Blog Entries With Tag: T1D


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: Jan 27, 2015

I came across a story called Midnight Three and Six on The New York Times website today.  I am utterly floored by the short documentary that accompanies the article.  It's llike looking at myself (and maybe you will feel the same) in the same story line.  This is how many of us live our lives. Though for some of us, I know for myself, it's just always been what I do having had Type 1 diabetes for so long.

The documentary shows a Mum’s efforts to manage her 15 year old daughter Grace's daily struggle with a life-threatening condition.  It is something we can all relate to, and watching this made me abit teary eyed at times.  It is the fear of the Mum with her daughter going low at night that really struck me.  Having the Dexcom now, I can relate - annoying at times ... but it's been useful for me to catch the hypo earlier, and not deal with crazy highs the next day if I have slept through it ... or over dealt with fixing it due to panic.

The goal of this documentary is to show others that don't quite understand the difference between Type 1 and 2.  I think it really brings it across very well.

They are hoping to raise funds for Grace to have an artificial pancreas by the time she turns 20.  

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On top of this story I came across one from last week about a 4-year-old in Australia receiving the world’s first artificial pancreas.  Also, Jane Reid, from New South Wales, is going to be fitted with the pump (this may have already occured since the articles publication) making her the first adult to be fitted with the device. 

After 5 years of clinical studies a new insulin pump is now commercially available in Australia for children and adults (wonder when it will be available here in North America?). It can mimic the biological function of the pancreas, stopping insulin delivery when glucose level drops, avoiding a low blood glucose. When glucose level recovers, the artificial pancreas recognises this and resumes insulin delivery. I'm sure that there is still human interaction with this, just like there is with the devices I use, but it's a step in the right direction, despite it being yet again another money "Pharma rules" device that some of can or can't afford.

It's still not the same thing as a "real" pancreas, or a CURE - so the title about this little lad having an "artificial pancreas" is a wee bit misleading.   That's my opinion of course, as I pat Ziggy (my Animas Ping pump) on my left side of my waistband nd my Dexcom CGMS on the other side.

Now isn't he just the cutest little Superman or what????

 Above photo courtesy of http://encomium.ng/

 

NB: For more insight into the discussiion of "artificial pancreas" - check out Craig Idlebrook's post at Insulin Nation

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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: Oct 15, 2014

Have you ever had a heart to heart talk with your pharmacist who delivers your “legal” drugs? I know that a few of my American D-mates only deal with online pharmacies – and I’ve always wondered about that – other than them telling you you’re not covered by your insurance – do you ever have a chat with someone who is wondering why you take the meds you do to maintain your health and knows what your talking about?

While I find the right dose with Synthroid for my thyroid aka Hashimoto disease  (hi yaaaa - karate chop to the head!!!!).  I’ve been requesting my GP to increase my dosage to get myself to a level of TSH that makes me feel happy – and she’s willing to go along with me as I experiment <lol> - which was my reason for my pharmacy visit at Costco today). I decided at the same time to order up some fast acting insulin since I was getting low on my current bottle (I only order up 1 at a time). I use NovoRapid, which I’ve been using for as long as I can remember, whenever it came onto the market (remember – I’ve been thru’ many vials since ’67 – I don’t have the memory to retain all the various types over those years – there’s better things to remember than … which one was I using back in 1984 – and who knows – some of you will remember what you used – me … nope … I just remember my fav bevy … Brador beer from across the river in Hull in the disco days – “ I want action – I got so much to give – I love the night life – I got to boogie “ .....

I paid up for all my goodies (of course – who doesn’t want to throw in a few bottles of test strips – let’s get the party going – whoot! whoot! long live the punctured fingertip). Then the cashier told me that the pharmacist wanted to talk to me before they handed over what I'd just paid for. Hmmm, only time they’ve done that is for a new med. What could it be?

Apparently, the pharmacist couldn’t understand why I had long lasting insulin on my file. I explained the story of George Michael – my Animas 2020 pump – being out of warranty – dying on Dec 31/15  - no longer using him when I went on airline trips with no warranty, etc. and having to resort to using the old – bend over –throw the dart aka needle into your behind like a pro dart player!!! Bull’s eye!!!  Along with my trial with Levemir insulin for my long lasting regime - which I didn't do so well with due to allergic reactions (that was new to her - and she was very interested).

