Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First Visit: Minimed Veo and Enlite Sensor Study

Well, I passed all my screening questions for the Medtronic Minimed VEO and Enlite Sensor study. They asked me 4,000 questions that all ended with the answer, "No." They drew three tubes of blood and then gave me 47g worth of carbohydrates in the form of one and a smidgen of a bottle of chocolate Boost. Then I had to wait two hours.

I thought I was free to read or something, but then came out a stack of paper, seriously 2 1/2 inches thick, with a bunch of yellow sticky notes. It was my entire medical history! She went through every single sticky noted page asking if I was on this medication anymore or that, when my knee surgery happened, etc. Lordy, I'm glad I'm not sickly, because this took almost an hour!

Interestingly, the majority of our conversation was around why I don't take my cholesterol medicine. The answer, "I forget" over about six years was not amusing to her. She said, "Part of eligibility of this study is compliance with its protocol." I replied, "It's the pill popping I have trouble with. I can check my blood sugar regularly."

Anyway, I will go into more detail about the requirements of the study, but oh! Joy! No confidentiality agreement, other than their obligation to protect mine. So I will write with Revel (get it?).

My next visit will start with the results of my blood work, which are measuring kidney function. If I am okey dokey, I will be trained and outfitted with a Revel pump, which I already wear. I kinda begged not to have to sit through two hours of training on a pump I own. She said she would see what she can do.

Then I have to comply with study protocol, which includes four BG checks per day and probably downloading into a guest Carelink account and uploading my pump info. If I comply, they will give me the Minimed Enlite Sensor and watch me for a couple weeks. I think I then get my name thrown in a hat and I will be randomly selected for either the VEO with the Enlite or the Revel with the Enlite Sensor. In my mind, I win either way, but I hope I get the VEO pump.

Have you ever participated in a trial? Let me know what you tried and if you blogged about it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Type 1 Diabetes, Motherhood and Control Don't Mix

Yesterday morning at 6 a.m., some rumbling thunder woke my daughter before I could come get her out of bed. I was in the office downstairs and sighed deeply, gratefully, because waking an 11 year old takes about half a century every morning. I usually roll her around, push on her, tickle her and check her blood sugar until finally, after threats of missing the bus, she pulls herself up.

It isn't over at that point, because she has to be physically out of the bed before I can walk away. Her snuggley green blanket and pillow are just too tempting.

But this morning, I heard her sleepy feet hit the floor and she called down good mornings. I replied cheerfully with a reminder to check her blood sugar. A few minutes later, as I take the couscous off the stove for her lunch, I hear her call down.

"Mom. I'm 439." I head for the stairs and She is standing there and I can see she is already thinking of how she can avoid an infusion set change. Such a pain in the neck, and it was only two days ago we changed it.

I give her a shot of insulin for half the correction and change her infusion set, giving her the other half of the corection. She sits down, looking pale and tired and says she feels nauseous. We check her ketones, and of course, they are high. I get her some water, and even a bottled green tea, and tell her its the best medicine we have next to insulin. That if she can just sit tight and sip the water every few minutes, it will help her feel better.

She has about 10 minutes before the bus comes and she says, "I'm okay. I'll take a bottle of water and get to feeling better on the bus." She struggles to put her things in her 60 pound, 6th grade backpack. She looks at the clock, sighs, and continues to stuff. I take her hand, gently pull her up to a standing hug, which she doesn't resist and I say, "Go watch TV, drink water and we'll get you to school late." She relents.

She is in a middle school magnet program for the Humanities and Law for International Studies and really likes school. Missing school for any reason is tough, as every minute in class is crammed with content, but she felt like crap. So, she trudged upstairs, kicked off her rain boots and curled up to watch TV. I implored her to drink. Again, nothing except water and insulin will help, but I know her and she won't.

So the struggle begins for me. Just last night she told me a story about her best friend in theater class the day before. Her friend attended one day of a diabetes summer camp with my daughter and got this awesome backpack, along with all the other families. Her friend's regular backpack broke last week (under the weight of eight classes of books) and she pulled out the camp freeebie to use. In theater that day, her friend had left the backpack open and some girls saw inside and started taunting her, "Ooooo! You got diabetes! Mmmm, girl, I can't believe you got diabetes!" The freebie backpack was labeled inside with "I Have Diabetes" and a list of doctors and phone numbers to call in an emergency.

Her friend quickly stammered, "No, no I don't have diabetes. It is just a free backpack I got." The mean girls kept it up and her friend was left to "defend" herself against the attack.

This story gave me pause. It shook me to realize how fragile middle schoolers are around fitting "in." It made me think, why the hell is this a big deal, but my daughter has told me often enough, that you have to lay low. Anything that sets you apart as different, can turn into a problem. You don't want problems in 6th grade. You have two more years with these growing kids and smooth is the best path.

