Decision 2014: Pump update.

So… A quick update on my pump search. As I mentioned back in May, the warranty has expired on my Minimed Revel pump. I still have a fair amount of supplies on hand, so I’m taking a little while to learn more about other pumps out there on the market. You never know… I might re-up with Medtronic. But I don’t want to do so until I’ve had a chance to see what else is out there.
 
 
I may or may not have mentioned this, but I did get the chance to check out the Animas One Touch® Ping® during my last clinical trial. It seemed to work pretty well. I like that it’s waterproof. I also like that insulin bolus delivery is exceptionally fast compared to Medtronic. To be honest, that’s not a deal breaker or a deal maker for me, but it’s something I noticed. Another thing I noticed was how much there is on all of the menus on this pump. Just to prime and begin insulin delivery using this pump requires a lot of button pushing. Again, not a deal breaker, but if all things were equal, that’s something that could sway me toward a different pump. Overall: Good experience.
 
 
That brings me to Tandem®’s t:slim®. I met last week with one of the local reps for this product. Like the other pumps I’ve inquired about, Tandem is not going to let me do a test drive on their model. But I feel like I got the next best thing when meeting with this rep. We spent over an hour talking about everything t:slim. This was pretty unscripted, though I suppose a couple of his answers were because they had to be. The best part was, I was able to handle the pump (which I had not been able to do up to that point).

I practiced filling the cartridge, priming, setting basal rates, programming a bolus. Our conversation was all over the place, which in this case, was good for me. He showed me how specific things worked, and if I had a question out of left field, I was able to ask it and get it answered before we resumed what we were originally doing. It wasn’t a power point presentation; it was two people talking about an insulin pump.

The other thing I liked about this rep was that he didn’t shy away from the difficult issues. Let’s face it: There isn’t a pump on the market that doesn’t have something less than wow about it. But when we talked about those things, I got honest answers. Which is both refreshing, and the decent thing to do.

I liked a couple of additional things related to this pump. I like the bolus reminder. Set your bolus reminder and it will alarm you if you forget. I also like the temperature gauge that can tell you whether you might be in danger of skunking your insulin due to extreme cold or heat. Again, not deal breakers or deal makers, but nice features nonetheless.

I also like that the battery charges like a phone or tablet, rather than requiring the replacement of a AAA battery every month, which I’m doing now. You might not think that’s a huge deal, but it’s at least a minor deal to me. Changing a battery every month isn’t that difficult. But in the time I’ve had my current pump, I’ve gone through 50 or 51 of them. Multiply that by who-knows-how-many insulin pumpers out there, and you get an idea of how much we’re filling our landfills with dead batteries that we don’t need to use anymore.

Bottom line: I like the t:slim, for the obvious sexy reasons. I’m not in love with the cartridge fill, so I’d have to convince myself it’s not a big deal. And Maureen thinks that sliding the cartridge into place in the way the pump works would drive me crazy. She cites my issues with the battery and SIM card on my cell phone as an example. Any honest answers from current t:slim users would be helpful and very much appreciated.
 
 
Next up: I’m looking into the Asante Snap. According to their website, I might actually get to try one out! More to come as I continue to explore the world of insulin pumps.
 
 
 

July #DSMA Blog Carnival: What would YOU change about diabetes?

The July blog carnival topic is a simple, yet interesting one. I could take this in many directions:

We usually talk about how we deal with different aspects of diabetes, or things that would help us deal with those aspects. This month let’s change things up a bit. We’re going to revisit a question from the Open Chat on June 18th and come up with something about diabetes to change. That’s right, we want to know . . . .

If you could change one thing about diabetes, (besides not having it), what would you change? Why?
 
 
I’m going to answer this a little differently from what you might expect. What would I change?

I would make it so no child would ever be diagnosed with diabetes.

I don’t have any kids, but I always wanted one or two of my own. I know many D-parents will scoff at this, but I honestly don’t know how I would deal with a child’s diagnosis. I know, ultimately, you do what you have to do for your children. That’s the way it should be. But man… even today, I just ache every time I read about another kid added to our little club. No child should ever have to face my kind of life so early on in their own development.

