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Sunday, 8 December 2013

IDF World Congress

IDF has come and gone. Too quickly. I could not cram nearly enough information into my overstretched brain during my 2 day stint in Melbourne.

I was lucky enough to be sent down to Melbourne by Diabetes Australia, as part of the Diabetes Australia Young Leaders Program. I met some amazing other young leaders from Australia, and then eventually some amazing young leaders from other corners of our world.

The symposiums and forums I attended were very informative and gave me insights into diabetes that I had never considered before. I learnt new things from the relevance of birth weight and link between weight and Type 1 Diabetes, to the importance of social media in connecting diabetics, saw studies which highlighted such interesting tidbits as the fact that BOTH type 1 and Type 2 diabetics believe the stigma of the other type impacts upon them, and that neither type believes that the other type has to deal with the stigma. I found out that women in India find it very hard to be able to get married as they are considered damaged goods who cannot deliver healthy babies.

I heard a crazy guy rant about how we should all be looking up our diabetic equipment so that 'they (doctors) cannot get to it', and how we should never trust doctors. It turns out that that crazy guy was quite involved in IDF and headed the rights and responsibilities area of things. He also somehow thought it was quite appropriate to show pictures of hot cartoon chicks, because as he stated, to the embarrassment of those sharing his forum - he "likes to look at them". I did wonder if he had had one hypo too many.

I learnt too much about complications. Complications make me sad.

I saw statistics everywhere. This example, shows that 382 million people worldwide have diabetes. Half of this number are diagnosed. Half of those diagnosed receive care (so we're looking at 1/4 of all diabetics receiving treatment). Half of those receiving treatment achieve their targets, and half of those achieving their targets achieve the desired outcome of all diabetics - which is to live complication free.

I was riveted during the talk about 'the point' of diagnosing diabetes in countries where that's as far as treatment gets - diagnosis. What could be the point of diagnosing patients, if just to tell them they will die from their diabetes - there are no treatment options. No supplies. Tales were recounted of mothers leaving their diabetic child at a hospital - because abandoning that child means their other 5 children will be able to eat or get an education, when treatment for that 1 child would cost too much. Also because abandoning that child gives them a chance at getting treatment. What a horrible decision to make.

Most of all IDF taught me great appreciation for my well-being and access to treatment. It's not always easy being a Type 1 diabetic, but I'm not being left by my partner because of it or being left to die. I feel very humbled by the experiences of others.

I thank each and every speaker who came to IDF to share their knowledge about the diversity of diabetes and it's global impact.

Aptly, the last moment - the 1 moment that absolutely struck me down at IDF, was during the last event I attended; the IDF and Australian young leader's dinner. This was the moment that really made me stop and think about the state of diabetes globally. I was eating dinner with the New Zealand representative among others, when the boy sitting in front of me whipped out a strange injection device I had never seen before. Being quite a brazen person, I had no qualms with asking what it was. (Hey, I was curious...only knowledge to be gained here). He replied that it was an Innolet Device (which we actually have at work, I've just never bothered to look at one before). Then he followed up with a matter-of-fact statement that he had received it from the INSULIN FOR LIFE program. To which I quickly realised that without that program he would probably be dead. The very real kind of dead, that isn't caused by missing out on a great handbag sale (which is what many of us might think is dead). I pretty much wanted to burst into tears and send him all my insulin stocks. The Young Leaders themselves were recipients of charities designed to keep them alive and provide them with the basic essentials that we, as diabetics, need to survive.

For me, nothing made me stop and take a good hard look at my own privelleged life more than that moment. New cause to champion? I think so.

Monday, 25 November 2013


Sometimes things happen in the land of diabetes that we live in, that remind us of how - for lack of a better word - fragile, this disease can be. How vulnerable and uncertain of yourself it can make you feel.

For me, that thing was a 2.6. It should have been a 'no biggie'. We all get hypos. The thing that freaked me out, and made me feel unsettled was that I wasn't going to catch it.

I went to bed at a healthy 6., with 10 minutes of IOB left. A non-issue. At some point just after going to bed my pump started vibrating and telling me to 'Check BG' as it had been 2 hours post meal. I sleep through this every night. My partner is ALWAYS the one to wake me up to clear this message.

Hugh came to bed about 1 hour after me, and as usual fumbled around with my pump to turn the check BG alarm off, and as usual woke me up in the process. I felt fine. I acted normal. We never check my BGs during the night. For some reason he decided to ask me to check my BGs. Grumbling, I did so. 2.6.

After I treated it (I felt like death once I got up), I was left wondering and puzzled as to how it had happened. I had barely any IOB. Like piddle amounts. I got to bed with IOB every night.

I riddled that it was due to a combination of me being too awesome for my own body, and the heat. After I riddled it, I got scared. Scared that I didn't feel it. Scared when I realised that I wasn't going to feel it, or wake up. Scared about what might have happened if Hugh didn't wake me up and make me check, for a reason unknown to us both.

And now I feel a whole lot less confident in my abilities to manage this disease. I can't force myself to get hypo symptoms. I can't force myself to wake up. I don't know how many times I have missed a nypo before.

Its times like this, when I feel vulnerable and naked to my disease, that I wish I could take a break. Not even from it all, just from the insulin. The cause and answer to all my prolems as a Type 1 Diabetic.

Other people can take breaks from their meds (although never advised). I just want that day, the day  where I don't have to worry about hypos and measuring the exact units for a meal to stop both highs and lows. I want a day where I can trust my own body to do the right thing by me and keep me alive. And not have the same thing that keeps me alive, be the thing that has the potential to kill me. As unlikely as it is, it does happen. And nights with 2.6's remind me of that.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

It's Raining (free) Meters

If I'm in a diabetes slump, such as now, there's usually a few things that I have found will motivate me to get back into it. One of these things is new diabetes toys.

I was thrilled to be a part of walk for a cure this past Sunday at Chermside, Brisbane.

The walk of course had sponsor tents set up. I managed to bag quite a few free things: 1 Medtronic drink bottle, 1 Johnson & Johnson drink bottle, coloring & activity books with Lenny the Lion (Yup! Giant kid at heart), Lenny the Lion masks, briiiiight orange Medtronic shirt, Accu-chek cap (which I happily used on the walk!), mini tick-tacks, lollies, water, a squishy purple stress-ball pump and my favourite of the day: A NEW meter! WITH TEST STRIPS!!!

Obviously this prompted me to revisit exactly how many meters I have now amassed in my short career as a diabetic. The answer was 10, although 3 of these are double-ups. 10 free meters. (Hint: never pay for a meter. There is always a way to get it for free). 

I present to you in high definition colour*: 

The history of my meters: A comparative tale.

1st Meter:
My 1st ever meter was the Johnson & Johnson One Touch Verio Standard. 1st meter so naturally I got quite attached. It had no special features really. It had a very dark screen that would light up to a funny green shade if you pushed a certain button for a supremely long time. I have no idea what button that is anymore. Somewhere along the line I managed to collect a 2nd one of these meters, which has never even been turned on.

