Blog Entries With Tag: sugar


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: 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: Oct 6, 2013

I recently watched the season opener of the Fifth Estate (a show similar to 60 Minutes on USA television) – about the evils of sugar and what it is doing to the populations health around the world (it’s effects on diseases like diabetes to cancer and Alzheimer’s to name just a few).

It was interesting for the most part – it opened my eyes up abit to what sugar does in the breakdown in our bodies (liver – wow does that take the brunch of access sugar).  My only concern was how it was made that sugar is EVIL – that we should really avoid it all together.   That’s not possible.

 

Sugar is in in everything we eat – it’s either added – or its part of the natural structure of the item we are about to gobble down.  I do believe in reducing my sugar intake but for myself that’s mainly for my being a diabetic (and no – the type I have is not brought on by eating sugar or being overweight - SCREAM – the amount of times I’ve had to explain this to people).  My Type 1 diabetes is all to do with my autoimmune system destroying my pancreas which produces insulin, a hormone that enables the human body to get energy from food.   Capiche?

What I wasn’t aware of when watching this show – that the American government over the past 5 years has been trying to persuade food manufactures to show more information on their food labels as to the “percentage” of sugar – just like  it shows for Fats, Salt.

In the USA, there are no government recommended limits for sugar but the American Heart Association recommends 9 teaspoons (45 ml) for men, 6 (30) for women.  Meanwhile, USA lawmakers are trying to make information on sugar consumption clearer. ”

To me – this makes sense – if you want to have a more informed population of what they are putting into their guts.  As we diabetics all know – especially those of us who match our insulin injections to our food intake – we scrutinize the food label like it’s a mystery novel!  Or at least I know I do. 

 
Not only, what is shown on the food label, but also the ingredients that are listed on the food label – make a big difference to what I purchase and put on our table to eat.  And we always hope that what is shown on the label is truthful (even more so for those with food allergies – which could result in death).

So, would looking at the percentage of sugar on the product you’re about to purchase make a difference to you?  Or would it just be another time consuming factor in your grocery isle experience?

Personally for myself, even though I try to cook from scratch most of the time, yes, it would help determine my reason for buying a product to consume!

 

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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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