Pump Complacency.

What I have neglected to mention here is that, until arriving in Sydney, I had been disconnected from my insulin pump for almost four weeks.

You know what? It had been working pretty damn well. To the point where I was really starting to re-evaluate things. I was actually packing for Multiple Daily Injections, and had no intention of bringing any pump supplies along for my week in Sydney.

On the day prior to my departure, I began to think about how I may regret not having the convenience of a pump while trekking around Sydney. So, in my usual last minute indecisive fashion, I attached a new infusion site to my stomach prior to my birthday dinner on Tuesday night. I shoved a few spare infusion sites and insulin cartridges into my carry bag. I returned all of my pump junk back into my travel case.

But I still wasn’t sure.

I stuck with Lantus for the first day of my trip, and decided that I’d just use the pump for boluses. That was, until the moment I heard that I would be given my own loaner Ypsopump to take home and roadtest on Wednesday night. I have not given another shot of Lantus since.

I’ve drafted a few versions of this post, plagued with thoughts of sounding too wishy washy or having said it all before. I’ve had a few interesting reactions around why I would do such a thing as take off my insulin pump.

I felt as though I had been consistently correcting high blood sugars with little effect throughout much of April. Rapid acting basal insulin was beginning to feel very inconsistent, and mealtime insulin wasn’t doing its job properly as a result.

In hindsight, I do feel that my pump was also making me complacent. I tend to take it for granted after a while, not doing the things that I should be. Like pre bolussing for meals, waiting for my blood sugar levels to fall back into range prior to eating and avoiding insulin stacking.

What I do know is that my blood sugars were amazing throughout much of that four week vacation. Insulin was working far better with Lantus as my basal, rather than rapid acting. Of course, it’s worth noting that insulin sensitivity is far better when I spend more of my day in range.

I’ve expressed time and time again just how monotonous it is to do the same thing day in, and day out when managing my diabetes. That’s why new accessories, tools, devices and even a shake up to insulin therapy helps to keep me feeling fresh and energised in the daily grind of diabetes management.

I don’t believe that one is better than the other when it comes to pens versus pumps. Nor do I believe that one form of insulin therapy will necessarily be the right thing for me, forever. Each has their positives and negatives, and the ‘right’ insulin therapy is the one whose flaws bother me the least.

This week, I have been ‘non compliant.’ My levels have looked pretty much like the typical holiday blood sugars you’d expect from eating more carbs than normal and being out of routine.

I am roadtesting the Ypsopump as we speak, but I’m not ruling out other options once I’m settled back into my usual routine.

 

Summer Daze.

After the mad rush of December, frantically attempting to beat the clock in order tie up loose ends for the year, shopping around for Christmas gifts and meeting social obligations of the festive season, January arrives.

The world simply seems to go to sleep in January.

School’s on holidays, some of the lucky ones get to take extended leave from work, and the seemingly endless stretch of sunny 30 degree days just seems to support this quiet, lazy notion in the world.

I’m sitting here at my desk, with a bunch of fresh ideas in my head and seemingly endless time in front of me, plodding along at this slow leisurely pace.

Which might be great for me, but not so great for my diabetes which has decided to hop on my back for the ride.

I don’t exactly have the energy or the enthusiasm at the moment to be pre-bolusing for my peanut butter on toast. I can’t bring myself to correct dropping blood sugars with glucose tabs, when there’s a tin of Shortbread on my bookshelf or chocolates in the fridge. Guesstimates are trumping maths in my insulin dosing more often than not.

It’s harder to get outdoors when it’s hot, and the Australian Open is proving to be a pretty good excuse to crash in front of the TV at 4pm. 

When my FreeStyle Libre is on, I’m motivated to keep those graphs looking pretty. But when it comes off, I can’t see what my blood sugars are doing all the time and I’m not so motivated to keep them between the lines.

I find it harder to accommodate diabetes devices in the warm weather. I’ve briefly contemplated another pump break, but I think my month-long vacation in November was enough to get me over my rut for the time being.

The one symptom that warm weather doesn’t produce for me is hypos. Sure, physical activity without carbs or basal adjustments sends me low. But a hypo just because it’s hot? It simply doesn’t happen.

I’m very much looking forward to this sleepy Summer daze coming to an end, and hopefully finding my diabetes mojo again soon.

Until then, I’ll be spending as much time as I can at the beach.

Less Is More?

The only resolution I set for myself in 2018 was to be more productive.

I want to get more shit done, by spending less time working at it.

(I know what you’re thinking right about now, but just hold up and let me explain for a minute…)

One of my greatest shortcomings is this uncontrollable urge to get anything and everything done in one hit. It’s easy to tell myself that I’ll smash this column out tonight, or that I’ll clear out my e-mail inbox in half an hour and then put my feet up and binge watch another two episodes of The Crown.

But that doesn’t always produce my greatest work.

I’ll tire of the seemingly infinite task at hand, and end up wasting away more time yawning, rubbing my eyes or trawling through social media once again. The longer I sit there, the more I begin to obsess over my work and do more harm to it than good. There are days where I’ll go to bed feeling lousy about myself, failing to remember the last spare moment I had to take some time out for myself.

So, back to my new motto – less is more. I’m learning to set boundaries. Spend an hour writing, or working, or whatever it is that I’m doing, and then stop and come back to it again later. Or even tomorrow.

Walking has been so therapeutic for me over the last few months, and just taking the time out every day to feel the afternoon sun on my face and collect my thoughts makes me feel a bit more human. Which is especially important when I’m living with a condition that involves so many different robot parts and feels monotonous at the worst of times.

I’m also trying to read more. Reading was a pastime I really enjoyed as a child, and I’ve really fallen off the bandwagon in recent years. I’m being realistic and aiming for a book a month. Besides, sleep feels so much more…restful after burying myself in a good book before bed. And, you know, it’s nice to take a break from reading about diabetes once in a while…

So what does all of this have to do with diabetes?

Tending to things like my self care and mental wellbeing helps me to feel better about living with this damned condition. I manage better. I’m not stuck in autopilot mode so often and then swearing at myself over a stupid mistake.

Besides, it feels surprisingly good not to have a resolution directly centred around my diabetes for a change…

What’s on your bucket list this year?

Finding Independence from Continuous Glucose Data

In my latest column over at Diabetes Daily, I’m talking about how I’ve arrived at a place where I don’t feel dependent on continuous glucose data to manage my diabetes.

“The FreeStyle Libre was my first foray into the world of continuous glucose data. After knowing nothing other than pricking my finger up to 15 times per day for six years, it was amazing to be able to check my blood sugar levels so conveniently. The small round sensor that sat on my upper arm provided me with a blood glucose reading, a trend arrow, and an 8-hour history graph each time I swiped my reader over it.

However, the data was addictive. Within the space of a few months, I felt heavily reliant on this device. When the life of my sensor came to an end, I really missed it. I felt lost, and even a little anxious about how I would cope without it. I had lost a great deal of confidence in my diabetes decision making.”

Check out the full column over at Diabetes Daily here.