And what about the parents? I’m really just guessing here, but I’ll bet that something like a child’s diabetes affects the parents way more than they ever let on. Sending their child off to school or camp without knowing how their day will turn out. Communicating with the insurance company to get durable medical or prescriptions straightened out. Setting the alarm for the middle of the night so they can get up and check their kid (or kids), every single night for as many nights, weeks, months, and years as it takes. No parent should ever have to face this kind of burden.

And these are the problems of someone who has access to care and insulin and the latest medical devices, which, as we know, isn’t always the case.

I was lucky enough to be diagnosed Type 1 as an adult. By the time I was diagnosed, I had my own job and my own insurance. I had lots to learn and a lot of work to do, but at least I had a bit of a head start compared to the children who live with diabetes. Kids and Parents are blind-sided by this kind of news– at a time when a child is growing, learning, experiencing all the joys of life, they now have to add fingersticks and carb counting and bolus calculations and infusion set changes. There is nothing that’s right or fair about that.

So if I could, if I couldn’t eradicate it entirely, I would make it so parents would never have to hear that their child has been diagnosed with diabetes.

Unfortunately, I can’t do that. But… Do you know what I can do? I can help educate people. I can speak out for better healthcare and greater access to care. I can promote greater understanding. I can participate in walks and rides and other events that help raise money to fund bigger research, better tools, and hopefully, a cure. I can write my elected officials. I can support the amazing D-parents who are courageously telling their story. If I can’t remove diabetes from my vocabulary entirely, I can at least work toward making life a lot better for the kids.

Even though it might cause an issue with the naming of certain conferences around the country, my wish is for no more children with diabetes. If I ever had a child of my own, I’d want that to be what I’d change. I’d want that to be my legacy.
 
 
This post is my July entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetescaf.org/2014/05/may-dsma-blog-carnival-4/
 
 
 

Changing faces for a changing landscape.

Here are some random thoughts for you to chew on this weekend. I’m not suggesting anything here, just doing kind of a “what if?” riff in my head and spilling it onto this page.

I was thinking yesterday of the change at the top happening at both JDRF and the American Diabetes Association. Both CEOs are stepping down. Jeffrey Brewer has in fact already stepped down from his post at JDRF after four years, replaced by Derek Rapp. And Larry Hausner is leaving as CEO of ADA at the end of the month. No replacement has been named yet.

The American Diabetes Association and JDRF are by far the two largest diabetes organizations in the United States. Sometimes competing, sometimes not, they both look to raise both money and awareness for their cause. In JDRF’s case, “Less Until None” for Type 1 patients. And For ADA, to “Stop Diabetes” of all types, though almost by default, a lot of their mission is geared toward type 2s, who represent the overwhelming majority of diabetes patients worldwide.

I thought about this yesterday, and then thought of other big organizations fighting for recognition, donor money (both governmental and private), and volunteers to aid their missions. Love them or hate them, Susan G. Komen is the face of breast cancer awareness. MDA is the go-to group for Muscular Dystrophy. The American Heart Association is, for us in the States anyway, the reliable resource for all things related to heart health.

Yet I can remember, more than once, asking someone to donate to a JDRF fund raiser and being told “Oh, I already gave to ADA”. And Or vice versa.

Am I suggesting that ADA and JDRF merge their missions into one huge conglomerate of an organization? No. Never.Gonna.Happen. For about a thousand different reasons. JDRF is an international organization, ADA is only U.S.-based is the first. The other reasons are so many and so varied that I don’t really need to repeat them here.

But there are a number of facts that are changing the landscape of the diabetes community. Among them:

– An increasing awareness that the diabetes community has spent way too much time and energy in silos, leading to distance and even animosity between types.

– Recognition of the fact that this is changing, and Type 1 versus Type 2 versus insert-your-type-here is a dead end going nowhere.

– A widening awareness of D-stigma, and a growing desire to squash it like a bug on the windshield of a speeding automobile.

– The growing role of social media in our community, and how, like Moore’s Law itself, it is changing roles, perceptions, the number of contributors, and sources of income faster than ever before.

I wonder if this moment in time represents, in a way, a chance for these two organizations, and the greater diabetes universe, to look at their missions in a new light. How can we work together? What can we learn from each other? And certainly: How can we help patients people today while planning and adapting for the future?