2nd Meter:
Ok, I did tell a lie earlier about never purchasing a meter. I did purchase this meter, and with no intention of ever using it. I bought it on a full-cash back sale exclusively for the lancing device. It was the Accu-Chek Performa Nano. Looking at its tiny little body, it looks like it would be great for when I walog. But it takes coding, so I dead-set refuse to use it. Too inconvenient. Therefore I have turned it on once or twice to use up the free strips that came with it (rule of D life #1: Never ever waste a test-strip).

3rd Meter:
The Freestyle Exceed. I was given this by my DE on my 1st visit. She thought I was cray cray for still dip-sticking it when I wanted to go ketone hunting. Hence: New meter in my hands. Its great that it does ketones. I would recommend every T1D to keep one at hand just for this function. In terms of glucose testing, its not for me. The testing strips are all individually wrapped, creating a lot of waste. It also takes a ridiculous sample size (although nothing compared to the ketone strip sample size). Last but not least I have taken several side by sides of all my meters, and it consistently shows up as being the lowest reading meter (which some people like). On the plus side, its really pretty.

Basic meter, but it does Ketones, which no other meter does. 

4th Meter:
When I was started on my pump, it was a requirement that I get the Bayer Contour link so I could have my meter 'talk' to my pump. So I ordered several thousand boxes of strips (as you do) to set it up with. I hated it. To put it bluntly. My DE loved it. Ok, I liked the fact it talked to my pump. But I was used to a high-reading meter, and this b*tch kept telling me I was low. All. The. Time. I got fat from this meter constantly treating non-existent hypos. So I scrapped it after a few months worth of use, much to the dismay of my DE, who still tries vehemently to convince me to use it as I never bother to input my readings into my pump. For those who use CGM, I believe it works brilliantly for that as that seems to be what the CGM likes to calibrate to the most. The other downside to the Bayer as well is that pharmacists do not stock the strips so you have to be pretty on the ball with ordering ahead of time.

3.4 on the left - I got hypo numbers very frequenlty with the Contour Link, but never seemed to feel them. 10.0 on the right - this was the highest number I could find in the meter memory. Screen is good with big, easy to read numbers.

5th Meter (and current Meter):
I am now back to my faithful One Touch Verio, compliments of Johnson & Johnson. However now I am using the upgraded version, the One Touch Verio IQ. IQ because its smart and awesome. (Can we tell I am biased?). It reads high, which I love - but this may be a downside for other users who like lower reading meters, particularly children. It has a beautiful colour screen which shows a sun in the day and a moon at nighttime, just in case you wonder why its suddenly dark outside. It has a light-up testing port for those middle of the night checks. It is rechargeable. It has a pattern log to identify low and high patterns at different times of the day. Also importantly the One Touch family have the smallest testing sample of all the meters I have used. It also uses the same strips as the standard Verio so I can carry one of those as a back-up. And I have a pretty decal for it. Seals the deal, obviously. Cons: The lancing device is crap. Swap it for an Accu-Chek multiclix or soft-clix.

See the pretty moon and low pattern.

6th Meter:
I honestly don't know why I have the Freestyle Insulinx, let alone 2 of them, given that I have a pump. The only reason I own them that I can think of was that it supplied a days worth of free test strips with each one. For non-pumpers or people wanting to transition to a pump I think its well-worth harassing and haranguing your local rep for one. It has an in built bolus Wizard (which does need to be set-up by your Healthcare professional) for tighter control and easier carb bolusing and corrections. It reads fairly high, similar to the Verio, so I have actually used this as my meter on one day when I forgot to charge my IQ. An exciting feature for this meter is the touch screen, helpful for the touch-screen generation who probably no longer understand what real buttons are. You can also customize your background image, and keeping stuff personalized can actually be a motivator for me with diabetes (see my One Touch IQ above).

Touch screen with a bolus wizard
7th Meter:
This is the 1st time that I rue the fact my sensitivity is set on my IQ. I got my Accu-Chek mobile on Sunday at the Walk for a Cure and love it! ALL IN ONE! It totally helps that I got 50 free test strips too. Its just...handy. I threw it in my bag today when I ducked down to the shops and that was amazing not to take my whole kit. I was slightly annoyed when I turned it on earlier to check a reading without wanting to test that this process (turning it on) forces a new test area to rotate in, and therefore you lose a test, which can be a waste of money. Maybe I'm doing it wrong though. It is big and clunky, but the soft-clix lancing device which is nearly painless. The strip film is a lovely feature because its vastly reduces strip rubbish. It is now my dedicated in-car testing meter. :)

 In-built test strips. Big display, but a big meter too.

*May not necessarily be high definition. Or colour.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Leave your Diabetes At Home

I haven't written in a while. I couldn't. I didn't have the words to express how I felt. About diabetes. About how frustrating it can be. About how sometimes, it feels so hopeless to just continues on. About the ways it can impact on your life.

I have been PISSED OFF. Even that doesn't quite cover it.

I think it started with Japan. It started with the lows. It started with the highs. It started with the heat, with the nearly-full vials of insulin I threw away. It started with the more-than-regular set changes. It started with waking up all night for many nights with exercise induced lows. It started with cursing and blessing CGMs. It started with trying to do it all, do everything and get everything from Japan that I wanted to, but couldn't because sometimes diabetes elbowed and shoved its way to the start of my 'attention' line. You can't chastise diabetes like you would a rude customer who butts in ahead of you for service in a store, because diabetes can do so much worse than swear at you if you tell it to wait its damn turn.

I really can't forgive diabetes for Japan. I just wanted a trip away. Just a trip away. With Type 1 Diabetes, you can never have a trip away. It comes with you everywhere.

I did the right things. I had so many doctors appointments in the lead-up that thats all my diary consisteted off. I took an ENTIRE carry-on suitcase full of supplies, when I really could have used that space to smuggle back Pikachu. I bought CGMs, I wore CGMS. I planned.

In the end, it doesn't matter what you plan for because diabetes doesn't work to plans.

I think I broke at about the 15 day mark, in Nagasaki. When I went from 11 to 20 within 2 hours after yet another vial of insulin gave it up, exasperated in the heat. When all I wanted to do was go for a walk in the gardens. But I had to do a crazy tram dash back to the hotel to get some cool insulin from the fridge and lower my BGLs, get rid of the insane high headache and extreme nausea.

I couldn't forgive diabetes after that. I turned my back and played the 'I can't hear you' game until it prised my hands from ears and screamed straight into my face that I had yet another BGL of 20-something to treat. Which was about twice daily.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Japan. I had a ball. But the 3rd wheel of diabetes was not at all welcome.

I'm trying to pick myself back up now. I went to my educator's appointment on Monday with not a single reading written down. I hadn't saved a single BGL into my pump. I was wearing a sensor so my educator could at least look at that. She normally wears a happy face when she sees me. On Monday she had obviously visited the Happy Mask shop in Hyrule Castle Town and traded it for something much sadder.

I told her that I wasn't feeling particularly kindly-inclined towards my diabetes and I did't want to think about. She made lots of mumblings to herself and then changed my basal rates. Which I knew needed to happen, but I was too cranky to think about it.

