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50 Days with Dexcom Clarity

First 50 Days Analyzed with Dexcom CLARITY®

I’ve had the Dexcom for about 2 months now, I think it’s 50 days to be exact, but, who’s counting. I am a huge fan of data. I like data, but sometimes too much data can just complicate things. That’s one reason that I love Dexcom CLARITY®.

I can get a very quick snapshot with a visualization of my time-in-range and average glucose over the reporting period and then move on with my day. Or, if I wanted to, I can dig deep into patterns and issue areas.

I get a weekly email with my previous 7 days data and my time in range. I don’t even need to click through to anything, the email just appears.

Dexcom Clarity Weekly Email

 

I’ve been using the Dexcom CLARITY® iPhone app to view all of my data. But, for the big 50 days of data and for today’s post, I figured I would actually look at it on the regular website.

So, let’s take a look.

Here is an overview of the last 50 days. As you can see it includes:

  • Average Glucose (from the CGM)
  • Standard Deviation
  • Hypoglycemia risk
  • Time in range
  • Sensor Usage
  • Patterns

Time in Range

When I look at this overview page, the first thing that I look at is the Time in Range. As you can see, I only spent 33% of the time in range. With 66% of that time being high. That just goes to show that it’s so much harder to bring down a high than it is to bring up a low.

I am not happy with the 33%. It is a pretty number because it is exactly 1/3 of the time has been spent in range. Unfortunately, that’s not where I would like it to be. My goal is to spend at least 50% of my time in range. Once I hit that goal, then the next goal is to reach 66%, then 75%. I know that I won’t reach 100% time in range, but if I can stay above 75% consistently, I will consider that a win.

Now, I did tighten up my ranges during this period as well. I moved my “high” range down from 250 to 170. So, any number above 170 is considered out of range.

Average Glucose

The next number that I look at is the Average glucose. As you can see above, it was 198. That also is not where my goal is, but it is better than the previous 90 days. My last A1C taken in February was 8.2. My goal was to be below 7.5 by the time the next one came. 198 is about a 7.7 A1C level I believe? Not at my goal, but with all of the exercising that I have been doing combined with me facing my eating problems, I feel like I can definitely bring that down quickly.

Standard Deviation

Standard Deviation is not something that I really look at, mainly for two reasons.

  1. Standard deviation problems in college always were hard for me and it confused me, so I just don’t pay attention to it. My understanding is…the higher it is, the worse it is. But, I don’t know if 65 is good or not? Someone out there reading this, can you help?
  2. I don’t know what to compare this to. I can track this over the months and see if it comes down and then I’ll know if 65 is good or not.

Days with CGM Data

The next piece that I look at is the days with CGM data. As you can see for the last 50 days, it was only 33 out of 50 days, so 66% of the time. I took my 24 hours of being naked time and then took about another week off. How I missed 17 total days…that I don’t know. I’d obviously like that to be much higher. That one I can easily control.

Patterns Found

The last thing that I look at in this overview page is the patterns that were found by Dexcom. As you can see above, there were 2 patterns.

  1. A pattern of nighttime highs
  2. A pattern of daytime highs

That sounds like 2/3 of my day, just like the time in range report stated.

I have a problem with morning highs. My blood sugar just spikes as soon as I wake up, whether I eat anything or not. The nighttime highs are primarily due to the fact that if my blood sugar is about 200 or so during the night, I usually don’t wake up to take a shot. Once again, that is something that I can work on myself.

My Best Day

The final thing listed in this overview report is a link to my best day, which says I spent 80% of the day in range. I wish I knew more about that day and what I ate and what I did so that I can mimic that day.

 

Here’s a snapshot of that day:

 

So, that’s it. That’s the overview of the first 50 days of data with Dexcom.

These quick overview reports give me everything that I need to know in order to make changes. If I want to dig deeper (which I will), I can look at exactly what time of day am I most out of range vs in range and figure out what I’m doing at those times.

I will use everything that I learned from Bright Spots and Landmines.

 

unhealthy relationship with food

My Unhealthy Relationship with Food

There’s been something that I’ve been thinking about in my head for a long time. I’ve never said anything to anyone about it, but I think it is time.

I have an unhealthy relationship with food and I have a problem.

A few nights ago, I was talking with my wife about how I just feel disgusted with myself. When I first met my wife I weighed in at a solid 205-210. I was in shape. I was going to the gym.

13 years later at my last doctor’s appointment, I weighed in at 292.5 pounds.

I have never publicly shared this weight before, so as I am typing this, I am feeling embarrassed, ashamed, anxious and a mix of other feelings.