 

All over, it was a very interesting discussion for us both - I learned a few things about her trade - and she too about what I do within the diabetic community aka DOC. She said she only knows what she learned at school about Type 1 diabetes – and talking to me – made her appreciate what we go through – and what works for each of us (no one system works for another person – we are all different with our control of our health).

And with this short little blog – I bid you adieu for the evening – while I prepare to head to Jenna’s Journey tomorrow – to put her to sleep for the winter months on her comfy little cradle that will keep her upright out of the water. It’s been a busy past few weeks getting her prepared for the winter. I am not looking forward to the next 8 months on dry land as you can tell. Sigh – dreaming already of next year’s adventures on her.

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Posted: Jun 28, 2013

Love me - I'm a cow - moo!!Recently I got together with some friends from high school.  Sadly, it wasn’t for a happy occasion, like we have done in the past, but for saying good bye to a good friend of ours, who had battled breast cancer for 5 years, and sadly lost to it, as it invaded their body.   I didn’t realise until last w/e when we got together to raise a glass to her time their time here on planet Earth – that they had become diabetic during those years.   All of you know, from my past blogs and statements I’ve made within the social media …. “ if they’d had diabetes – they would be alive today “.

I found out that many have now become Type 2 diabetes (T2D).  As one of my friends put it – their whole family has it – so they “inherited” it.  I had to hold my tongue back on their statement, as I’m still on the fence post about whether Type 2 is passed on.  I am under the belief that the rise of Type 2 diabetes has a lot to do with how we now lead our lives, such as inactivity, foods that are eaten … the list goes on.

One thing I performed as soon as I arrived at my friend’s house for the good bye party – was test my blood sugar (BG) after the 2 hour drive.  I’m getting better now, as an insulin dependent gal to test before I hit the road.  I pulled out my little Lolita who was interviewed a few years ago otherwise known as my FreeStyle Lite meter.   Of course, they thought this was a nifty little meter (I have cool skins for it).  They thought I was such a good diabetic to be testing my BG, but of course, with wine and food awaiting me, I wanted to make sure I’d be in the good zone (neither going low or high).

One thing that one of my Type 2 Diabetic (T2D) friends told me when we started  talking about my scribbles here at Diabetes1.org and my Facebook/Twitter posts – was how different we feel when we go either low or high.  For myself, I feel tired when I go low, and when I go high, which isn’t too often, I don’t tend to feel much different.  For them, it was going high that made them feel tired.   Maybe being a Type 2 diabetic – the symptoms of our blood sugar number varies?

One of them is using Victoza  – which according to my Mum – her sister uses – and it appears to be working for helping her shed weight/keep BG's balanced BUT apparently she has become lactose intolerant since starting on it.  I asked my friend if he had some of the symptoms that my Aunt has – and they said yes (they love cheese like I do – it’s a low carb food!!!).  It’s hard to say after reading the link above on Victoza if the stomach/bowel problems could be all due to lactose intolerance – since this is a common complaint of many Victoza users.  Therefore, the only way to find out if you are lactose intolerant is to either do it the inexpensive way – of cutting out lactose products – and then reintroducing them OR the more scientific way of knowing for sure – is a hydrogen breath test.  
Picture credit of breath test - Phineas H/Flickr
It’s hard though to really pin it just on the Victoza – since lactose intolerance is also common with osteoporosis, osteopenia, pain, high blood pressure, depression to name a few.

The other scenario –since symptoms are similar is having a wheat and gluten intolerance.   It’s an iffy there as far as self testing goes –as you can tell by this link from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).  

Just remember –anything you read on the Internet – even from me – ALWAYS question your health care practitioner. about what is happening if you’re taking Victoza or have other health problems. Take note of some of the things you’ve read here – and be an advocate of your own health!!  If you don’t ask – you’ll never know.

Hmmm, the things I learn about when I start to research for a simple blog!

Picture of two cows breaking up - from my DairyFreeDream blog site

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