BG Testing… 1,2,3…

Originally posted on Diabetes Daily.

The first time my endocrinologist told me I was doing so well managing my blood glucose levels, I only needed to test them 2-3 times a week, I laughed… hard… I looked at him with a big “REALLY?” stamped on my forehead. He assured me it was okay, so I thought it was okay.

Guess what? It isn’t okay!

In 2008, I worked for a company that sold diabetes supplies and delivered them in the mail. While I tried to appreciate the experience for what it was, and did my best to keep my compassionate and caring attitude toward the customers, I got burned out pretty quickly. Among the many things that made me unhappy about that job was the absurd insurance companies’ policies when it came to the limit on test strips.

Insurance companies in general oversimplify something that isn’t simple at all. Their perfect equation goes something like this: you use insulin, you test 3 times a day; you don’t use insulin, you test 1 time a day. And good luck with that! Forget the highs and the lows during the day, and just guess what your food can do to your glucose levels before you put it in your mouth. Easy, right? No.

I speak from the perspective of a person with type 2 diabetes who doesn’t use insulin. Most of the time, I’m just praying to the gland gods to behave when I eat. Many times I don’t even pay attention and have the negative thought train about dying any day, anyway, so why bother? And you know why that is? Because I was told it was OK to test only 2-3 times a week… so the rest of the time I’m completely oblivious.

It’s really hard to get into a blood glucose testing routine when you’re advised to do it so randomly. If you choose to stick to that necessary routine and use more test strips, good luck paying for them out of your pocket. I’ve gone without testing for long periods of time, mostly as a personal choice (irresponsible choice, I may add), and let me tell you that not knowing your numbers isn’t a good thing. Especially when you rely on food choices; sometimes even the healthy stuff may play a bad trick.

So, how do you know? By testing your blood sugar more often!

If you’re not testing often because you believe that people with type 2 diabetes shouldn’t test that often, consider talking to your doctor about increasing the amount of test strips in that prescription. Knowledge is power. It’s frustrating not to know where you’re going to land when you jump. And testing often does help you make better choices.

Feeling Totally Derailed

Originally posted on Diabetes Daily.

As I sit to relax after eating a healthy lunch (green peppers stuffed with a mix of brown rice, chicken and veggies) I’m thinking why don’t I eat like this more often. In fact, I’m here thinking what happened in the past few months to make me completely derail from everything a person with type 2 diabetes should do in order to be healthy.

2013 has been hectic. For almost a year I was working two jobs so I could afford health insurance (see the irony?). My schedule was so crappy, I ate whatever was available, which means there were a lot of late night shifts that ended at the BK drive-thru. Decent sleep hours became a joke, so don’t ask me about exercise (which I previously posted about). My routine got completely screwed up, and I won’t get the award for taking my medications on time. Now my jeans feel tighter, you do the math. I feel tired which means my thyroid is angry. So it hasn’t been a good year for my diabetes management.

About a month ago my life changed for the better when I was offered a wonderful position at the college where I work. Now I have a regular week day, first shift, full time job. That certainly gives me time to plan things and take care of myself, but it’s taking me a while to get back on track.

The first thing I did was reassess my health and realize I haven’t seen my doctor since the beginning of May. My last A1C dates from March. I don’t remember when was the last time I tested my blood glucose levels because I ran out of strips, and the doctor will want to see me. But for a month I’ve been afraid to call and make that appointment… I am almost 100% sure my numbers will make her eyes cross.

Because taking my metformin has been rather an irregular thing, now that I’m taking it every day, as many times as required, my stomach is all messed up and I find myself cursing the diabetes demons. And while trying to decide how to soothe my poor stomach, I was thinking if I need a medication change, if it would be better to manage my blood glucose levels with insulin or if there will soon be a magic cure. Truth is, all I need to do is get out of denial and do what has always worked for me.

This is the story of my life. The story of the life of a person with type 2 diabetes. Especially one who doesn’t live on insulin. It’s homework every single day. Every decision affects our numbers. And the guilt paralyzes us.

I made my appointment with the doctor. I know it won’t be pretty, but I ran out of excuses.

Do you Strip Safely?

Imagine your life depends on knowing a number. Imagine you have the tool to find what the number is, and based on this number you have to follow the rules or you may end up in big trouble—and by trouble I mean death. I’m not joking… this is what people with millions of people with diabetes are dealing with now.

It is sad and scary to learn that there is no proper regulation for the manufacturing of certain types of glucose testing strips, which leads to inaccurate numbers… very inaccurate. If you have diabetes, and you’re on insulin, you may either over-treat or under-treat a rather complicated condition; and don’t forget insulin is a very dangerous drug. Too much, too little… NEVER a good thing.