Then to seal the deal that she wasn't happy, I was sent home with basal testing. Which I never do even though she's been asking me to for a year. While I'm cranky at diabetes, the last thing I want to do is starve myself for hours for it. But I had made the mistake of taking my boyfriend along because I was jealous that other betics sometimes have their support people with them and I never have mine, so I agreed to let him come. So he is trying to enforce basal testing. Not happy Ashleigh.

Working hard on becoming tolerant of Morty again, but I feel this may take awhile.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Japan: 5 days in

It has been quite a hectic few days in Japanland. I have never been so happy to have CGM. This one so far is holding up extremely well and has been nearly always bang-on with its readings, to the point where I have felt comfortable giving my fingers a little break and testing only at wake-up and before bed unless my CGM says I'm close to hypo, & I'll test then to confirm.

D has NOT been behaving itself so I am running my sugars higher at between 10 - 14. If I take insulin with a meal I will be low at 1 hour post meal but if I don't take it I reach about 15. Tokyo is extremely hot and if you add a BGL of 15 to the humidity it makes for extreme tiredness that makes travel hard. So we have settled on a routine of no insulin for breakfast, 1 to 2 units for lunch depending on car content and about 2 u for dinner.

Basal wise I am pretty much on suspend from the moment I wake up until we are back at the hotel at night - suspended for about 12 hours a day. I have discovered that I also need to do a temp basal at night. I'm not sure of the rate yet as I am still waking up with hypos (which has never been an issue before) at about 3 - 4am and then again from 6 - 8am. I'm quite thankful for the CGM for this, as normally at night I silence it because of pressure problems, but surprisingly it hasn't had these this time - must have picked a good spot. I don't feel hypo at all when I wake so smiles all around for CGM just rescuing my butt 2 times a night.

Total insulin usage has dropped from 40u a day to about 15.

At home I tend to be a bit* fixated on getting good numbers, but right now I just want to enjoy my holiday without D getting in the way. If I have higher BGLs for 3 weeks then I have higher BGLs for 3 weeks.

To sum up with a positive note about D in Japan: I bought this ultra-deliciously cute case to use as a day kit when I get back to Aus:

Its inspirational as well. My fave is 'Take it easy, I can assure you everything will turn out fine'. Ahhhh happy bear.

Japan: Nikko Edomura Wishing

Monday, 9 September 2013

Japan: Take 1

My 1st day in Japan has come and gone. It was adventurous and exciting and you can read what I did at my other blog, 'Tonyobyo in Tokyo'.

Being that this is my diabetes blog, I will be chronicling my diabetes in Japan. Which so far has been a bit of a challenge. All I can say is: Thank gosh for CGM and 10kg cabin baggage allowances (I will upload a photo later of the massive amounts of D stuff I managed to squish into 1 bag).

The plane trip, diabetes wise went ok. I ran myself higher, at about 10 - 13 to avoid the post-landing hypo that I always seem to get. I changed the time on my pump and was set to go diabetes wise for that day.

Today went not so awesome. I did a set change - 1st set change in the Northern Hemisphere for me! That was fine. I inserted my CGM, for which I had bought a new box of sensors just for our Japan trip. The CGM had kicked in and asked for a calibration at about 10.30am. I calibrated with a BG of 7.1. About 1/2 an hour later I was getting alarms from my CGM and caught my hypo at 3.7. Yay for CGM! My CGM was accurate the whole day which was great - I think I stopped about 4 or 5 more potential hypos that would have added to the 3 I did have.

Definitely recommend CGM for ttravel for that peace of mind and abilitgy to manage before the event in terms of hypos/highs.

The rest of the day I spent battling becoming or actually being low in the extreme humidity of Tokyo. My estimation at the end of the day was that I had had my pump disonnected or on suspend for about 8 hours all up during the day. I even tried a temp basal of 30%, which didn't work.

At dinnertime, despite having been on suspend for 3 hours (aka NO insulin delivery for 3 hours) my BG fell to 4.1 again so we had a rushed dinner at something that resembled a Mo's burger, but was called 'Buckers' or something equally as weird. I gave myself only 1/2 the recommended insulin at dinner and ended up on 4.5 2 hours later.

The highest I reached all day was 10.9, with the lowest 3.3 thanks to my CGM.

Excuse my Red undies in the background

Tomorrow is a new day. I'll try a 10% temp basal (which will equate to less than 0.05U/P/H) tomorrow and see how it goes.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Pre-Japan Travel List

1 ½ boxes of infusion sets
1 ½ boxes of reservoirs
30 Alcohol swabs
3 spare batteries

5 x sensors
10 alcohol swabs
Clear over-tape

scripts for NovoRapid & Lantus
6 vials of insulin (NovoRapid)
NovoPen Echo & instructions
1 x box of pen needle tips

8 x boxes of testing strips
2 x IQ meters (+ recharge cable), 1 x standard Verio meter
1 x double-pack spare batteries for non-rechargeable meter
Lancing device x 2 + spare lancets

Doctors note
Hypo stash (Jellybeans, glucotabs)
Sharps clippers or container
Alan (aka Calorie King)
Ketone strips & Ketone meter with spare batteries
Id Card with emergency contact
Cold pack
Medical ID bracelet

Monday, 22 July 2013

When People say stupid stuff

One of the things I struggle with most when dealing with diabetes is how much of a 'public' disease it is. Everyone has a view on diabetes. Sometimes its very hard to make people see ours - that the person WITH diabetes - as the most important view of all.

Diabetes requires a lot of micromanagement, and endless doctors, educator, endo podiatry, optometry and more appointments. Every one of these health professionals have their own view on how we should be treating our diabetes. They are all right and they are all wrong. I'm ok with these viewpoints because I seek them out. I want to know their opinions, and when I don't agree I feel like I can discuss this with them.

What I don't want is unsolicited opinions. They are never beneficial. They are usually judgemental and rudimenatry views established from watching too many 'A Current Affairs' stories on the 'diabetes epidemic' - you know the ones I'm talking about; where they talk about type 2 the whole time and bad eating habits, but then show the little kid with type 1 running around in a field of daisies at the end.

I've seen a lot of them on food posts lately  - someone bakes a yummy, sugar laden cake and you can bet that in the comments somewhere the typical 'diabetes in bowl' will spring up, fully laden with pain, hurt, resentment and embarrassment for the diabetics actually reading it. It belittles and makes a joke of a serious disease.

I get a few from people out loud. I was happily counting my carbs at a cafe the other day (I do this outloud as I tend to be able to keep track more), when I got the comment "That's no way to live". Actually, for me, it is the ONLY way to live. Thank you and mind your own effing business.

So why do people think they can have an opinion on diabetes and parade it around without living with the disease itself? Please, please don't. (This is probably going to sound rude, so I apologise in advadance.) Why diabetes? Is it not a serious, lifelong condition? You would never hear anybody say anything about cancer or any other disease, except to acknowledge that the person with cancer is suffering and to offer words of support and encouragement. Even if the person has lung cancer caused by smoking. Do we get public support? Sometimes, but those voices are far overshadowed by the ill-informed loudmouths. We get told it's our own fault, and we should live with it. So we should obviously suffer everyone's hideously misinformed opinions (which some people like to express quite loudly when they know they have a diabetic in earshot, or just to your face). STOP STOP STOP!!!! We have feelings. Even though we know it isn't our fault (Type 1) we still feel ashamed, some of us still hide our disease (at a detriment to our own health), because of all the public misconceptions and the ridicule we might encounter. Even in the case of lifestyle-induced type 2 diabetes, they don't deserve that embarassment. Can you honestly say you do everything perfect all the time? Some people just like chocolate, so effing what???? Why is that so horrible? You will never know how they got to that stage. Everyone has a vice!

