Blog Entries With Tag: InsuLinx


Posted: Jan 12, 2014

I had reviewed/blogged about the InsuLinx made by Abbott and in the forums here over the years – but at the time – I didn’t really know how to use it to its fullest (e.g. downloading the Auto-Assist software  on your PC since  in order to use it 100% you have to connect up via your PC).  So in actual fact – it wasn’t really a true review – and as some of you know – I go in head first (dumb, dumb, dumb) – and HATE READING MANUALS!!!  My beef at the time was that I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the insulin increments to .5.  Luckily a Dmate of mine here in Montreal who saw my Tweet last year – had told me the “how to use it properly”.  At that point I tucked it away as I was planning on going back onto George Michael (GM)  – and went back to my little FreeStyle Lite meter.

Roll forward to December 2013, as I was deciding to take my regular holiday pump break for a month or two or three.   I thought I’d give the InsuLinx a go once again since it has some nifty features that I actually sort of trashed in my forum post above (ouch – can’t take those words back can I?).

Anyway, I "tweeted" about not hearing from Abbott due to a small complaint I have about the visual aspect of viewing the screen in low lighting – even with the battery gobbling backlight feature on.  I heard from fellow Canadian [email protected]_twosix who has had diabetes almost 30 years.  She takes multiple injections like myself – though she tests more than I do (which is good)  – more insight into your overall control (don’t follow my example as an old D-fart girls and boys).

At that point we started corresponding both on/off Twitter (sometimes that 140 character count just doesn’t quite do it for some topics).  She told me she had written a lengthy email to Abbott giving them the pros/cons of their InsuLinx.   We share similar beefs – and hopefully the fantastic email she sent to them about her 6 month test (much longer than my 1 month) plus what she’d like to see improved will be rewarded to users like myself if they take heed.  So come on Abbott respond to Kendra!!!  Or else she’ll take up my other suggestions to get noticed as the squeaky wheel in the fight for diabetes gadgets that work to their fullest!

Comparing the results from GM with the InsuLinx (I have to give it a name eventually don’t I – I mean it’s my BFF?)  made me pretty happy – this time.  After using them side by side for a week prior to my unhooking from GM – the results are pretty comparable - I hadn't been on GM when I'd done my review in the forums last year.  This made a world of difference in comparing the two side by side.  Of course, the suggestions you receive from the meter are dependant on correct programming (best done with medical assistance if you’re new to diabetes).  If you are happy with doing it on your own, like Kendra and myself have done - then great!  You just need the code to access the area meant for professionals (e.g. your endo/GP/CDE).   Originally an RN was supposed to teach me how to use it when I picked it up from the pharmacy - but when she saw I was on a pump - and knew some of the lingo associated with the programming  - she gave me the code (sometimes I think I should have been not so "I know everything" and had her show me through the steps <lol>). 

The amount of insulin required for carbs intake – or correcting a high blood sugar reading were pretty right on because of the matching programs in both of the meter and pump.   It’s like having an insulin pump – without the expense – or being hooked up via tubes, etc.   The only thing is that you can only calculate your insulin dose in .5 increments (whereas with a pump you can do smaller increments).   So far it’s not caused any problems with my going low– that sometimes for someone who is insulin sensitive like myself - can make a big difference.

The few things I find abit annoying about the meter though is the " time out " feature of 15 minutes after you’ve done a blood test (while you sit in the corner after being naughty - wait - I meant to say .. figure out what to cook for dinner - regressing back to childhood - I was an evil child).   If you don’t – then you have to retest if you are wanting to use the calculator to figure out how much to inject.  I hate having to use more test strips or finger prick than I have to.   It’s not happened that often – but when it does - I just get out my calculator or figure it in my sponge brain.  By doing this manual calculation though – I may forget in my haste to take into account the IOB (Insulin On Board) . 

The only thing is with the " time out " – if I do go back to the meter within the 15 minute time frame – the logging of the insulin I take is based on the time I originally took the BG reading in the beginning.  No biggie for me – but for some people – that could be annoying – and not a true reflection of the time factor of their insulin coverage.  Again, for myself, this isn’t a major issue (you should see me with my 3X a day Levemir regime – I don’t exactly take it at 0600 / 1400 (had to think just now – did I take it?? Yes I did) / 2200.  Now in my purrfect world – it would be great if I could log my basal (slow insulin) into the meter as well – so I wouldn’t forget if I took it or not J  So, I just log it into my pretty log book I pick from the Dollar Store.

You can do a weekly review of how you’re meeting your target directly on the itty bitty screen (did I mention I’m an old fart D with aging eyeballs that needs more light, yadda, yadda, yadda).  I have yet to give this a whirl – as I’d not set it up until earlier last week – so I’ll get to see how I’m doing in a few days. 

