I had my appointment through for my Annual Review a few days ago (due early April). A change of staff at the clinic has meant that they have got rather behind. A week or so ago I called to see how things were going and I was offered an appointment in a cancellation slot. As a result I guess I'm feeling that this appointment represents my 'chance' to make some changes that I've been mulling over and I want to make the best of it.
For many years I just attended my annual reviews in a smile and nod frame of mind. If I mentioned a problem, whatever response I got was either something I had tried myself and knew didn't work, or seemed to relate to an entirely different set of circumstances. These days I like to go armed with a few thoughts, questions and, sometimes, requests for new things. This is easy enough when you have heard of a thing that seems to solve, very neatly, a problem you are having. When I had a period of time struggling to remember whether I'd injected or not, a pen which recorded doses and timings automatically was an ideal solution.
So ever since my appointment came through I have been wondering what to do next. There have been whole weeks recently where I've been grin-inducingly happy about my levels. Weeks with no hypos at all. Weeks with very tight control and few if any results outside my target range. Periods where I have felt that I'm winning.
But the weeks when it is not like that suggest that it can be even better.
I've been wondering about my basal for almost all of the time we have been writing this blog. If you are a regular reader, you must be sick of it. The problem is that sometimes it works brilliantly. And sometimes it doesn't. There is an alternative analogue basal (Levemir) about which I have heard Very Good Things for a long time. One of the apparent benefits of Levemir is that it is more responsive to change than Lantus, which can take a day or two to settle into a dose change. Another factor is that it can work well split into two doses. I tried this with Lantus but it didn't work for me. A person's basal requirement is unlikely to be exactly uniform throughout the whole 24 hours. The opportunity to have 2 phases of basal insulin, perhaps one with a bit more, one with a bit less, combined with the rise-and-fall activity profile of the insulin itself gives you a few more options. The job of basal insulin is to hold you steady while your liver is deciding whether to trickle a bit more or a bit less glucose out at that time of day.
Of course the most flexible, tweakable and tailorable basal pattern would be achieved with a pump. To be honest the most flexible, tweakable and tailorable delivery of any insulin would be a pump. About a year ago I wrote a post about not wanting one. In the 12 months since, I've changed my mind perhaps 100 times about whether pumping is right for me. That's before we even get to the question of whether or not any funding-application I made would be supported.
In the last few weeks it's been going round and round in my head again. Benefit. Drawback. Benefit. Drawback. I think I'm now prepared to accept that the fear of 'attachedness' would come to nothing. Everyone seems to have it beforehand, and no one seems to care after about a week. At least not enough for it to detract from the positives they are experiencing. But I still do have genuine concerns over delivery failure and finding good spots for an infusion site (one side of my abdomen is a bit dodgy absorption-wise with some lipohypertrophy from years of lazy overuse).
At the end of the day it feels like any change in regimen has a benefit vs hassle balance that needs to be weighed. If I went Levemir I'd be adding an extra basal injection at some point in the evening. Mostly this would be fine, but some nights it could get right in the way. And any change of insulin would require a fair bit of faffing about getting the doses and timings right. I could, unlike Lantus, get access to a 0.5unit delivery device which recent experience suggests could be well worth having.
Switching to pumping, of course would involve faffing of a whole different order of magnitude. But the potential benefits that I've read about so often still shine out from behind the wall of uncertainty and concern in my head.
I just don't know.
Update: D-Art Day : The path of least resistance