My plan had been to ring in 2019 with a great list of achievable resolutions to motivate me personally, physically, and professionally. I’m pretty goal-oriented and thrive when working on a specific task, with a specific plan in mind. I had the greatest of intentions, but my January began with barely more than a few ideas I was kicking around for 2019. On New Year’s Day, I resigned myself to the notion that my lack of motivation was due to my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and pump screaming for a vacay because they have been working overtime to get me through the holidays! The holidays can be hard for people with diabetes (really, everybody), they just are. So, I decided to focus on one key practice that helped me stay “Between the Lines” during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
In my family, holidays are built not only around connecting with family from miles away - our holidays center around food. The really heavy, non-healthy, sugar-loaded treats, and these tasty endeavors are just like Lays® potato chips – you can’t eat just one (bite)! By New Year’s Day, my weight, skin, energy level, exercise routine, mood, and, of course, my blood sugar all have taken a beating. But, embracing my CGM during the months of November and December is one key component to my blood sugar management and, sometimes, success.
Admittedly, I don’t always wear a CGM. For me, it’s just not attractive attached to my body, especially when paired with an insulin pump infusion set. All that equipment adds bulk, tangles with clothes and other items, delays progress through security lines at the airport and adds another alarm to draw attention to a situation I often don’t want to explain. So, I don’t always embrace my CGM because of its alarms, but I do always embrace its convenience. It provides an invaluable service and added convenience, especially with newer, Bluetooth-enabled models that allow me to share my readings with family.
I originally purchased a CGM to wear when traveling alone for business so my husband could monitor my data to ensure that if an emergency situation developed, I could get the help I needed in time. However, I have found that the more consistently I wear it, the more I appreciate its dependability and convenience and the less I fret about aesthetics. More so, wearing it consistently during the holidays just makes diabetes easier and more manageable. Specific benefits I have realized wearing my CGM include the following:
- Always knowing my blood sugar reading and, more importantly, how it’s trending.
- A more discreet and less cumbersome method for monitoring my blood sugar readings in public.
- The security of glucose alarms that allow me more freedom to indulge during social engagements by enabling me to adjust my insulin doses accordingly and limit negative repercussions of indulging.
- Taking a break from the daily five to eight finger sticks I take on to keep track of where my blood sugar is before and after eating or exercising, or in instances when I physically feel as though my blood sugar is off course – either on the high side or low.
- Providing peace of mind to my family members who receive my glucose alarms via their Bluetooth devices.
Everything about having diabetes takes some getting used to – taking injections; being conscious of blood sugar readings; meticulously planning for all activities, whether eating, exercising, traveling, or some other activity; wearing an insulin pump and/or CGM; the extra expense for medications and supplies; and appropriately educating those individuals who need to know your circumstances, at the appropriate time. However, dedicating the necessary time to reconcile each of these points with myself has led to a safer and healthier life “Between the Lines.”
Keena B has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1974. After 20 years as a marketing professional, Keena is now a full-time student pursuing her second career as a dental hygienist. She resides in Raleigh, NC, with her husband, Dink, and canine companion, Morkie Mindy.