Well, that was a cliff hanger wasn’t it? Today my life will change… and then not a word on how it went until now-about 2 1/2 weeks later. I survived it, and my life has changed, but in many ways, the changes are for the better.
Do I like giving myself the shots? No, Double NO!!!! I hate it. But you do what you have to do, right? Actually, it’s not so much the shots that unnerve me, but the crazy things that occur while giving them. I most often give my subcutaneous shot in the stomach, and apparently, I have lots of capillaries there, because several times lately, I have ended up bruised. (Once horribly.) I can usually tell this is going to happen, when I bleed. Many times when I give the shot, I don’t bleed. (Those are the good ones.) But sometimes, for no real reason, the needle goes in, hurts a little, and leaves blood behind. That’s when I usually bruise. The nurse said that it happens sometimes, and that the concern would be if it happens too often. She did not define what “too often” was.
The good news is that the needles are small-both in width and length. I believe they are 31 gauge and 3/16″-the smallest needles available for this sort of thing. It’s a good thing, because I don’t think I would have tolerated long needles very well. (Too many things for them to hit accidentally.)
But the even better news is that I did not have to go on insulin. :) I asked about the Byetta (mentioned in the previous post) and my doctor said that we could give it a try. The benefits? There are 2 that really mean a lot. One is that it is not as likely to cause lows, unless you are taking it with certain medications that contribute to that, and I’m not. I’m on Januvia and Metformin (Glucophage), and those do not cause lows. You could experience an occasional low with Byetta, but not at all with the frequency of insulin. That is a real blessing. Secondly, while insulin makes you gain weight (a known fact), Byetta may contribute to weight loss by suppressing the appetite. While it does not do this for everyone, at least you won’t gain weight, which just adds to the Catch-22 of diabetes.
The chemical action of Byetta (which I affectionately call “Gilly”) was first discovered in the spit of a Gila Monster. (Pronounced “Hee-lah Monster.” Trust me, you can’t make this stuff up.) It seems that the Gila Monster only eats about 2 or 3 times a year, and scientists thought he had a good thing going. I mean after all, his stomach must empty very slowly. So they somehow translated this discovery into help for diabetics. Byetta is a fairly safe, synthetic version of the lizard spit (which by the way is highly poisonous.) It slows down digestion and the emptying of the stomach, and also helps the pancreas produce the right amount of insulin, while telling the liver not to make so much glucose. It had to be a God-inspired discovery.
But, the bad news…it makes lots of people extremely nauseated. Is there much else worse than death, seriously? But guess what? I didn’t get nauseated!!!!!! God is good. So far, so good. I am only on 5 mcg, and a full dose is 10 mcg, but for right now my doctor is keeping me on the lower dose, since I lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks, and it started to bring my blood sugars down considerably. They are not normal yet, but at least they are moving in the right direction. I started in the 300s, and now I am under 200 for the most part, with an occasional higher reading. Normal is 70-120, with damage to organs possible at 140 and over. So I have a ways to go. Some people get very nauseated when they move up to the 10 mcg. But right now I don’t have to worry about that.
I use a Byetta pen that shoots a premeasured dose, and can be used for 30 days. Sometimes I’ve had bubble problems, but it’s not the same as when you’re shooting into a vein. Still, I don’t like seeing bubbles in the cartridge. Dialing the dose is very easy, and while sometimes the shots sting, often they don’t. So all in all, I’m adjusting. Still, there’s that psychological thing of sticking a needle in yourself. It goes against nature…yes? (At least my nature.)
But actually, Gilly and I are tolerating each other rather well, all things considered. I mean a girly-girl and a lizard don’t have a lot in common, but we are trying to get used to each other. After all, I always had a crush on the Geico Gecko anyway…