"Take it off! I HATE diabetes! Take it off!" This uncharacteristic outburst came from James on day three of our short trial with a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS). We felt extremely fortunate to be trying out this new technology. Many of our online friends have used it with great success, and since James had been having lots of unexplained and asymptomatic lows, our doctor agreed that it was prudent to give it a try.
I expected a bit of resistance, a bit of a learning curve, much like when we began using an insulin pump full time. Also like when we began the pump, I figured I would be the one tearing my hair out in frustration until I finally got it and could use it to catch highs and lows. Not so. For the first time, James really resisted our attempt to implement new technology. And unfortunately it was not only the new sensor and device that he detested; his anger was directed at type 1 diabetes itself for perhaps the first time ever.
As a parenting team, we discussed what to do with the new technology with our doctor. We decided to shelve it for awhile and try again in a few months. His feelings were entirely too negative and too fresh.
Since that time, the CGMS has been sitting in the back of my closet. I feel like it's looking at me, begging me to put it back to use. Such a cool system deserves a better trial period, but things have been so up in the air lately -- James has been adjusting to so much that I just can't find the right moment to try again and to make sure that this time around I do everything right.
So I'm trying it on me. I'm going to monitor my glucose continuously, despite the fact that I'm sure my blood sugars will be in range because I don't have diabetes. But, there is plenty that I can do to help James be able to use the CGMS. I'm going to insert the sensor in my own arm. If I don't get the angle of insertion just right, I'll know and I'll do better next time. I'm going to play around with the alarms and the settings. I'll figure out when it works best to calibrate, when it needs to be restarted, what it feels like to hear the alarms in the middle of the night. I'm going to become the BTDT (been there, done that) expert at CGMS.
And when I am an expert, I'm going to invite James to give it a whirl again. I'll know what to do to make him comfortable, and I'll be better able to make sure that setting up the CGMS fits seamlessly into his day. Once on James (instead of me), it will help me catch lows and keep blood sugars in a good range all throughout the day! I'm actually pretty excited about it.
When the most exciting thing in your week is sticking a needle into your arm and performing daily blood sugar checks to learn a technology that you personally don't need, you know that you are a mom.
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.