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Friday
Jun062014

The Medtronic 530G Trial - Part 1

Back in January I attended the Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Summit here in Southern California. It was a great time and very informative.

One thing that we learned a lot about was the new pump, the 530G with Enlite. This pump is the first step in an artificial pancreas system because their CGM talks to the pump and will suspend delivery of insulin if your bg drops below a certain number. Cool huh?

I was able to get my little ninja paws on one to check out for a while and I want to tell you all about it. Probably in a few installments.

First I should say that I have been using a Medtronic insulin pump for my entire pumping life. I started with the 722 and then upgraded to the 723 a few years ago. I love my pump. It changed my life for the better and I really love Medtronic and how helpful they have always been.

The 723, better known as the Revel, was super ultra cool because it worked with their CGM. So if you use the Revel pump and the Medtronic CGM the one device would run both things. So you could see your CGM graph on your pump! Now as cool as this was it did not have any sort of control over your pump like the low glucose suspend on the new 530G but it was the first step towards the artificial pancreas.

So I went for it! I got the pump, I got the sensors, I got the training, and I hated it. The pump will still just as great as the 722 was but the CGM was not working for me. And there were three big things that ultimately made me stop using the CGM.

  1. Insertion hurt. Like heck it hurt and heck hurts a heck of a lot let me tell you.
  2. Poor Accuracy. For some reason my CGM numbers would be way WAY off. So much so that I wondered if I didn’t put the sensor in correctly. Until I noticed that all of them seemed to be off no matter what I tried.
  3. Loss of Signal. This was by far the most annoying thing of all. I know I am a big guy. But I am not a planet. If I have the pump in my right pocket and the sensor is on my left side it would lose signal. I don’t wear iron body suits or anything so it makes no sense to me. I made a joke that there needs to be a Medtronic personal satellite orbiting around my fat ass so maybe the signal would get to the pump. Sorry for being so sarcastic but getting a “lost signal” alarm every night is pretty annoying.

So I used Dexcom. And it was great. And it is great. I love it actually. All three of those issues I had with Medtronic were non issues with Dexcom. I know it is another device in my pocket but I figured it was like the reason I buy shampoo AND conditioner. Maybe an “all in one” is not for me right now. No biggie.

There I was pumping away and CGMing with my Medtronic Pump and Dexcom CGM. All was going fine and now this new pump with a new sensor and the low glucose suspend. Would this be a better pump? Would the CGM be less painful, more accurate, and not lose signal? Could this step closer to the artificial pancreas benefit little ole me?

I had to know so I sent in my info to get started on a trial. 

to be continued...

Friday
May162014

Diabetes Life Hacks - DBlogWeek Day 5

Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes.  Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen (scroll to the bottom of this post). Please remember to give non-medical advice only! (Thank you Rachel of Probably Rachel and Kelley of Below Seven for this topic suggestion.)

This prompt seemed like it would be easy for me to write about but so far this has been the toughest to write about. I really cannot think of one diabetes life hack I do or came up with. I am pretty sugar free vanilla I guess when it comes to my diabeetus. 

There is one little hack but it is more about my DOC life. It's how I read blogs. Yeah, this will work.

So, I use a reader called The Old Reader and the reason why is because it allows me to Spritz the posts in my reader. 

If you don't know what Spritz is I would ask you to check it out but clicking on this link and checking out the demo at the top of the page. Anyhow, with Spritz and The Old Reader I can read blog posts a lot faster than before! Like way Way WAY faster! 

I sound like a salesman but I am just a huge fan. Anyhow, this was kind of a meh post for me to end the week on but thankfully DBlogWeek continues through the weekend so I have chance to go out with a bang!

Thursday
May152014

Mantras and More - DBlogWeek Day 4

Yesterday we opened up about how diabetes can bring us down. Today let’s share what gets us through a hard day.  Or more specifically, a hard diabetes day.  Is there something positive you tell yourself?  Are there mantras that you fall back on to get you through?  Is there something specific you do when your mood needs a boost?  Maybe we've done that and we can help others do it too? (Thanks to Meri of Our Diabetic Life for suggesting this topic.)

I'll try again.

