My Diabetes Story
First, I've been on a pump and combined CGM for 3 years and 3 months now. I use the CGM all the time, except when I have to replace the sensor and recharge the battery. I've been a type 1 since age 13, so that's a long time. Now if you have time here's the rest.
As a child I screamed whenever I got a yearly flew shot. At age 13 I decided I wanted to lose weight to be more attractive to girls. I found out dieting was easy to just eat slightly less, and I started losing a lot of weight. Well that losing weight was accompanied with excessive thirst and urination, and when I finally went to the doctor’s office he ran a urine test and said I was a diabetic and needed to go to the hospital. He also said I would need to take insulin shots by myself before they would let me out of the hospital. I asked what would happen if I didn’t take the insulin shots and the doctor replied, “Well I’d probably live for a couple of weeks.” I definitely wanted to live longer than that, so I started taking daily insulin shots.
It was many years of my diabetic specialist endocrinologists saying I needed better control before I took a shot before lunch. I had already started taking a shot with dinner, and mixing two different insulins in my morning shot. Eventually before starting on an Insulin Pump I was also on another set of injections to slow the absorption of food into my system before each of the 3 mail meals in the day, along with a separate shot using an insulin pen of quick acting insulin, plus 2 doses of long acting insulin (morning and night) for a total of 8 shots per day. Not to mention blood testing, I was feeling like I was full of pin pricks.
I have been taken by ambulance to a hospital 3 times for losing consciousness due to low blood sugar. (Before I was on a pump and CGMS.) Not a fun or cheap experience. I was on the first trials for home blood glucose testing many years ago, and have used home blood glucose testing since then. I did not want to start an insulin pump until there was some kind of closed loop testing of blood sugar, because with pumps you need to test blood sugar more often than with shots. I had gone from the original 1 shot per day to 8 shots per day, just before going on an insulin pump. My doctor suggested going on the pump and Continuous Glucose Monitor System (CGMS) as soon as it came out to the public in June 2006. I did, but was told only the pump would be covered by my insurance. Fine, I spent $1,500 of my own money for the CGMS, but the really expensive part over time is replacing the disposable sensors at $35 each. My sensors are supposed to last for 3 days, but I found out they can be used for 6-7 days. So that’s a minimum of $5/day instead of $11.66/day as the manufacturer sells them. I have had to spend many hours fighting, and writing many letters with different insurance companies trying to get them to pay for my CGMS sensors. This is even after I was told as a new employee that, “Yes we pay for CGMS sensors” because they didn’t say that only sometimes do they pay. A doctor’s letter and payment receipts are not enough. I also had to send copies of research proving CGMS provides better care for Type 1 diabetics than only using blood glucose testing. Even after getting approval, I had to fight for full payment of my sensor claims. Each time I switch insurance carriers due to a new job, I have to start that fight again. I’m about to start that process again, and hoping it’s easier now that there is so much research showing the benefits of CGMS.