We have this disease for life. I'm pretty good at brushing ridiculous remarks off my shoulders, calling the perpetrator an uneducated twat, and moving on. Some days though, when you've had a few hypos, when your blood sugar has been givin you hell all day and you feel like dogballs, its not so easy and you might go home absolutley in tears about it. It is for life, and if you hear that sort of suff every single day, it can wear you down.

Encourage us, please.

And if you're the one writing stupid stuff, watch this, take a pointer and do it better next time.

Saturday, 20 July 2013


Something I seem to have been discussing a lot lately with various other young D's is the lack of physical support available. We have a website and...hey we have a Facebook page. I'm not entirely sure why, but it has been decided somewhere along the line that we can get all the support we need off the internet. I've since had a talk with my DE who says we used to have stuff for young adult type 1's a little while ago, but that it was cut due to lack of funding, or something to that effect. I was given some names of people to contact to try and start something up here in QLD, but I have forgotten nearly everything she said due to a hypo in the middle of our consult, so will have to email her and ask for all those details again.

It's also pretty apparent that if you have Type 1, you should move to Melbourne. So last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 'Connect-In 2013' Type 1 diabetes camp for 18 - 25 year olds, held in Melbourne. I wasn't too upset about the travel as I had never been to Melbourne before, so got to be a bit of a tourist whilst I was there (random domed shopping centre, cold cold cold & OMG Trams!!).

I loved it. I just love being near other betics. To say something or do something and everyone else in the room understands. In my normal life, this never happens. I know my loving man wants to understand, but unless you're betic, you really can't.

I was so excited not to be the only one in the room finger-pricking and bolusing and wondering how many carbs are in that - plus points to DA Vic for providing a carb guide for all the foods we were eating that weekend so we didn't have to count ourselves :). Actually that was great - to be able to switch off that part of my brain for 2 days was terrific! I think its something alot of us need every now and then - a weekend where someone else does our diabetes thinking for us. It gives you a nice little break so you can recharge and get back into D.

What about the program? The 1st day I didn't find overly exciting or interesting. I knew the basics of D, the basics of carb counting and most of the stuff they discussed. But it didn't bother me to hear it all again, you can never assume everyone knows the basics. I can't remember where I read the study that said something like only 5% of diabetics have a more than basic understanding of their own disease....actually maybe that number is wrong - but I was shocked at the number, it was tiny. (Note to self - find study...its probably at work somewhere). Someone please correct me if you come across it! It was only this year I think. From the 1st day I think my personal stand-out was the exercise seminar. She wasn't D but it was the only one that got us up and moving and really involved us to make us think about WHY exercise is so important - and not just cos of D. My body also really thanked the mentor - I was getting stiff from sitting so long.

The night-time activity was a good choice I think. Pizza & bowling bar. I don't normally eat pizza, but ate it anyway, so perhaps a choice of food next time. Although I could have gone and gotten a sandwich from the sandwich bar at accommodation if I had wanted beforehand. I liked that the activity was something physical to do to burn off energy - but it was a physical activity that didn't require much thought in terms of D. I just didn't bolus for my 2 soft drinks and ended up with perfect levels afterwards. We also discovered our sets glowed in the Ultraviolet lights. Exciiitement! The ability to go off and do our own thing afterwards was good as well - Hellloooo pancakes!

The 2nd day's program was much more of what I came for, all the things that seem to be happening around me now - travel, social media, etc. But the women's session scared the beejebus out of me in terms of having babies. They probably should have had a counselor with us for when they showed us the stats on complications for our pregnancies!

Actually that was something that was lacking - a 'feel good about D' seminar to explore how D has maybe enriched our lives or something more to do with our mental health? There was a sort session on burnout, but there is so much of the mental health side of things involved with having a disease like diabetes. Honestly when I think about it they could probably do a whole camp dedicated to the mental health side of D!

Overall I think it was a successful weekend. I made some great D friends, I felt encouraged to look after my diabetes because it was the norm that weekend. I really do hope the other states will catch on and set up programs of support for young adults and adults with diabetes. Knowing that you're not the only one out there can be an amazing support in itself. I'm sure I wasn't the only one encouraged into extra testing and looking after my D that weekend, so I can only think of benefits when opportunities like this arise. I know myself, I will be looking into Diabetes Queensland and seeing what we can do here, even if its something as simple as hiring a few beach cabins and spending a weekend in the company of other D's. Now that Diabetes Vic has paved the way....

Ron & Hermione during the exercise seminar 


Pancakes that look like ice-cream

I did in fact get pancake all over my face after I took this

Tameeka & I were excited that the door said T1

We were also exicted to see we were staying in the 'Sweet Wing', whilst plaing with our LIGHT UP PENS

I may have adopted an animas penguin called Dudley

Friday, 28 June 2013

How do I hypo? Let me count the Ways

How do I hypo? Let me count the ways.
I hypo in the 3's and 2's and sometimes 1's as well.

  • Mild hypos, where you feel a niggling sense of being over-hot and a little confused, but you can pop a few of the sweet things and move on without so much a second thought
  • Moderate hypos
  • Giggling hypos, everything is funny
  • The hypos when you're too tired to chew your jellybeans so you start choking on them instead
  • The hypos caused by shopping. Secretly, I think retailers are ok with this, because hypo brain doesn't care about prices and just buys
  • The hypos in the supermarket, where you stand in the vegetable isle looking for the funny vegie that you saw a lady walk past with and you just have to eat it, despite not knowing what it is, and knowing that it probably has negligable carbs.
  • The other hypos in the supermarket where you stand in the lolly isle looking at all the choices you have and buying all or none because you can't make up your mind
  • The other other hypos in the supermarket when you talk to your food and the supermarket guy hears you
  • The hypos where your boyfriend gets frustrated because you take soooo long to chew the jellybean or drink the juice. He usually complains of chest pains afterwards
  • The post-coital hypos, when you would rather be cuddling
  • The hypos caused by hot showers, where you feel about to pass out due to a combination of hypo and heat, and your 1st instinct is to get dressed incase so whoever comes to your rescue doesn't find you passed out naked
  • The hypos that take an hour to come out of
  • The hypos where you just keep dropping, so you eat and eat and in the end you want to vomit, which might result in another hypo
  • Olympic hypos, caused by seeing the Aussie team compete
  • Exercise hypos, which you don't recognize until late, and then you have to hobble home slowly so as not to exasperate it
  • The hypos that happen everytime you are running late to something that starts dead-on-time
  • The end of the day hypos, which only happen after long days at work when you can't wait to go home. At least you're prepared and have a gameboy hiding in the car for such occasions
  • The hypos when you burst into tears and cry about that day 9 years ago when your fish died, and how you really miss him
  • Cold weather hypos
  • Hot weather hypos
  • Post-correction hypos
  • Pig-out hypos, when the noms take over and all of a sudden you find yourself surrounded by empty chip and chocolate packets, with jam donut smeared over your forehead
  • Multiple hypos

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Long Time, No Blog

I need a break! I think right now I have definitely bitten off more than I can chew, and diabetes has taken a back seat. Oddly levels seem to have coped well and have ALL stayed in range, except for the spike to 14.2 tonight because my partner kept passing me sneaky M&Ms in the cinema which I didn't bolus for. 

