- I'm a glass-half-full type of girl. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease in 2010 and life-altering allergies in 2013. I believe having a positive attitude is the only way to live with dis-ease. I also believe that life doesn't have to be PERFECT for it to be WONDERFUL. Dis-ease is expensive, so I live a frugal yet healthy lifestyle. This is just my blog; my day-to-day story.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Artificial Pancreas, Here I Come
The visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN turned out to be a very interesting visit, indeed. As is standard Mayo Clinic practice (at least at the one I go to), you don't get to pick the time, or the date, of your appointments. If you want to see a physician there, you send a request either online or by calling them. The request goes to a review committee, who then sends a notification to you in the mail notifying you when your appointment is and with which doctor (the specialists pick their own patients based on their specific interests/emphasis or delegate to associate specialists). It can get tricky when you have more than one appointment on one day; they do the best they can to get them lined up, but it doesn't always work. As was the case today. I had fasting bloodwork at 8:00am, but then didn't see my dr until 1:30. Ugh. I killed time by walking around the Mayo campus and then walking to the Barnes & Noble they have on campus. Walking is no small task when you have to carry your ginormous purse, a backpack full of crap for the day, and a cooler of food. And being diabetic. And it's hot outside. Having celiac disease makes finding safe food to eat almost impossible, so my cooler was packed with my breakfast, snacks, and a lunch.
Anyways, despite the fact I had an A1c done a week ago at my other clinic, the Mayo endo also ran the test. 5.9. I like this one better than the other one (6.1). My eosinophil cells are still high. I have a disease of the white blood cells (eosinophil cells), but that really doesn't mean much to me right now b/c I have no symptoms and they are not recommending any course of treatment (whew). So whatever.
But that's not the interesting part.
The interesting part was at the end of my 1.5 hour appointment, when the endo told me that they (Mayo) are beginning their trial study of the artificial pancreas later this year and he said I am a good candidate. Would you like to try the artificial pancreas, he asked. It involves an inpatient stay, followed by outpatient visits regularly. All charges are covered by the NIH, since they are sponsoring the study. I felt like I was getting proposed to. OF COURSE! I said with excitement. So, I meet with him in October for details.
I walked away there with more questions that I was too excited to think about at the time, for example, I have pretty good control right now, how will this thing affect it? What if it malfunctions and unloads a whole batch of insulin? If a pump malfunctions, you can turn it off. How do you turn this thing off if it goes haywire?
He said they are programing some sort of physical activity detector in it, so it can adjust your insulin to your exercise routine. Nicccceeee. Although since I myself have not been able to determine this, I am highly suspect that a piece of technology with no knowledge of, well, ME, can guess it correctly. Guess I need to do some research on the JDRF website about the artificial pancreas.
I also learned today that for some odd reason, my pancreas has started to produce some of its own insulin. Why and how, they have no idea, but my C-Peptide test confirmed it. There's no way to preserve the functioning or know how long it will last, but hey, I'll take it. He thought up 3 possibilities that may be supporting the insulin production: 1) the fact I was put on an insulin pump 1 week after my diagnosis (promoting tight control right away), 2) getting my other two auto-immune diseases diagnosed and under control likely helped my diabetes to be somewhat more manageable and 3) my pretty strict adherence to a carb-controlled diet has helped me to maintain good control, or at least has helped make it more predictable. I'm trying to be careful not to come across as giving anyone advice, because I know how individual diabetes is. I'm just saying what I do that seems to be working for me. Nothing fancy here, but as I've mentioned in previous blogs, I eat pretty much the exact same carb counts for each meal, and always eat a carb with a protein and with a healthy fat, to help prevent spikes. So for example, I eat 30 healthy carbs for breakfast every day. The same food for every breakfast. Boring, I know, but it works for me. And then I eat about 30-45 carbs for lunch, and again at dinner. Again, I stick to similar types of meals. I know this wouldn't work for every diabetic and I know most ppl would rather blow their brains out than eat the rigid diet that I eat. But I do it out of sheer desperation to help manage an unmanageable disease and for me the payoff has been worth it. Although I still have days where I fall off the food wagon and eat like total crap. It happens. But I just get right back on the next day.
Anyway, it was a good day at the Mayo. Can't wait to see what they tell me in October!