I Like When Change is Good.

I have made two rather major changes to my diabetes management recently. And I can’t say for sure if it’s one or the other, or a combination of both, but I have seen improvements in my overall BG readings. Which of course is a good thing. For the first time in my insulin pumping life (5+ years) my CDE reduced ALL of my basal rates. Each and every eight of them. That has never happened since I’m on the pump. I wasn’t sure how I felt when I left her visit. I wasn’t exactly experiencing way too many lows. But there have been hours at a time in the past couple of weeks where I’m stuck around the 70-80 mg/dL range. And the lows I have had, she was able to trace to too much basal insulin. So I thought the worst that can happen is I run high and change them back. Right?

Well my first day on my new basal rates have resulted in readings of 60, 99, 112, 152, 142, 115, 106 and 122 mg/dL so far, with the Dexcom line to go with it. I am pretty surprised actually. I guess the reductions may not be too much like I thought! Props to M 😉

So what are these changes you are probably wondering? Switching from Novolog to Apidra insulin and from a tubed pump to the OmniPod. Now your guess is as good as mine why the OmniPod would better control my BG. My guess would be that there is no tube for the insulin to go through so a more direct delivery into my system? No kinks or bubbles from tubing? An angled infusion set as opposed to a straight one? Has any of this been proven? Not that I know of. But for some reason it seems to be working better for me. The Apidra has improved my postprandial (post meal) numbers. My current endo, as well as my previous one, felt there wasn’t much difference between Novolog, Humalog and Apidra. But according to their website “Apidra® works quickly to help control mealtime blood sugar ‘spikes’. You can take Apidra® rapid-acting insulin within 15 minutes before your meal, or within 20 minutes after starting a meal.”  I had tried Apidra once about a year ago or so and didn’t stick with it for some reason.  But this time I paid more attention and tracked the difference it has made.   

Whatever the scientific reasons behind these changes improving my BG results, I truly hope it continues. I’d really love to see an improvement in my A1c in April.

*please keep in mind that I am in no way stating that taking Apidra or using the OmniPod will improve everyone’s diabetes management – don’t forget – your diabetes may will vary*

New-to-me Product.

So I’m a bit late on this one … this has been out for quite a while but I got my very own Tummietote from Tallygear in the mail yesterday. And I used it during my workout last night.

But let me take a few steps back. Living with diabetes in this day and age, there are a few devices that you need to have with you all the time. Some of these may even have to be on you. With that in mind, short of creating a “tool belt” for diabetics, Donna and Matthew created the Tallygear line for their daughter Tally who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007. From their site “Our wish for you or your child is to make wearing an insulin pump or any other personal item more comfortable and secure. We began with the idea to create a belt to make wearing the insulin pump more comfortable…we believe we have gone beyond that. The belt is not only comfortable but, it is also extremely stylish and can be very discreet.”

I’ve heard so many great things about this product but never got around to getting myself one. After recommending it to a twitter friend based on others’ reviews, I decided to order one. And I’m really glad I did. Recently switching to the OmniPod, I no longer have an external pump to wear somewhere on my body. But I do see how convenient this belt would be for a pump. I do however, still need to carry my Dexcom receiver with me all the time. That fits perfectly in one of the pockets that closes with velcro and is easily accessible to view my BG trends. It has three of those pockets altogether.  The belt is extremely comfortable; it is wrapped around your tummy with velcro.  I also like how soft the material is.

 
They come in so many different fun colors and patterns and various styles too. I would also recommend this belt for people who do not have diabetes. You can very well fit an iPod, phone, or other little important little gadgets in it to take with you on the go, especially when active.

*Tallygear did not provide me with their product for review. I purchased the Tummietote on my own accord and these opinions are strictly my own.*

JDRF Summit.

This past weekend I had the great opportunity to attend the JDRF Type 1 Research Summit in Maryland hosted by the JDRF Capitol chapter.  I have attended diabetes events before but never one that was focused on research for advancements in management and a cure for type 1 diabetes.  I’m really glad I went.

