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A Week of Blood Sugar Logging.

Old timey (blood sugar?) loggers. For the first two or three days, I actually looked forward to logging my blood sugars on the Kevin spreadsheet. I'd take the meter out, queue up the spreadsheet (oddly gleeful about Excel, for the first time ... ever), and plug the numbers into the cells. It was Nerd Number Heaven, and I actually enjoyed it. Now, a week later, it's less novel, but I'm still doing it because I started noticing a few patterns.

And then I realized I was noticing all kinds of stuff.

Like the patterns of when I actually test my blood sugar.  On weekends, I don't test as often as I'd like. During the week now, I'm pricking my finger at least eight times a day (usually around 10), but on weekends, I'm barely clocking five. On Saturday and Sunday, there are these long gaps between my pre-breakfast test (not necessarily my fasting one - breakfast usually happens late on weekends) and the lunch test (meals tend to be awkwardly scheduled on the weekends).  I also noticed that weekday afternoons tend to be a little blank in the blood sugar testing department, so I've set an alarm on my phone to remind me to test at 3 pm, regardless of what I'm doing.

I also noticed that my blood sugars bump a little bit after every dinner meal - or at least every single one last week. I don't like to make changes after one or two days of a "maybe pattern," but after seeing a dinner post-prandial in the 190's for several days in a row, I remembered that a few months ago, when I was bolusing 20 minutes in advance for dinner (instead of five - ten minutes prior), I didn't see those highs. So this week, I'm pre-bolusing for dinner a little earlier, and hopefully seeing better numbers later in the evening. (And if that doesn't work, I'll probably tweak my insulin:carb ratio for dinner, as that's always been a problem meal for me to nail down.)

Overall, I'm seeing evidence of why my A1C is higher than I'd like:  I see a lot of 140s and 150s. A lot. They're the most common numbers I see, aside from fasting blood sugars. And I'm hesitant to correct them a lot of the time because I am uneasy about hitting 40s and 50s. (Double-checking my insulin sensitivity factor is also on my "to do" list, because it's shifted a lot since I was pregnant, and I think I have it set higher than it should be.) But these 140s and 150s are replacing the higher 190s and the 200s I saw a few months ago, so I'm happy to see that things are dropping, if not yet where I'm aiming for. (They'll get there.)

There are things I'm glad I noticed, though.  I did notice that my schedule during the week is pretty consistent, and a more consistent day produces better (or at least a smidge more predictable) results for me. Since I wake up with Birdy most mornings, my fasting blood sugar times are between the same 30 minute window every day (7 - 7:30 am), and those numbers are all in a range I'm happy with. And I also noticed that my Dexcom graphs are steady through the overnights, which makes me feel confident in the basal profile I have set to roll in the evening. 

What I'm noticing most is that I'm noticing. Logging blood sugars helps me pay more attention to the whole mess. My endocrinologist tells me - often - that logging blood sugars is important for noting trends, and it also helps her get a feel for how things are going on a day-to-day basis in my diabetes. I want to be a "good logger," but I've historically been a terrible one. However, my endo is right, and I'm working to try new(ish) things (aside from the "chocolate shake cure for diabetes" that ended up in my email inbox AGAIN this morning - that spammer has the most magical timing) to lower my A1C while keeping the extreme low blood sugars out of the rotation ... including finally keeping a decent logbook for the first time since the Bird was born.

One person with diabetes can do exactly the same thing as another person with diabetes, and the results may vary wildly. There isn't a perfect system to management, and diabetes is a needy little monster. But ignoring it and apathy aren't options I'm willing to entertain, and I'm confident that these efforts will pay off. I need to continue to solve for why, and to continue to move forward.

(Isn't there a thing ... like an Internet thing out there that says You (we!) Can Do ThisSmile Yup.)

Comments

Logging, Christ. Something I haven't done in donkey's years. Memories of vile consultants as a child. Just not a thing that I enjoy at all if I'm honest. Yes I have software on my meter which gets used once in a blue moon.