In the past 2 days alone I have: gone to work, ducked for a house inspection, gone back to work, caught up with one of the most amazing ladies on earth for Chocolatey Goodness, went to my 2nd job of the day, Crawled into bed and died, woke up and then somehow fit 4 house inspections all across the South Side of Brisbane into 1 1/2 hours whilst battling low blood sugars, seen a play of the Phantom of the Opera across town with another amazing Chikadee, gone out for a date night with my leading man and watched "After Earth" and finally come home to relax. 

This just starts my month! Tomorrow I'm driving to the Gold Coast for a birthday lunch for my brother. With cheesecake as a dessert! Yumm yumm.

And so the hecticness will continue, with a medieval banquet next weekend (I get to wear medieval clothes and be all pretty like!) and the following weekend Hugh & I will be braving the chills in Jervis Bay for some sort of a family reunion on his side. 

After that diabetes will be able to squeeze itself back into the picture for my new pump start. In the end, after weeks of comtemplation between Animas & Medtronic, I opted for Medtronic as I already owned the CGMs equipment for it, amongst other things such as the ability to get an external remote and being able to customise skins (I have designed quite a few and just have to pick one to get made now). I've chosen the purple Medtronic & will name it Lewis: The Purple People Eater. I'm very excited. 

Speaking of customisable skins, I ordered a very pretty skin for my Verio IQ! I love it and it helps me want to test...I show it off to everyone, even the non-betics.

I'll have a week to play with my shiny new pump before I ship off to Melbourne for the Connect-In diabetes camp, so that weekend I guess I won't really have an excuse but to try my diabetic best! I'm very much looking forward to this, especially for the chance to connect to other D's. I hope I can grub up some exciting diagnosis stories (I love these so much!). I've never been to Melbourne before so I took an extra day off work and will go down early to see the sights before getting serious with D.

Whilst all this is going on I have to find and move houses; I'm not looking forward to all the packing and cleaning and organising on work days as I don't have weekends to do it. Arghh just thinking about this is going to send me crazy!  

I've pretty much had to abandon D360 this week due to all my running around and things like my fathers birthday dinner, catch ups with friends and everything else already mentioned. I'm sure I gained back the whole 3kgs I lost in the 1st week. Honestly I may have to wait awhile before attempting this again. I also want to start up at a gym, but again that will just have to hold on - probably until after September as Hugh & I have only recently booked our plane tickets to Japan for most of September - so I guess I should organise that as well!

Finally, I'm crazy and decided I don't have enough on my plate so I started SEQ Young Diabetic Catch-Ups, which is based on doing activity days for young adult diabetics who are in the South East Queensland Region during one of our catch-up days. With all that's happening the 1st one is set to be held at the end of July, after Hugh & I should have been comfortably settled into our new rental property for a good week and a half. Pop over to the Facebook and send us a message if you're interested! I will also see if I can advertise the dates/times/locations/etc, on sites like JDRF, where I think they have a meet up section, as well as Reality Check, for those that don't have Facebook. I'm very excited about this group though and I hope it will get people in the D community more active and involved - we'll see. It's also for all types of D, as I've seen that for some reason we are segregated from each other in the diabetes community. Everybody needs support, plus you might learn something else about D you never knew before.

Bring on October and a chance to breath!!! 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Starting D360

I finally took the leap and signed up for one of those health & fitness programs. Starting small on one of those internet ones. Even better, an internet one run by a fellow T1D.

I got into the swing of it a bit yesterday and cut back my snacking. Which I did. I'm not expecting to be able to do everything at once, just so we're clear. I find I can easily achieve my goals if I work at 1 thing at a time.

So yesterday was all well and good. Went to measure myself, decided it was too cold, so I'll do that tonight. I will probably also complain that it is too cold tonight to put the measuring tape against my skin.

Anyway, today I got up, ate my UNhealthy breakfast of cereal...and chocolate milo cereal at that.(One of the D360 nono's). I had already decided pretty much straight away that the guideline of no cereal was going to be ignored. Just not changing from that. After 23 years you can't tell me to eat anything different for breakfast. Brain does not compute for a prep time of more than 1 minute for breakfast. Even toast takes too long.

I looked online at the list again of nono's, which included all white carbs. It listed my entire food vocabulary. People provided suggestions for what I could replace my white carbs for. In the end I decided with not eating carbs, rather than try new things. I don't do new things. If I haven't eaten it before, I won't start now.

One of the other participants had told us about her delish sounding breakfast of tomato and salmon and spinach and some other thing I had no idea what the crap was. I would eat the spinach. That's it. We're probably getting the picture that I'm a fussy eater right about now. Sad face for me because her breakfast really did sound amazingly yummy.

I did a little better at lunch and had leftover chicken and veg stirfry where the only carb was corn, which is probably white, but seeing as its yellow I will happily ignore that and continue to eat it. 1.5 hours later and I was feeling a little funny. Check BG 3.9, first number below 4 in about 2 months (since the Chris incident). Was happy cos it means that I can probably cut down my basal rate at this time, which is what I am aiming for with the program. Weight loss would be a bonus. Ate 3 jellybeans to combat hypo & walked across to plaza to buy a toner. Hypo returned with a vengeance. No idea what the number was, didn't have my kit on me. Left that at work. Anyway, hypo brained me ruined everything in my feeling like death state and I somehow managed to gurgle out that I wanted a white hot chocolate and indicated to some sort of cake at Gloria Jeans. Scoffed both.

Went to my aunties for dinner and had a very vegetable based spag bol. It had pasta but I wasn't too worried as I just filled up more on meat and veg than the pasta. Besides, its Winter. I probably  definitely should not have started a program like this in comfort food season. But then I remember I don't want to look fat in photos when I go to Japan in September, so will stick with it anyway.

Left Aunties. Sent home with a bag cookies. So I guess today is cheat day. Hot choc and cookies, here I come. We'll try again tomorrow.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week Day 7 - Spread the Love

As another Diabetes Blog Week draws to a close, let’s reflect on some of the great bloggers we’ve found this week. Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading. Or share three blogs you’ve found this week that are new to you. (Thanks to Pearlsa of A Girl's Reflections for inspiring this topic.)

Arrghhh so hard!!!!! I have read so many amazing blogs this week. 

So I decided to spread the love based on the relatability to my life. By relatability to my life, I mean that they didn't relate to my life (well except that they are about diabetes). I know what it's like to be diagnosed as a T1D as a young adult out of home, without much family-based support. But I don't know what its like to have diabetes from childhood, what its like to have type 2 diabetes, or what its like to be the mother/father/partner/sibling of a diabetic. So I took this as an opportunity to learn about the different situations people are diagnosed in and live with.