Imagine you’re the parent of a child with diabetes and you need those numbers to be accurate so you know what is the right thing to do. Imagine you give your child more insulin than what they really need. Or less. Inaccurate readings are every person with diabetes’ nightmare, and that is one of the things we keep hollering about. One would think that after all the hollering we would be heard. But that isn’t the case

According to Strip Safely:

At a recent public meeting the FDA acknowledged that there are some 510(k) cleared blood glucose (BG) meters and strips that do not meet the accuracy standards for which they were approved. There is currently no clear course of action to insure people with diabetes are using blood glucose strips that meet regulatory requirements.

Then you have a person like me, who is not on insulin, and whose doctor recommended to test 2-3 times A WEEK (that’s a story for another day). If I already have a hard time getting an idea of how my diabetes behaves, you can do the math when it comes to a meter that isn’t giving me accurate numbers. The problem is, which one do I trust?

Last month, David Edelman posted a Blood Glucose Meter Accuracy Comparison chart. It isn’t the only one I’ve seen lately. Well known brands of glucose meters are barely making it, and they are well regulated by the FDA. What about those who aren’t? The “cheap” ones that will make you spend more money on complications at the end of the day?

And you must be thinking what you can do about the accuracy issue and ask for stricter regulations from the FDA when it comes to something as vital as adequate blood glucose level readings. Well, YOU GO TELL THEM!

Contact your congress person and make a DEMAND for stricter regulations from the FDA. Diabetes isn’t a joke. Glucose meters aren’t a toy. And we aren’t puppets.

Kiss me, I’m a Red Strider!

On September 21, I am going to take a very important walk. This walk is for me and the 26 million people like me who battle diabetes every day. I am joining the American Diabetes Association in Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes because I want to do something to fight back against a disease that affects so many lives, including my own.

It only takes a few steps to make my steps go further. By making a donation on my behalf, you will be helping the Association provide community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes and fund critical research for a cure.

To help support my efforts, please visit my StepOut page or consider joining our team.

Best of the ‘Betes – June 2013

Today I have the honor to host the wonderful… the amazing… the spectacular Best of the ‘Betes Blogs! I’m very grateful that Sara decided to bring me in because I had a lot of fun reading the different blog posts that were nominated. I have to be honest here… I really don’t read that many blogs these days, but this was a reminder of what I’m missing. Blame it on Google that’s taking their reader away today. 😛 Without further ado, here is the Best of the ‘Betes.

Best Use of Humor
Reva’s musings of how mosquitoes see people with diabetes as sweet treats.

Best Recipe
Stir-fried chicken with walnuts and basil. Oh, my! Thanks, Kelley!

Best Use of Photography
Eleanor celebrates 100 days after diagnosis with a snazzy looking pump!

Best Advocacy
Heather proposes a standard practice of discussion surrounding diabetes.

Best Story of a D-Meetup
Jess shares her close encounters with other PWDs in Washington, DC.

Best Non-D Related Post
The aftermath of hurricane Sandy and how people are not being treated fairly.

Best Post by a Type 1
Katie chooses fear over faith when it comes to diabetes and pregnancy.

Best Post by a LADA/ Type 1.5/ Not otherwise specified
Ashley has to deal with doctors who think patients are just a number on scale.

Best Post by a Type 2
According to Bob, the basis of self-esteem is simply being yourself.

Best Post by a Type Awesome
Bent canulas… Ouch!

Best story of a D-mistake
How Kerri almost had a reason to panic and a broken bag handle in Paris.

Best Motivational Post
Courtney finds a way to cope… through art!

If you are one of the Best ‘Betes Blogs for this month and would like to add a badge to your blog, you can find the information for the badge below.

 

Thank you to all the people who participated, and kudos to other nominees.

Kelly: http://diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com
Luvleamum: http://luvleamum.com
Briley: http://indpendence.com
Scott: http://rollinginthed.wordpress.com
Reva: http://www.typeonederful.com
Bigfoot Child: http://bigfootchildhavediabetes.com
Wendy: http://www.candyheartsblog.com
Scott E: http://rollinginthed.wordpress.com/
Laddie: http://testguessandgo.com
Carlyn: http://oneunitatatime.wordpress.com
Karen: http://www.bittersweetdiabetes.com/
Sara: http://momentsofwonderful.com
Briley: http://inDpendence.com
Mike: http://www.thediabeticscornerbooth.com