November 6, 2011

Turning It All Around - 30 Health Posts in 30 Days

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was given a whole team of people to work with.  Every three months it switched off between going to my normal pediatric doctor in Petaluma and going to my diabetes specialist in San Rafael...which included a specialist, a nutritionist and a nurse who specialized in pump therapy.  We all knew each other very well with how often we all got together.  After turning 18 I had to start going to a normal doctor and an endocrinologist.  I went away to college and would only go to these doctors when I came home for breaks.  Then I graduated from college and was kicked off my dad's insurance and went to my own insurance through my work.  This meant getting all new doctors.  I found myself a general doctor and went to him every few months or so.

When my hemoglobin A1c (a blood test showing your average blood sugar levels over the past three months...for a normal person it would be between 4.0 to 6.0 and a diabetic shoots for between 6.0 and 7.5ish) started getting into the higher 8s, my doctor told me just to add x amount of insulin (without any rhyme or reason as to why it should be that much) to my normal basal (the steam of insulin going into me all day long). When my blood sugar levels kept going up and my A1c was a 9.3, he referred me to the Diabetes Management Clinic, just down the road from my doctor's office.  I was hesitant about going, because what were they going to say to me that was going to make anything any different than what had been told to me before?  Despite this, I finally made an appointment in December 2010 to meet with them.

At my first appointment I met with the nutritionist who decided that I did have a firm grasp on counting carbs.  I then met with Dr. Day who is the specialist.  He actually downloaded all my readings off of my blood tester and really looked at them.  He was shocked that I tested my blood sugar so much during the day and still had horrible numbers, but he said it wasn't too bad because it looked like I just needed more over all insulin through out the day at certain times, for certain lengths of times, with other minor adjustments.  So, right then and there he went through with me on my pump and we changed amounts given at certain times.  He asked if I had ever considered the continuous glucose monitor and I let him know that my insurance wouldn't pay for it.  He said he would have the nurse see about that.  Next thing I knew I was meeting with the nurse who had come up with a fantastic way to get me the CGM.  If you want to read about that check out this blog post:  Pre Pregnant.

By the beginning of 2011, I had a new and updated pump, the CGM and updated basal amounts.  I went back in February for my next doctor appointment and my A1c had already dropped to 8.1.  Crazy.  Since I now had the CGM, not only did that help me all the time, but it also gave my doctor more readings to work with.  Instead of just seeing the results of when I test about 10 times a day, he now could see the readings from my CGM which is about every five minutes.  The next time I saw him my A1c was down to a 7.0.  Wow.  I couldn't remember the last time it was that low.  He made a couple more adjustments and then two months ago it was down to 6.8.

I guess you could say that I had pretty much given up hope.  I have had doctors who have lectured me to get my levels up to par, parents who have threatened and my own guilt.  It was horrible testing my blood sugar as often as I would only to get the same horrible numbers show up on the screen.  It was like I was failing at life.  I really could never have done that on my own.  Dr. Day is so extremely knowledgeable and his team at the clinic is just wonderful at helping me with whatever I need.  At one point I my blood tester broke while I was in Prague and I ran to the clinic as soon as I got back to get a prescription for a new one and they just handed over a brand new one to me for nothing.  Dr. Day's assistants know who I am and he asks me about my trips every time I go in.  What a difference an amazing team makes in a diabetic's life...along with all this amazing technology!

A1c(%)Mean blood sugar (mg/dl)

This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days:


Meri said...

A good endo is worth their weight in gold, what a blessing to find a team that gets it!!

Congratulations on the amazing a1c's...after so many years of awesome effort, you so earned them!

Sara said...

It's amazing what effort combined with the right technology can do.

My endo also tried the "pre-pregnancy" route with me. My insurance didn't agree but thankfully they started covering them a year or so later and I have a DexCom now.