcom to wake me up if I was low. And it did. Over and over again. Fear of going low while sleeping is still difficult to deal with.

I had a six hour long low in my sleep on chemo day. Seeing that graph scared me. How often does that happen? Without a Dexcom, I don't know. Not knowing scares me, too.

Waking up, feeling low, sweaty and shaky, scares me. Without a Dexcom, I don't know how long I've been low. I don't like that, either. I'm doing what I can to avoid going low when I sleep. This part of losing my Dexcom, I don't like.

However, all in all, weirdly enough, I don’t miss my Dexcom. Funny! I was panicking when I found out that my insurance didn't cover it. Now, I don't miss wearing a sensor every day.


Instead of wearing a Dexcom sensor every day, I will put one on a few days before we go on a trip, so it can settle in and start working right. I can see how Dexcom would be useful while traveling, simply because I will be eating weird things. At home, my life is a fairly predictable pattern. And I like that. I am finding peace in simplicity these days.



Maybe it's because we've been spring cleaning around here, and I have been asking myself, "Do I really need this?" that I've found it somewhat refreshing to let go of my Dexcom. Throwing away things that I don't use, don't need, or don't like, has brought me peace. But.. that's another post.

There is life after Dexcom. Just like there is life after a diabetes diagnosis. And life is good.

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I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

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