Tuesday 26 February 2013

Burning out

At last year's UK Friends For Life conference I attended a session on 'Avoiding Diabetic Burnout', during which a group of teary-eyed and wobbly-voiced parents and Type 1s discussed how to recognise the signs that we might be approaching that well-trodden path leading to burnout.  We helped each other string together our sleep-deprived thoughts and agreed that no-one really knows why it happens or exactly what it is, but what we did agree was when it hits, it hits hard.

Last night my husband and I had to call 'time'.  As I sat on the edge of the bed, brushing away my tears after another healthy, veg-packed, home-cooked, low carb meal left me three times higher than I should be just before going to bed - promising me another night of disturbed sleep and worry - we realised we had reached an impasse.  

Burnout crept up on me this time, lurking behind every bad blood sugar result, taunting me with every miscalculated meal and mocking me with every needle-prick striking my fingertips, piercing them for blood.  It was creeping ever-forward, unbeknownst to me, ready to set-in a while back. The last few weeks, perhaps even months, have left me frustrated, angry, tearful, sad, afraid and lost.  But mostly, I am just tired: And I am tired of being tired.

I've been interested in CGM for some time.  I've blogged about the benefits and why I would and wouldn't use certain systems and had a great experience with C8 Medisensors last year leaving me hopeful we would have a much cheaper and non-invasive system out shortly.  Sadly, that looks set to be some time yet.  I won't go over each of the available systems  again because all that info is already out there.  This post is about reaching decisions; about reaching the impasse and choosing a new direction.

My husband and I had already agreed that for pregnancy, we would CGM it.  But this week as the tears arrived, we both knew that 'in a couple of years' was too far away.  The plan had been to save for a kit once we had all of our finances sorted.  We decided today that finances come later.  This week I have an appointment with the bank to do a little number-crunching and I hope that my CGM system will be in the post by the weekend.  The Dexcom G4 system to be exact.

Although a huge cost at the outset (£975 to be exact, not including the sensors at £250 for four), the system is time and again boasted about by those who use it.  Jamie and I agreed we would try as far as possible to stretch out the use of the sensors, many of which appear to last well beyond the 7 days they should be used for.  But even if they only last the 7 days, two weeks of each with a sensor is better than four weeks without; a glass half full, and all that jazz.

So I hope that by this weekend the Dex will be on order, and I can bring you tales of my - hopefully - better informed diabetic life.


  1. Good for you Anna, great blog. I have no doubt you will love CGM alot. We love it for Jessica, had it now for 6 years and as her parent, I know I can't go without it.

    I hope you are feeling brighter and burnout is on its way out xx

  2. Hey,

    Feeling much better thank you; in fact the decision to change my priorities and find a way to fund it was a big step in the right direction. I was feeling totally 'stuck'. Normally burnout is about too much info for me, but this time it was feeling helpless, over-testing if there is such a thing) and needing to take a step forwards, not back, as I was.

    Thanks so much for the support - positive stories like yours help justify the cost of systems like this. You guys are on the Medtronic , I believe? x

  3. Good for you Anna, hope it makes a real difference to you. I find the extra insight it gives really valuable. Good luck with it.

    1. Hi Alison, thank you. I just needed that shove to get me off to a flying start. Something good came from this burnout at least.

      Best wishes


  4. Hi Anna,

    I live in the UK and got my G4 two weeks ago! I would literally not be without it. Its already saved my life a couple of times, and prior to getting the G4 my 14 day average was 7.5, 14 days after first insertion my average is now 6.5 (a whole mmol in two week's!). My fiancee loves it too... it buzzes and he literally wakes up to help me fix it!

    I'm just resetting my first sensor for the 3rd week in a row and its been 100% accurate 99% of the time - the largest difference has been 2mmol and then I was climbing and climbing fast... miscalculated carbs grrrrr.....

    Highly recommend some opsite flexfix to help it stick (micropore tape just doesn't cut it)

    So worth it - I hope that you love it as much as I do.

    If you have question I'm happy to help (my email address is emilysweeney45 at gmail dot com.

    OK this might seem like a bit of over enthusiastic message, but I have been following you for a while!



    1. Hi Emily,

      Thanks for stopping by - and with such a positive post!! I LOVE hearing things like this as a lot of the hype is excellent marketin on Dexcom's; it's good to hear real-life expereinces, you know?

      For me one of the biggest selling points is the sensor life; it's one of the primary reasons I chose this over other systems which I had the opportunity to try, in fact. So hearing that you are going into week 3 with such good results, is just astounding to me. I tried to re-set my Enlite when I had it, but it conked out the day after I re-set it.

      I will definitely get in touch as I do have some questions, so thank you for any help I will undoubtedly be asking for :)


  5. Once again Anna, you manage to post something that is scarily close to my own situation. I pop by frequently and I get the feeling that we are at nearly exactly the same point in our lives in many aspects.

    My husband and I also came to the same decision a couple of weeks ago re: me needing a sensor and pretty much all the reasons you want one to.

    Although it isn't nice going through it I do feel supported in the knowledge that I am not the only one, so thank you so much for being brave enough to tell the world what you are going through and how it feels. It can 't be easy but it is helping someone.

    1. Hi Louise,

      Thank you so much for dropping by and for leaving such an honest, open and heart-felt comment. The 'blogosphere' can at times be so overwhelmingly full of positive-thinking and silver-lining posts that it can be really hard to say "I'm finding it tough."

      I'm so glad that what I write reflects your own life and experiences; you're right, knowing that someone else is in your boat is a good thing. I hope things go more smoothly for you soon, though.

      Best of luck choosing the right system for you and your husband, and I'm so glad that you will be looking into this to. It was actually a relief when we finally made the decision. I have noticed big differences in how the Dexcom and Enlite work, and there are real benefits to both.

      Best wishes