Those are the three words I tell myself all the time. For a long time I felt like a diabetes failure because I could never get it right. The fact is that the closest I can get to "right" is not perfect. Diabetes makes sure of that. 

So I try. I try my best every day. Some days I screw up before my first meal. And those days I know I will try again tomorrow to do my best. To bolus correctly and count every single carb. I will try to remember to check my bg before and after each meal and log it. I'll try.

I'll try because if I screw up then I cannot be too hard on myself. I have to give some room for error and mistakes. It happens, pretty much daily for me and giving myself the reminder that I can try again.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand the power of words and the last thing I want to be is a wishy washy type 1 right? So if I keep saying "try" then how will I ever acheive the numbers I want, the a1c my doctor would be happy about, and my weight where I want it?

If every mistake was looked at in failure I would never try anything because I am not perfect.

I WILL try. I DO try. I KNOW if I try I will get closer to where I want to be. I HAVE seen a difference now that I give myself the room to stumble. I CAN try harder. I WON'T give up trying. 

This is what gets me through the rough days and the not so rough ones. It works well for me.

Try it! ;)

Wednesday
May142014

What Brings Me Down - DBlogWeek Day 3

May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)

This is a tough one to write about. Often the things that bring me down regarding my diabetes life change so thinking about which thing to write about turns into a depressing venture.

When I sit down to write I am reminded of diabetes and the complications it can cause because my feet are tingling. I can feel two shoes full of things crawling around and picking at my feet all the time. It is an awful feeling and a constant reminder of how my years of ignoring diabetes was not a two way street. 

Currently my bg is a little high. I can tell because I am so thirsty. I check my bg and I'm right, 209. When I am high I cannot help but wonder what other damage this is doing to me. Do I bolus to get it back down or do a wait to see where I am going? It can be so depressing thinking you finally know your body just to let diabetes mess it all up again. Am I going up or down or??

And then I remembered why my bg is high. I woke up at 5AM with a nasty low. A low blood sugar that I treated to stay alive has now gone past my target and I have ended up high. I try to save myself only to put myself in more danger? The constant back and forth of blood sugar numbers brings me down big time!

Ultimately, the thing that brings me down is the fear of dying too early on in my life. My wife, children, and family have gone through enough turmoil and pain in their short time on this planet and I do not want to be the cause of more.

By the time I was 18 I had lost all of my grandparents, my father, and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Those losses dramatically affected my life. Choices I made and motivations were all shaped around my loved ones lost and my diagnosis. 

Am I going to make my daughter's wedding day a sorrow filled one because I cannot walk her down the aisle? Will my son and his son someday go through this blog to get to know the grandfather he never met? Will my wife remarry and move on once I am gone? What about my sisters and my mother? 

Dying does not scare me. What scares me is what will happen in the wake to my loved ones. 

Tuesday
May132014

Poetry Tuesday - DBlogWeek Day 2

This year, Diabetes Blog Week and TuDiabetes are teaming up to bring out the poet in you! Write a poem, rhyme, ballad, haiku, or any other form of poetry about diabetes. After you’ve posted it on your blog, share it on the No Sugar Added® Poetry page on TuDiabetes, and read what others have shared there as well!

 

I turn around,

It's what was taught, what was known, nothing was shown.

I turn around,

Keep the peace and aim to please, all kept at ease.

I turn around,

A wall to hide the other side, my wounded pride.

So the looks and the glares the constant stares pierce my soul more than this hole,

So I squeeze and I bleed and I frown. I turn around.

 

I turn around,

to draw it up, that flicking sound I try to drown.

I turn around,

to lift my shirt, to drop my face in case it hurts.

I turn around,

for fear of fear that others share of something I have no choice but bear. 

Can this fortress I have stop the stab and the sound?

I look around and I wait, hesitate, I turn around.

 

I turn around,

Half a spin, come back again like nothing's changed.

I turn around,

palming the waste and tools I used kept out of views.

I turn around,

wondering why the public eye can't see me cry.

For years I hid as a kid, stayed stealth and hurt my health,

so now I stand and I draw and I stab and squeeze and I bleed and I cry if I need,

But I can't and I won't be ashamed or afraid or put down cause I won't turn around.