Symlin So Far

It has been almost two weeks since I started experimenting with Symlin.

While it has been pretty scary adding another variable into the mix, the benefits I’ve experienced show that this tool has some real potential to help me.

To be honest, while I’ve been cautious with this new tool, I’ve also not done it justice in really trying to figure it out. I’ve not been logging my results, and have been just watching it “on the fly” after meals.

The caution comes from stories in the OC of post meal low blood sugars that were very hard to treat. Those stories scared me, particularly because I have a heck of a time with over treating lows in the first place. I am frightened half to death by the thought of eating TONS of stuff to (over)treat a low, and none of it digesting when I need it to!

I take my Symlin dose before I eat (20-30 minutes), and take the same amount of insulin but extend it over 90 minutes or so (thanks to some expert advice). My blood sugars after eating stay almost absolutely flat for about two hours, then gradually rise up, peaking at a not-always-reasonable number.

I need to play around more with that, but given some time and attention I’ll get it figured out.

The way my blood sugar stays so flat after eating simply amazes me. I almost chuckle in amazement when I check my blood sugars for those couple of hours. Hypnotized by something that seems downright impossible based on my previous 27 years of living with diabetes.

I’ve experienced a fair amount of the nausea that can happen while re-introducing this hormone back into my system. It hasn’t been horrible for me, but definitely there. With this it has been hard to know if the perceived appetite suppression is simply because I feel yucky, or if I am really feeling satisfied earlier.

The key to getting past this nausea will be to stick with it consistently. I am assuming that, like other medicinal side effects that it will go away (or get less severe) after some time. Is that true for this medicine?

I also talked previously about how I disliked the actual shot part of it. Silly, I know. But real for me (and that is what matters). I haven’t done shots in over 10 years. I’m spoiled by pump therapy. So I adapted (like we do), but maybe not in the way you might think (getting used to shots again). I put some Symlin in an old pump and strapped it on!

There is a price to pay in dealing with another thing on an already crowded belt-line, and another infusion set (with tubing). But I need to make it easy for me to use, so I can stick with it. If I dread taking the shot I’ll find excuses and justifications for not using this tool.

It’s been a full week with the Symlin in a pump, and I think I like it. It’s another option for me, and I like options. You have to remember, this is not my source of insulin, so I don’t NEED to wear the pump 24/7. I take it off when I exercise, and I don’t wear it when I sleep. Only when I want easy access to my Symlin. And I’ve always got my pen for when I don’t want to wear the second pump.

There’s also the supplies to be concerned about. If I stick with it I’ll be using twice the cartridges and infusion sets. That may become an issue over time.

It’s been good so far, but it’s only been 6 or 7 days (on the pump). Time will tell what approach works best for me, and it may be a combination of a few different approaches. I also need to be more active in logging my information so I can tweak and adjust how I’m using this new tool and make the best of it.

To wrap things up I have a question for those using Symlin. What happens if I take my symlin dose and then my meal is significantly delayed?

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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