Wednesday, June 8, 2016

First Month of My Insulin Pump Break

A month ago, I decided to step away from my Medtronic insulin pump.

This was long overdue, a needed change that I needed to revisit in order to get my diabetes back in line. Yet, I had been putting this off and it wasn't until Medtronic's business decision to screw with patient choice and access that I made the final personal decision to disconnect from my pump and go back on injections like I've done a few times in the past. My first pump vacation lasted for about five months in 2010, and led to a 1.1% drop in my A1C. The later vacations also saw smaller drops, but still they helped me re-focus on D-management.

And so, that's what I set out to achieve in the here and now. 

After my first month of this #PumpHiatus, my BGs have been phenomenal compared to how they were before.

Glucose variability is hella better, and my A1C dropped from 8.4% in February to 7.6% in early June! This was also down from my A1C last Fall where it rang in at 9.1 -- so progress continues, and I'm very happy.

My endo is happy, too.

Here's what my D-data shows:








(Enter first air-pumping here!)

A few specific reasons are behind the improvements, I believe.

  1. Discipline: Whenever I mix up my management routine, I tend to do better. So going back on MDI has motivated me to pay closer attention to all aspects of my D-care, from insulin dosing and carb counting to exercise effect and so on. Whenever it comes down to eating something, I must weigh whether I want to dose insulin for it -- and that more often than not has made me second-guess the desire to eat at that time. 
  2. Low(er) Carb Eating: Yes, I have been watching the carbs and taking in fewer of them. Instead of a sandwich for lunch, an avocado with chicken or tuna salad. More veggies instead of rice or pasta. More fish and meat, and even less beer (WTF?!) that's sweeter and more carb-heavy. This has meant less glucose variability, a pretty certain consequence of carbs for me. As a result
  3. Afrezza: Yep, I'm back on inhaled insulin. For close to a month,  I've been using Afrezza and am LOVING the blood sugar effect it's helped me achieve so far. I'd tried it out last Fall for a few weeks, but decided that it wasn't something I wanted to continue using because of long-term concerns about potential lung effects. But none of that's known for sure, and so I was willing to try Afrezza again once going on my pump break.
    I've been using it for higher carb meals and larger corrections, keeping Novolog pens as my "base fast-acting insulin" used for smaller doses and meals that are more predictable. This works the best for me, instead of using Afrezza 100% of the time. I still have some reservations (possibly paranoia??) about long-term effects, and so I am not going full force with Afrezza. For me, I'm also pretty confident in my ability to improve even more and get to a better place as having Afrezza in my D-toolbox along with other insulins, my CGM and everything else.



    For the first few weeks, I was actually fortunate to snag some samples to use and didn't have to buy it myself in the beginning. Now, those samples are gone and I'm going through the process of getting insurance approval for Afrezza ASAP, so I can weave this into my routine again.
Overall, I've not calculated how much less insulin I am taking but that's a work in progress and I'll start doing that D-match for summary sake before long.

I've just recently started using my Dexcom more fully, taking advantage of the "Events" feature that allows me to chronicle insulin doses, carbs, exercise, Lows, Highs, Alcohol, and Stress.

And no app is needed for insulin dosing, for me. I just do the math -- that's easier for me. If I am 200 and need to correct to get back to my preferred 100 level, it's a simple equation using my correction factor of 25 points per unit of insulin:

200-100 = 100....

/ 25 = = 4 units.

Typically, my insulin's still kicking for about three hours so any additional correction doses during that time would be scaled back significantly, depending on the exact timing.

So, things are going well.

My next A1C is slated for mid-August -- a time my endo and I chose specifically because it will be a good follow-up to see how my A1C fairs for a full three-months of this #PumpHiatus.

As of now, taking a step away from my pump was the best decision I could've made for my D-management at this point. I'm eager to see what the next couple months bring.

21 comments:

Rick said...

Mike: I wish you the very best. I am not ready to give up my pump anytime soon, but I do wish you well and it sounds like things are going well.

I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of June 6, 2016.

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