One thing I know that Kendra had written to Abbott about was entering in your carbs.  It starts off a 15 grams – but for someone who might be eating a meal of say 80 grams – then it’s a bit slow for inputting (or for myself - that 5 ml of raw sugar in my coffee that equals 7 grams).  I had told Kendra that GM has a food data base that you can set up yourself – or download – which many pumpers use.  I personally never used that feature of GM – as I don’t mind entering the numbers in – it keeps my old D fart brain active.  Whether Abbott could put this into the InsuLinx would be an interesting feature – to quicken the time of input.

So yes, it is a little bit larger than the FreeStyle Lite I’ve used for years (Lolita) – but still requires a teeny tiny droplet of blood – that if it’s not enough on the first suck – you can still “fill ‘er up” with more of our vampire juice.

In a nutshell, if you’re Canadian or live in the countries that has the features that Abbot offers in this meter then great - you have it made and it’s well worth giving a try.  Unfortunately, Americans don’t have the exact same thing sad to say, which makes me scratch my head as to “why”?

Squirrel in a nutshell-sorry could not find a cat one :)

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Posted: Jan 4, 2014

Remember the movie with Daniel Lewis - My Left Foot? It was based on a true story about Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy.  Christy could only control his left foot.  

As I started to try to figure out a title for this blog - my British sarcastic humour way of thinking brain - did what it always does - whether it's having a hypo or not ... breasts came into play - just like some of my previous blogs have done.  So I apologise to anyone who thinks I'm making fun of Christy's situation - and now I'll proceed on with the reason I'm posting this blog. 

Oh, and the nipple bit in my title is actually my i-port - which I like to play around with at times (does that make me kinky?) .  Over the past few weeks at get togethers - I've been asked about "why did you go off the pump, yadda, yadda, yadda".  For some reason, I start to feel my "nipple" and tell them the story.  I'm always educating EVERYWHERE I go - with abit of humour in it - and at the same time - telling them that without good control - diabetes is a serious condition to have - that has dire consequences if you don't take care of yourself.

I am loving my i-port - aka "nipple".  Using it for my NovoRapid shots - not worrying about injecting in an area I have already done - and have problems with healing.  This little baby solves everything (to read more about my previous trial with two i-ports - check it out here).

You can inject ONE insulin only into the port - so with my Lantus - I've been injecting the "old fashioned way" (no biggie with a 32 gauge 6mm pen needle).  I have a good fleshy area on my backside which makes for a good dart board practise.  After a few weeks of being off the pump (of course - I chose the holiday season - when there is LOTS of good healthy food around) - I thought I'd give Levemir a try again.

Dartboard with bright coloured needles

Why do a trial with Levemir?  Well, I did try it a few years ago (back in 2009) – but sadly developed an allergy to it – which caused lumps/bumps in the area injected and swelling in areas I didn't want to swell up! I had horrible BG control - it plain freaked me out with all that happened - due to being a bit of a control freak with my diabetes management. 

Fast forward to Dec 2013 – a friend of mine who decided she’d had enough of MDI (multiple dosage injecting) –went onto a pump (lucky person has 100% coverage for EVERYTHING) – oh did I mentioned that they’re in their 70’s – and they are uber techno cool? 

So, they had a box of pen needle vials of Levemir – though I did tell them – keep them incase something goes wrong with your pump.  They detested - being a human dart board for the past 20+ years was enough for them - so I took the vials – thinking maybe another diabetic who needed it could use them before they expired in 2015.  That person now happens to be me - Ms. Guinea Pig!!

Cat waving good byeI said sadly said "bye bye" to George Michael (my Animas 2020 insulin pump) mid-December for what now seems to be a ritual every year at this time for taking a pump holiday.   I started with Lantus originally – getting used to doing the X2 (every 12 hours) shots with the inbetween dart shots of NovoRapid (using the i-port)  for my meals and corrections.   Luckily, the notes I took earlier this year – unlike the previous time – where my record keeping was pretty lame  – the transition this time (who wouldn't get anxiety attacks going off their pump?) is much easier! 

Why did I decide to give Levemir a go again?  I have a T1D mate who I lovingly call the "Insulin Guru" who swears (politely) by this insulin regime of 3X a day (every 8 hours) - and they have an A1C of 4.9% (note - a lower A1C is not my goal - just having level BG's - in my happy zone is all that matters the most to me).  Because that insulin doesn’t work as long as Lantus – they feel splitting it up into 3 shots instead of the usual 2 (or in some cases – people only take their basal insulin once a day – though I wonder about their BG readings over a 24 hour period – IF they do basal testing that is).

The first few days – I was abit unsure if I was doing the right thing.  I took my total Lantus amount – and split it up into 3X – similar to Lantus – where I take more for my AM shot – less for PM shot.  So far, with my hormonal bursts (menopause / period / stress from holidays) – I’m actually not doing too badly.  My corrections with the doses to make sure I’m staying in my happy zone are working out alright.  I have tried to allow at least 3 days before I make any changes.

