We are Fighters

The thing about fighting diabetes battles is that they teach you not to give up.

Living with diabetes is about battles. Some are big and some are small, but none is more or less important than any other. We fight for ourselves- for our lives, our health, for a stubborn high blood sugar to come down- and we never stop.

But many of our battles are about others. We fight for better public understanding of T1D each time we address comments like “did you eat too much sugar when you were younger?” We fight for accommodations, whether at school or work, to ensure our safety. And we fight insurance companies and pharmacies, who don’t always understand the paramount importance of timeliness and accuracy in regards to filling prescriptions and shipping orders.

I’ve had diabetes for so long (15 years in July!) that most days, I don’t fully comprehend the amount of time I spend taking care of myself and proactively ensuring that I receive the supplies I need. But some days- like today- the reality of the energy it takes to manage diabetes washes over me.

I use a Dexcom G4 CGM, and I have for just over a year. Now, I’m the kind of person who reads instruction manuals cover-to-cover, so I’m not sure how I missed the fact that transmitters have a finite battery life, and should be replaced every six months. Guess who hasn’t replaced her transmitter in that year of CGM use? Yours truly.

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Two weeks ago, I received my first “transmitter battery low alert” and, upon finding out that getting a replacement would require documentation from my doctor’s office and insurance approval (why this is necessary for something I already own and just need to replace, I have no idea), I did everything I could to speed up the process. An obscene number of phone calls later (last time I had to get paperwork pushed, the process took nearly 3 months. I don’t have 3 months), my replacement transmitter arrived at my house. And my distributor sent me a G5, despite several phone calls during which I indicated I needed a G4.

I was exhausted. I was livid. But the thing about fighting diabetes battles is that they teach you not to give up. Even if it takes a while, you will always come out on top. So I got back on the phone with my distributor, and, after a little help from my parents (AKA the greatest backup ever)  I’m pleased to report that I will have the correct generation transmitter within 48 hours.

One of the most valuable things diabetes teaches you is how to advocate for yourself- and not give up. The best part about this skill is that it’s applicable to the rest of your life as well. Closed class you want to enroll in? You’ll make it happen. Feel like you’re doing more than your fair share of a group project? You know how to address it. If I’m addressing a diabetes issue (like when a prescription is delayed in being mailed due to an error on the pharmacy’s part), I know that I am in the right- and I carry that confidence over to advocating for myself in non-diabetes situations.

So, the bottom line is- follow up, make phone calls, do whatever is necessary to make sure YOU get what YOU need, don’t assume that everything will be pushed through correctly (unfortunate but true), and DON’T. GIVE. UP! 🙂