Hi Kerri,
Glad to hear that you're feeling better! As an Animas Ping insulin pump user, have you tried the Diasend software? I used to track all of my BG's via the glucosebuddy app on my iphone (this gets monotonous after awhile). I've found that the Diasend software can save you from logging all of your BG's and provides you with a wealth of data (graphically and numerically) that you and your Endo team can strategize with. My CDE recently suggested this and I'm glad I took her advice! Its a real time saver.
Best regards,
Ray

What's interesting in your post is to find out that 1)you check 10 times a day, and you're an adult...I thought maybe people think I'm overdoing it when I test 10-13 times for my son, even though I think it's def. necessary...so maybe I'm not as out of the norm as I thought...2)Are 140s/150s bad for an adult...to me they look so pleasing...when I see a lot of 200s! I know the target is diff when you're older, but I always thought a 140 would still be pretty decent.

Great job Kerri! Keep making those small changes for better management. (Thanks for the reminder, too. I need to download my meter over lunch!)

8-10 times...a day? Cripes, if I used that many strips I'd go bankrupt. I just had my 30 year Type 1 anniversary, and I'm lucky if I test 3-4 times a day. Maybe 1-2 times on the weekend. And my A1C is 6.5.

WTG re: logging & noticing all the little diabetes ripples (like pre bolusing 20 minutes before your meals,) that lead to big D waves!
Logging has never been my strong point, EVER. My grandpop was an actual, honest to goodness lumberjack! I kid you not: http://tinyurl.com/y4zypb3
I really struggle with committing bg numbers to paper/graph and or computer, but you're inspiring me to keep trying!
HUGS

Way to go on the logging, Kerri. You nailed it when you said that it keeps you noticing and that leads to better management - that accountability is what does me best. I find that I really need to write my results down after every test, because it's a matter of knowing I've done it right then and there and that I can look back at that moment and see the result and past results. But it's so easy to fall out of the logging routine. Good luck to you on keeping up with it, my friend!

Do you think it would make it easier for you to log if you could log (privately) via Twitter? There's a tool already out there for this (http://your.flowingdata.com), and I'm hacking away at creating something a bit different (but more diabetes-specific) too.

My problem these days isn't the logging but the sticking to one logging system. I'm too much of a data nerd to stick with one tool for long! (And yes, I have a folder full of old "Kevin" spreadsheets on my computer somewhere...that was also my system of choice for a while.)

I love this post. You manage to explain the frustration that is logging but also how useful it can be. Thank you! You've inspired me to start looking a little more closely at the things I know need tweaking (all post prandial!).
Also, do you think that cure in a chocolate shake works? I reckon I could commit to that.... ;)

Have I told you lately that you are awesome? No? Well I should have. YOU ARE AWESOME!!! :D

Log? Why log? I use the Revel and I just upload everything to Carelink once a week. I make sure to record my BG in my pump on the off chance I don't use my wirelessly-connected meter, and everything gets uploaded to Carelink. I even have the cable for my One Touch meter so that my tags (exercise, illness, etc) get uploaded too. My endo has access to everything and I print reports out before each appointment. It has been a lifesaver! Safe to say that most folks who, uh, HAVE A LIFE are bad loggers. Who has time to do all that? I am all for using technology to make my diabetes as simple (and least intrusive) as possible.

MYP - I don't have Carelink (I use an Animas pump), but I do have the Animas Diasend software, which is the same sort of thing. And I used it a lot last year - it was very convenient. Right now, I need to manually log the numbers because I need to really see them, and not just plug my meter into a cable and zip through the upload. Once I feel like I'm properly back on track with things, I'll go back to Diasend, but the spreadsheet is working for me now. (It worked when I was pregnant - forced me to pay very close attention - and I need that kind of detail.) But yeah, technology that makes it simpler? Awesome. And having options as to which technology we use? Even awesomer.

I am a recent logging convert. I have been a T1 for over 22 years and have used all sorts of technology and spreadsheets off and on through the years. However, I am now in Week 28 of my first pregnancy and have found a logging system that works for me and my A1C is at 6.3% - the best it's ever been and my pregnancy is going smoothly. This magic system? Wait for it....pen and paper! And I'm a tech-geek! I find the act of slowing down and methodically recording my blood sugars, boluses, carbs, activity etc. forces me to see patterns I would otherwise not see if I let software do it for me. It also allows me to doodle, write myself motivational notes and use both sides of my brain to figure out what adjustments I need to make. It does require time out from my very busy schedule but the reward for me (and my little one!) is worth it. The trick really is finding out what works for you and to be willing to carve out the time to give it a try.

Writing isn't as easy as some people think. You have it all together in this article. Your points are well-defined, unique and persuasive. You've influenced my thoughts on this subject.

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