The one thing that I’m finding as I enter into my 2nd week experiment with Levemir – my BG’s seem to be doing less of the roller coaster ride.  Sadly, Lantus has a reputation of landing those of us who use it – into hypo fairy land – as it has a tendency to peak – and bang – you are low.  One of the reasons I had originally gone onto George Michael was because of the hypos I was having overnight and in the mornings.  Not conducive to work at all!!!  Levemir from the research I’ve done in forums as well as medical discussions with endo’s/CDE’s tends to show that this doesn’t occur with Levemir.  

Yes, you do have to be abit patient when you try any new regime that you may not be familiar with – I won’t lie to you about this.  I won’t lie to you either – that using a pump is way easier as it has the ability to do everything with one insulin – and ability to fine tune your basal requirements.  I’m finding the time to “think” about my carb count – despite the use of the InsuLinx (watch for a new blog on this soon).  I'm still writing in a log book (the meter sadly doesn’t have ability to do this).  So initially, it’s time consuming, but if it’s anything like last years 6 month holiday from the pump – it all becomes easier.  It's like tying up your shoe laces (wait – there’s Velcro for that right?).   

The other aspect of using the Levemir – is being a clock watcher (actually it’s my android that’s my savoir).  Timing of the shots – remembering to test my BG’s a few hours later – it’s getting used to this that is bugging me slightly - but I'm determined to make this work - despite getting up at the ungodly hour of 0600 to do my first Levemir shot - that's too early for this little work at home puss cat (my other shots are at 1400 / 2200 - this is the regime that works for ME that I set up for myself).

On the other side though – that’s good at least to me –

  • not being hooked up to a machine
  • no tubing (fast dressing/undressing - Whoo! Whoo! If you get my drift)
  • Wearing clothing that normally I can’t wear due to have the pump (this may change if I ever progress to a pump that has a remote – but still – depending on where you stuff the pump – it can lead to a bit of a bulge – and sorry – I have enough of those from fat deposits on me already) … I’m so vain ;)

So, how many of you use Levemir - and find taking 3 shots of it a day work for you as well?

 

*** For more discussion on the I-port - feel free to check out the forums at this link ***

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Tags: port (1) Patton (1) InsuLinx (1) holiday (1) pump (1) insulin (1) MDI (1) NovoRapid (1) Lantus (1) Levemir (1)
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Posted: Nov 23, 2011

Freestyle Insulinx

After abit of playing the waiting game with Abbott Canada – then being sent over to Abbott USA – I finally have some exciting info for those of you who maybe are facing the same dilemma as I am – not being able to own an insulin pump.  I learned about this product from Marco Bianchi – who is a CDE at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.  I was Facebooking with him at the time to see if the province of Quebec had finally made the pump program for children legit – which it has – yee!haa!. Sadly, the pump program here in Quebec is only for ages up to 18 – and of course – you know me as an old fart pumping D – I’ll be once again writing to Premier Charest to have ALL age groups allowed to participate in the pump program. In the meantime, I’m preparing myself for the worst case scenario – of not having my faithful companion attached to me.  I searched the internet with the product name he'd given me and low and behold  I came across this press release from May 2011. 

I retire in about 5 years and without medical insurance from the work place, owning a pump will be a pipe dream (sorry - $6K is a lot of money – let alone average of $300/month for supplies). Currently I am covered 100% for pump supplies, the pump itself was 80% covered.  I'd written last year about my going on a pump break for 6 months when I went back to MDI (multiple dosage injecting) – so I know I can do alright with being on needles again.  Still it’s the programming functions of the pump for my I:C (insulin : carb ratio)m I:B (insulin on board) - and other little handy things that my pump has a history of.  Well, this device does that - except - no hook up with an infusion set and at an estimated price of $80 - more affordable for me in the long run.

The only information that Abbott USA (many thanks Gayle) and I could find (we were searching online together while on the phone which was a lot of fun – I was finding the info for the rep ) – was to go the the UK website – where you have a tutorial of what this meter can do for you – as well as other useful information (e.g. you can put your fav pic as your background on your pump – guess what I’ll be having on mine – meow, meow, meow). 

The touch screen meter (reminds me of an I-Phone) has just been released in the USA this past week (though you won't find it on any of their website at this time of writing). It has been available in Canada - but sadly - they have nothing at their website.  I'm interested in what my pharmacist  here in Quebec says when I inquire into it on my next legal drug run to them.

So, for now, go to this link, choose UK if you prefer English (the tutorial dude is so hilarious – trust me – you will fall in love with him).  If you prefer  another language just click on the different countries.  I am not sure when the USA / Canada will have the information linked up correctly – but for now – this is the only way I have of finding out more about the device.  Clicking on the Canada link just takes you to a general page – with no info on this product. 

What do you think?  Is this something that could help you better manage your diabetes?  Are you like me, willing to give it a try?  Hope so, I love being the continual revolving door guinea pig for diabetes products!  Bring it on I say, bring it on!!!  Now, Abbott, if only you'd let me have the device for free!!

NB:  Size of meter is 6.07 cm / 2 3/4 " Width - 9.5 cm / 3 3/4" Length - 1.5 cm / abit under 3/4" Depth

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Related posts:

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