I’m on my fourth week of Victoza. Here’s the good, the bad, and the reminder that none of this even remotely resembles medical advice for the love of Loopy.
My numbers have been excellent. Truly excellent. And I’m the last person who is going to post perfect CGM graphs all the live long day because I have always struggled to keep my blood sugars from pinging all over the joint and I am constantly embarrassed that my best days never look as good as the graphs I see on Instagram tagged with comments like “ugh, I struggled today!” and their highest BG is 145 mg/dL. (No shame for doing well, those of you who are doing well. But sometimes I am intimidated because I’m not always doing so well.) So feeling good about this is a victory for me, especially coming off a bit of postpartum stuff and some diabetes exhaustion.
I put a lot of time and effort into my diabetes management. This includes watching my carb intake and pre-bolusing my insulin, and also exercising and trying to get enough sleep. (That sleep thing is hard, yo.) And it’s frustrating as fuck to see numbers that pop out of range when I’m playing by all the perceived rules. Pinch hitting for my pancreas is no joke.
Victoza somehow makes my body follow the rules. I still don’t make a lick of insulin (thanks, c-peptide test that my insurance demanded despite 28 years of type 1 diabetes), but the tools I use to make sense of diabetes seem to be simply working better. I am still pre-bolusing, but it is actually keeping my blood sugar line flat after meals now. I’m still exercising, but it’s not sending me screaming into a hypoglycemic event. I’m still checking my blood sugar via CGM and glucose meter and responding to that data but these days, there’s less fluctuation to respond to and I am grateful.
And everything seems to be dropping a little bit. I’ve taken my basal rate down a little bit in response to how my body seems more sensitive to insulin, making my overall total daily dose in the range of 22 – 26 units of Humalog. This is down from a range of 25 – 30u per day. I’ve lost a few pounds (enough that my friends have noticed) and my appetite feels suppressed. My average blood sugar has come down. And my time in range has gone up.
A hell yes to all of these things.
Taking a shot every morning is a pain. I prefer pump therapy over multiple daily injections so adding an easy-to-forget injection to my routine has been a bit of a hurdle. (I keep my Victoza pen next to my son’s vitamins, making both of those things easier to remember on the regular.)
And I’m having a skin reaction to the injection itself. For the first week or two, I didn’t have any issues at the injection sites, but now these red, raised welts are cropping up like raised strawberry birthmarks around each injection site. They look like hives. (They are a common side effect, I guess.) They itch. And the look a little wonky. But my blood sugar average, at the moment, is worth the uncomfortable skin. (Also, itchy skin is not a new thing for me.) I’m taking the 1.2u dose as of a few days ago but have been creeping up steadily from the 0.6u dose for the last 8 days (cranking the pen a bit past 0.6 to what looks like 0.9u, then 1.0u, and then finally up to 1.2u), and since I didn’t have the rash at the 0.6u dose, I’m wondering if the upped dosage is causing the skin issue? Or maybe I’m developing an allergy? More on that in a second.
I’ve also had a few issues with pre-bolusing for food and then not wanting to eat as much as I’ve bolused for. This has caused me to pre-bolus conservatively, taking a bit more insulin if I find that my appetite actually matches the meal.
And I’ve felt a little bit more tired lately. Granted, my kids run roughshod over me at the moment, and I’m also getting up earlier than usual to work before the little Guy wakes up in the morning, so I can’t tell if my earlier bedtimes are correlating with Victoza introduction or schedule stuff. But I wanted to note the upped sleepiness, as it’s also listed as a side effect. Thankfully, I have not experienced any of the gastrointestinal side effects, or headaches.
Back to the allergy thing – I have an end appointment in two weeks and I plan to take Victoza until that appointment, but I also have no problems coming off of it if that’s the recommended course of action. Sure, I’m really loving the blood sugar control, but if an allergy renders this medication useless, then it’s useless. I just need access to insulin; this Victoza stuff is bonus. And since I’m currently using samples of Victoza (still have not needed to discuss insurance coverage … yet), I’m feeling very flexible about the whole thing. If it continues to work, I’ll stick with it. If it stops working? I’ll ditch it.
What’s most exciting to me is the opportunity to try new tools. This stuff did not exist when I was diagnosed. I’ve spent a long time in high-maintance-yet-status-quo mode, but with pregnancies behind me and decades of diabetes ahead of me, I’m grateful for the chance to integrate new options into my management. Whatever makes diabetes suck less is what I’m into right now.