After being woken up by my husband going to the toilet at 3am, I did a flash glucose reading so I wouldn’t have a data gap overnight. I discovered I had been hypo since about 11pm…
This is not new news! Abbott’s flash glucose monitoring system, FreeStyle Libre was released to the Australian public last week. You can find out further details and order your very own right here if you haven’t already! If you dig a little bit deeper online you will find blogs reviewing the product from across the globe. It is a new technology for Australians but people in the UK and Europe have had access for quite some time now and there is a lot of consumer experience to learn from.
I was part of a pre-launch event and trial sponsored by Abbott Diabetes Care and managed by Weber Shandwick. I was given the product two weeks prior to the official market launch to assist with the associated media activity. My experience was used in radio and print media to help people better understand what the real life application of the product is. (Please note I wasn’t paid for my comment, nor was I obligated to report about the product. Participating in the radio interview, the newspaper article and writing this blog was entirely my decision. I am expressing personal views and not those of Abbott Diabetes Care.)
Here is the article that appeared in the Geelong Advertiser on Saturday 4 June, 2016.
The advantages for me were the incredibly easy insertion and start up procedure, and the discretion. Scanning my arm with a smart-phone like device is so much easier to get away with in public than performing a finger prick to check my glucose levels! In the absence of any other monitoring tools, using the FreeStyle Libre meant that I didn’t have to perform between 10 and 12 blood glucose checks per day to achieve the diabetes management goals I had set for myself. The system was accurate after the first 24 hours post-insertion and I grew to rely on the readings in the same way I previously relied on blood glucose results. I have very few glycemic excursions in my average day and I believe this helps to achieve such great accuracy. The added benefit was the graph on the screen depicting what was happening between scans. Having the graphs and trend arrows helped me to make better diabetes management decisions. The sensor that was inserted in the underside of my arm was very comfortable to wear, and in fact I was unaware of it most of the time.
I have decided not to continue using the FreeStyle Libre system because of my individual needs.
I have impaired hypo awareness; almost 100% of the time overnight and between 75% and 80% of the time during the day. I am not afraid I am going to die of hypoglycemia. What I am afraid of is endangering myself and others when I may not be aware of how incoherent and unable to function I am due to low blood glucose levels. Driving is one example. Looking after my children is another. I shudder to think about it too much. So I need a system that will help me to identify the times when I need to prevent or treat hypoglycemia. Using Continuous Glucose Monitoring System, (CGMS) does this and I have come to rely on it. Having that data and alerts with me all the time, (integrated with the insulin pump) eases my worry in ways I struggle to put words to.
I also find that using an insulin pump requires a little bit of help to manage at times. During the media launch week I had an infusion site occlusion overnight. Instead of being alerted by alarms indicating a rapidly rising glucose level, I woke up hours later with a high blood glucose level, mild ketones and nausea. It took me nearly six hours to get my glucose level back on track and feel better. Again, it simply illustrated to me that the FreeStyle Libre doesn’t quite meet my needs.
This is a great tool for people who are looking for an alternative to blood glucose monitoring. It is important to understand what your personal needs are and what the product offers. I can’t emphasize that enough; this experience has crystallized that for me even after living with type 1 diabetes for nearly 30 years.
And the say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; well I beg to differ!
And Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?
Insert apology here… I know I’m a few days late but I am super keen to be part of DBlog week again
This morning I received a notification that I started my blog, 1 Type 1 exactly four years ago today. My reasons for blogging were very different back then, (and I may have still giggled when I heard people say, “blogging” because it just sounded so weird!) In these four years my experience with and perspective of the diabetes online community, (DOC) has evolved.
In recent times the Oz Diabetes Online Community , (OzDOC) has reminded of the value of learning from others. Even as I typed that last sentence I acknowledge how ridiculously rudimentary it sounds. However, it was only after I was able to participate in chats again that this became apparent. For over a year I was operating OzDOC by myself. This meant that I planned the topics, engineered the questions and moderated the chat every week, (and took care of a whole lot of other bizzo in between). I got so used to sitting in the drivers seat that I forgot why you boarded the tour bus as a passenger. I was absolutely committed to providing the forum for the OzDOC community to be a hub of diabetes peer support but I forgot that I needed and wanted to be part of that interaction too. I wanted to share my story and have positive impact on the lives of others with diabetes.
Thankfully there are eight people who are willing and able to help run our weekly chats now. They are Andy , Ashley , Bruno , Frank , Glen , Jenna , Sophie and Tony . I owe them a lot. Their dedication to our community means that we all get to participate; to give and receive diabetes peer support. This happens in many forms but the one that is most important to me is the sharing of experiences to enhance knowledge, understanding and empathy of life with diabetes.
So I’m here to continue to share my story thought blogging again. (Insert childish giggle here!)
My thoughts. My views. My experiences. My feelings.
As a family we have a certain way of navigating through each day of the week. Obviously there are marked differences between what we refer to as “school days” (meaning an impressive coordination of school, kinder, day care and work), and weekends or holidays.
