Friday, October 3, 2014

Accessorize your Triceps!

With the littlest man growing and making my formerly soft-squishy belly the taut, thin skinned home to exclusively my uterus I've had to start moving my infusion sites and my CGM away from my go-to, formerly pain-free spots on my abdomen to both old-reliable locations and new, um, more revealing sites.  With my pump cannula pushing upwards of 55 units of insulin into my body a day (30.7 of which is now basal - which is holy cow high!), I'm swapping my infusion sites from hip to hip every few days as it's one of the few spots left around my middle with enough subcutaneous fat to avoid searing pain upon insertion.  Struggling to work up the gumption to shoot that huge needle into my skin is hard enough with that nerve-wracking claaaaaaaaang the spring makes upon release, let alone with the anxious knowledge that if I get the spot selection wrong, it'll sting not only now, but five minutes from now and - if thoroughly wrong - until I change the site all together.

As I've narrowed my go-to site options from four alternating spots (near my belly button and on my hips) down to two (hips only), the reality that my CGM transmitter and my pump cannula cannot be within three inches of each other for accuracy purposes creates the necessity to use previously avoided site locations.  As I only change the CGM once per week, I can't place it on one side and my cannula on the other because of the rate at which my cannula needs to be changed and the requirement that it be placed in a "fresh" spot every time I change.  Requiring more creativity and, well, diabetic confidence than I've previously been willing to display, I'm quite clearly wearing this inconvenience on my sleeve.


Both the CGM and the pump cannula are required to be inserted in a sight that will not only appropriately transfer insulin to my blood stream but to also accurately read the current glucose levels circulating through my system.  These locations, while seemingly everywhere, are actually pretty limited: the abdomen, the hips/glutes, the thighs and the triceps.  Having long since lost my comfort with my cannulas in my thighs due to running (OW!!), the options for my new CGM sites were pretty limited.. either a pain in the butt or the back of my arm.

Cannula and CGM location options

Not finding this first option at all appealing (who wants to sit on a lump all day?), I've had to swallow my insecurity to a large extent and be okay with the possibility of my CGM being visible to the world with my short sleeves shirts.  Knowing this will cause a lot more weird looks from strangers and probably several many pointed questions from curious kids, I wiped down the spot, adhered the tape to my skin and, due to the awkward angle, asked my Mother to push in the needle.  Both of us wincing at the mere idea of this new experience, it actually turned out to be much, much more pleasant a location than my abdomen had been previously.  Barely feeling the pinch of the needle, it seems that I am trading comfort for concealment...

Not quite as trendy as a bracelet or watch,
but, hey! It works! 
Fortunately, in the few days that I've been rocking this new look (note the implied confidence) I've seen more accurate readings popping up on my CGM receiver screen for my calibration tests and it showed in my endocrinology appointment this week.  Meeting with Dr. Rogacz to adjust my pump settings, get a grasp on appropriate symlin usage and run a new HgA1C I'm thrilled to report that all is looking tight and tidy.  My A1C is down to 5.6, my symlin dosages have been increased from 15 units once a day to 30 units up to two times daily and my settings are as accurate as they can be for the next five minutes.  So thank you for that, Dexcom!

Long story short, as this is my first pregnancy with a CGM, this new equipment is forcing me to actually have new experiences with my diabetes and my body.  Feeling like this whole disease is pretty much old-hat now and that there isn't much it can throw my way that I haven't already figured out, it's oddly refreshing to have to learn something new and different for a change... course I probably just tempted Murphy there (knock on wood) and will come back to redact these words in a few weeks, but for the time being, I am learning how to work my new arm-accessory and, fingers crossed, I wont ram it into too many walls or rip it out accidentally.  That would NOT be fun.

All for now.  Fetal Echo on Monday.  Keep your fingers crossed!

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