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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”?
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Tags: diary (1) insulin (1) Twitter (1) sugar (1) blood (1) Lite (1) Freestyle (1) Abbott (1) InsuLinx (1) meter (1) BG (1)
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Posted: Apr 12, 2012
My morning blood sugars (BG) lately haven't been making me happy. It's probably due to many factors in my life right now - hormonal changes due to perimenopause, weight gain due to probably the happy pills that I'll soon be weaning myself off (with my doctors blessing of course - never EVER just suddenly go off of them like a friend of mine did last month - they've turned into a bit of a fruit cake in my books - and usually I love fruit cake).
So, yesterday I decided, enough is enough. Have to do the basal test overnight - which means - having a good BG to start off with before proceeding with it - not having given any insulin within the last 5 hours prior to starting the test. Along with every 1-2 hour - you wake up to test your BG to see how the basal rate is doing that you currently use (this works for both MDI (multile dosage injections) and folks who can afford the fancy gadget of an insulin pump. I'm a pumper, for now, until it dies as I no longer have a warranty on my pump, and cannot afford to shell oout $8K for a brand new one.
So, here I am, all set to go, have read up on how to do it in ten easy steps from John Walsh's book - Pumping Insulin - and I hit a brick wall. I had just taken insulin for my evening coffee earlier as well as a correction (was 7.2 mmol/l / 130 mg/dl at the time). Well, as I'm about to start the test and my BG is in the "good range" (not over 8.0 mmol/l / 144 mg/dl) - I realise that darn bolus a few hours has now cancelled my plans - as you have to be free of residual insulin in your body for 5 hours to do the test. SCREAM!!!! The one free day where if I have to lose sleep due to the basal test is now not possible.
Instead, what did I do you are asking? Since I am getting fed up with waking to 10 mmol/l / 180 mg/dl plus highs in the morning. I skimmed through a few more pages of John Walsh's book - and decided to bite the bullet - and raise my overnight basal rate by 10%. He suggests 5% - but due to my laziness - and not wanting to go into the few settings I have set up for overnight basals and change them manually (I have a total of six different basal settings believe it or not) - I just decided to wing it like I usually do and set a temporary basal on George Michael and had to start off at 10% as he doesn't allow anything lower then that. The good thing is that I did wake up this morning with a reading of 4.5 mmol/l / 81 mg/dl.
You have to remember, I'm self taught on how to use my pump - with only a 4 hour training course in the Fall of 2008 - where the CDE said - "you know how to do it since you've been doing the same thing with MDI". Great - I'm a wanna be CDE - NOT - but at this point in time - I wish the endo that I saw last year would have taken me on as her patient. She understood insulin pumping unlike my current endo who just sees me for my A1C and info that I give to him in the diabetes area due to the work I do. This endo had a team that you can call up - instead of seeing her in person via a long awaited appointment (it took 6 months to see her). She said she wouldn't take me as a new patient - since I'm in such good control (though at the time she said my A1C of 6% was dangerously low - that comment from her made me wonder about her at the time). So, it's just me, myself and Irene and the rest of the D-OC (diabetic online community) that I go to for advise - which really - isn't that bad - but sometimes it would be nice to have a doctor who understood insulin pumping.
So, now, after licking my lips and consuming a frozen Michelina's dinner (I was having a low - maybe due to the basal change - who knows?). I am silently feeling guilty at the 48 grams of carbs this small frozen dinner (Parmesan Bacon Linguine). I never eat that many carbs in one sitting - and it's only lunch time!! So, now is the time I would love to post some things about feeling guilty - since that was the topic of the DSMA discussion last night on Twitter! LOL
Alright, off to test my BG - see where I stand (my pump prior to eating said not to bolus due to low BG reading). I will do my best to correct the spike(s) that maybe occurring with this guilty meal I consumed (and thankfully - there are no more frozen meals in the freezer - where this one came from - I'll never know - but it was there - pleading with me to eat it).
Basal testing, carb ratio, insulin on board, low blood sugars .... all these things that "normal" folks don't have to think about when they have a functioning pancreas that didn't decide to pack it's bag for a long holiday 45 years ago - without filling me in on the details of what blow up water floaty to pack in my bag - so I could join them!!!
Ahhh the roller coaster ride of diabetes!
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Tags: Twitter (1) DSMA (1) MDI (1) pump (1) insulin (1) basal testing (1) carbs (1)
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Posted: Mar 22, 2012
I met up the other night with a T1D who has had diabetes as long as I have. She had contacted me through Tudiabetes (and I found out she follows me in Twitter as well). She wanted information on insulin pumping (she’s still on the wall about being hooked up to a “machine”) and had come to Tudiabetes to find out more and found me there. I don’t blame her with feeling this way, about going onto a pump, since I was the same when my friend Harold had kept on egging me into trying out a pump, despite my having good results with MDI (Multiple Dosage Injections). So, I told her to take the plunge, just for the experimental bit (she's got really good work coverage for the pump - that it makes me envious of her). We’ll see what happens, as it is difficult to break out of your comfort zone after so many years of being MDI (for myself – it was 41 years of MDI – before going onto the pump. I had never intended to purchase - I was pretty adamant about not being wired up to a pump (and as I told her - now in Canada we have the Omnipod which is a tubeless pump).
