It’s been about a week since I ran out of CGM sensors and transitioned back to Freestyle Libre. To provide some context, I recently found out that the health benefits at my new work only covers $1,000 worth of Diabetes equipment. Prescribed medications seem to be fine, but tangible “equipment” seems to have a cap on it. Imagine my surprise, when I got to the pharmacy to pick up my $360 worth of sensors only to be told I had to pay for them. I shouldn’t complain TOO much, since I know many people don’t have the benefit of, well… benefits!
I remember the long-gone days of having absolutely no coverage and living by manually injecting two different types of insulin using pens and re-using the needles ad nauseam because I couldn’t afford to buy fresh ones. Don’t even get me started on how often I used a finger lancet before I changed it. Those were dark days, considering I had months where I couldn’t afford to insure my car because I had to choose between a vehicle or paying for Diabetes supplies.
Considering my posts over the past two days have been a bit on the morose side, I don’t want to necessarily focus on the negative. Once I joined the Force, I was blessed to have complete coverage without ever needing to worry about paying for something. The only exception was my eye injections, which required me to pay up front and be reimbursed later on. No big deal, right? My new coverage plan apparently has some limitations. Unfortunately, given the cost of pump supplies, this coverage maximum only provides for about three to four months of coverage.
I’m currently doing research to ascertain if I can obtain some type of external coverage to supplement these costs or else I may face the prospect of coming off pump therapy. This would be detrimental to my health, considering how well I’ve been doing and how nice my A1C’s have been. The only saving grace is that my benefits start back up at the beginning of the calendar year. So I really only need to make it through until January in order to get some coverage, albeit for only a few months.
As seen from the image above, using a Freestyle Libre has some benefits and disadvantages. Unlike CGM, it requires my active involvement to read sensor glucose. The CGM would read glucose on its own every five minutes. The Libre lacks some precision where the CGM would provide much more precise readings and tether with the pump so that it can provide micro-boluses to accommodate rising blood sugars. Luckily, a free app that can be downloaded to my iPhone allows me to take readings without paying the approximately $65 for a reader that does the excat same thing.
Some of the benefits include the fact that unlike CGM, the Libre lasts for 14 days instead of 7. As to why CGM hasn’t caught up with that trend is beyond me, since it’s supposed to be more advanced. The other benefits is that a 1-month supply of Freestyle Libre is far cheaper than CGM (almost half the cost, in fact), making it easier for me to get by and pay out of pocket. The nice thing is that once I had switched to CGM I stock-piled some of the Freestyle Libres I had coming in, so I have more than enough to get me through until January.
My whole reason for upgrading to the Medtronic 670G was because of its supposed amazing sensor usage and SmartGuard technology. Despite the fact that there was nothing wrong with my previous pump (besides being over five years old and off warranty) I decided to try it and I wasn’t disappointed. Sometime last summer, I was slapped in the face with the lowest A1C reading I’ve had in decades: 6.9! My last one, which would have been in September, had crept back up to 7.4, but this was mainly attributed to the stresses associated with starting a new job and overseeing renovations of my basement.
Am I pleased to have dropped down to using Freestyle Libre again? No. Could it be worse? I hate it when people tell me this, but yes. Yes, it could be much, much worse. I still have control over my blood sugars, albeit with a little more effort. I’ll still maintaining my health and taking active steps to ensure that I manage myself properly. Hopefully when the dust settles and I manage to figure this out, it’ll be back to business as usual. Until then, I just have to appreciate what I have as opposed to complaining about what I don’t. ☯️