I’m not sure these questions can be answered easily. But I think the best time to ask them may be right now.
 
 
 

Recipe! Tomato Salad.

I had a really great ear of corn last weekend. The kind where it was just so sweet and creamy with just the right amount of butter and Old Bay seasoning (it’s a thing here). Of course, my BGs didn’t necessarily like the effect of a big fat ear of corn.

So the next day, even though I was grilling something again, I decided to think differently about a side dish. This one isn’t completely carb free… but it’s a lot less than an ear of corn, and don’t forget, tomatoes are just coming into their own in North America now too.

I started with a handful of small tomatoes, yellow and red, that I got from my local farm truck. And a few of my purple cherry tomatoes that are just starting to ripen.

I just sliced them in half and added about 2/3 olive oil and 1/3 red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste (I also added Old Bay seasoning– I admit– I’m addicted). Then I thinly sliced some fresh basil and fresh mint. Again, about 2/3 basil, about 1/3 mint. No need to measure out all of this. Trust me… You’ll figure out the right proportions.

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If you want to add a few extra carbs, you could cube up a slice of bread, throw it in a pan with butter or olive oil (just a tiny bit), and add something like celery salt or garlic powder, or both. Blue cheese or parmesan cheese too. Or experiment– how about a little cumin or siracha sauce? No matter what, this is a super-easy, tasty side dish.

Carbohydrate count: In what you see in the photos, about 6 grams to 8 grams. If you add a few croutons, add about 14g – 18g depending on the type of bread you use.

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.
 
 
 

#dblogcheck – It’s baaaack.

Here we are… it’s another D-blog Check-In Day.

Christopher Snider, author at A Consequence of Hypoglycemia, and moderator at the Just Talking Podcast, and also the originator of last year’s edition, has designated today as the day for all of us to leave a comment on each and every blog we visit.

Last year on #dblogcheck day I wrote about the importance of telling your story, being that hand that reaches out into the abyss to pull someone in and make them feel less alone. Today I’d like to talk about the importance of leaving comments.

If you write, think about what it was like the first couple of times you received a comment from someone. Anyone. It meant a lot, didn’t it? It was an instant measure of readership, to begin with. You were no longer posting your thoughts to an empty internet. That measure of validation, that show of support, that initial connection… it’s special.

It’s just as special to someone who’s been writing for some time and wonders if the community has somehow lost track of them. Leaving a note at the bottom of someone’s heartfelt blog post promotes a greater sense of community among all of us. We know the writer is special. I, for one, don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell them.

I started writing in this space about two and a half years ago. Since then, more and more diabetes blogs have popped up from writers all over the world. Those writers deserve just as much (or more) support than I’ve received.

But you know what that means: More writers = more comments.

I know that sounds difficult for some, and I understand… I do. I’ve heard a lot of “My time is so limited” and “I can never think of anything good to say”. I guess what I’m saying is I feel a sort of responsibility to support writers who share their personal stories in a way that challenges me to think more and feel things more deeply. Why? Because I want them to continue writing.

I should also talk about what it means for me to leave a comment on someone else’s blog. I look at this differently than most, perhaps. But to be honest, leaving comments makes me feel better. I didn’t come by this naturally. But I’ve found that it’s great therapy for me.

Especially when I’m feeling down, or when I’m experiencing trouble either within or outside of the diabetes community, as soon as I leave a little comment somewhere, I nearly instantly start to feel better inside. Even when I’m tired and I can’t think of anything witty to say.

So I’ll conclude by first reminding you to leave a comment wherever you visit today. Share your favorites via Twitter using the hashtag #dblogcheck. And second, think about using this day as encouragement to comment more. None of us has the market cornered on great writing (especially me). What you can do is help deliver that measure of validation, and remind someone that what they have to say is really important. It really is, isn’t it?

Finally, I want to ask a favor. I have a confession to make: I haven’t really discovered a lot of new d-blogs lately (this is my time-constraint problem). If you’ve found a blog that you really like, and you can’t think of anything else to say, just say “Check” and leave the address of yours or someone else’s blog below.

And since I haven’t mentioned it for a while… Thank you so much for reading!
 
 
 

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