Charting my Diabetes

I’ve worked with the system well as aggressively, and respectfully, as I could to move my insulin pump start date up as much as possible. Given what I’ve had to deal with in simply getting this far, at some point I knew it was best to accept what I could accomplish and go from there. My final timeline looks like this:

  • Basic t:slim training and saline start on 10/1.
  • “Pump Start” class at my diabetes education center on 10/3.
  • Pump saline, and still take my proper insulin injections for 3 (?) days – I’m going to get that clarified at the class.
  • Review pump data (?) at the education center on 10/14.
  • Start insulin that same day…?

There are still a lot of question marks on that list, but dates are locked-in appointments. From there it’ll just be a matter of filling in the gaps and getting as many questions answered as possible. Considering how much of a challenge it was to get to this point, you better believe I’m going to maximize every minute I have with these folks.

One particular aspect of this process that has had a surprising impact on my diabetes, already, is the process of charting. Everything.

The t:slim, and I assume most insulin pumps, have a lot of programmable settings such as basal rates, insulin correction factors, insulin:carb ratios, and so on. In order to get the most accurate settings, I (we) need to have a reliable baseline of data to work with to start things off. I know the settings I put into my pump on Day 1 will not be the same as Day 100, tweaks will likely be made as the process of controlling diabetes is fluid, albeit fickle. But if I’m going to have the best possible experience from the start, there needs to be a lot of data to build a solid foundation for my pumping experience.

Which leads me to this…

For the past week I’ve written down every diabetes decision and action. Similar to all of those #dayofdiabetes tweets, but with less coherent writing, every number gets recorded. While I’ve only been at this for a few days, I’ve already come to a number of conclusions.

  1. I’m horrible at carb counting.
  2. I’ve been on diabetes management cruise control for much longer than I realized.
  3. Weighing food to determine what serving sizes actually look like is a fascinating experience.
  4. My diabetes is much easier to manage when I actually pay attention to what I’m doing (this stuff still isn’t easy, but compared to just last week? Wow.)
  5. This is difficult – staying on top of every single action is exhausting. It can add frustration and stress to your life. It makes you think about your diabetes much, much more frequently, but
  6. It works. I don’t know how often I need to, or should, do this, but the act of writing all this stuff down has really opened my eyes to what I need to do to live a healthier life.

I will likely need to keep up this effort through my starting insulin with my insulin pump (another question I’ll need answered at some point), and as mentioned I will need to revisit this specific effort somewhat regularly as I fine tune the settings on my pump.

I had a closing thought about it being “good to put diabetes in the forefront once in a while”, but that isn’t right. Diabetes is always in the forefront. It’s more about it being in focus. Because there’s a difference between respecting my diabetes and actually paying attention to it.

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