Friday, 9 May, 2014

My Dog Ate My Pump Clip

Well, he didn’t actually EAT it.

Let me back up a bit. Vader has been almost a perfect dog since we brought him home. Other than having complete meltdowns when we pass other dogs on a walk, but I digress. (We’re doing training for that one).

But at home, he’s tremendous. Was already housebroken and crate trained. And he leaves our stuff alone. The only things he’s chewed up are his own (two stuffed crate pads and a stuffed toy, but who’s counting?).

Our furniture, shoes, and everything else is safe. Vader doesn’t bother any of it. So I’m not mad. It’s an extra pump clip that I left on the floor. Which he picked up and accidentally broke. And it’s the only thing of mine he’s broken.

Besides. How could you stay mad at this face?

Wednesday, 9 April, 2014

Pleasantly Surprised: MiniMed 530G with Enlite

So, um, hi.

I’m so WAY overdue for an update on my MiniMed 530G with Enlite trial. Oops.

I’ve been using the system for six weeks now. And in a nutshell? Karen was right. Karen told me she hated the system for the first couple weeks, and then she loved it. There’s a learning curve. She told me to be patient. And she was totally right.

I HATED the system for the first couple weeks. There is definitely a large learning curve. I was ready to quit and give up about every day. The only thing that kept me from giving up was Karen’s advice, and that I’d promised myself I’d give the system a month before throwing in the towel. Calibration errors, insertion problems, inaccurate sensor data. AAAAHHHHH. I was so frustrated.

But after a couple weeks, I started to get the hang of things. The algorithms that Medtronic uses are very different than Dexcom. So the sensors function differently. There are subtle differences that you can only learn by trial and error. I began to figure out those differences. When best to calibrate. The best direction and placement of the sensor. Had successful insertions on the first try. And I no longer hated the system. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised.

I’d forgotten how nice it is to have your pump/cgm integrated into one device. It’s really nice. Except when your pump is in your bra, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. And predictive alerts are awesome. The system alerts me 10 minutes before it thinks I’ll go low. Which helps catch lows early. The Enlite has good accuracy for me. But accuracy wasn’t an issue with the Sof-sensor for me either. I quit the Sof-sensor because of pain, not accuracy. I will say that the Enlite doesn’t quite keep up with rapid rising/falling as well as Dexcom. I’ll have double up/double down arrows, but the number won’t be as close as Dexcom is as a rule. (Saving Threshold Suspend for another post).

While I’ve seemingly mastered the insertion process (and it hurts a hell of a lot less than Sof-sensor), it’s still WAY more complicated than Dexcom insertion. I hope Medtronic’s next generation sensor will be simpler to insert. The transmitter is also the same as the Sof-sensor. They did add a little adhesive flap to hold the transmitter down, and each box of sensors come with special tape specifically designed for the Enlite. But it’s still a decent bit of tape to hold the thing down.

Another part of the system is the Bayer Contour Next Link meter. Which may in fact be my favorite part of the whole system. Rechargeable battery, color screen, easy to read display, automatically sends bgs to the pump so you can choose to calibrate and/or correct when needed. And it has a port light, though it doesn’t turn on automatically. At first I found this annoying. But I discovered that it helps the battery last a long time. I’ve only charged it twice in six weeks, and I’ve been exclusively using this meter the whole time. Before inserting a test strip, press the power button twice to turn on the light. Extremely helpful for testing in the dark. And if you don’t get enough blood on the strip? The meter will tell you, and you can add more blood to the same strip! No more wasted strips! Amazing!

Overall, I’d say the 530G with Enlite has delivered on what I was told it would be. Not perfect, but a million times better than the Sof-sensor. I’m not even joking. While I plan on going back to my Revel pump and Dexcom after the trial, I do like this system. I can honestly say that for me, it works pretty well. And I can actually recommend others try it if they’re interested.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised. And am hopeful about the future of CGM technology.

Disclaimer: You may have noticed the silicone pump cases in some of my pics. I love them! Helps give the pump fun color, while also protecting the pump from my tendency to run into things. I purchased the purple one myself. Medtronic sent me a pink one and a gray one to keep at no cost.

Medtronic has provided supplies for the duration of my 90 day trial. This includes the MiniMed 530G pump, MiniLink transmitter, Bayer Contour Next Link meter, Enlite sensors, infusion sets, reservoirs, and test strips. The pump, transmitter, meter, and any unused supplies will be returned to Medtronic at the conclusion of the trial. Medtronic has no say in what I write on this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. (Disclosure Policy)


I feel stupid. I don’t like feeling stupid, especially when diabetes is the cause.

I have a small cut on my thumb from a kitchen knife. Emphasis on small. Deeper than a paper cut, but not that deep. Nowhere near needing stitches or anything. Enough to smart some and be highly annoying, mostly.

Psychically, I’m fine. But a small moment has the wheels in my head spinning. Because diabetes.

I was cutting up an avocado. I’d already cut it in half, and stuck my knife into the pit to twist it out. Somehow the knife blade slipped and I nicked my thumb. I found out after the fact that I was low. I was low and didn’t know it and cut my thumb.