You can do the math, but that is over 80 pounds in 13 years.

How did this happen? How could I let myself gain over 80 pounds?

Well, it was actually quite simple and easy.

I was lazy.

I ate like shit.

And when I would feel depressed, down, anxious, or any uncomfortable feeling, I would turn to food.

And, I would eat a lot of it.

Chinese food and purposely order more than I needed so that I could eat the leftovers (most of the time, I just ate it right then and there).

Here’s an example of a time that I did this.

I went to lunch with 2 coworkers. We went to the mall next to our job and went to the food court. Food court Chinese food is one of my top 2 or 3 comfort foods. I ordered two whole meals. I said the second one was going to be for dinner.

I sat down at the table and finished off the first one pretty quickly. I was obviously still hungry because of how fast I ate it. My coworkers weren’t done eating and I was having an extremely stressful day at work, so I just said, fuck it, I’m going to eat this second one right now.

It was instances like this that occurred way too often over the last 13 years. This didn’t just happen once, this happened a lot.

Vicious Cycle

Here is how the pattern works:

1. I get stressed out or super busy, so I just want to go out and eat something unhealthy.

2. I eat the unhealthy food and usually too much of it.

3. I then bitch and complain about how I feel and how disgusting I am and can’t stand the way that I look and why did I allow myself to eat like that.

4. Then just end up saying fuck it and continue to eat like shit for the next few days.

5. I finally snap out of it, go back to the gym, eat healthy and will lose a quick 5-8 pounds….. until I get stressed out.

I have an addiction and food is the drug.

It took me 13 years to finally come out and say this and to admit it to myself. I knew it was really a problem when I said the following the other day…

“I know I can stop whenever I want to, I just keep going back to it.”

The famous words of an addict.

I have these cravings for food and I will fight them and fight them hard. And then I get set into a mood where the only thing that will make me feel better (for a very short period of time) is food….lots of it.

As I’m typing this, I am saying to myself…. “wtf man, how did you let this shit happen to yourself.”

I have been working on de-stressing and calming anxiety and I have gotten a lot better at it….. A LOT. But the food thoughts still creep into my head.

A quote from a book that I have read “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable” says:

“Teach the mind to train the body. You can’t get anywhere without first training your mind to get you there. Physical dominance can make you great, mental dominance is ultimately what makes you unstoppable.”


I am only two days in right now of knowing that I have some sort of problem and working on fixing it. It all starts in my head. My reality is the way that I perceive it to be.

I can fix this.

I have the mental toughness to be able to work myself through this. I think that writing this blog post is the second step after having the conversation with my wife about it.

Meditation and Breathing

I am working on replacing the food rages with meditation.

Meditation and breathing exercises have been my go to method over the last 9-12 months when I would begin to feel overwhelmed, or anxious or depressed. It was in those moments that I didn’t put those actions into play that I turned to food.

One thing that I heard from Tony Robbins in the past (and I do not condone his latest #metoo actions and think they were despicable) was that when we stress out and want to eat unhealthy food, why not train your brain to think that you should eat a salad or an apple when you feel stressed out.

I truly believe that our brains are the most powerful things in this world. When you can train your brain and control the way that it thinks, is when you can truly do amazing things.

This has felt great writing this post. I know a lot of people will not actually read this, but to know that I got it off my chest is a big relief. I feel like I have been holding this in for so long.

Here is to becoming a better version of me.

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naked for 24 hours with diabetes

I Was Naked for 24 Hours

Don’t worry, despite the title, this is a PG-13 blog post.

In case you have never heard the phrase “naked” used in diabetes before, it simply means, going without any devices attached to you. So, no insulin pump infusion sets, no Pods, no CGM sensors, nothing.

The last 24 hours I have indeed been naked.

As you may know, I have started on the Dexcom. I’ve been using Dexcom for a little over a month now I believe (My thoughts on Dexcom, 1 month later post coming soon). I absolutely love my Dexcom and I actually don’t like not having it on at all times now.

But, the sensor was ending, I was in a hurry and just thought, I’m going to go naked for a day.

This is my first full day going without wearing Dexcom since I have started on it. When I used the Medtronic CGM, I would sometimes go months in between wearing it. Why? I don’t know.

It felt a bit weird going to the gym and not being able to see what my blood sugar was doing during that time. It was also weird seeing my BG at about 170 before eating and then seeing it at 320, 2 hours later and not even knowing that it spiked like that. I wasn’t able to catch a high before it went even higher.

The good news is that I am a One Drop user, so I have unlimited test strips. And when I say unlimited, I mean unlimited. I can test 20 times a day if I really wanted to.

