Friday 9 April 2010

Hitting those high notes !

I am still only 2 months into my pump trial, but have already seen such a marked improvement on my sugars that I know it is worth it. I don't need the HbA1c result to tell me at the end of the six months, I simply know it.

Before starting on the pump, the diabetes team set goals with me which were designed to provide both practical and political targets to strive for. From a political perspective, the specialists need to see that the pump therapy, which is expensive, still relatively new to the NHS and requires total commitment, is worth them investing in for me. If my a1c goes up after going on it, then there lacks justification for me to be on such expensive treatment. This would also most likely also mean that surely, if your results are still constantly high or low, the law of averages would suggest that I can't be feeling much better about it either! On a personal note, people who go on the pump in the UK are usually struggling with the condition and with controlling it. Each day is a struggle - a gamble of whether you will be high today, low today or both today. The drip, drip, dripping of the nagging threats about loss of limbs, kidney failure and blindness have worn away so much at most of us to the point of hating our body, for putting us through this every day. So the point of the personal targets is to give you a chance to demand something from the pump. Make it work for YOU, so to speak.

My poli-targets were as follows:

1)To reduce my a1c by 1% - The overall aim is to achieve 6.5% or less. But as a 9.5% girl at the moment, even an 8 to begin with would be just peachy!

2)A reduction of 50% of hyperglycaemic episodes - well, my BG meter shows that I have had one sugar at 20 in the last month (not including holiday - everyone knows holiday doesn't count)! To me, that is such an enormous achievement. I used to get sugars over 25 at least twice a week, for reasons I never understood or could even hazard a guess at! Now, my highest sugar was 20mmol, and it was another one of those mysterious ones. Whatever it was, one doesn't matter - and it feels pretty great to be on the right side of 10mmol everyday, I can tell you!

3)A 20% reduction in glucose variability - at the time that was written, I had 66% of my sugars outside of my target range (5-10mmol). Now, I have a whopping 71% of my sugars within target! Even though this is one the DSN came up with, to see it happen is just incredible. The only word to describe it is ELATED!

The next two were mine, 'silly' things really, but both equally as important as the poli-targets, because these are what I want, or even expect, from making the decision to wear this pump, which when it comes right down to it, is still a mini computerized box attached to me 24/7.

4) To feel less worried about the future when I experience high sugars - hey, with 71% in target and that number rising, whose worried???

5) To eat a take away and not feel ill with high sugars for the next day - ok, so this one may seem weird to you, because most people probably chow down on a pizza, curry or fish and chips without a second thought. For me, this has NEVER happened. Take away involves trying to calculate how many ingredients there are which might increase BS levels. When you get most take aways, they are a mish mash of all kinds of foods and you have no idea where to start! There is no such thing as a 'good' take away for me. It usually involves an initial estimation, followed by hours of blood testing, a night swigging water and nipping to the loo, and when it has gone really wrong, even a sick day through lack of sleep and general exhaustion.

This one I am still working on, mainly because getting in a habit of having a take away is never wise. From any perspective. But at least the pump gives me the tools to try different times for giving a dose (ie, before or after a meal), split doses, lengthened doses, or even numerous doses (without the numerous jabs), with ease.

The fact that of my 5 targets, I have achieved 3 within 2 months of being on the pup, is astonishing. To me anyway. I just hope more people can have the opportunity I have had to give this a go. There is no looking back, and that comes with a lifetime guarantee!

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