Sunday, September 05, 2010

Reflections on Diabetes

I just read another diabetes book, Reflections on Diabetes: 39 Inspirational Real-Life Stories On Living With Diabetes published by the ADA in 1996. It's short pieces (and a very small book) by diabetics (and people with diabetes) and family members, type 1 and type 2. It is very much a product of the time it was published, with a lot of the stories being about food restriction, and each of those stories having an italics comment from The Editors about how current guidelines recommend a diet tailored to lifestyle, and a sugar is a carb.
My favorite story is about a fisherman with neuropathy in his hands whose son helps him rig his fishing pole with a bobber so that he can see the fish bite 'cause he can't feel them, and this accommodation makes him a better fisher and people without neuropathy copy him. But I don't condone fishing, FYI.

One thing wearing the Dexcom is making me think about again is body image. I don't have much of a sense of what I look like- never have. I'm not sure if this is because of being dysphoric in a gender kind of way, or if it is more autism related.
But anyways, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, and particularly the morning after, I looked at myself and looked and it bothered me that something so important about my body didn't show. Maybe it was my concrete thinking showing, but I kept wondering, WHERE is my diabetes? I kept wondering, could I really be diabetic if I couldn't see the diabetes? (This probably explains why I still wonder if I'm really autistic). After some time, I was relieved to locate it in my fingers, which were and are scarred from blood sugar checks.
Wearing the I-Port, and later on the Guardian, as well as the dummy solo, were cool to me beyond their actual purposes in that they located diabetes on my body. However, the I-Port and Guardian sensors as well as sticking out on my body, hurt. All the time. I never could forget that they were there, and after one would come off, I would continue thinking that I needed to be careful not to jostle that area for some days. They became, quickly, part of how I expected my body to feel.

The Dexcom is different. I still love looking and seeing my diabetes, right there on my arm, as well as on the screen. But I don't feel it. I keep thinking it's on my other arm, that's how much I can't feel it. I run my hands up my arms checking to see where it is. I lie on top of it and don't know until I'm on my side that I lay on the wrong side. Which I guess confirms that I really do have trouble with right and left. Because even though I know I put it on the left side, I don't know until I go feeling for it which side is left.

If anybody is reading this far, I have some questions.
1. I'm not using Windows on this computer. It would probably be a hassle to get to a computer with Windows with which I can access the Dexcom software and/or to install a Windows imitator to run the software. What would I get from an upload? Is this hassle worth the bother?
2. How long will the Dexcom let me go between calibrations without stopping to display readings?
3. Will wearing a sensor on one's stomach interact with stomach pain, pancreatits, gallstones, digestion, and/or gastroparesis?

2 comments:

Vera said...

Yes, there are people who read to the end. ;)
Unfortunatly I'm hardly able to help, as I don't have any experiences with CGMS. But as far as I know, sensors are just in the subcutaneous fatty tissue, so they should not interact with any internal organs. For your first question: I'd really like someone to programm some of the available diabetes management software for unix based operating systems. Hopefully at some point in my life I will be knowledgeable enough to do it myself.

Reyna said...

Joe has been using the Dexcom CGM for about 1/2 a year and we have yet to use the software. Our Endo wants us to...but we moved, cannot find the software and we are busy with 2 kids...one being a VERY active 7 year old boy with type 1...you can imagine the challenges with that...lol. We have gone as long as a day without calibrating and it still works, however, I am not sure you should do that. We still check blood sugars 8-10 times a day too depending on what kind of "trouble" Joe is getting in to.

On the organ issue...the Dexcom should not be a problem.

I hope this was helpful.