So during this 24 hour period, I decided to test more often (I think I hit 12 times) so that I could see those spikes and trends coming before it was too late.

Unfortunately, the lunch one I didn’t catch because of meetings right after eating.

I like having a naked day at least once a month to just feel free. But as I mentioned above, I also feel lost without the CGM data. I also am not obsessing over my BG levels all day long either when I am naked, I sort of just go with the flow.

Do you ever like to just go naked (keep it clean folks) and disconnect from technology when you can? If so, do you have a plan in place? Do you have a certain time frame you are willing to do it for?

I’d love to hear your stories.

Disney and Diabetes

Disney and Diabetes

My daughter turned 3 a couple of weeks ago and my wife and I wanted to take her to Disney for her birthday. She has already been lucky enough to have dinner with Cinderella and Prince Charming, breakfast with Ariel and Rapunzel and she said the next thing she wanted to do was eat with Mickey and Minnie. Well, that’s what we were going to do, Chef Mickey’s.

We decided not to do Magic Kingdom because we were only going to be there for 2 full-days and had a lot of activities planned. Plus, we’ve been to Disney resorts plenty of times, we know all the tricks of riding the monorail and seeing the Magic Kingdom fireworks display for free.

Me and Disney work pretty well together.

When I say “me”, I primarily mean my diabetes.

I eat a lot of unhealthy food at Disney. It’s typically high fat and high carb meals. But, my blood sugar seems to always level itself out because of all of the walking that goes on during Disney.

This trip was a bit different.

I Know I am Forgetting to Do Something

This was my first trip to Disney using insulin pens and not using an insulin pump. So, that means I had to stop to take a shot with every meal. If you have ever been to Disney, then you know that getting meals can be quite hectic. For example, we went to visit the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness to do s’mores with Chip and Dale.

We ate dinner at Fort Wilderness.

That means that I ordered the food, then had to carry the food to where we were sitting, get my daughter’s plate and eating situation figured out, run back for more napkins 3 times, get drink refills, try to sit and eat all before a 3 year old was distracted by the next magical Disney thing.

I explained all that to basically say, I forgot to take my shot at almost every meal. So, unfortunately, the insulin was playing even more of a game of trying to catch up than normal. After every meal, my BG would spike up to about 300-350 range. Eventually I would get it back down to about 180 before the next meal, but then the same thing would happen.

Planning for Meals at Disney

We only had 1 meal planned and scheduled and that was Chef Mickey’s. I planned that thing out perfectly!

I was so proud of how I had that planned. My BG was hovering around 80-90 right before our reservation time………BUT…..

There was about an additional 20 minute wait.

The sweats started happening.

Then the shaking started happening.

Then the cloudy thinking started happening.

Dexcom said 62 with a diagonal arrow down.

I quickly went and enjoyed a nice glass of Cherry Coke, which I don’t get to drink much, only when I’m low.

By the time we sat down to eat, my BG was at a more comfortable range. However, it still wasn’t time to eat because the characters were almost at our table, so I couldn’t be up at the buffet table as Mickey and Minnie were making their rounds.

Luckily, my BG didn’t go down again, in fact, I was able to hurry and get some food, but guess what? I forgot to take the shot again!!

When Donald Duck is approaching your table, taking a shot of insulin is the last thing on your mind.

Although this Disney trip was filled with a lot of highs, it could have been worse. All of the walking and carrying a tired child filled up my Apple Watch exercise and activity rings very quickly.

Monorail Security with Diabetes Supplies

When we go to Disney, we utilize the Monorail a lot. We love the Monorail. But, the Monorail comes with security checkpoint which can be a pain. Disney makes it a breeze though.

I carry a regular size backpack with all of my daughter’s items, plus a small pencil case bag that holds all of my diabetes stuff (meter, strips, insulin pen, pen needles and lancing device…. also a lot of used test strips). I opened up the backpack and take out my diabetes bag and zip it open and let them take a quick look at it, then put it back in after they finish searching the main backpack. It’s simple, it’s easy and it doesn’t take a lot of time.

My recommendation for anyone going through Disney security checkpoints with diabetes supplies is, don’t make it difficult on the security officer. Don’t go into it already with an attitude of having to pull out your supplies. Simply take them out, and show them to the security officer. This also ensures that they aren’t going to accidentally break something or spill something.

Soda Refill for Night Time

There is no shortage of sugar and snacks at Disney Resort hotels. By the time bed time comes, I’ve already had my fair share of snacks and candy for the day, so I don’t want to have more at night if my BG goes low. I try to bring some apple juice or orange juice with me to put in the fridge in the room, but sometimes I forget, so what I do is take my refillable Disney mug at night and fill it up with regular soda. I bring that back to the room and if I go low in the middle of the night, I have soda to quickly drink and go back to sleep without waking up the kid.

