Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Giving Back

     About 5 years ago I started feeling the desire to give back to my community.  There were always people around me who were willing to help out others when there was a need.  I just couldn't find a way that worked for me.  My job offers me a lot of opportunities to donate money and I take advantage of those but I was looking for more.  After being diagnosed with diabetes in 2011 I spent a lot of time on the American Diabetes Association website and came across the Step Out program.  I really wanted to participate but the closest event was too far away to be feasible.  I began asking about the possibility of starting a Step Out walk in the Boise area and was introduced to the Community Walk program.  I brand new program, Community Walks were designed for smaller cities too far away from Step Out walks to participate.  It is entirely volunteer driven and has no monetary support from the ADA.  2012 was the inaugural year for Community Walks and I was contacted in July about the new program.  We set a date in September, leaving a small amount of time to plan our walk.  In the end it was a less stellar turnout than envisioned but still a very good experience for me.  I had a lot of family attend but not many people beyond that.  Thanks to a lot of help from my Father-in-law we raised over $1000.  Which brings me to today...

     This past Saturday was our Second Annual Walk to Stop Diabetes.  There was a much larger turnout, around 25 people, and raised around $1300.  We should be getting another $1000 from a volunteer program through my employer and $550 from my father-in-laws employer.  That is huge!  All those funds go to the American Diabetes Association and is used for research towards a cure, funding community outreach and education programs and keeping PWDs from being discriminated against because of their diabetes.  I am so thankful for the support of local, businesses, our community, the people I work with, and my family.  This event would not have happened without them. I am grateful to be able to do something to give back to an orgonanization that is striving to help all of us who battle diabetes everyday.

Thanks to all of you who donated, walked, and showed your support.  We'll see you all next year!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I love my Dexcom CGM.  There is no way around that.  There is just one problem.  That little sensor attached to my stomach has become another reminder.  Everytime I lift my shirt and look down I see the sensor, I see the bruises from the injections, and I remember that I will be in this same routine for the rest of my life.  And it is depressing.  I keep a pretty positive outlook most of the time.  I love the opportunities I get to educate others about the disease.  I few days ago I got to show of my CGM to some co-workers and excitedly tell them the ins and outs and how it is a great tool to spot trends and tweak insulin dosage.  I totally geeked out on them.  I also got to express my passion and some of the startling numbers about diabetes to a group of workers while I tried to rally support for this years Community Walk.  Times like that make me realize that this disease has had it's blessings come with it.  I feel hopeful and love that I have this part of me that fuels a passion to spread the word and help others.  And then I look down... 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cyborg Glucose Monitoring!

A week ago I entered the world of CGM (continuous glucose monitoring not cyborg glucose monitoring as the title suggests).  For those who don't know how this works, I'll explain.

I attach a sensor to my body, either on my belly, butt, thigh, or arm, which has a filament that is deposited under my skin by a very small needle.  This filament determines blood glucose readings by monitoring sugar levels in interstitial fluid (the fluid I between cells).  This information is sent via a small grey transmitter to a receiver that displays a blood glucose reading every 5 minutes.  The sensor is calibrated by periodic checks with a finger prick from a standard glucose monitor.

In the last 6 days (I'm excluding the first day because apparently the pain killer I took confused the sensor which in turn confused me) this information has already proven invaluable.  I simple vibration from my pocket tells me "Hey Craig, you should probably take a break and eat something", or "Hey stupid, that handful of Snickers fun size you ate should have been accompanied by some insulin."  

But the information goes beyond a simple number and alert now and then.  While a finger stick will give me a number that tells me if I'm high or low, my CGM will tell me where I've been for the past 12 hours, if I'm headed up or down, and how fast. That is really good information when I'm deciding how to treat. If I know that I'm at 200 and falling I'll use less insulin than if I'm at 200 and rising.  Same goes for treating lows.

Yesterday reaffirmed my thoughts that this was a great choice for me.  I left work and took The Bug to the urgent care.  After dropping her off at daycare I stopped at the gas station to get a donut.  I injected what I thought was the correct amount for the donut and enough  to cover my planned breakfast after I got home.  Having worked a 12 hour shift on an hours sleep I was exhausted when I got home and collapsed on the couch, forgetting the breakfast and taken insulin to cover.  An hour or so later I snapped awake, not sure if the Dexcom was beeping or if something else woke me.  I was in a stupor and shaking badly.  My mind was in a fog and I took a second to remind myself where I was.  I reached for the receiver to my Dexcomand it simply read LOW.  Looking at the graph it appeared I was in the low 50's.  This was the worst low I had ever experienced.  Had I spent the time looking for my meter in my already confused state and then tried to pour myself some cereal which already ended up on the floor before reaching for a handful of gummy bears I very well may have been found in a crumpled heap on the floor.  But the Dexcom allowed me to act fast without searching for anything extra or taking extra steps.  

My experience so far has been full of positives and I've loved being able to explain to people that my new toy is not an MP3 player.  Hopefully it continues that way as I continue to pay more for this equipment than simple test strips but reap greater rewards.