Both kids came into the bedroom this morning to find me still in bed between 6:30am and 7am. So they jumped in for cuddles and we had a chat about what was on the cards for the rest of the day. I handed them the iPad and told them to relax while I have a shower and get ready for work. We hit the kitchen for breakfast around 8am and on the way there I told them today was going to be lovely so find something fun and summery to wear. They both emerged from their bedrooms in attire that would get them through the day and meandered their way through breakfast while I brewed a pot of coffee. Much to their delight, lunch boxes were simplified and canteen orders were written. It was one of the menu days they love but don’t usually get to have because I prefer to prepare their food. One of them looked at the clock and realised it was almost time to leave the house so they both quickened their pace, finished getting themselves ready and their bags packed. Somewhere in between that moment and arriving at work the necessary tasks were completed. I managed to find a pair of sneakers that had been missing since last night. The cat was set up with food and water for a warm day outside. I packed a bag so I could go straight to a boxing class from work. The day care drop off was seamless albeit late and I arrived at work in good time.
Normally I would have gotten myself ready for work, made breakfasts and lunches, and packed bags before the kids rolled out of their delightful slumbers. There are things I like to get done in the morning so when we get home at the end of the day the ‘dinner – bath – homework – bed’ routine runs smoothly for the kids. There is often a bit of chasing, random hugs, chaos, last minute requests, giggles, reminding, reminding, reminding… and all executed at an effective pace.
But not today. And here’s why.
I found myself in my pyjamas at the kitchen table with the curtains closed, a light on and silence all around me. There was a mug, a bottle of milk, a box of dried biscuits, a tub of butter, an empty zip lock sandwich bag and me. I started making assumptions about how I got there. Notions of sleep walking came and went but didn’t stick. I had disjointed recollections of being pinned to the deck of an old wooden pirate ship and being drenched by waves rolling over me in a torrential storm. I even toyed with the idea that I might be the butt of someone’s joke and I would find myself on YouTube! But there was a distinct taste in my mouth that raised red flag number one. I lent back in the chair and felt the back of my shirt was wet which raised red flag number two. Red flag number three flew up when I looked over to the display on the microwave and it read 1:56am.
Suddenly I felt it was too much to process. I quickly packed up the mess on the kitchen table, checked on the kids, switched the light off and headed for the bedroom. I sat on the edge of the bed and scrolled through the history on my blood glucose metre to find this…
I put the meter away and lied down; cold skin and a fuzzy head.
Overwhelming thoughts and feelings washed over me. It was amazing that sometimes I have an autopilot mechanism which activates to treat a hypo in the middle of the night.
Next thing I knew the kids jumped on me for a cuddle and we started our day.
But simple, no frills and in survival mode.
And nothing that couldn’t be helped along by a hot shower, two codeine, a strong coffee and skipping breakfast.
My kids love mornings like this; out of routine, a bit special and relaxed.
And I have decided to keep it that way.
It’s funny how things happen. I often refer to it, (like most) as the planets aligning. It was a full moon last night. Perhaps that had something to do with the way today turned out. And perhaps not. Either way I’m back on the blogging scene!
We experienced a power outage this morning. Sitting in the dark, unpowered and cold office was less than inspiring. I was particularly annoyed because I was trying to track down a link to an article I received via email last week. Apparently I was referenced! At first I thought it might be a loose reference to the Oz Diabetes Online Community (#OzDOC) that I run. Our weekly chats achieve notable reach and have made a significant impact over the last year or so. However it ended up being a direct reference to a blog I wrote here at 1type1 ! I was absolutely beside myself with excitement and very pleased to read such a proactive piece about psychological wellbeing in the care of diabetes. I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Jennifer Halliday at the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes for it. You can access the article here but consider yourself warned; you may need to pay.
I have been contemplating getting back into blogging for some months but an element of motivation was missing. Given recent time constraints I made operating #OzDOC my priority and otherwise minimised my online presence. I stopped writing because I was uncomfortable with the idea that my published words may be misinterpreted. These words are of a personal nature relating to my health. Fear of being misunderstood overwhelmed me and led me to move further and further from the blogosphere. I also starting witnessing forms of plagiarism, little white lies and embellishments. I have no time for these offences and I knew I had to leave the blogging scene to take a step back and breathe out.
Resolution is a beautiful thing and I have come to realise that I have no way of controlling how people interpret my musings or how people decided to express themselves online. I will continue to write from the heart. I will be truthful and genuine. My aim will be to continue contributing to the body of knowledge that can help inform the direction of diabetes healthcare. My voice will represent my experience of living with type 1 diabetes as a women, a wife, a mother, a part time worker, a volunteer and so much more. I will move forward with compassion and mindfulness.
So I have breathed out (for quite some time now) and Jen’s article has reignited the fire in my belly to blog again. It seems that doing this can make a difference. Have an impact. Influence thinking. Instigate positive change.
It may or may not be a coincidence what so ever that the theme for our #OzDOC chat tonight is motivation.
The planets are well aligned in my universe.