My diabetes treatment through the years
I started out like the majority of type 2 diabetics, that is, taking oral medication. Metformin was the drug that was prescribed to me. I took this medication for many years with pretty good results. That is as long as I was careful about what I ate. Back when I was first diagnosed with diabetes I tested my blood sugar several times a day. By frequent testing I learned some things about which foods spiked my blood sugar, and which ones did not. I really did not have any control over my diabetes other than controlling my diet. If my blood sugar went too high, all that I could do was wait for it to come back down through exercise and fasting.
Like I said, I was on oral medication only, for several years. During that time I became more lax about checking my blood sugar. Some days I would not check at all. My A1c readings had been running in the upper 5’s to lower 6’s during this entire time. Then one day after not having checked for a few days I had a reading over 250. I was shocked and nervous about this, but I thought I will check again in a few hours and it will be down again. When I checked a few hours later it was higher, even though I had not eaten or drank anything but water. I could not get in to see my regular doctor so I went to the local urgent care clinic. They ran some tests and found that my blood sugar was over 300. They also tested for ketoacidosis and fortunately that was negative. They sent me home without giving me anything to bring down my glucose level. My blood sugar did come back down some over time, but not down to where it should be. I found that eating certain foods would bring down my readings for a while.
ADDING INSULIN TO MY DIABETES TREATMENT
When I finally got in to see my doctor he prescribed Lantus insulin to help control my diabetes. I was started out on a very low dose, and gradually kept increasing it until my blood sugar readings were back in range. I was taking about 30 units of Lantus before bed every night along with 750mg of metformin twice a day for a few more years. About a year ago my glucose levels began to rise again. For a while I was able to compensate by increasing my dosage of Lantus over time from 30 units to 45 units daily. I did this until I was able to see my doctor again. This time he prescribed Apidra insulin to take at meal time along with Lantus to control my sugar level. He said that I could stop taking metformin as it probably was not working for me anymore. Once I started using Apidra I found that I had much better control over my blood sugar. I could take this new insulin either before or soon after eating. I could give myself a few more or less units depending upon what I was eating. It worked so well that my A1c went from 7.1 to 5.8 in 2 months after I started using it. In fact the only thing that I didn’t like about it was the price. The cheapest price in the U.S. that I could find was at Walmart for $400 for a 5 pack of pens which would last me about 40 days. My insurance company through my employer does not cover Apidra, so I had to pay for it myself. It did not take long to determine that I could not afford it. I decided that I needed to find another type of insulin that I could afford.
After a little internet searching I found Novolin-R insulin for about $25 a vial at Walmart, they sell it under their umbrella brand name Relion. Novolin is one of the original types of insulin not an analog type, therefore you do not need a prescription to purchase it. Novolin works well, but it has some draw backs such as it does not come in a pen so you have to buy syringes. Another issue is that it takes longer to start working about 1 to 1 ½ hours compared to Apidra which takes about 15 minutes. Novolin also keeps working much longer the peak is 1 ½ to 3 ½ hours and keeps working about 8 hours compared to Apidra that keeps working about 2 hours. This makes it easier to get too much and have your blood sugar drop to a dangerously low level. So I will continue to search for another type of insulin that is faster acting with a shorter duration. Hopefully I will be able to find one that is affordable.
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