Blog Entries With Tag: Animas


Posted: Feb 4, 2015

I'm hooked on you … despite it being out of pocket … I can’t resist the urge to push the button of Bowie, my Dexcom receiver to see how I’m doing.  It’s slightly addictive in away.  I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Another friend of mine, Sarah who lives here in Montreal, and just started pumping for the first time, lucked in on getting approval for the Animas Vibe (unlike myself where I didn’t).  The odd thing, she still has to pay for the sensors, but it’s much less expensive than going the route I will be with averaging about $5K a year with the stand alone system  that I have (which as I wrote earlier – was a “gift” from an islet cell recipient who no longer needs it.

So far the first sensor that I’d placed on my abdomen on December 22nd, 2014 remained working faithfully away until I pulled it off on January 22, 2015. 

Then Sarah questioned me about skin health under our sensor/tape that was holds the sensor/transmitter it in place. I thought, why take a chance, bad things maybe happening underneath and removed the sensor despite it still working. You'd never know anything was on my skin, and I hadn't seen what the sensor bit looked like (I only knew it was width of hair strand).  So cool - it's a piece of metal (anyone reading this - saying ... duh - didn't she know this from the start ... uhmmm no - I just jumped in with my eyes closed when I started using the Dexcom ... no educator ... just did it my way like I have done with the insulin pump).

I am really enjoying this experience with the Dexcom while it lasts.  It is giving me the complete picture of how I am using my insulin, how stress, etc. can affect my blood sugars.  I mean, I always knew why things went up and down with my blood sugars, but never saw the complete picture to fully understand it, but the trend graph doesn’t lie.  Or at least so far it hasn’t.

I’m looking forward to giving this a go when I start to finally get the courage to start working out with more intensity.  In the past, I’ve been having problems sticking to an exercise routine because I’ll be all gun hoe, then I crash either before or during the exercise period.  That’s because I was not using my insulin correctly!  I’ve done a few basal tests, which the CGMS helps (I can actually sleep through the night time one – which in the past meant getting up every hour).

Again, like the insulin pump, YOU are the brains behind how this device works.  It does have a set low alarm, which sadly in the beginning was going off a lot, due to my having the incorrect basal settings for overnight.  I’ve now got my basal settings for the night at my happy zone (I like to be between 5-6.5 mmol/l or 90-120 mg/dl). One thing I find with the Dexcom, is when it warns you are starting to go low. If you treat it right away with the correct amount of carbs (I prefer apple juice during the night) – I no longer wake up with a high reading like I used to.  Nipping it early in the bud makes a big difference, or at least it does for me.

Near the third week of my first sensors life I had it taped up with various items to keep the sensor from coming off (I found the weight of the transmitter could literally make it fall off if I didn’t have it secured on this way).  I found Bioclusive transparency patches that I use for my infusion sets from time to time. which I had cut a hole in the center on the second week, works the best as you see in the picture below (note the grey area off to the right of the sensor - is old adhesive from surgical tape that just didn't work).

Originally I had the sensor on my stomach which is the only place that Dexcom recommends you putting it on (it was tested for use on stomach only according to their manual).  I’ve read of many other people placing it in other spots, which still give them good results.  Arms, thighs, back side, even the breast.  Women who have placed the sensor there say they find it less in the way.  When it came to my 2nd sensor, I was game at the time to try it, but then I chickened out at the last minute. Instead I placed it just below where the band of my bra is, and initially it hurt like heck when the introducer needle put the sensor in (I felt like screaming, then got a slight case of feeling light headed) – but that quickly passed.  I’m now approaching my 3rd week – and it’s actually holding up much better in this area, with tape not lifting up at all.

I’m still on the fence post about wearing the Dexcom during my upcoming holidays.  Whether I pack a replacement transmitter with me for the time I’m away is still something I’m not sure about.  I either take my chance, or hope my sensor lasts thru’ the weeks holidays, or when it dies; I just go without it for a few days until I get back home.

Dang, I’ve kind of fallen in love with Bowie (sorry – had to give my CGMS yet another name … remember … he’s part of the gang that hang around with me 24/7 --- Ziggy (Animas Ping) – and my One Touch blood meter … Stardust.

