14 April 2011

Bionic Beef

For those of you who didn't know, I've had the dia-bee-tus since age 5 ... wayyy back in the kindergarten. I was constantly thirsty and constantly peeing and whiny and feeling yucky all the time, and getting skinnier and skinnier and skinnier but was eating plenty. So, Mama took me to the doctor, and I remember them telling my Mama that I had diabetes and that they wanted to send me to Duke. I heard the "die" syllable and was panic-stricken. I asked the nurse, "Am I gonna die?" Nope! So, then came my glorious 1 week stay at Duke Hospital while they figured me out. 

The first several years weren't too bad because as a child of elementary age, my hormones were pretty stable and the diabetes was easily controlled with only a couple shots a day (which I was giving to myself pretty quickly - Tracy coming at you with a needle - no thanks.) JUST KIDDING MAMA! Love you! 

But rest assured, the cure was right around the corner. Well, that was October 1988, and we still have no such cure. BUT since then, we've come a lonnnnnnnnnng way, baby! 

I got my insulin pump about four years ago. It's pretty  -------- I just had to stop because my pump made a sound I've never heard before ------------ anyway, the pump is pretty baller. Check it out below: 

No, this is not my perfectly flat and smooth-skinned stomach. I love how none of these "pump models" have skin irritation form the super-glue-like adhesive tape. And, duh, I would never want a pepto-pink pump. Mine is "smoke".
So, the idea is: the pump is like this insane computer, basically. Normal people make insulin which is a hormone that helps your body to use the glucose that comes from the food you eat. Without insulin, the glucose can't get into your cells and your body is essentially starving. So, previously, I would take shots with my food and in the morning, and lots of diabetics take shots a lot more than that, but I hated it because:

1) I eat allllllllllll the time, and I hated having to whoop out a syringe and shoot up insulin like 10 times a day, sometimes in public.

2) It's too much mess to have to tote around.

3) Who wants to stab themselves with a needle 70 times a week?

So, the pump has the insulin in it, and you program it (everyone's body/rates are different) to give you "background" insulin or basals 24 hrs/day and you also program it to have certain insulin-to-carb ratios for when you eat. For example, most people need more insulin with breakfast than with lunch. Most people's blood sugar randomly spikes around 2 or 3 am. So, you program the pump to deal with it. It was a pain to get used to, but now, I hope and pray I never have to go back to shots. It is AMAZING and SO LIBERATING!!!

When people stare, I just smile back or my husband likes to call me a "surgeon on call". Right. :)

Below is a photo of some stud muffin wearin' his pump. He must not have wanted a pink pump either.

But I see he did not pass up the pinkish-purple shirt. Whatever floats your boat, you know?

Every 3 days, you have to fill the reservoir (see below) with insulin and put it in your pump and change the tubing and cannula (the stuff that makes up your "pump site") and you're good to go in a few minutes. This is something else people love to gawk at - something the size of a nipple inserted into your stomach or back fat while you're on the beach, and I'm like, "Duuuuuuude! I CAN SEE you staring. Just ask what you wanna know!"

Anyway, I decided that to add to my technologically-advanced-ness, I should get the Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGM) to further aid me in my fight against dia-bee-tus. I wanted to look weirdly happy about life like the chick below driving the boat while her husband gazes at her in utter admiration:

Please note the last picture at the bottom right of the box - the chick's sensor is sending a visible "signal" to her pump. This trips me out. Like it's some orb. But anyway, it does communicate wirelessly.

So, this is my "smoke" colored pump and the new addition is the thing at the top right that looks like a seashell hooked to some plastic-y stuff. The plastic-y stuff is the sensor, and the "seashell" is the transmitter that sends the blood sugars wirelessly to my pump. The sensor will check my blood sugar every few minutes for a total of 288 times/day. I am getting teary-eyed just thinking how far diabetes has come. Jesus is so taking care of me. Thanks Jesus! I really appreciate it!

So, after having my endocrinologist work with Medtronic (the pump/sensor peeps)...Medtronic worked with my insurance (after a brief clear up about my name of course)...and it arrived in the mail!!!!! Hooray! Yippey!!!

This girl's sensor told her she could eat this humonnnngous slice of carrot cake! (Technically she can, as long as she knows how many carrrrrrrrbs!) Don't judge!

So, today, after a lovely lunch in the park with my mama, and a giant u-turn on a 4 lane road in front of my dr's office, where Anj's truck took a tiiiiiiiny bite out of a curb (can't wait to get Sylvia back), I pulled in to get my sensor-train on.

Enter Janna, the awesome nurse/medtronic trainer. She was wearing a super cute dress, some wedges and had a delicious wedding ring. Turns out her 13-year-old son is diabetic, so poor fella has been used as a guinea pig so mama can get her pump/sensor demos down pat. Cool thing is, she wears the pumps/sensors herself sometimes so she better knows what she's talkin about when she trains peeps like me.
We went over how it works - mess was a tad complicated, I ain't gone lie. You have to calibrate it, but not at times when you just exercised, or just ate, or just took insulin. I had to learn what all these strange alerts mean, and understand how the sensor works with the pump and what all the readings mean and on and on an on.

But, the worst part was.........the SENSERTER. There is a little gizmo which shoots the sensor/needle into your body (but only at a 45-60 degree angle or there could be blood and tissue damage - eww!). I was gettin' a little nervous at this point.

See below:

POW!!! in it went.

Whew! Honestly, once it was in, it wasn't that bad. Then, you gotta be really careful pulling out this plastic thingie and then pulling the sen-serter away from the insertion or you will rip that piece right on back out and have to start over. No thanks.

So, now, I am fully hooked up and hearing lots of strange beeps and questions that I've never seen before pop up on my pump screen. I have mess taped to both sides of my belly, which is why I am.......



* Bionic Beef *

Here's how it's working in my interstitial tissue:

I hated science when I was in school. But I sure am glad some super smart fellas and chicas worked this magic for all of us who have been afflicted by the dia-bee-tus!

Here's the next magical part: I can plug in this USB and sit my pump beside it and they will do their creepy, "Hey, let's wirelessly communicate!"
"Okay, that sounds great!"
"Super - please send me the blood sugar trends so B can tell her Dr. and they can get her a1c to be off tha chain!"
"Sweet! Here they are!"
"Fo sho. Anytime!"

And, after that magical conversation, my dr. can log into my account and print out all sorts of smart mathematical information about what the deuce my body is doing with my food, my insulin, my exercise and when:

Annnnnnnnnnd, the lil joker even predicts when you're going to have a low blood sugar or a high one because it has some faincy-smainshy algorithm that determines that your blood is dropping or rising at too fast of a rate.







Are you serious?! Thank you: Jesus, Dr. Holt, Medtronic, super smart scientists who learned how to make all these gadgets, and my mama who made me do everything "by the book" growing up so I was disciplined enough to realize the seriousness of it and to know that it doesn't have to ruin my life - as long as I take care of it, and the hubs for still thinking I'm hot with all my 'devices' and always being willing to help take care of me.  <3

                                                                                                                     Bionic Beef

1 comment:

Miss Lizzie said...

LOL i'm glad you explained this to me