It upset me that her friend had this reaction, but I know it couldn't be helped. She was being "accused" of having diabetes and the stupid freaking two different diseases have become one in most people's eyes. I get very defensive about the metabolic disorder, T2 and the immunosuppressive disorder, T1. Defensive is what I get. Pissed off really.

I remember being at a loss for words after this story. Delicate lines to dance around when dealing with self confidence and a chronic disease. I think I simply said, "Well, I guess she is lucky she doesn't actually have to deal with diabetes."

So, as time ticked by yesterday morning, which felt like forever to me, her blood sugar was dropping slowly, but she still felt nauseous. I implored her to drink, and she wouldn't, because of course, she felt like total crap. I got angry that she wouldn't even try and this is the circle of motherhood that I wish I could jump out of. I wish I could quit feeling so completely compelled to tell her what to do and expecting her to do it. She doesn't. Not because she is defiant. Not because she is contrary, but because she has her own mind and can think for herself. Her thoughts are often different from mine, which infuriates me (and overwhelms me with joy). Every time I open my mouth, I think that maybe she will really "hear" me this time. It is important. My words matter and can help her, if she would only listen. And it never works. I am a communicator, and my words don't matter.

However, over the long haul, I know my sage advice does make a difference. She makes great choices, does awesome in school, is loving, kind, compassionate and extraordinarily independent. But in the moment of this morning, with pale skin, nausea, all curled into the fetal position, I want her to drink water. I want her to try to help herself feel better. I know how to do it. JUST LISTEN!!

She takes a tiny sip from her bottle to get rid of me. To love me. To quell my need for control.

I relayed this story to a friend at dinner last night. It's been weeks and weeks since I spent time with my friend and she listened to me gap-mouthed. When I was through, she said, "Uhh! I had no idea. You never talk about diabetes. I thought she was doing really well." To which I replied, with realization that I don't talk about it, "This is part of what we do every single day." Many, many days are good, more than we would care for are not so good. It is a struggle that we handle very, very well, but the struggle, the care, the energy to maintain diabetes is constant.

It took my girl about three hours to feel well and see her blood sugars in normal range. She was starved, so I picked her up a fast food breakfast (parental guilt reward for enduring diabetic nightmare) and dropped her off at school. I beg her to take her blood sugar at lunch, and she does, like she does everyday, but really that only happens about 40 percent of the time.

I kiss her cheek and send her off.

Now, here I sit to unload all the layers of the last 24 hours, which mirror that last 27 years of my life and the last six years of hers. There is no sadness in this, I am not depressed or hopeless. I'm very proud of my daughter. Frankly, I am proud of myself. But this is real. The challenge to manage and control so many things that are completely outside of me. The challenge is containing all those layers of love, care, concern, compassion, and frustration; keeping them from containing me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Minimed VEO and Enlite Study Start Date at End of March

Well, I am officially signed up to start the study at the end of March. There is an initial meeting, then a pump training. I think I get the new Enlite Sensor then and have to wear it for two weeks to see if I am a compliant study participant. I need to check my blood sugar four times a day and log "events" like low symptoms and exercise.

Check out this video on inserting the Minimed Enlite Sensor. Dreamy!!!

I don't log anything now, but I think I can handle it. If after two weeks I am a good girl I will be randomly picked to either wear the new pump or continue to wear the Revel and the Enlite Minimed Sensor.

Either way, I am stoked.

The other night, I went to bed with no CGM or BG reading (I was low apparently at bed). I bolted up at 1am and discovered I was 39. I drank two juice boxes and went back to sleep. At 4am I had exactly the same dreams that woke me the first time, and I check and was 50. If I had the new pump, it would have prevented those extreme lows. Dude. Better than my mother!

Anyway, I love a good study, but I really hope this is FAST! I want this technology for my girl. She is amazing and is doing really well managing her diabetes. 6th grade has been a challenge, but I am so incredibly happy with her self sufficiency, even if not perfect.

Lately I have been asking her to be the investigator. If she is high, I ask her to figure out why. She searches her pump history and has to relay what caused the high. No judgement. Just facts. Gentle, consistent investigation.

One recent change offered by our awesome CDE was the she automatically click through every blood sugar on her pump. What I mean is she checks her BG, it is 167, she continues to press activate until she gets an insulin delivery number or not. Not matter what, she just corrects every number. Sometimes it is no correction, but this is to establish the habit of at trying to bring BGs back to normal range.

Getting insulin in her during/after/before meals is another story, but we make progress and she is doing just fine. She is an expert carb counter, but her memory is another story.

I recently learned that as soon as we *think about* or smell food, our blood sugar starts to rise; the digestive process begins. Really we should be shooting insulin 15 minutes before we eat. I remember as a kid I had to take it 30 minutes before eating.

Anyway, I'll update after my first office visit and hope they don't throw a confidentiality agreement my way. I love tracking my experiences in studies.