1st up - I discovered Meri's blog , 'Our Diabetic Life' - a mother of not 1, not 2 but 3 diabetic sons. I complain about my diabetic costs - she has 3 x those costs and  deals with it all as well as having lost her husband. Mind blown. So much in awe of her strength. Her blog is witty, loving, and emotional. I love reading about D-mum's and just how much they do for their kids. 

On the topic of D-mum's I will take this opportunity to shout out to J, our resident D-mum on MyD. We all know if we have an issue she will have an answer, and one that is helpful. She is also very encouraging, and I love her feedback on my blogs :)

2nd blog I would like to share around a little is that of Carol from 'The 9 Inch Plate'. The wife of a type 2 diabetic, so I was interested in this blog for more than 1 reason, probably the most prominent reason being that I often always wonder how my partner is dealing with my diagnosis. The progression her and her husband have made is amazing - I love seeing how they are a team against diabetes. She also posts some yummy looking recipes that I will have to try out.

Lastly I decided to immerse myself in reading the blog of Jessica of 'Mastering Me'. Yes we both have T1D, but she has had T1D for a lot longer, and was diagnosed as a child. She has had diabetes for long enough to let it slide a little, and have to reinvest herself in her diabetes care. I was super excited as I read to see how she handles everything, because one day in the future, when I have had D for a while, I might hit a bit of a wall, and need to remember that other people have done so and lived through it to. A very inspiring young lady .

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week Day 6 - Diabetes Art - I Poem Badly

This year Diabetes Art moves up from the Wildcard choices as we all channel our creativity with art in the broadest sense. Do some “traditional” art like drawing, painting, collage or any other craft you enjoy. Or look to the literary arts and perhaps write a d-poem or share and discuss a favorite quote. Groove to some musical arts by sharing a song that inspires you diabetes-wise, reworking some song lyrics with a d-twist, or even writing your own song. Don’t forget dramatic arts too, perhaps you can create a diabetes reality show or play. These are just a starting point today – there are no right or wrong ways to get creative!

At first I cried, and screamed and yelled,
Ovderwhelmend by an endless river of tears,
an endless river of blood
Seeping from my fingertips
An endless line of insulin
Infusing into my skin

My life had changed before my eyes
In ways I didn't want it to,
In ways I couldn't bear
And it took awhile for me to be able to see
That my life was still there
Hidden behind my disease

So I scrambled and dug at the dirt of diabetes
I found the positives in my life still to be
I thought of my love, my future, my pump
And made a new place in my life
For Morty to dwell
Behind the scenes,behind the life of me

So I poem badly with words....haha. I originally did a quick word cloud in an art form to try to see what I wanted to express. Below is my word cloud, and I hated it, although I liked the subject matter: The positives in diabetes. The poem eventually became about being positive and finding a future with diabetes, seems to be my theme this week :).

My partner asked me if I used real blood....uhmmm no, no I did not. I know we get bleeders on occassion but sheesh!!! I did however get to paint my hands, which I love doing because it feels so bizarre.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week Day 5 - Freaky Friday

Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?

Give up my disease? Hell yes! Running at that faster than if I have my father's murderous 30 year old cockatoo biting my heels. But take another disease in its place? Alarm bells ring and I approach with extreme caution. This swap, will it gaurantee no added chronic diseases? Does it gaurantee I won't get diabetes again. No? Then I'm not in. I have only had Type 1 Diabetes for 1 year and 2 months of my 23 years on this planet, but in that 1 year and 2 months I have come to know how to handle my disease. The 1st few months were absolutley nerve wracking and I don't want to go through something like that again. I can handle my diabetes, for the most part, and feel like I have had it my whole life. I don't remember life before it anymore. My brain believes it has always been finger-pricking, I don't remember food without the obligatory insulin jab.

Of course, you could say, well why not switch to an easy disease, one of those tablet only chronic diseases. Just drawing on my very small expertise of what other chronic diseases are out there: Like what? Hypertension? Graves' disease? They sound easy - actually I have high blood pressure. Or so I was told. They aren't easy 'tablet only' diseases. I'm scared of diabetes complications. I would be scared of high blood pressure complications - heart problems, eye problems (yes, it can cause eye damage). I would be scared that if I forgot that 1 little pill, I might have a heart attack. Thats a lot of pressure to remember to take that pill everyday. If I forget a dose of insulin? I correct when I realise and move on. I can deal with the ups and downs of diabetes now, I don't want to deal with something else. And Graves' disease? Before I was diagnosed I remember being at work one day thinking: If I had to get one of these chronic illnesses I would take a thyoid condition. I had overhead the parents of an 18 year old boy become hysterical at his diagnosis of Graves' disease. And I thought, so what? He takes a tablet and is done with it. But I have been at my job longer now, and added my own chronic disease, and I know thats not the case. Weight problems, anxiety issues, in remission & out of remission, surgery or radioactive iodine therapy - Yay Graves' disease!  His mother was balling her eyes out, talking about how it was a conditon for life and how it would change everything and he would never be able to do anything again Honestly, I do think his mother's chronic case of a bad outlook on life is one of the worst chronic illnesses out there.

So I will stick to my diabetes, please and thank you. I like my support group too much.

As for the 2nd part of todays blog - Absolutely the DOC has changed how I treat other people with medical condition. So many people in the DOC have co-existing illnesses that you read about, and I know from dealing with my own 'invisible illness' that you never know what someone is going through and how it may impact on their life. Being involved in the DOC has taught me to stand back and respect each person's struggles, and let them deal with them in their own way. We all ask for help when we need it and it is always provided if requested. If not, we know how much we hate when people butt in. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week Day 4 - Accomplishments Big & Small

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.).

Accomplishments. The whole last year of my life has been one giant accomplishment. Learning to take shots, hating them. Pushing hard for the pump and getting it just a few short months after diagnosis. Finger-pricking. Finger-pricking by my own choice many many times a day (Seriously, who does that?). Getting a recent HbA1c of 6.0%. Learning all the secrets of my body, that only diabetes could show me.

But my greatest accomplishment? After mourning for the loss of my 'normal' life, was to realise that I still had a life, and more importantly a future. This took awhile. When I was fist diagnosed, in those first few hours when I was sitting alone in a tiny room in ED, I wasn't at all ready to face up to this being for life. First up I hoped against hope that I was pregnant, and that my diabetes was just the worst case of early onset gestational diabetes ever. I even convinced my boss' registrar (did I mention my boss also works at the hospital I went to when diagnosed?), who she had follow me around like a puppy, to do a pregnancy test. It was unsurprisingly, negative. Which was a relief, because children are also, apparantly, for life.

I left hospital and wished for days, weeks even, that it was all a bad dream. I ignored the 'for-the-rest-of-my-life' aspect. I still do for the most part. After eventually accepting I had diabetes (although I maintain not for life) I found that I had 'shut off' from my future. Before my diagnoses I loved to imagine what sort of career I might have, what my kids would be like, where I would send them to school, where I would travel and when I'd get married. I imagined a life on a property, in the middle of nowhere.

