Friday, March 15, 2013

Life with Diabetes is Exhausting

I know I have not been blogging as often as you and I both would like.  I been extremely busy with school work.  I finally have something I just wanted to share with you all. 

I love to talk about Diabetes.  I try hard to make sure everyone I come across is made aware on something new about Diabetes they did not know or had misinformation on.  I wrote a personal expository essay on how exhausting Diabetes is.  I hope you all like it.

I could have wrote for ages, but I need this to be short and sweet to meet the requirements of my instructor.  I started with 16 pages, and slowly cut it down over the past month to 3 pages! I hope it does what I intended it to do.  I do not have my final grade back yet so not sure if it accomplished what I wanted.  I did meet with my teacher about this paper in the drafting stages and she did say she was very interested and never read a paper like this before.

Life with Diabetes is Exhausting
            Many people consider medication and medical technology as cures, not a treatment. Type One Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the cells in the pancreas, which produces insulin, a hormone that helps a body change sugars into fuel. Without its own insulin production, a person with Type One Diabetes needs insulin, through an insulin pump, which is not a cure for Type One Diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that demands more of our money and energy.
Life with diabetes is not made peaceful or normal with insulin treatment. Living with Type One Diabetes, I require insulin 24 hours a day seven days a week until the day I die. I preprogram my pump to provide a fixed rate delivered every hour. This method, basal insulin is persistent delivery all day and remarkably similar to how a normal working pancreas functions. When my blood glucose is high, or I eat, I would need a bolus. To determine how much my body needs for insulin, I need to check my blood glucose several times a day. I check my blood glucose upon waking up, before every meal, two hours after every meal, every two hours if I have not eaten recently, before starting the car to drive, and if I think my blood glucose may be high or low. Without testing, I do not know what my blood glucose level is. This can be extremely dangerous, and life threatening as I can have too much or too little insulin. In addition to blood testing, every three months, I need to have a blood test called an A1C, a 90-day average of blood glucose, and I have to see my endocrinologist, my diabetes nurse educator, and my nutritionist. The team downloads my insulin pump and meter readings to review and makes suggestions for adjustments in my insulin dose ratios. This can become difficult because of your body’s needs for insulin changes with daily life, aging, weight gain/loss, stress, and illness.
Insulin and supplies are expensive. I cannot reuse insulin or its supplies. The brand of insulin I use, Apidra, averages $150 a vial. I use four vials a month. My insulin pump costs $6,000-7,000 depending on where purchased. Then the infusion sets (like an IV, but instead of in your vein, it is in your fat) are $120 for a box of 10. The reservoirs (what holds the insulin) for my pump are $10 for a box of 10. I use 15 infusion sets and reservoirs per month. Blood glucose meters range from $20 to $100 per meter. Testing strips average $1 per test strip and I use 400 test strips per month. My continuous glucose monitor costs $1,200 to get the system, and the cost for four sensors is $400. One sensor lasts seven days. Insurance for me covers these costs at 80%, but I still spend $200-400 a month.
Diabetes research funding is limited. New technologies are continually released in the diabetes field. There are many pharmaceutical and durable medical supply companies involved with diabetes. These companies are constantly researching how to make a stronger item, like blood glucose monitors and insulin pumps. In my days of using an insulin pump, on average every year at least, another product comes out, or a business releases an updated version of their product. Instead of making better products, which have little new differences, I feel more money should be put into research for a cure.
With a cure for diabetes, many jobs will be lost. Diabetes is an epidemic, and because of that there are a lot of jobs in the diabetes market. Doctors, nurses, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and pharmacies, to name a few, are affected if there is a cure. Curing diabetes will cut jobs and money brought into these areas as people with diabetes will no longer need their services.
Life with diabetes is particularly tiresome. It is remarkably easy for me to get overwhelmed and just want to give up. Even though diabetes is part of my life and I may seem like it does not interfere, it is a lot of work to keep myself healthy. Besides worrying about testing, insulin dosing, and doctor appointments, I also have to worry about where the money will come from to buy the supplies I need. Instead of improving medical technology, attention should be on finding a cure for diabetes.