testing

Not Always Consistent

The past few days I’ve not Ben getting much of anything done; I’ve irritated my back somehow and haven’t been very active in any aspect. I’m having a tough time even concentrating to work on Sunday’s lesson. So, I thought I’d burn a few minutes this afternoon with an attempt, hopefully not a terrible one, at a post.

This past Sunday I had another “event” as I was teaching a lesson on the parable of the wheat and the tares. About 15 minutes into the lesson I began to fell off- sweaty, “cotton” mouth-thirsty, a bit disoriented, and having trouble speaking clearly. I remembered these symptoms being on a fact sheet my FNP gave me pointing toward hyperglycemia, high BG. I the past I’ve had hypoglycemic, low BG, episodes and they always have similar symptoms: shakiness, cold sweats, and at times a slightly nauseous feeling. I assumed I was having a hyperglycemic event and pushed on.

That day we had an appreciation dinner for our pastor after church. I also forgot my meter at home that day. This meant I couldn’t check my BG to be sure of the cause, or check it at all, for several hours. I ate safety at the dinner, avoiding many carbs with extra vigilance.

I posed the question on the diabetes support form I’ve become a member of, along with more details of the day, food I’d had, etcetera, hoping to get some experienced advice from the group. And the folks there didn’t disappoint!

What I knew, that without the meter to test, it was impossible to say for sure the cause of what happened was confirmed. But I also learned that hypoglycemic incidents can have the same symptoms as hyperglycemic ones and the majority of the “veterans” thought I was experiencing a low, not high, event. This really surprised me, especially since my past experience didn’t align with that – or did it?

After thinking long and hard about it, I realized the last time I’d had a low the symptoms were almost exactly the same as the ones I had this past Sunday. It seems that depending on a number of factors, there aren’t necessarily any constant in how one will feel during a low; you might feel one way one time and very differently the next. This unwelcome news is very unpleasant for me to learn; I was hoping “experience” would help me to predict what might be happening to my body, but that’s not the case. I can learn how foods effect me and mostly count on that, but it ends there pretty much.

At least I know now that for a type 2 diabetic lows are much more common than highs and I should be safe and treat anomalies as lows if I have no way to test. And nearly as important, maybe more so really, it was reinforced how important taking that meter with me is. It’s a shame that I can’t store an extra meter and strips in the truck (like I do with a package of glucose tabs and peanut butter packet) so I don’t have to be concerned with forgetting it. But the meter and strips, especially the strips, aren’t made to withstand the fluctuations of being left inside a vehicle for any amount of time. I reckon that the more time I “log” as a T2 the apt I’ll be to forget my essentials behind when I’m on the road.

One Week Experiment Results

My one week of no Glyburide has concluded and it is with happiness I report the results are good. I experienced no abnormally low readings all week, one high that I should’ve anticipated, and felt much better overall. I plan to take my charts with me to my next doctors visit and explain my test, results and the reasons I’m dropping the medication. I doubt there will be anything positive she can illuminate me with to change my mind but I will listen.

The only downside to the week was feeling so much better and having extra energy I’m not used to having that I over did it on two days this week, making the following two days non-productive. But that’s a good problem to have to relearn to live with compared to nearly passing out from just showering, for example!

You can compare this week’s chart to the one I posted last week to really see the dramatic difference. IMG_0419-0.JPG

There Will be Blood …

The past few weeks since my diagnosis I’ve been reading a lot, when my eyes cooperate, on diabetes. And I have learned quite a bit already, too. The single biggest thing I’ve learned is that testing my blood glucose (BG) level is paramount in getting a handle on this “thing” and that the “twice daily” that I was prescribed by my doctor, as is the case with most diabetics, isn’t enough.

The fasting, first thing in the morning test tells me how I’m starting out the day and what my last snack did for me. But it is a number that’s more important to the doctor than to me. And the one test, two hours after any meal, is important to the doc, too, but doesn’t really tell me much; I need to know what it was before I ate anything and what time it actually is at it’s highest (the “spike), which isn’t necessarily two hours after I’ve finished eating. For many diabetics the spike occurs at around an hour after meals, not two, so finding when that happens requires extra tests; this week I’m doing a test before every meal and again every 30 minutes after meals for 90 minute to two hours, depending in the results.

I hope that I can narrow down my time in just a few days; all the testing takes a lot if strips and blood, making for some sore fingers. Of course sore fingers for a short while are much preferred over the potential complications of uncontrolled or not well managed diabetes.

Oh boy, my 39 minutes are up; off to poke – again!

Testing Supplies: Review and Thoughts on the ReliOn Prime System

The following is a slighly revised (added links) copy of a review I wrote for the ReliOn Test Meter on Walmart.com recently. I briefly cover it and the strips, compare it to the meter my insurance company provided me, and the reasons why I chose to purchase it.

When I was diagnosed with diabetes my insurance provided me with Bayer Contour Next EZ meter and strips. I quickly realized that the other brand was going to cost a lot to test as often as I really needed to, at least at the beginning. to get a hold on my disease and being to manage it well. The online community at the ADA highly recommended this meter and strips for it value and reliability, as did a close personal friend so I bought this meter and a pack of strips to try out.

The meter is a pretty basic, no frills model; it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of my other meter or some of the other ones that you can get. But it does the job and it is much cheaper in the long run, even with insurance co-pay, than any other brand/model I’m aware of. I put all of my readings into a paper and electronic (iPhone app) log anyway so the “extras” aren’t needed anyway.

The only negative things I can say about the meter/system are in comparison to the Bayer Contour Next EZ that my insurance company started me out with: This system is a little more finicky in that it “wicks” the blood in differently, from the center of the tip of the strip, which took a few tries to get right, and seems ti take a tad more blood to get a reading without getting an error code (E13 I think) for “not enough blood applied” to read. Both the meters say they give you a little time to add more is you don’t’ get it right the first time without wasting the strip; I have not been successful in getting either to actually do that though yet, so both get a “fail” on this claim in my opinion.

The readings/accuracy from my experience and testimonies from other users seems very good. I have to say that it is a good value and great option for those who want/need to test more often than you doctor or insurance company prescribe/allow for or for those that might not have insurance. In my case, the doctor has allowed for two tests.day but I know that I need to test at least twice, maybe more, than that at this early stage to get a handle on what my body does with different foods and exercise. I couldn’t afford to do these extra tests with the Bayer meter because of the cost of the strips/ even with insurance paying toward the Bayer strips, the ReliOn strips are going to be cost me less out of pocket to just but them outright. This system not only work but makes good financial sense, too. And the my local Walmart seems to carry a good, steady supply of the strips so there are no worries about running out and having to wait on mail-order deliveries.