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Posted: Dec 24, 2014

As I suspected, the basal settings that I’ve got overnight on my insulin pump Ziggy are a wee bit too much.  A month ago, Animas Canada sent a CDE over to see me (also a pump wearer) – to go over my settings in my pump program as I was having issues with high blood sugars with menopause.

Psst - if you want to see a full size of above to see descriptions - go to this link - sorry Diabetes1.org doesn't allow me to load up larger pics

I actually didn’t get going on the pump until about 3 weeks after seeing her, when I decided to get off MDI (I go back / forth between pumping and MDI).  After 2 weeks of battling lows at night, tweaking basal settings, I lucked in on getting the DEXCOM G4 (see my day before blog on this).

As I went to bed last night, I started seeing the trend going down and put the pump into temporary basal setting.  A few hours later, alarms started,  (freaking out the cat under the sheets – she likes to cuddle up to me at night) – DH … slept right thru’ like a baby (which is usual <lol>).  At that point, because I’m a smart kitty kat, I “lowered” my basal setting abit more.

Little did I know, in my hypo state, I was actually INCREASING!!!

So, here I was dipping in the upper 2ish mmol/l (40 mg/dl) range and thinking – “wow – this is the greatest things since sliced bread” and “no wonder I’ve been tired so much lately, I’ve been sleeping through all of these lows that are alarming”.

Come 0600, with alarming / vibrations almost every ½ hour … I decided in my infinite wisdom to lower the temporary basal setting ….  and when I looked at the history of the basal’s … BING … I’d increased instead of lowered.

Scary stuff – lesson learnt – that sometimes the Hypo Fairy makes me a dumb diabetic – who doesn’t think before they press buttons. 

Overall though, I think this will be a useful tool for me.  If only this tool was available to every diabetic that wants it or even better, if your diabetic clinic/endo could loan you one at a lower cost than what a personal one costs.  I would splash out the cash, with the hopes that insurance might cover part of it.

Sadly, when asking the endo at the Lakeshore hospital that I went to for pre-op earlier iin November – if this was available … no (and neither is Diasend for them to see how you are doing).  The same applies to my other two doctors I see for health concerns.

On the bright side of all this, the Animas CDE has told me of a new young doctor, in my neck of the woods of Montreal that is seeking insulin pump clients.  She said I’d be a good patient to help him learn the ropes, while he’s training with Animas Canada.  I sort of like that idea, and the fact I’ll finally have a doctor that will get what I’m saying when I talk about my insulin pump.

Things are looking good for the New Year for … Ziggy … Stardust … and _______________ fill in blank for name of Dexcom D4 (if you can think of a neat name – let me know).

So, now I’m going to slink away from the desktop, get cracking on my visitors arriving today (ehgads the house is a mess), and I’ll see you all in the New Year (have promised myself and visitors I will not work during the holidays … easier said than done, but I’ll try my best).

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Posted: Dec 23, 2014

... my new Animas One Touch PING (I think of the game ping pong with that name) insulin pump that I started on yesterday aka Ziggy and his side kick Stardust - the OneTouch meter remote (no more lifting my skirts up to reveal my knickers to the world when I want to do a bolus).  

It will take abit of getting used to how much blood Stardust uses compared to Limoncello - my FreeStyle Lite (who will remain as my standby for days I can't squeeze out large droplets of vampire blood.

I had wanted to change to the Vibe, which has the CGMS option on it's screen which is an extra $200 (the PING is $6,995).  I paid for it on my credit card that is allowing an extra 1 year warranty on it on top of the 4 year warranty you get with the pump (having had previous probs with the 2020 - I wanted to ensure I had 1 extra year more).  I'm one smart cookie aren't I?  Well, you won't think so after reading the following.

Laws here in Canada do NOT allow you to change your mind once you've purchased a pump ... even if the box isn't opened - live and learn - or move to US of A - where you have better consumer protection - from some of the thread discussion I've read on forums.   

So, tonight - it's installing a Dexcom G4 sensor - the transmitter and receiver was given to me by islet cell transplant - who now insulin free (whoo! whoo!)  from Alberta.   I may continue to use it out of pocket once the Christmas present of box of sensors that my Animas rep gave to me (ususallly a box of 4 will set you back $340 for a month supply - cha ching) - runs out.