Now I’m clumsy by nature, and if this had happened with a higher bg, I’d attribute it to clumsiness and not give it a second thought. But I was low. And I make a point of not using sharp things while low. Because I’m afraid I’ll hurt myself.

Am I being overly dramatic? Yes. Definitely. But still.

I hate being low. I hate that diabetes has the ability to take away my ability to control my own body. That I can’t trust myself when I’m low. It’s frightening and infuriating all at the same time.

My thumb is fine. I still feel stupid, but am totally blaming diabetes.

Sunday, 9 March, 2014

Puppy Love

Josh and I have been thinking about getting a dog for a long time. We both wanted one, but were we ready for the responsibility?

A few weeks ago, we decided to visit a local shelter, “just to look.” We saw a handful of dogs, but there was one that tugged at my heartstrings. But I had an appointment, so we had to leave and only got to spend a couple minutes with that dog.

I couldn’t stop thinking about him. We rushed back to the shelter the next night, and thankfully he was still there. Nervous and uncertain, we decided to go for it and adopt this guy.

Meet Vader! (Yes, I’m a giant Star Wars nerd. But no, we didn’t name him. That’s the name he came with. And It’s perfect.) He’s part Shiba Inu, and part some other things we’re not sure about. Vader is two years old, and he’s doing great!

Josh and I are both SO HAPPY we decided to take the risk and adopt Vader. He’s the perfect dog for us. We already can’t imagine not having him in our lives.

And to bring this full circle here, Vader is having an impact on my diabetes and mental health. His endless energy is keeping us both more active, playing in the yard and going for walks. And it’s hard to be in a bad mood with this sweet face wagging his tail at you, wanting to play.

Welcome home, Vader. We love you.

Unintentional Basal Testing

A few weeks ago (yes, I’m WAY behind on blogging) I found myself face to face with one of the things I hate most: the stomach flu.

Give me a head cold or sore throat any day. I  HATE the stomach flu with a passion. Having Type 1 Diabetes makes it even more complicated. Puking + lack of carbs + dehydration = a hot mess.

A stomach bug has landed me in the ER before. So now when I get it, I have one goal: avoiding the ER. And by avoiding, I mean trying to stay hydrated and keep ketones at bay. I’m willing to go if necessary, but I’d rather not.

Thankfully, this stomach bug wasn’t bad. I was able to keep down ice chips and some carbs, and my ketones never passed small. VICTORY!

Thank goodness for heavy fruit syrup. Someone at my pediatric endo’s office recommended it to my mom when I was a kid. And it’s still my fallback for carbs with a stomach bug. I keep a couple cans of fruit in heavy syrup on hand. A couple tablespoon fulls of just the syrup is enough carbs to keep ketones in check. Without trying to keep down actual food.

I’m so thankful this case of stomach flu was so mild, comparatively speaking. And it provided some unintentional basal testing. And my basals are right on target. I’ll take that win.

One Week In

Yesterday marks one week using the MiniMed 530G with Enlite system. If someone getting ready to start the system asked me for advice, there’s only one thing I would say: be patient. Very patient.

There were multiple points over the last week when I was so frustrated I was ready to quit. But thankfully, Karen had advised me to be patient. And that she too hated the system at first. So I persevered.

The training went well. The first sensor I inserted with the trainer didn’t stick. This is a problem I’ve heard about from others–there’s no way to physically hold onto the sensor while you remove the serter, so you have to press firmly and give the adhesive some time to stick. I also went through two sensors at home when I did my first solo insertion, but that was because I forgot a step or two. I think the next insertion will go better.

Most of the reason for my initial frustration was due to a (then unknown) faulty sensor. The sensor I inserted with the trainer bent upon insertion. Which I couldn’t see until I removed it several days later. I got several calibration errors when starting the sensor, but it eventually took a calibration. It was way off on the first day, as the trainer warned me they usually are. And Dexcom is the same way for me. The second day, it worked beautifully. But on the third day, it was way off and full of calibration errors. I’ve had enough calibration errors to last me a while.

A call to the helpline determined there was a problem with the sensor. The rep advised me to pull it and insert a new sensor, which I did. It was then that I noticed the bent tip. My guess as to why it wasn’t working. Medtronic sent me an envelope to return the faulty sensor so they could examine it. (The Enlite is supposed to be at a 90 degree angle. It’s only the tip of the sensor that’s bent).

So after the faulty sensor saga, things have been going much better. My first solo insertion wasn’t too traumatic. Like I said before, the insertion process is still much more complicated than Dexcom’s, but a million times better than the Sof-sensor. This insertion did hurt more than the first one, but nothing like the harpoon.

Sensor number two was a bit off the first day, but has since been pretty much spot-on. The meter, Enlite, and Dexcom have been in agreement most of the time. Which is impressive. I’m starting to feel comfortable relying on the Enlite. I think when this Dex sensor dies, I won’t insert a new one. I’m about ready to try flying solo with the Enlite.

