Jen M.

Taking a Break From the High Alarm on the CGM

We had to be somewhere. It was probably a very important place. All I remember is that I purposefully decided to turn off the alarm on James’ CGM (continuous glucose monitor) that signals high blood sugar. Wherever we were going, we needed to be quiet and discreet, and I was concerned that the high alarm might make some commotion (but reckoned that the low alarm was worth the trouble, so I kept that operational). Whatever function we attended was uneventful (which is probably why the details are fuzzy), and James was completely fine at the end of the evening. And I decided to keep the “high” alarm silenced even after we got home.

For the past several months, James has been going through some awesome growth spurts. The endocrinologist tells me that he is growing almost an inch every two months, which seems just incredible to me! We’ve seen the corresponding unpredictable and resistant blood sugar numbers that accompany such changes as well. I’m always trying to view numbers without emotion. I repeat all the time, “A blood sugar reading gives us information, it doesn’t judge us.” I mean that, and most of the time it works for me! I feel like I’m getting better at using these readings strictly for information.

But I confess, after many challenging months, I started feeling like I needed to kind of up my game on the diabetes front. One strategy that I tried was using even “tighter” settings on James’ CGM, such that I was alerted to even more minor highs and lows. I checked blood sugar more often. I pursued more aggressive treatment. I worried about it a whole lot. And frankly, I still dealt with numbers that just didn’t look all that great.

I really wasn’t quite sure how to make things better! At the most recent endocrinologist visit I remarked to the doctor, “I think I’m out of my depth here,” and she most emphatically told me that I was not! I was doing fine, things might just be tough right now because of all the changes that James is going through. It looks like James is going to be tall like his dad, and growing bodies are just sometimes tough to manage.

After the pep talk I felt a little better but still stressed. I think a little stress is probably good. I wasn’t really sure how to move forward. Until that one evening — that nondescript evening where we had to be somewhere or other — that prompted me to do something a little bit different and turn off the CGM alarm that tells me James’ blood sugar is high.

Now the high alert on the CGM has been off for about a week or so. I appreciate not hearing that alarm quite so frequently. I’ve made some changes, and I’m trying to be better at staying really mindful about insulin management. I don’t really think that James’ blood sugar numbers have been any worse for my being slightly less stressed about them. It’s almost as if all that worry I was directing at his blood sugar numbers (gasp) never actually made them go down!

I will undoubtedly change the alarm settings on James’ CGM again. Circumstances change, attitudes change, and sometimes we just need a change! For now, I’m trying really hard to follow the advice of James’ medical team, to review numbers daily, and to stay positive. And part of that means I’ll be keeping the alarms a little quieter for a spell.

 

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

 

Related topics:
Mommy, the CGMS Guinea Pig
What I Learned by Trying James’ CGM Device on Myself
The Unforeseen Effect the New Diabetes App Had on Our Marriage

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