Diabetes Details 12: By The Numbers

On October 31, it will be fourteen years since I went to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing and was officially diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. (Tip: Halloween is a crappy day to become a diabetic.)

I’ve talked about the disease before, because yay education and knowledge! Those entries are available by clicking on the diabetes tag.

I thought it would be interesting to try to figure out some numbers as of the fourteenth anniversary of my pancreas calling it quits. As of 10/31/2012…

  • I will have tested my blood sugar approximately 28,000 times. (That’s 2800 times per finger.)
  • By the time I switched to the insulin pump in 2006, I had taken about 15,000 injections.
  • On the pump, I’ve switched sites about 840 times, rotating to different spots on my belly, and occasionally the hips.
  • I’ve worked with three different endocrinologists, one of whom I dumped because he was a prick, and one of whom left his practice.
  • The lowest blood sugar I can remember was when I was in grad school, not too long after the diagnosis. I was walking to a class and started feeling really fuzzy. By the time I got back and tested, my blood sugar was in the 20s. (Normal is around 100, give or take.)
  • The highest was the night before my diagnosis. I went out to dinner with my family, then checked my blood on my dad’s meter to confirm whether I was right about being diabetic. The meter errored out because it couldn’t read that high, which means my blood sugar was above 600.
  • Blood sugar as I write this blog post: 96.
  • I’ve had between 40 and 50 blood draws for labwork. (Most of which have gone very smoothly. Props to the Sparrow Lab on Pennsylvania.)
  • Best guess as to the total cost of medicine and equipment to keep me alive these past 14 years: $86,000.
    • $33,000 (test strips)
    • $8000 (lancets)
    • $18,000 (insulin)
    • $1000 (syringes)
    • $16,000 (insulin pump sets)
    • $10,000 (insulin pumps – 2)
  • Cost of the initial hospitalization, visits to the endocrinologist, pump education, and dietician, and miscellaneous labwork: I have no freaking idea. Let’s just call it “a lot.”
  • Average number of years this disease shaves off of my life expectancy: 5.
    • But screw that. I plan to live forever.
  • Number of additional years of life I’ve gained thanks to a century’s worth of research into insulin and diabetes treatment: 14 and counting.

All of which makes me very grateful to be in a position where I’m able to get reasonably good health insurance, as well as for living at a time when this disease is manageable, as opposed to being a death sentence.

A cure would be nice, and sometimes diabetes is a significant pain in the ass, but given the alternatives, I will happily keep jabbing my fingers and pumping insulin into my belly.

Progress on Codex Born