CGMS - could this be the answer?


It’s been a quiet couple of weeks and it certainly feels as though at times, any progress has been two steps forward, one step back. I continue to test my blood sugars, analyse the results and tweak my insulin pump programming with the Hutt hospital diabetic team. I do believe the journey will be worth it, I just need to persevere!

Last time I wrote, I had just completed a stint of night time testing. What did the testing uncover… not a great deal? The outcome = a day exhausted in bed trying to recharge. It certainly knocked me around. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear we still needed to know exactly what was happening to my blood sugars overnight. Would this mean more testing? The answer is yes BUT the diabetic team have managed to track down a CGMS I can use for a week or so.

A continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) is a tiny sensor placed under the skin (kind of like a microchip) that will track my blood sugar levels day and night. No need to wake up in the night to test! It collects readings automatically every few minutes and sends the data to my insulin pump. If my blood sugar levels are dangerously low or high, my insulin pump will sound an alarm! Lifesaving. Along with my finger pricks, the CGMS information will help us identify trends and patterns to finally get my pump programming, just right.

In America it appears that the majority of type 1 diabetics using an insulin pump, also use a CGMS, funded by their health insurance. Even though the technology is available in New Zealand, it is not funded. Therefore the $500 per month price tag to replace the CGMS sensors, prevents people making the most of innovative technology designed to make living with this disease a little bit easier.

I can’t wait to attend the ‘How PHARMAC make its spending decisions’ session at the annual Diabetes NZ conference next month. I’ll be sure to share what I uncover.

But for now, connected to my insulin pump and CGMS (feeling slightly like a bionic woman) I will continue to test, analyse the results and tweak wherever necessary. While the journey to mastering diabetes has certainly been slower that I’d anticipated, I do feel like I’m heading in the right direction.

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