Going to the Dentist With Diabetes

Let’s be real. Not many people like to go to the dentist. And I am one of those people.

I have not been to the dentist in a while, so I knew that it wasn’t going to be a fun appointment. Going to the dentist with diabetes requires a bit more planning than when I went to the dentist before I had diabetes.

I always have a fear of my blood sugar going low while at the dentist. I also didn’t want to wear my Dexcom because I knew that I was going to be getting x-rays done and I didn’t want any issues with that.

My BG was about 210 when I went into the office and I was fine with that. I didn’t want to be on the lower end of things and then go low during the appointment. 210 was perfect.

Once at the appointment, it’s always important for me to tell the dentist that I have Type 1 Diabetes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to matter much because not many dentists know anything about it.

diabetes and the dentistThis particular dentist had mentioned that I “must have been diagnosed as a child” since I have Type 1. Mentioned that I am overweight and that can help with the diabetes and gum disease.

I didn’t get pissed off at the comments because I understand that the disease is extremely misunderstood, but I did try to educate him a little bit about what diabetes actually is and what it is not, more importantly.

After all the discussions of gum disease and how poor oral hygiene can actually cause Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure and other medical issues, it was time for the cleaning…..we will leave that part out.

During the whole appointment, I did not feel like my sugar was going low. In fact, it actually crept up because when I left it was 290.

After I got home from the appointment last night, I went online and bought a brand new electric toothbrush.

As I get older every day, I realize and understand how important it is to take care of every aspect of my life and health. Losing weight, exercising, eating healthy, taking care of your teeth, taking care of your feet, get your eyes checked, get your yearly checkups, keep blood pressure under control.

It’s a full-time job my friends, but it’s not a job I’m willing to get fired at.

better sleep for diabetes

My Diabetes is Tired and Needs Better Sleep

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about sleep lately. I know that I have always been a horrible sleeper and that I’ve never gotten the right amount of sleep.

Now, I am fine with sleeping 5-6 hours a night. More than 8 and I don’t even want to get out of bed. Less than 5, then I’m a bit groggy by the afternoon.

I work a lot of hours, so 5-6 hours of sleep a night is my sweet spot, but I need to make sure that when I am laying in bed for those 5-6 hours, that I’m actually sleeping those 5-6 hours.

So, before I write all about the different studies that I have read, I am going to just link to an article from Tuck about Diabetes and Sleep Disorders.

I have always had a problem with my blood sugar spiking as soon as I wake up. It’s always been called the Dawn Phenomenom, but at this point, it’s just annoying. I’ve resorted to just taking a random shot of insulin every morning, anyway from 5-10 units without even eating, just because I know it’s going to spike.

My thought, based on what some of these studies say, is that these spikes may not be as bad if I had a better night’s sleep.

That leads me to the other action that I took to get a better night’s sleep. And that is upgrading my mattress situation.

I’ve heard great things about memory foam mattresses and the ones that come rolled up into a box, so I figured I’d give one of them a try. After a lot of research, I decided to go with NECTAR. They have a 365 Night Sleep Trial !

365 Days!

That’s an entire year. How could I not try this?

My mattress should be delivered shortly, but I won’t be using it until the middle of April, so I will let you all know my thoughts on NECTAR when I have a chance to use it.

If you want to check them out, just head on over to their website – NECTAR Sleep: The Most Comfortable Mattress

This post may contain affiliate links – Disclosure.

My Thoughts on Fiasp

My endo provided me with two Fiasp insulin pens to test out. When I first heard about Fiasp, I was pretty excited. There were several reasons, but the primary reasons was how fast the insulin started to work. There are a lot of times when I take my insulin at the exact same time that I’m eating. I don’t usually know 15 – 20 minutes in advance that I’m going to be eating, so it’s always been tough for me to time my insulin ahead of time.

With Fiasp having an on-set time of about 2 minutes, I knew that it was going to work much better for me.

And, it did.

The insulin pen came in a bright yellow color. It definitely stood out against my Novolog pen and Tresiba pen.

I wanted to test the Fiasp out in different occasions, so the first one was my typical situation where I take my insulin at the same time that I was eating. I miscalculated the amount of insulin that I needed, but you can see in the Dexcom graphs below that the insulin started working pretty much right away. I typically have a sharp spike in my BG’s when I take my insulin at the same time that I eat. Eventually the insulin catches up and brings it down, but Fiasp caught the spike right away and didn’t let it get out of control.