When I got diabetes I stopped thinking of the future. I felt like there was nothing in my future any more - those kids names I had picked out were gone. Distant dreams that I felt were no longer attainable. It took me awhile to realise I could still do and have everything that I wanted. Many many months to realise this. But I did. I'm happy to report that I now see a future again. I try as hard as I can to maintain that vision.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week Day 3 - Memories

First Up - This is my NEW blog seeing as are a load of fly blown horsepoop, to put it nicely. So none of my old content is here currently, until come online and I can export it all and reimport it here. Fingers crossed its not lost forever. Anyway, onto to todays blog:

  Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. 

Nervous. Sweaty. Scared. My hands are numb, and not from the temperature, despite how cold it is. The object is placed before me. I don't move. The object is nudged closer to me. I pick it up, feeling the smooth curve all around. A clear-blue hard-plastic casing that houses all my dreams. I tentatively rip the brittle outer casing off. My fingers find the ridges on either side, and I squeeze gently. Nothing happens. I am encouraged to try harder, and apply more pressure. I am taken aback when the top springs off and clatters onto the floor beneath me, bouncing. The sound is shocking to my nervous ears.

I hesitate, and unwind the long, clear tube. Around and around and around I pull it, almost hypnotic. Too fast, it snags and I am jilted back to reality. I am fearful of breaking it, it seems so fragile.

The next step, I am reminded, is to remove the outer tube protecting the point and the 'snail' as she calls it. I do. I hold the entire object, squat in my palm. It is almost time now.

I pull back on the bottom of the hard blue case. *click*

My stomach  retracts at the cold air as I lift my shirt. I get even more goosebumps as my skin is roughly swathed in a cold lotion that smells so sterile. This is it.

I hold the rounded object, much like a half a pokeball to my stomach. I distract myself with thoughts of how awesome it would be if it really were a pokeball. My partner and I have already decided we're going to name our future son, should we have one, squirtle.

Back to reality. I breathe in, *pop*. Hang on, I was supposed to be able to breathe out first. I look down, shocked. It didn't hurt. I withdraw the sharp, dull steel from within my body. Inspect it, twirl it around and scrutinise every angle of this thing, this thing that in other forms had caused me pain. But not now. Not this way.

Victorious and ecstatic, I toss the now-useless blue inserter aside and jump around. My educator raises her eyebrows. I can't feel a thing. The stark white cannula is obvious against my pink skin, but I don't care what it looks like. I just care that for the first time in 4 months, I feel like I can face this, face my disease. I'm not afraid of this like I was the needles. I realise, I can have a life again.

Just to clarify, this is when I first put a pump cannula in, because I had already covered my diagnosis here.

Diabetes Blog Week Day 2 - We, the Undersigned

Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so todaylet’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change? (Thanks to Briley ofinDpendence for this topic suggestion.)
When I read today's topic, I thought it had me stumped. I thought I couldn't do this. Obviously, I have an interest in the politics surrounding my disease, like access to new technologies (CGMS, the pod pump), laws that affect what we can and can't do (driving, certain jobs), how the health insurance and other companies treat us. But I don't want to, I'm sure they will get covered by other people who have spent longer looking at those issues and actually know what they are talking about.

So I would petition diabetics. To gain that knowledge about diabetes to be able to change diabetes in Australia.

I read an article recently in one of medical journals at work, where a study suggested only 4% of diabetics had more than a basic knowledge of their disease. How can we properly educate the people making policies regarding our disease if we don't know our own disease. It seems now like an 'every man for himself' situation when it comes to standing up for what we want, and I believe its because we don't have enough knowledge to understand the full impact across the whole diabetic community. If we all took the time to learn as much as we could about our lifelong disease things like Type 2 Bashing wouldn't happen (yep, I'm calling it. I've seen it done in the past few weeks and it's horrible. I would hate to be on the receiving end of that from people who have the same disease with a different number as me. We're all in this together).  The number of T2 diabetics with a genetic cause far outnumber the amount of type 1 diabetics hanging around. The difference between us? The way our pancreas handled it. For a type 1 it packs in straight away, for a type 2 it might show up as less insulin production than needed for what is consumed, or insulin resistance. How much more could we change if we recognized the facts of both major types of diabetes (and even those lesser ones, likeCFRD, which I discovered the other day and then hounded my boss for information on) and helped each other face the world?

If we are educated, other people will be educated. We might not get so many dumb questions or things said to us. Perhaps those hapless members of the fully-functioning pancreas club have gotten their information from what they consider a reliable source - another diabetic? Yes, it happens. Just after I was diagnosed, I had a fellow diabetic rag on Type 1's, thinking that we had diabetes 'so bad' that it required insulin. Then a few months later got a similar story from an elderly T2 gentleman that I had met. He apparantley had another T2 friend who got sick, went into hospital and his diagnosis was magically changed from Type 2 to Type 1 because they had started him on insulin in addition to his oral hypoglycaemic agents. These silly comments burst from the mouths of diabetics more than you think.

So, I the undersigned, petition everyone to pick up a book, or your endo's brains and gobble up information on our disease faster than we would a massive piece of chocolate cake on a newly filled reservoir. It can only help your health.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Day 1 - Share or Not Share

I joined up for Diabetes blog week. Fun stuff. Read about it here.

So for today's topic, we were asked to pretend our medical team were reading our blogs. Imagine that! Getting to know us instead of the numbers.

I guess some people might find it confrontational to share more than their numbers with their healthcare professionals. You go to your endo maybe 4 times a year, talk HbA1c, talk lipid profile, talk BGs.  You see your educator and they teach you how to push the buttons on the latest gadget they can give you and talk even more numbers, insulin dosages, correction factors. So people might not necessarily offer up themselves, as people, owning their diabetes. All they do when they visit their HCPs is present the disease.

How would I feel about my HCPs reading my blog? I'm in a unique situation. I work for my endocrinologist, my main HCP. I was already working for her when I was diagnosed. So before she knew my numbers, she knew me. We're both massive movie buffs and happily advise each other on what we've seen cinema wise. We take lunch at the same time and talk about holidays, our partners, our mothers-in-laws (or for me, my future mother-in-law). I have no issues with her seeing anything. We have a policy where I just leave my log book on my desk, on the current week. She can see it anytime. She knows if I don't leave it out, I'm having problems, but she lets me get on with it quietly. She knows I like to figure out and play around with things myself first. She also knows I will ask if I need help. Like I will just blurt out any random thought I have, in front of anyone. I'm sure she hates it. So for me, I don't think I would have any problems sharing my blog with her. I don't even think I mention her, unless I say how awesome she is. I love her as a person before I love her as my endo.

My DE is a little different. I didn't know her before I saw her. I knew of her, because she is who we refer to. But I had only ever emailed information regarding mutual patients. On my 1st visit she treated me in that same clinical way that my GP used to treat me (please note the used to. Last time I was seeing the practice nurse for an updates care plan, he saw my name on the practice software and pulled me in for an impromptu consult JUST to wish me a happy easter). Halfway through my consult with my DE she asked where I worked. Endo revealed. The consult changed. It became so much more about what was best for me as a person, and not me as a patient. Because we clicked over something,  I felt I could be more open with her.