Joe and I made a weekend trip out of it and did a little sight-seeing in DC.  That was nice.

Of course the first thing I spotted when getting out of the metro station was Crumbs bakery!  We didn’t indulge but just seeing the sign put a smile of my face 🙂 

We also got a glimpse of the Occupy DC movement that still resides near the capitol.

The summit itself was a day full of education to say the least.  We heard from presenters like Dr. Juan Dominguez-Bendala from the Diabetes Research Institute, Adam Brown from Close Concerns and diaTribe, Dr. Mark Atkinson and Dr. Desmond Schatz from the Diabetes Center of Excellence at the University of Florida, Dr. Stuart Weinzimer from Yale School of Medicine Pediatric Endocrinology, Cynthia Rice from JDRF Government Relations, Marie Schiller from Health Advances and T1D First and Gary Scheiner from Integrated Diabetes Services.  The moderator was Riva Greenberg, columnist at the Huffington Post.  I thought each and every one of the presentations were very informative and well demonstrated.

A lot of the guests spoke about the current and future research that is being done for type 1 diabetes.  Some in terms of the steps to get to the artificial pancreas and some in terms of getting to a cure.  I won’t pretend that I understood all the scientific or medical terminology but it did reiterate how extremely difficult it is to find a cure that will work.  I’ve been living with diabetes for 30 years already and for so many of those first years, my family and I heard that there would be a cure in the next 10 years or so.  For this reason and not being a pessimist, I don’t think I will see a cure in my lifetime.  However, hearing all that is being done in terms of research, even to improve the quality of diabetes management, does give me a little more hope to hang on to.  Especially after hearing Gary’s presentation about how much things have changed in the last 25 years.  Who remembers the autolet lancing device (shown below)?? That thing was horrible!

One highlight of attending the summit was not only did I get to spend time with some of my D friends, I got to meet some more in person!  I got to meet Tony, Colleen, Bennet and Kim and that was a huge plus to the weekend.

Another highlight was getting to see the t-slim insulin pump by Tandem in person at the exhibit hall.  I got to hold it and test it out (without being hooked up of course).  My initial opinion is that it is very sleek and slim – hence the name!  It holds 300 units of insulin which is a plus to a lot of people.  The touch screen makes moving around the menu and entering functions very simple and easy.  Tandem says the pump is waterproof for up to 3 feet for 30 minutes.  To me that’s not really water”proof” but better than nothing if getting caught in a downpour or accidentally coming in contact with a lot of water.  The only thing that makes me hesitant about the device is that it has to be charged like other electronic devices.  Charging something that is attached to you poses some doubts for me personally.

Overall it was a great experience and I applaud the JDRF Capital chapter for organizing a great event at no charge to the attendees.  I would highly recommend going to any future conference to anyone that has a loved one with type 1 diabetes in their life.

What I Love About It.

It has been over a week since making the switch from a tubed, more traditional portable pancreas (insulin pump) to the OmniPod.  It has gone very smoothly thankfully, which is what I was hoping for.  Here are a few things that I love about the Omnipod:

Showering – being connected continuously and not having to feel rushed to get connected again to my pump.

Getting dressed/using the ladies room – not having to worry about keeping a pump connected while moving articles of clothing around.

Working out – not having a pump weighing down my pants!

Using back sites – yeah I’m not so bendy or flexible anymore (thank you getting older and putting on a few pounds) so having to just stick the pod on without having to pull a needle out or reconnect is so much easier.

Automatic priming and insertion – I love that the pod primes itself and mostly that it inserts itself with the push of a button on the PDM!

The PDM – this thing is awesome.  All the information right there on the meter/manager without having to download anything is great.  I think the lists of BG history is my favorite. 

I think most of what I love about it comes down to not having a pump to keep somewhere on my body.  It wasn’t really the actual tubing that I minded so much but I feel so “free” with just a pod on my skin.  Now I can wear my pancreas on my sleeve!  Or my back.  Or my tummy 😉     

Also, please go on over and check out my interview with Tony from Blogging DiabetesPodcast 

Thanks so much Tony for the great conversation 🙂

Feel Good Friday.