One thing I am finding out about the Dexcom ... after reading/watching the videos on their site.  They keep on telling you that ... the CGMS does not replace your blood meter ... that whatever your CGMS tell you - that you should go with what your finger prick #BGNow number is.  This is one thing I did not realise when looking into the CGMS.  I knew a blood test had to be done a few times a day - but not some of what I came across at this link.  Therefore, you still have to purchase perhaps as many blood test strips as you had before, in order to stay in a good BG zone.

So, between testing still with the finger sticks as some of us call them - and then to justify the the $7K yearly cost is abit scary (like buying a used car every year as my DH put it to me - men are so practical when it comes to justifying a purchase).   Thank goodness for DTC here in Canada as well, but we have yet to see how much we can claim since I was approved a few years ago ... it's sitting down ... pulling out past income taxes, etc. etc.  aka - we'd rather be sailing - than crunching numbers.  Though my DH says he'll keep on working as long as he has to for affording these items - but the rotten thing is ... he's able to retire next year after 35 years. 

GUILT!!!

Can you tell that I feel so guilty that my DH has to work longer due to my diabetes at times?  That shows you how much someone loves you when they give up their retirement plans for you (his are sailing around the world - but you never know - maybe we'll be able to do it).

So, here's to the next adventure with devices from Animas .... 

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Posted: Jul 29, 2014

Well, recently that hash tag statement went abit wild on Twitter and other social media areas.  Mainly I think due in fact to Ms. Idaho’s recent win – and showing off her insulin pump proudly (wonder if she has a name for hers like I have always done with my pumps?).

This past weekend I was sailing with some friends on Jenna’s Journey.  I decide to be brave, and show off my pump after I’d had a splish splosh in the water (I no longer wear my Animas 2020 aka George Michael in water due to trying to keep him functioning as long as I can, as he no longer is under warranty).

So, viola …. here I am poising with him clipped onto me after I came back on board (well – clipped back on about 1 hour later I REMEMBERED that I had to reengage him).  I know …. Bad, bad, bad.

One thing though, since having that picture taken.  George has taken a few dives of his own.  Off my body.  I’ve been using a longer infusion tube (36”) due to the fact I can stick him into my pockets of my button up front dresses, skirts, pants.  He’s easier to access to do calculations, etc.

Well, long tubing means, when he takes a dive, he goes plunk onto the ground.  For the picture above, I only clipped him on temporarily, but after that he was sitting "snug" under my rash guard, until I did something that made him plop out).  Twice on the weekend he went clunk, OUCH, onto the gel coat of our sailboat.  It sounded HORRIBLE.  I thought for sure I had killed him!!!

Of course, I examined him like I would a real life baby, checking for any cracks, etc.  Trying not to tickle him.

And to top it all off, last night, I remember having one dream of dropping him, and the casing cracking.  I think I woke up to that pretty startled, realised I was dreaming, went back to the land of nod.

A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Dorothy E. Russell. Introduction and notes by Blanche E. Weekes  ©1928 by The John C. Winston Co.

So, just now, after having done an infusion change (with a 23” tubing for a change of pace).  I’ve now dressed him all up in one of the skins I’ve gotten over the years at Friends For Life events in Canada.  If he ever takes another plunge, at least he’s got that protection.  Much like we have for our mobile phones.

Oh – and notice – I’m back in reduced basal mode again?  This seems to be a common thing with me lately even with my weight gain, which should be reverse, you would think I need MORE insulin. Thank goodness for being able to do that with a pump as well as SUSPEND.

Now, if only I could get a royal blue colour for him …… Animas Canada ….. are you reading this?  Hint! Hint!

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Posted: Sep 29, 2013
                            Ahhh the fashions in 1970

How many of us have been designated drivers?  As a diabetic, amongst my friends when I was younger, I would normally be the one a) that had a car (and could afford the gas/insurance); and/or b) didn’t drink to the point of total obliteration of the mind.  So, after having a good time, piling into the car to head back home (for more partying sometimes) – I would make sure that my friends were okay  - glass of water – few aspirins – then be on my way home if I wasn’t staying the night.