I think thats important. Be open with your healthcare professionals. Blogs are open, a public forum. You can pour your soul into a blog, and you can get to know someone 76965km away through their blogs. So why would I not award that same courtesy, of seeing who I am as a person, and not just as a disease, to my healthcare professionals? How can they possibly do their very best by you, if you don't want to let them know whats important in your life for your health management?

I love my HCPs, all 3 of them, and would never say anything bad about them. If I have an issue with a decision they have made for me, I will tell them straight up, so it never even makes it to my blog. So me? I'm happy to be an open book. I think if you want the best from your healthcare professionals, you have to let them into your life. If you lie and hide your true feelings about your health, they can only help you based off that misinformation, and that's not going to help you. Respect that they have spent years studying how to help you, don't waste that.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Double Trouble

For the past week Lewis has been angrily beeping at me from deep within my underwear drawer (buried in between my bras and socks, hoping to muffle the noise). As my Private Health Insurance is just about to kick in, I was given the opportunity to trial an Animas Vibe pump (Whom I nicknamed Bastille; a name that I have decided to call my future obese cat) and the new Dexcom CGM before making my final decision.
Lewis & Bastille
For starters, I think its necessary to point out that I am on an older version of a Medtronic pump. The new one has features on which I cannot yet comment, like the capture event menu, which I did add to my list of pros for Medtronic anyway, because it sounds awesome. Similarly Animas have the Diasend food database which I didn't use whilst trialing, and it sounds awesome as I can never ever ever remember the carb counts to anything, even foods I eat everyday. Except kit Kat Chunky's. Those are worth 36gm or 44gm carb for the king size ones. Guess who eats too many Kit Kat Chunky's?

I also think its necessary to disclaim that I was only given the loaner pumps for the purposes of seeing which one I want for realsies now my PHI can't money-suck aimlessly anymore; not for rambling reviews. Which I will do anyway.

Be warned, this is a large slice of blog-pie. You can find the fat-free (condensed) comparison list below:
Pros and Conning it!
The short version of my comparison - because the long version really is long

I have lived with a Medtronic pump for the last 8 months. It would be an understatement to say I was a little bit emotionally attached to Lewis. So bear with me as I try to see clearly through my rose-tinted glasses. Originally as I was trying to decide on my loaner pump it all ended up coming down to 1 major point for each - Animas was waterproof. Medtronic wasn't. Medtronic had CGM. Animas didn't. CGM won because I was more interested in getting a better HbA1c than going swimming with my pump.

I also thought the Medtronic pump was just that little bit easier on the eyes. In saying that, now that I've had the Animas for a week I'm beginning to think its rather a little cutie, and am confused at my earlier thoughts that it was an uggasauras. Although I have got the plain black one, and I do still think the green version of Animas is reminiscent of one of the many cane toads that used to inhabit the toilet at our farmhouse when I was younger.

I'm already set up for Enlite CGM with Medtronic, having taken advantage of their recent 'Oh-crap-animashavecgmnow-eeeep-competitors' promotion. My 1st experience with Medtronic was more than disappointing, with the ISIG dropping out completely after only 4 hours of use.  Medtronic CGM drops out a lot. Maybe its to do with the extra-long showers that I intend to indulge in, but I am forever having to 'Find Lost Sensor'. The Animas Dexcom on the other hand hasn't dropped out at all. Of the 2 Animas Dexcom is easiest to insert, with a simple push down, click, pull up inserting mechanism. I think the insertion mechanism might be the reason why I had a bent cannula with my 1st Medtronic Enlite sensor, it is much more complex to use and can only be done on a super flat surface or it fails miserably. The graphs for both CGM's are much of a muchness; Medtronic wins me over by the smallest fraction, as you can scan backwards through your graph to see the exact readings every 5 minutes, whilst Animas only shows the overall graphs. Neither CGM stands up well for night-time tracking and I fought hard to try to calibrate both for correct night-time readings to no avail. CGM are really only good for trend tracking, not spot-on readings. I found with the Enlite CGM that the less calibrations I did, the more accurate it was. For the Dexcom I need to do more calibrations to keep it accurate.

CGM costs a pretty penny either way, but Medtronic wins hands down in the price department, especially if you take part in the current $375 starter kit option. Basically you get 5 sensors, serter, transmitter & charger for the price of only 5 sensors, but I don't know how long it is running for. Replacement sensors cost $375 for a box of 5. Animas costings are at $440 for a box of ?5, and you have to buy start up for setting up cost of approx $1000. They are also doing deals at the moment, but I'm not positive on what they are.

About 75% of the time that I am actually using my pump (i.e, the hands on part) is when I am bolusing. Medtronic has the quick bolus button that incorporates their bolus wizard. You can basically access it in 1 click. For me this is definitely a big consideration. I'm lazy. To bolus with the Animas Vibe you have to go in through the main menu and it is a little bit harder to navigate. For example the 2 hour post-meal BGL reminder for the Medtronic is selected before you confirm bolus, whereas with Animas you bolus 1st and then select to give the 2 hour reminder, which so far means I am accidentally putting my pump away during bolus delivery and then having to bring it out again to remember to say yes to reminder. Animas pumps bolus faster than Medtronic, which seems to mean more efficient insulin use via absorption. The other day I successfully ate a piece of banana bread and ended up on 7.5, which I have never been able to do with my Medtronic. Supposedly this faster bolus delivery can 'sting' (They have an option to change it to a slower speed to combat this) but I haven't felt any pain so far. I generally don't bolus more than 6u at a time. Animas have the quick option to cancel a bolus in progress, which is a feature I love. There have been a few instances where I have realised that I have overbolused, and being unable to cancel, have had to deal with the resulting hypo. Its a very 'safe' feature.

In the past week I have seen 2 movies in theaters (Warm Bodies, which I recommend and Oblivion, which I don't recommend) and the bright, colourful screen of the Animas pump was very apparent in this situation. I was able to illuminate and read the carb count off my chip packet using the light cast off from the pump screen. Medtronic has a green back light with black writing. In terms of screens I love the Animas. So pretty to look at and much bigger writing for those with sight difficulties.

Reservoir sizes don't make much of a difference to me as I use a max of 40u total per day.Medtronic have 2 reservoir sizes at 180 or 300 units which could cater to people with more insulin resistance (or those who shovel down the carbs by the bucketful). Animas have a happy medium at 200. The Animas reservoirs are a little poorly designed in that the needle used to take insulin from your cartridge is too long, and you are unable to get the last 5 or so units into the reservoir without a lot of fiddling about. On the other hand they seem to allow less air bubbles into the reservoir.

Both pumps are amazing and I have enjoyed them both immensely. I will be happy with whichever I choose in the end (oh damn, decision time!). They each have individual characteristics for different people and everyone's individual needs and wants. 

If I had to sum them up in 1 sentence each:

Medtronic is easier to navigate and very user friendly, with a more cost effective CGM and possibly aimed at lazier of the Type 1 species.

Animas has lots of safety features (such as waterproof, cancel bolus, and you have to confirm everything you do) and would suit younger children and those who are very visual in their methods.
I took Bastille into the shower. And went low. So my guess is I probably dont need it in the shower then anyway.