Diabetes, Just Tell Me!

Lately I have been having days, well actually weeks when I am starting to question how I deal with my diabetes. I have used an insulin pump for 15 years and don’t really want to change back to injections. For me a pump is more convenient and allows multiple basal rates and easy bolusing through the day. I have used a continuous glucose monitor for 10 years and can’t or don’t want to imagine doing without the constant blood glucose numbers on my phone and watch. 

But lately I feel as though my tech has been failing me and I’ll show that through a couple of photos below.

The first day of a new Dexcom G5 sensor:

The graph of a pod starting to fail after less than two days. The downslope reflects a new pod:

But what if it isn’t my tech? What if it is just my body and my diabetes? I have seen a ton of crazy up arrows on my Dexcom in recent weeks and many of them have been unexpected. I am quick to blame the sensor but unfortunately most of the time my meter has confirmed the Himalayan-esque rises and falls. But sometimes it is the sensor. I have had numerous high BG numbers that have not resolved until I changed out a Tandem infusion set or these days, a new Pod. But sometimes the highs are from last night’s pizza or the second or third glass of wine. 

Most of the time I just don’t know. Why doesn’t diabetes just tell me the answer!?!

I know that my life is a constant science experiment and I am usually pretty good at figuring out what is going on. Although I get frustrated, angry, and guilty at some of my aberrant Dexcom graphs, I do my best to correct the numbers as quickly as possible. My A1c’s continue to be good and I feel good most of the time. And when I don’t feel good, arthritis is the culprit not endocrine issues. But Type 1 is always in the background laughing at my attempts at perfection. I‘m caught in the hamster wheel of trying to get it right. All of the time. But not changing my ways.

Sometimes I think the hardest part of diabetes is not always knowing the “why’s” of what is going on. Is my rising blood sugar this evening a result of what I ate for dinner? Or is my infusion site giving out? Is there a problem with air in my pump cartridge? Is the insulin old and compromised by the heat of my rechargeable pump battery? Most of us are familiar with the list that Adam Brown of Diatribe compiled titled “42 Factors That Affect Blood Glucose.” They all make sense but a checklist of possibilities doesn’t always help me dig out of today’s hole.

Why can’t degraded insulin turn purple? Why can’t my Dexcom have a footnote specifying whether a number is reliable or fantasy? Why can’t my body tell me whether an early morning high is hormones or a pod gone bad? Why can’t I have the type of diabetes that only drifts high and low instead of Dex double-upping or double-downing? I could go on with more why’s but I think you get the picture. 

To tell you the truth, I suspect that if blood glucose numbers were the #1 aim in my life, I would be better served by eating a Bernstein-ian ultra low carb diet and using a cocktail of insulin by injection. Although tech is great, I am lately not finding it to be very reliable. But I am stubborn and am somewhat addicted to the toys and challenge of diabetes tech.

So instead of going back to the basics, I am currently using an Omnipod in anticipation of starting to Loop. I have used three pods and not one of them has made it to 48 hours before soaring blood sugars. And I don’t know why. The idea that Looping with Omnipod is going to be successful for me is probably a pipe dream.

I think I might be dealing with diabetes distress but that’s not the subject of this post….

10 thoughts on “Diabetes, Just Tell Me!

  1. Laddie – Such a great post.

    We strive for predictability, but T1D is anything but that … yet we (at least most of us) never will give up. I’ve had my share of weird ups/downs over the past month or so as well. I spend a fair amount of time peeling away the onion trying to get to the reason why my numbers were doing what they were.

    Recently I’ve had injection site (I use a tubed pump) failures, but my CGM doing it’s thing gave me the head’s up that ‘something’ was not right.

    I’m also about to migrate from my long-used Apidra to Novolog as I’m preparing for my plan/hope/dream to get to a Tandem pump where I can utilize the Basal IQ feature as my FAV (NOT) T1D event is the overnight low BGs. I’m just planning and positioning for that plan to come into play, but also have a couple different plans in case my plan A doesn’t quite work out. And, as we all know with T1D, Medicare and such … it is always a moving target.

    As always … a great post.

    • Nolan,

      I’m curious why you’re switching from Apidra to Novolog? Does it have to do with the Tandem pump? I use the Omnipod pump. I’ve also been on Apidra for many years, and wondered if I’m missing something?

      • Sue, I’ll answer your question. Apidra is not approved for the Tandem pump and tends to clog. Most people have very poor results trying to use it with the X2.

  2. Cognitive overload is a byproduct of the diabetic community. If it is not the meter, it is the strips, or cgm, or a myriad of other things. I hear you Maddie. Cope on.

  3. Hi Laddie,

    Can relate to your frustration. I don’t know if you are using your Tandem or vibe. I prefer to stick with the Medtronic pump I find it more reliable if I am using an optimum infusion site, hard to find after 56 years of diabetes. Even though medicare won’t cover the Medtronic glucose monitor they cover Freestyle. Each set last fourteen days. My endo says calibrate it a day with the meter and average to two readings.

    If your Dexcom keeps having problems, (word is that they changed something, not for the better) Maybe you can try the Freestyle.

    Hang in there multiple daily injections restrict so much of our lifestyles.



  4. Thanks for your reply above Laddie. Great post as usual. Are you getting the Riley link to Loop? I look forward to seeing what your experience is. I’ve considered trying it, but am thinking I’ll wait for Omnipod’s Loop.

    • Yes, I have a RileyLink on order and expect it to arrive in a couple of weeks since the backorders are quickly clearing. Because of the G6 delay for Medicare, it will be at least 5-6 months before I can get Basal IQ with my Tandem pump. Thus the opportunity to try Looping for a couple of months. My biggest aim for Looping is to have good overnights and stop the multiple Dex alarms most nights.

  5. I think diabetes is so crazy, that nothing works the way we need it too. It has a mind of its own and frankly it will not behave for me. The worst part is why. What is the why? It is uncanny to believe that the way we behaved yesterday is not different than today but our results are crazy different. Tell me why? It is the blip in the space time continuum. What else could it be?

  6. I can so relate… every once in a while, especially if I’ve tempted fate and said that I’ve been having great, steady numbers, I’ll have nothing work and it’s SO frustrating. I use the G6 and Tslim with basal IQ and generally love this system, but it seems like it’s not just one thing that isn’t working right, it’s all of it at once, when it happens! My sites aren’t absorbing well, my Dexcom isn’t reading accurately, my insulin may or may not be less potent… and I can’t get highs to budge.

    These hair-pulling episodes seem to come out of no where, and then clear up as mysteriously as it came… with some hard work that may or may not have had any effect…

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