Sigh, the responsibilities of being a diabetic when your friends aren’t (I think we younger diagnosed diabetics have to grow up faster sometimes than our nondiabetic mates).  To some of you, it may seem like we miss out on all the fun – but in away – I never felt I did (well – hey I did indulge from time to time –I mean I’m no saint).  The main thing, I could remember EVERYTHING the next day, they couldn’t, and the stories I could relay to their kids today would be such a hoot - but I won't - don't worry.

The other day, a friend of mine, who immigrated to Quebec about 10 years ago, that I’ve known since the age of 7, called me up, inviting me over for coffee and cake (ohhh homemade cake .. NOT - they don't like to cook <lol>).  I actually hear and see less of them than when we lived further apart.  Their life is complicated (whose lie isn't?) – and boy oh boy – that could make for a whole other blog – but that’s their story to tell if they can write honestly.

At the time, I knew I had 4 units of insulin remaining in George Michael (my Animas 2020 insulin pump –still going strong into his 2nd year of being out of warranty – hope I don’t jinx him here by saying that).  I figured that I’d be okay – my BG (blood glucose/sugar) was acting stable that day (5.1 mmol/l – 92 mg/dl) – so I knew I’d not need to correct with multitudes of insulin if I went high – even with coffee and cake.

I stayed for an hour – chatting up on what had been happening in their life over the last 3 months (boy oh boy – what a soap opera).  Then Monsieur George went into ALARM mode – FEED ME NOW!!   No biggie, and I guess for some of you reading this, you’re thinking “why didn’t she bring back up? She preaches this to all of us!!”.  Well, I forgot, plain and simple.  I also knew, that going without insulin for less than an hour would not be the death of me (not like my DKA experience back in August – 6 hours without insulin – NOT GOOD).

So as I attempted to leave (hey –they like to talk – yap yap yappity yap) – my friend was reminiscing about the times I had been low (Hypoglycemia / low blood glucose).  If I could have captured the look on their face – of how I looked to them when I was “drunk” with a low – PRICELESS.  It was something that I forgot about – that they’d probably seen me that way many times over the past 45+ years – and it was actually kind of neat that they would remember those details – and I was seeing how I looked in their eyes. 

They work for a dentist – who is a Type 1 diabetic.  They told me that they had asked their boss – incase the he went low – where did they kept their insulin, etc.  The dentist was reluctant at first to tell them where it was kept in his office but in the end told them. That’s when my brakes came to an abrupt screech – and I said. 
Car braking hard 
“ You would have given them insulin when they’re low?  That’s the last thing you should be doing – they will go even lower!!! "

It actually freaked me that my friend, who is a Dental Assistant, who has known me for so long, would consider giving insulin to someone in that state - and would they know how to test their BG properly to access the situation?

I once again put on my “educators” cap like I seem to be doing alot lately when I'm out on the town – hoping that the simple explanation I gave to them, will ensure that any diabetic that they come across in future, that either may be going low or high (Hyperglycemia / high blood glucose/sugar).  I’m hoping it retains in their noggin’ – because obviously knowing me for so long – they still don’t get it (like my Mum who thinks apple juice is sugar free).

It also proves to me – why many of us are so anal about our control – and taking care of ourselves – rather than others (even “trained” nurses in a hospital – and I speak from experience).  We know what works best for us – and hope that we don’t get into the situation where we need someone to assist us – without full knowledge of what to do.

NB:  When I got back home after picking up a few groceries along the way - I was reading 8.1 mmol/l - l46 mg/dl.  Infusion change - fresh juice of life in my pump - back to regular programming!

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Related posts:

Are you really hypo unaware?  |  Edmonton man denied insulin for 20 hours  |  The Brain Battle  |  She’s got legs and she knows how to use them (the semi-Fashionista and her pump)!  |  It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year ... NOT!  |  Shame on Johnson & Johnson / Animas  |  REMOVAL – clinical trial for T1D's in UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Netherlands  |  Riding thru' the mountains of the Adirondacks  |  My Porky Pig fingers are tired  |  Smooth sailing with CATSCA / TSA
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