Elsie and I, Day #9

My going live date for my insulin pump was 17th February 2014. so today is day #9 by my reckoning – if I finish writing this post before midnight.

After a few days I decided to name my pump Elsie. I quickly got the feeling she, as I’ve decided, was a bit like a gently prodding, well meaning Granny. Reminding me to do stuff quietly and generally keeping an eye on me…

So far it’s been good. Good, but not great. This is to be expected. I’ve also dropped the ball a little.  I had a weekend away walking and indulging myself and my other half as our Christmas present to ourselves this (last) year.

The first five days were pretty hard going. With lots of overnight testing of my blood glucose. The diabetes isn’t a new thing, and I’ve had years of getting to know what happens with my slightly dysfunctional body. I know, for example, that first thing in the morning my liver is likely to go into overdrive, dumping glucose stores into my bloodstream, making me feel like I’ve been awake for days in the Sahara desert – parched and exhausted – usually as irritable as an old rabid sloth with a wasp in his ear.

This dawn phenomenon isn’t unique to me, or indeed other people with diabetes. It’s a natural response to help us get up and going for the day but for me it’s aways been a thing – take enough long acting insulin to cover it and I’m fine through the day but overnight I’m dangerously low and have been known to take hypo related seizures. Sort out the low blood sugars overnight and I feel awful first thing in the morning. Vicious circles here we come.

After 4-5 sleepless nights with me (almost) managing to test 3 hourly overnight and a couple of days of fasting the standard basal rate is almost there.  It’ll no doubt need some tweaking but it seems not too bad already.

I’m slowly starting to trust Elsie, I’ve had years of anxiety about night hypos and getting there with the basal has been one of the biggest thing for me so far. As a shift worker I’ll need to sort out patterns too, but I reckon this will be a fairly straightforward shift of the whole day by a few hours as it was with my MDI regime.  I’ve got that to look forward to over the next wee while.  I would often joke that my default state was tired and hungry. Always exhausted, particularly in the mornings and constantly hungry – all day, every day. The hunger has gone. I still don’t quite believe it and I have far more energy too.

I’ve been known to witter on a bit, so I’m going to finsh here with a few points:

  • Biggest leap of faith – switching off the automatic shut off overnight.
  • Biggest inconvenience – infusion set packing in through the night.
  • Biggest positive – feeling far better than I could have imagined after only a few days, not being hungry and no overnight hypos (yet).

Ramblings of a Stressed Diabetic

My name is John.  I have had Type 1 Diabetes since July 1984. For most of my life with Diabetes, I have been treated with multiple daily injections of long acting insulin in the evening and quick acting insulin with meals. (MDI).

I decided to start this blog after (finally) beginning treatment of my Diabetes with an insulin pump. This was partly to try and share my experience of this as I was reluctant to consider a pump for a number of years.

My life with Diabetes has been relatively uneventful.  I’ve never had a full blown Diabetic Keto-Acidosis – even at diagnosis.  My older sister is also Type 1, so my mum recognised the signs and symptoms relatively early when I was first diagnosed. My HbA1c (rough measure of control) was always relatively good – sitting somewhere between 6-7%. Kidney function is good and I have no diabetes related problems with my eyes. My single biggest problem has been recurring overnight low blood sugars, or hypos.

At times I have had problems with anxiety, stress and depression. I don’t honestly know if this is related to my diabetes or not.  There is certainly good evidence to support that this is the case. What I do know is that when my diabetic control isn’t great, I don’t feel great. Either physically, or emotionally.

Why consider the pump then? Recently I have more and more overnight hypos. These generally leave me feeling terrible for the next day and also make me prone to further hypos; my control has gradually worsened with my HbA1c shifting to between 9-10%; I have developed chronic pain in the joints in my feet and hands with trigger fingers. This pain may or may not be Diabetic Cheiroarthropathy – I’m still being investigated for this; all of these issues were affecting my overall quality of life and more importantly, my mental health. So, I decided now was as good a time as any.

I’m currently on day #9 of my pump regime, the link will take you to my thoughts of how it’s going so far.

I’ve tried to include some links where a more detailed explanation of something may be required. These aren’t personal endorsements of sites and I can’t guarantee the validity of the content of any articles I’ve linked to.

I’ll also try to add a little bit of Tech stuff every now and again.