It’s been a long week (even though I only worked four days of it) but it’s Friday.  And that makes me happy.  I’m all hooked up and running on the OmniPod since Tuesday night.  And readings like the ones in the picture make me feel good.  I’m even due for my first pod change tonight since using my own, new system.  And I’ll have to remember that putting it on my lower right back is not a good spot since that is where my heavy tote bag lies when carrying it.  You live and learn! 

 

I wish you all a great weekend 🙂

New Toy.

I admit that I am a total gadget junkie. Ask my family and friends … if there is a new device available in the market, chances are I have it. Or am planning on getting it. iPods to Blackberrys to iPhones to iPads to Nooks to Kindles. I’ve had them all at one point. And if I still use them, I most likely have the latest generation. Since diabetes management tools have taken a more technological turn in more recent years, those gadgets are not excluded from my obsession. I have used almost all of the insulin pumps and meters out there. The ones available in the US anyway. My newest toy as I like to think of them is the Verio IQ meter from One Touch. A few of my friends had received the product for their own review however I saw it on the shelf when I was in CVS last week. I had a CVS coupon so decided to purchase it (its retail price there is $59.99) and try it out.

Overall I like it. It is lightweight and petite. The screen is color and very vivid. It has a port light where you put the strips in – which is actually quite bright.

This is extremely helpful when testing at night or in low light areas. Each reading gives you the opportunity to select before or after meal.

I test a lot of times a day and not always right before or after a meal. (I’m not always eating!) This feature to me could have been improved by giving the option to not select either or to give more choices. I like the history it gives – 7, 14, 30 and 90 day averages which are easily accessible from the home menu. It does not use good ol’ AA or AAA or even those pesky CR2032 circular batteries. It charges like other electronics.

I like this since I wouldn’t have to worry about carrying extra batteries around for it and I’m pretty good about charging my devices regularly overnight. It also gives trend alerts when it detects trends in BG readings at certain times of the day.

This is a very nice feature to have that trend shown to you without having to download any data first.  This meter does not use the typical One Touch Ultra blue strips like the other One Touch meters. It uses strips specific to the Verio meter. There is no coding for the strips and this is a huge plus to me. The appearance of the strips are actually a bit strange since there is a sort of opening at the bottom where it feeds into the meter. No biggie though. It takes in the blood on the side which is also different. It seems to be a bit easier to me. The readings I’ve compared to my other meters always ran higher. Now I’m not sure if this is good nor bad, just higher. (I have many opinions on the accuracy of BG meters but won’t go into that today) I haven’t tried to download results as of now so cannot comment on that feature.

I won’t be using this is as my primary meter since I’m waiting to be switched to the OmniPod which uses its own PDM and Freestyle strips combo for BG testing. But I do like it and will probably keep it as an alternate meter. One side note – I tried to pay for the meter and strips with my FSA card. I have purchased other meters and strips successfully in the past however this was not automatically covered. Something for me to look into I suppose.

**July 2012 Update**  I realized that my full opinion of this meter has changed a bit since I originally posted this.  For the past few months I have actually been using the Verio as my primary meter.  After using the PDM with my OmniPod for a while, I felt the readings were much lower compared to other meters I have, the Verio being one of them.  At my endo appointment in April I had the lab test BG results from both the PDM and Verio.  (For those that do not know how this is done, when the lab draws blood from your arm they take a sample of that blood and apply it to the test strip at that moment and compare that reading to the one received when the entire blood sample is sent to the lab. Quite interesting actually)  My lab reading was 146 mg/dL.  The PDM was  139 mg/dL and the Verio was 151 mg/dL.  Yes both were close however a 3% difference is better than 5% in my book.  Also, the times where I have taken back to back tests with the Verio have resulted in either the same exact or very close results.  This certainly reduces my doubt in the readings I get.  So not only do I love the quickness, brightness and usefulness of the meter, it is more accurate in my experience as well.