Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why I Went Looking for a New Endocrinologist

Over the course of my 20 or so years living with diabetes, I've gone to 3 different endocrinologists.

Upon my diagnosis, the endocrinologist I was sent to helped me get things under control fairly quickly.  For the first several years, I had very good luck with my blood sugars. Perhaps I was in the honeymoon period.  But I also was (and still am) disciplined when it comes to diet, exercise and taking 4 shots of insulin daily.

When Fermin (my husband) and I moved from Coppell to Dallas, I decided to go to a different endocrinologist that would be closer to my new neighborhood.  He was rated one of the top doctors in his field in the area.  I didn't personally like him as much as my first doctor, but he was fine.  I mainly needed an endocrinologist for the sole purpose of prescribing my insulins and testing supplies because I was doing a relatively fine job staying in control of everything diabetes related.

But after a few years, I got tired of sitting in that stupid waiting room 1 1/2 - 2 hours each time I had an appointment.  I remember one day in particular, I had been waiting well over an hour.  The receptionist opened the little window and said, "Kerri, you can come on back to the room even though Dr. L is still at lunch.  He should be in shortly."  He wasn't even there all that time I had been waiting??  I was so mad.  While I was in that tiny room, waiting for him, I was getting more and more furious.  After an additional half hour or so, I walked out and told them I had to leave. Right at that moment, he walked in the door and said, "Ok, you ready?" and I replied meekly, "Yes..." without complaint.  But I never went back to his office again. 

I've going to my 3rd endocrinologist for the past 7 years or so.  I haven't really asked for much help, because I didn't think I needed it.  Again, this doctor was fine, but I didn't love him either.  To be honest, I hadn't even seen him in the last several years, but was instead just making all of my appointments with his PA.  I liked that guy personally- But.

But I've come to realize that just because my A1C has hovered from 6-6.8% the last few years, my blood sugar is not in good control at all.  Thanks to the Dexcom, I've become very aware of how often I'm in a range that's either too high or too low.  And it's way too often!

I think because of that decent looking A1c, my endocrinologists have left me on autopilot assuming I'm doing a good job keeping things related to my diabetes controlled. But that A1c is only a small window, and it only shows part of the picture.  The Dexcom has shown me so much more.     
my highs and lows during a typical day shown on my Dexcom cgm
I asked my last doctor for a prescription to get a Dexcom about a year ago, after my friend Tanya told me about it.  Not because my doctor told me about it, or suggested it.  I had to ask him about it.  And that was when I first started feeling like maybe it was time for a change.

A few months ago, I attended Type 1 Nation event hosted by JDRF, which was an all day event with different speakers about all things diabetes.  I learned so much that day.  I heard about new types of drugs being used with Type 1 diabetics, tips about when to take insulin prior to eating, about insulin pens that have 1/2 unit dosages and come with a memory, etc.  Most importantly, I learned that some of these new things weren't even that new- I just hadn't heard about them.  

I decided it was definitely time for a change.  I really think, if given all the information and tools possible, I can get my diabetes in better control than it has been the past few years.  I am ready to find a "team" who is eager to help me.

And I just may have found them.

I wrote about my first appointment a couple of weeks ago at Diabetes America in a previous blog post.

My previous 3 endocrinologists were all fine and they were what I needed at the time.  But now, I want more! I want cutting edge!  I want someone giving me suggestions! I want someone to partner up with me! Like  it says in the forward of Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner (which I'm reading now and loving it-- more on that in a future post for sure!), "The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side."

And ultimately, that is why I went looking for a new endocrinologist.

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