Friday, 2 August 2013

My Experience With A CGM

I wrote this blog post in June, but then life got in the way and I never quite finished it and got it published. Because of a range of things I'm finding that I really want to start writing again but in order to do that it's better to go back to where I left off... So here we go.

As someone who has a chronic medical condition, I am extremely lucky to be living in a country where health care is subsidised. Each one of my prescriptions costs me $5 for a three month supply, so all in all I probably spend $15-20 every three months. This includes Novorapid, Lantus, Needles, Test Strips etc. I don't have an insurance company breathing down my neck telling me how many times I can test a day. Because of all this, I don't have health insurance. For someone without a lot of expendable income, access to things like Continuous Glucose Monitors and Pumps are hard to come by. Pumps are funded in certain situations but for the most part the majority of New Zealanders are on MDI (This is my own anecdotal view!). I was quite excited to find out that the Health Board in my District actually owns a CGM that they lend out to patients for week long trials. There was a fairly long waiting list but as I was going to be out of the country for 6 weeks it wasn't too much of an issue. The wait time felt like nothing as I was holidaying for it! 

The CGM I used was the Ipro2 - It's unlike most CGMs I read about online in that it doesn't have a real time monitor to go with it. It records data on the sensor which you can then plug in to a computer and have a look at the data. 

I was quite excited about the experience as I'm working toward a better a1c and overall control. I know that when I wake up in the morning and my number is in range I feel better. It's part of a big over haul that I've been working on for the last 12 months.

The results were interesting and in some ways completely expected. In other ways they were completely unexpected. 

The days where I hit 20 were something I completely expected. And I wanted to use this CGM trial to really knuckle down how my insulin works, because sometimes I just feel like it doesn't. Take the light blue line which spikes around lunch time. Why is this? I know there is insulin in there! I thought doing this CGM trial would allow me to get some insight on how my body responds to insulin.

However, all those thoughts surrounding my high numbers went completely out the window when myself and my lovely Diabetes Educator saw that I had prolonged overnight hypoglycaemia. That was something that completely blew me away. It was terrifying. We had a long talk about it and Cate (my Diabetes Educator) knocked back my Lantus and gave me the spiel about making extra sure I was testing before and after driving.

I also got my most recent A1c back and it had gone up 2 points from 72 (8.7%) to 74 (8.9).

In some ways hearing about that increase in A1c was worse than hearing about prolonged overnight lows. I really felt like I have been trying so damn hard. And then having the overnight lows? To me it was a case of 2 steps forward, 10 steps back.