Two weeks ago, I attended an information evening on insulin pumps. And to a lesser degree, Continuous Glucose Monitoring. For the former, I am still deliberating. I am still plagued by two lines of thought. Will an insulin pump actually help me, and give me more ease over my diabetes management? Or will it just be the same old diabetes management but with a fancy device? And will the learning curve, and frustrations be too much to handle? I don’t know. That’s a question for my diabetes educator next week.
For the latter, however, I do have a clearer train of thought. I’ve been writing about the issue here a lot lately, and advocating for more affordable access here in Australia. And I have come to (somewhat of) a conclusion, based on my own diabetes, and my own individual circumstances.
I do not use a Continuous Glucose Monitor. For me personally, it’s estimated cost of $5,000 per year is a very large chunk of my annual salary at a time where I am looking towards my future. I would rarely spend that sort of money on myself, and I can think of a thousand other things that I would rather put that money towards.
I don’t think I could handle having access to results 24/7. I actually forced myself to stop testing so often earlier this year, because it was doing more harm to me than good. There was a time where I couldn’t handle seeing imperfect numbers. I was prematurely correcting post meal highs, only to end up hypo two hours later. Glucose numbers are always going to naturally rise after a meal. But they are going to naturally come back down as well. Sometimes I think that mentally, it’s better not to see those numbers inbetween. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Nor do I like the idea of potentially having two devices attached to me, at a time where I am currently considering an insulin pump. I like to keep my pockets as light as possible at all times. I cannot stand jingling pockets full of crap weighing me down while I’m running around at work! Thinking about that device being attached to me all the time feels like a physical reminder of my condition. And at the moment, that feels a little demoralising to me.
Bear in mind that I have never lacked the motivation to check my blood glucose levels. I am quite comfortable checking my levels. I will sometimes test as often as 10 times a day, because it gives me a certain level of comfort. It gives me a sense of certainty, control and grounding over my condition. Without my meter I would be completely lost.
I realise that I have lived the bulk of my life with diabetes at a mature age. An age where I relish having independent control, and management over my condition. I am also still a relatively “young” diabetic, who is yet to go through a serious burnout. Perhaps my attitude towards Continuous Glucose Monitoring will change with time.
That being said, if I did have easier, cheaper access to a Continuous Glucose Monitoring device tomorrow, I would certainly take it. I would trial it. It would certainly be handy to have on me when I go on holiday, when I am frustrated, and when I just want to have a break from diabetes. It would be a useful learning tool to have, and a shield against the unpredicatability of diabetes and glucose levels.
And I am certain that every other Australian would accept glucose monitoring technology tomorrow if it were more affordable, and accessible. Either as a regular management tool, or as a second option. If you would like to see Continuous Glucose Monitoring technology subsidised by the government, I urge you (again) to write to your local Member of Parliament, and the Minister for Health, Susan Ley.
I dream of one day seeing my own Continuous Glucose Monitoring device when I open my diabetes drawer. Beside my hoard of test strips, needles and insulin pens. Sitting there patiently, as a nice second option for me to take advantage of whenever I feel like doing so.