Bottom line: a rough start, but things have vastly improved. While I’m not ready to switch systems, I’m starting to be impressed.

Disclaimer: Medtronic has provided supplies for the duration of my 90 day trial. This includes the MiniMed 530G pump, MiniLink transmitter, Bayer Contour Next Link meter, Enlite sensors, infusion sets, reservoirs, and test strips. The pump, transmitter, meter, and any unused supplies will be returned to Medtronic at the conclusion of the trial. Medtronic has no say in what I write on this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. (Disclosure Policy)

Trying Something New: MiniMed 530G with Enlite Trial

Friday morning, I began a 90 day trial of the MiniMed 530G with Enlite. A few months ago, Medtronic contacted me to offer a 90 day trial of the new system. Back when I was using the Sof-Sensor, I wanted the Enlite SO BADLY! So although I’m happy with my Dexcom G4 Platinum, I’m excited to have the opportunity to try a new (to the U.S. at least) piece of diabetes technology.

Medtronic is loaning me the system for the duration of the trial. They are providing the 530G pump, cgm transmitter, Bayer Contour Next Link meter, Enlite sensors, infusion sets, reservoirs, and test strips. The pump, transmitter, meter, and any unused supplies will be returned to Medtronic at the end of the trial.

At the conclusion of the trial, I will be providing feedback to Medtronic through a survey and a one hour phone call. Those are the terms of the loaner agreement. Medtronic did not ask me to blog about the trial, though I likely will. And they have no input or say in anything I write on this blog. All thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and mine alone (Disclosure Policy).

I met with a Diabetes Clinical Manager from Medtronic at my endo’s office for training Friday morning. Since I’ve only been on the system for 48 hours, I’m not ready to share a lot yet. But I will say this: the main reason I switched from Medtronic to Dexcom cgm was pain. The Sof-sensor was incredibly painful and difficult to insert. While Dexcom’s insertion process is still more streamlined and overall easier, I am thrilled to report that I could barely feel the Enlite sensor on insertion. The process is still a bit complicated, but the harpoon (as Martin called it) is no more. It hurts about a billion times less. No need to psych yourself up or listen to Eye of the Tiger before insertion.

I’m still wearing a Dexcom sensor so I can do some comparing. I can also say that once the sensor had been in for 24 hours, the Enlite has been impressively spot on. So far.

I’ll be sharing more after I’ve been on the system a little longer. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Honesty is important to me. And the contract I signed actually stated “I will be honest and candid in any review of the Medtronic Diabetes products and services.”

Here we go.

Um, Siri?

“Remind me to call Medtronic tomorrow at 9am.”

Um, Siri?
Happy Friday, everyone!
Sunday, 9 February, 2014

I Wish I’d Known

I loved college. I attended a small, liberal arts school, and had a fantastic experience. I wouldn’t trade those memories for the world.

My diabetes was definitely on the back burner. I mean, I didn’t totally ignore it. But I didn’t go out of my way to accommodate the disease either. My friends knew, and my roommates had the if-I-pass-out-call-911 talk, but that was about it. My A1cs were ok, but definitely could have been better.

There weren’t many times that diabetes affected my classes or work. And when it did, I was lucky to be at such a small school. I knew all my professors on a first name basis, and they were wonderful and understanding.

But still. I wish I’d known about the rights and protections I was guaranteed as a student with Type 1 Diabetes. And I wish I’d known I wasn’t alone.

Tomorrow night, Wednesday February 5th, 2014, there is a free webinar addressing those things, among others: “Know Your Rights- For College Students With Diabetes.” My friend Sara is helping to present the info, along with the American Diabetes Association and College Diabetes Network.

If you or someone you know is facing college and diabetes, please register and join them tomorrow. Know your rights. And that you’re not alone.

“This Child Died”

“This child died.”

Dr. Kaufman’s words keep echoing in my head. A beautiful little two-year-old girl, who died because there was no insulin.

I wish I’d taken a picture of Dr. Kaufman’s slide so I could show you that precious face. It’s a face I won’t forget. Big brown eyes. Curly black hair. Hands laying above her head, curled into fists. Her tiny, malnourished frame.

“This child died.”

There I sat, staring at the picture of this little girl, with an insulin pump full of insulin. In a room full of people with Type 1 Diabetes, carrying pens/pumps/vials full of insulin. Unfair doesn’t even begin to describe it.

“This child died.”

Even now, as I sit here at home, there are three full vials of insulin in my refrigerator, mostly paid for by my health insurance. And when those run out, I’ll call for a refill and pick up three more.

Injustice. That’s what this is. It’s an injustice that this little girl died. It’s an injustice that children are dying every day due to lack of access to insulin.

“This child died.”

We cannot save that little girl. But we can do something. Spare A Rose, Save A Child. Just $5 can provide enough insulin to give a child a month of life. You can quite literally save a child’s life. At my house, there’ll be no flowers given this year. We’re giving hope instead. Giving life.

We can change what happens to these kids. You can change it. Because of YOU, we can change the story: “This child lived.”

This child LIVED.

© 2021 Me and D