What was so amazing is that I have this feeling that folks that have been on the juice of life (aka insulin) for so long - somehow age gracefully. She looked like she was in her 30's (she had a laugh at this but I’m not lying!!). One thing she taught me, which was new to me, I didn't realise that gastroparesis was part of the neuropathy problem related to diabetes! She's on the a “semi-Dr. Bernstein diet” - but due to some of the foods you are supposed to eat with his way of eating - they don't sit well with her gastro - but she does try to eat no more than 100 grams of carbohydrates a day.
The other great thing she showed me was that she is now using the Freestyle InsuLinx blood meter .... that I'd blogged about last year. There's a few things about it that she doesn't like - and technical support seems abit iffy (it's still new here in North America and even I had trouble getting my questions answered when I was doing research on it for my blog). I personally found the screen difficult to read when she was showing it to me - and Joan from Cornwall in my blog I wrote - had said the same thing - so hopefully that will be changed over time (e.g. make the screen similar to my Animas pump screen). Still, it's a great device to use to keep track of your insulin coverage, blood sugars, similar to what a pump does, without the expense OR tubing.
I can’t wait to meet up with her again since I rarely get to meet up with T1D’s in person – especially here in Montreal (remember – T1D’s are only 10% according to word of mouth – as I can’t seem to find any concise statistics – even at WHO website or NDIC).
Oh, and because of the way she looks - I today used Equal in my coffee (yes - the chemical stuff that I have for so many years refused to use). She was quite surprised that I used sugar in my coffee when I met up because she thought I was a good diabetic. Good? Moi. Never - I live on the edge .... in my mind!
So, I’m on a high today (not in the BG (blood sugar) area – woke up to 4.6 mmol/l – 83 mg/dl) after meeting up with my new friend here in Montreal (hoping I did not scare her off with my overzealous ways)!!!
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Tags: gastroparesis (1) BG (1) blood meter (1) Freestyle InsuLinx (1) NDIC (1) WHO (1) Dr. Bernstein (1) insulin (1) MDI (1) insulin pump (1) Omnipod (1) Twitter (1) Tudiabetes (1)
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Posted: Jul 21, 2010
If you are not doing anything around 21h00 EST (9:00 p.m.) on a Wednesday night then come on out and chat up a storm with other PWD's (people with diabetes) in the D-OC (diabetic online community). I've personally never taken part in something like this before (not big on chat rooms) - so for me - it's going to be an interesting experience! Tonight will be the premiere night (no glamourous outfits required) - and it will only take up 1 hour of your time.
UPDATE: Fifteen minutes to go for the 1st Wednesday session of #dsma (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy) - didn't know about this - now I do - and am passing it onto you/vous - just go to the following link and you'll be in with the rest of us Twitty Birds - http://tweetchat.com/room/dsma
Photo by ZigZagCat at Photobucket
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Posted: Apr 12, 2010
As most of you know from my scribbles yesterday, I've been having some issues with my blood sugars (BG's) lately. To the point that on the Sunday I was close to going to ER due to high blood sugars in the 400 mg/dl (22 mmol/l). On the advise of some of my online PWD's (People With Diabetes) - I went to my pharmacy to pick up some Chemstrips UGK to measure the amount of ketones in my system. For diabetics, ketones in the blood makes it more acid and is poisonous to the brain if left undected for too long (coma and death can happen - ugh). I've been thru' Ketoacidosis as a teenager where I slipped into a coma. Not fun at all for either myself or my family. So, with the way my blood sugars have been lately, I was scared to the point of running around like a chicken without it's head on, but I stayed "somewhat" calm.
The short and the sweet of it. I'm now back to normal. Went to bed with 270 mg/dl (15 mmol/l) and woke up (didn't sleep well of course) with 74 mg/dl (4.1 mmol/l). Still it's going to be a waiting game, as I've not been MDI (multiple doseage injecting) for the past 3 years since being on the pump. Like I did with the insulin pump, I'm relearning how to keep my BG's in control via needle injections - compared to my pump which had all the calculations for IOB (insulin on board), I:C (insulin to carb ratios), and some of the other goodies that help make insulin pumping in my opinion a "slice of cake". In my case, I wasn't sure if I was having issues with scarring due to infusion sites, so decided to take a pump break.
I called up my GP's office this morning to discover she does not have any available appointments until .... July!!! Three months from now. I explained the situation - only suggestion they gave to me - " come into the clinic ". Clinics are my last resort, having to go thru' your history with a GP that doesn't know you, been there, done that. Next option was my Endo, this is where I lucked in, cancellation on Thursday. I'll have to work something out with my clients for that day, but as you're all probably saying ... "Your health comes first".
So, for now, as I finish this up, I feel my BG's coming down. I probably overdosed in the NovoRapid for my breakfast (yes - I had a normal breakfast of toast/PB/OJ - oh joy). Off I go to test, report my results on Twitter and the other areas that I report my daily roller coaster ride with diabetes.
UPDATE: Just Tweeted this - #bgnow 13.2 | 238 So much for thinking I'm low.Either I:C ratio or basal rate is not correct with MDI.Used to work with pump :S #diabetes
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Tags: BG (2) down (1) come (1) MdD (1) Luck (1) Daily (1) clinics (1) diabetes (1) first (1) health (1) Montreal (1) Chemstrips (1) Glucose (1) Ketones (1) Ketoacidosis (1) Endo (1) carb (1) I:C ratio (1) NovoRapid (1) Twitter (1)
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