Insulin Pump Demystified

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Today I received my copies of the latest "Diabetes Self-Management" magazine, which includes an article that I wrote last fall about pregnancy and diabetes. It was exciting to see the article in print. I wrote it after June was born...feeling more determined than ever that there need to be more resources out there for women with diabetes who are planning pregnancies. Having a non-eventful pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy child is absolutely possible for us--but doing so takes a huge amount of knowledge, hard work and support.

One anecdote that I didn't include in the article is about my switching endocrinologists after finding out that I was pregnant again. Immediately after finding out I was pregnant, I put a call into my endo. I wanted to check in with him, get help adjusting my basal rates and move my appointment up (it was schedule for 7 weeks from then). I phoned his office and his receptionist took a message with all of that information, and I waited for his call. I was pretty eager to get in touch with him because the first trimester is so critical in terms of blood sugar control; birth defects in the fetus can occur if sugars are too high. So I waited...a couple of days went by and no return call. I was going to call back again the next afternoon, when I got home from seeing my high-risk ob/gyn.

At that appointment, my Dr., Nancy Roberts, suggested that this time around, I see an endo who works at the same hospital as my ob/gyn team. For George's birth, I wanted to stick with my endo--whom I had been seeing for five years at the time--even though he was affiliated with a different hospital from my ob/gyn team...whcih did result in a lack of communication between them. So, I agreed with Dr. Roberts to see an endo at Lankanau hospital where she practices and long story short, Dr. Roberts made a phone call and I left her office, took the elevator down a floor, and went to see a new endo, Dr. Claresa Levetan.

Dr. Levetan, it turns out, is a leading diabetes researcher and also a fantastic clinician. I was in tears by the time I met her, so stressed about my sugars being out of target range. She was extremely resassuring, connected me to a continous glucose sensor which I wore for the next three days, so we could collect as much data as possible about what was going on with my sugars. Within the week, she helped me set basal and bolus rates that helped me reach my blood sugar goals throughout the rest of that trimester and she was a tremendous help throughout my pregnancy.

I wanted to get back in touch with my former endo and let him know what was going on...after all, I had been seeing him for 7 years by this time and was grateful for his help in getting me started with the pump. I decided to write him a note and explained my decision about wanting an endo and high-risk ob/gyn team at the same hospital; I explained that I had called his office to let him know about my pregnancy, but obviously the message hadn't gotten through. I thanked him for all of his help and promised to get in touch after the birth.

A few days later, I came home to a phone message from that endo. He wished me well and said that he had gotten the phone message and hadn't gotten a chance to call me back. I was stung to hear that. No time to call me back? A patient who is pregnant and needs help adjusting her basal rates?

I am so deeply thankful for Dr. Roberts' call, for my trust in her, for meeting Dr. Levetan and for all of the miraculous things that fell into place that allowed me to give birth to a healthy baby. But this incident is a reminder to me that people with diabetes--pregnant or not--need to be advocates for themselves...and need to remember that our doctors don't always make the best judgements. This was a painful way for me to learn this lesson, but now I am more empowered about seeking ou what I need from my doctors to help me be as healthy as possible.

In peace,
Gabrielle

7 Comments:

  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger Erica said…

    Wow it sounds like you are nearly in the same neck of the woods as me! Does dr. Levetan only practice in the Bryn Mawr area??

     
  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger Will said…

    Glad I found your blog! I look forward to reading more. - Will K.

     
  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger GabrielleK-M said…

    Will--glad you found me!

    Erica--Yes, she is practicing at Lankanau hospital. Where do you live? She might have a recommendation for a good endo near you...

     
  • At 11:27 AM, Blogger Erica said…

    I live in Horsham - I'm okay with my endo (but I like hearing opinions about others in case I feel the need to switch and she sounds fabulous) but it's more like the backup OB for my midwife group that I'm taking issue with....

     
  • At 9:40 PM, Blogger GabrielleK-M said…

    Hi Erica--

    Having an OB you feel comfortable with is critical, no doubt! Dr. Roberts' group is a fantastic, but is a ways from you. Which hospital is yoru midwife affiliated with?

     
  • At 12:57 AM, Blogger art-sweet said…

    oooh. I hate doctors like that...

     
  • At 7:01 AM, Blogger Lyrehca said…

    Good for you for finding the right endo for you. Did you ever return?

    Just found your blog months after you started writing it--I'm adding you to my bloglines account. Happy New Year!

     

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