The next test that I wanted to perform was taking my insulin 10-15 minutes before eating, you know, like I’m supposed to. Unfortunately, I can’t find the screenshots from my Dexcom during this time, but basically, the Fiasp did an amazing job. I had a spike in my blood sugar because I did not take enough insulin, but that spike came much later as opposed to right away.

I was also going to the gym while sampling Fiasp. I did see more lows at the gym when I was using Fiasp then when I was using Novolog. I honestly cannot say if that had anything to do with Fiasp. There are so many other factors that played in role in those lows at the gym.

Overall, I love Fiasp. I haven’t checked into whether or not my insurance will cover it, but if it does, I think I will be switching to it full time.

If you want a more scientific and in-depth review of Fiasp and why it’s different than Novolog, check out this post from diaTribe.

If you have tried Fiasp, please comment and let me know.

Also, please remember to sign up for email updates on new posts, giveaways and community updates!

Why I Will Advocate My Way, Not Yours

In the diabetes community there is a lot of uproar over how you are supposed to advocate, what you are supposed to advocate for and who you are supposed to do it with. Now, I might be mistaken, but don’t I have the right to advocate my own way, about what I want to and with who I want to? I will always advocate my way, because it’s what works for me. I can’t advocate a way someone else wants me to or about someone else’s passion because then I don’t have any passion behind that advocating.

Advocating for something requires passion. Without passion, your advocacy efforts will die out very quickly.

Also, I strongly believe that in order to find a common ground or to get something from someone you must work with them. Attacking people, or companies, is not going to work. It just won’t.

You may not agree with me, and that is fine, it’s an opinion. Opinions aren’t facts, so they can both potentially be right.

So, if that requires me to work with an organization or company to find a solution, then guess what? I’m going to do that.

And guess what else? If you don’t like it, I don’t really care.

You advocate your way.

I will advocate my way.

Build the Tallest Building

They say that there’s two ways to have the biggest building in town.

1. You can just work hard and outwork everyone to build the biggest building in town.

2. You can knock down the current biggest building in town.

Now, I will choose option 1 every single time. I will never try to advance myself or my advocacy efforts by tearing down someone else’s efforts. And to add to that, I can’t stand people who choose option number 2. Put in the work, do more, and support others who are in the fight together (whether you think they are or not).

There are just a lot of negative people out there. Twitter has made it much easier for these people to be even more negative. Wake up complaining, complain all day, go to bed complaining, yet do nothing.

Those are the people who choose number 2 above.

Start working towards accomplishing number 1.

And that’s that.

Bottom line is this. We all have different passions. We may share the same end goal, but approach it differently.

There are people who advocate for the same end goal as me, and I may not agree with how they go about it, but I will still support it, because I know that there are some aspects of their advocacy that are actually helping push the ball forward. I also feel that there are things done that roll the ball back 10 feet for every 1 foot they gain, but that’s how they decide to do it.

Instead of spending time (wasting time) arguing with others how they are advocating, use that same time to push your advocacy effortsforward.

Insert something about bees and honey and vinegar here. I would never want to attract bees, so it makes no sense to me, but you know what I’m saying.

Dexcom: One Week Later

I have been using Dexcom for longer than a week, but I’m just now getting a chance to write this post. I shared my thoughts on my first 24 hours with Dexcom, so now it’s time for my first week with Dexcom.

Comfort

From the time I inserted the sensor until it ended and I removed it, there was no discomfort. I inserted the first sensor just under my left breast. I was very happy with the comfort of the insertion and the fact that I barely even knew it was there for an entire week.

Adhesive

The adhesive stuck for an entire week. Now, I did have to use some reinforcements during the week. I started going back to the gym, so the sweat was really making the sensor adhesive come off of my skin. I actually used the Medtronic sensor tape to help reinforce the Dexcom adhesive. I’ve included an image to show you the Medtronic sensor tape in case you have never seen it. I cut it in half and then put half on the top of the Dexcom sensor and half on the bottom.

Accuracy

I cannot complain about the accuracy at all. There were a few finger stick checks that were a bit off, but nothing that was more than a few percentage points off. The accuracy came back quickly after a calibration. Two thumbs up for accuracy.

Overall Thoughts

So, my overall thoughts are that I am super excited and happy with the Dexcom. I’m going to do a full post on the Dexcom Clarity reports, but my time in range has increased tremendously in just one week being on Dexcom. Wearing it has allowed me to become an it more aggressive with my insulin as well. No fear of lows. No more not knowing my blood sugar is high until I test and going 2 hours with a high blood sugar and then another hour until it came back down.

More to come in later posts, but those are my initial feelings after a week.