It always baffles me that cystic fibrosis not only causes lung, digestive, sinus, and liver issues, but it also has its own form of diabetes called CFRD -- cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Before transplant, I was not diabetic, but I was tested annually for CFRD by taking the 2-hour glucose tolerance test. Yes, I had to drink the nasty drink. However, after prepping for a colonoscopy, that glucose drink isn't so bad anymore. It reminds me of flat soda, which -- in comparison -- I can deal with! It wasn't until I received the gift of life in 2016 -- a double-lung transplant -- that I developed CFRD. As you can imagine, my life changed overnight. I was on the new journey of post-transplant life, now able to breathe, but also now insulin-dependent.
CFRD has a mind of its own and managing it can be tricky. The goal is to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels at (or near) normal. I do this with a combination of watching what I eat and taking insulin. I do use the carb-counting method to regulate my blood sugar. I always log my insulin dose and the carbohydrates that I consume, and this helps me understand if I need to adjust the amount of insulin that I take. I use an app called MyFitnessPal to log food. It helps me keep track of my carbohydrate and calorie intake and helps me maintain my weight. I definitely need to keep the weight on to help fight infections and illnesses and to keep myself healthy.
Learning to use a blood glucose monitor that requires a finger prick was quite the struggle. It hurt. I finally found a lancet that helps decrease the pain of the poking. The lancet uses vacuum technology to suck up the blood so you don't need to pierce the skin as deeply. Since I was having difficulty maintaining my blood glucose levels, I wanted to talk to my doctor about how I can make this process a little bit more comfortable.
My endocrinologist -- my diabetes specialist -- suggested that I try a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
I test my blood sugar more than four times a day and take more than three injections a day of insulin, so I qualified for it. I was hesitant to try it because I was over having devices connected to me. Since I was younger, I had either an IV, oxygen, or feeding tube attached to me and the thought of having something else was a bit hard to wrap my head around. We decided that I would try it out and if I didn't like it I wouldn't commit to it.
Once I tried the CGM, I was hooked. I have been using it for almost two years and I absolutely love it.
Some of the reasons why I love my CGM:
- Less ouch -- I do not have to check my blood sugar all the time. The only time I do check my blood sugar with a finger stick is to calibrate my CGM.
- I can read my blood glucose level any time from my phone. I do not have to scan anything; I just open the app and it tells me where my blood sugar levels are.
- Alerts -- my CGM alerts me when I my blood sugar is too high or too low. It even wakes me up in the middle of the night to adjust. I was always scared of nighttime because I previously never had a device to wake me up if I my blood sugar was out of line.
- It's pretty small and I hardly remember it's attached to me.
- My blood sugar control has improved so much since using it. I have been feeling so much better day to day knowing my blood sugars are under control.
- Easy to document when I take insulin and to see how my blood sugars are trending.
- I can easily share my blood sugar levels with my endocrinologist.
Having a CGM has improved my quality of life by causing me less pain and allowing me to go about my life without a bunch of bruised fingers. I feel great on a daily basis since my blood sugars are under control with my CGM, and I am so grateful to have this device and my healthy CFRD life.
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