Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two Sensors

I’ve had a history of issues with the new MiniMed Revel in regards to the alarms. During the day, they are fine. I love the predictor alerts. They have been fantastic for catching lows & highs BEFORE they get too low or too high. But at night, I don’t hear them. The new alerts left something to be desired. They are not as loud as the MiniMed 722. And sometimes I didn’t even hear the 722 alarms at night. But with the 722, after a certain amount of time the pump starts to vibrate. And continued to vibrate until you turned off the alarm. More than once that feature saved me. But with the new Revel, the alarms are not as loud. On top of that the vibrate feature on the pump is different from the 722. It vibrates for around 5 seconds and then stops. And doesn’t vibrate again for a while (I think about 15-20 minutes). This is a major issue for me.

It’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. I LOVE the predictor alerts. And during the day, the Revel is fantastic. But at night, especially when I live alone, I’m dealing with a potential disaster. I’ve been lucky so far, but I worry sometimes. I worry that the worst will happen. That I’ll be alone, not hear an alarm, and have a seizure or something.

I’ve talked about this in blogs before, and a couple of times on Twitter. But several weeks ago, Jen from Twitter (@Jenloves2travel) suggested using my old pump at a receiver of sorts. Basically, linking my sensor to BOTH pumps. And keeping the old 722 on my nightstand, making it easier to hear.

I didn’t even know that was possible. And it took some trickery, but it worked. I had to fake out the 722, by putting a reservoir in the pump and priming and then removing the reservoir. At that point I could link up a sensor easily.

I’ve been doing this most nights now. And it’s really giving me some piece of mind. I hope that it continues to work. And so far, it’s done some pretty awesome things. One night the 722 went off and I looked at the Revel. It had gone off a couple of times & I hadn’t heard it.

So, until MiniMed or some other company gives us the option of different volume levels and/or a separate receiver (Letter to Santa), this will have to work. Talk about creative engineering.

I want to give a BIG thanks to Jen, for the idea. And maybe it can be passed along to some of you, if you are having a similar problem.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yesterday Was the Day

Around a month ago I blogged that I hadn't been going to my doctor's appointments like I should. I did it for accountability and within a short while, I got myself together and got an eye doctor's appointment and a dentist appointment set up.
Yesterday was the day. I took the day off work and started my morning with a dentist appointment. Sadly, I have new cavities. :/ Such is life, I suppose. I'm going to get them filled in a few weeks.
My eye doctor appointment was the one I was really worried about. Last year, at my annual check-up, my doctor found some slight bleeding in both of my eyes. For any diabetic, this can be super scary. He advised me that it wasn't a big deal and that I could come back in a year. My first reaction was panic. I wanted to see an M.D. (my current doc is an optometrist, not an ophthalmologist). I also wanted to start going back every 6 months.
My second reaction was what I went with. Fear. And ignoring. You know the whole "ignore it and it will go away" thing? That was me. Which is why it was a little over a year before I finally got back. But I did go with my gut instinct to actually make an appoinment with an ophthalmologist. Not that I don't like my optometrist, but just that I wanted to make sure that everything was really okay.
I had to drive an hour to see an opthalmologist. This is normal in my rural area. You have to drive to see pretty much any kind of specialist. When I got to the office, they did the standard eye exam with me (I need new glasses) and my vision has gotten a little worse, but it's not d-related.
Then they did the eye dialation. Once the doctor came in to see me, I think he was in the room for about 10 minutes. Not very long at all. But it was all the time I needed. He was really nice and looked at my eyes. The bleeding is still in both eyes, but hasn't changed since last year. He also assured me that it wasn't really anything to worry about at this time. And that I could continue to see my optometrist once a year unless something changed.
It basically put my mind at ease. He told me that the spots could stay the same way for the next 10 or 20 years and never change at all. I feel like I can breath a little easier, knowing that I did what I felt was right, and knowing that I don't have to worry so much about my eyes right now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Here We Go Again

So last night, on Twitter, Kim posted a picture of an ad from Reader’s Digest. They were advertising “REVERSE DIABETES.” Oh boy. Not again. I swear sometimes I feel like I’m trying to run up a down escalator. You try and try and try, and then you make a change, only to realize that the ignorance and promotion of false information continues to plague the media.

I’ve quoted the ad below:

REVERSE DIABETES: Your Total Guide to Blood Sugar Control
Don’t let diabetes control you! This May, Reader’s Digest is brining you an essential guide to diabetes management with sensible, practical ways to adjust your eating habits, stay active, keep your blood sugar stable, and live life on your terms.

Okay, my very first issue with this whole ad is that they are presenting the idea the diabetes can be reversed. Sure, some people living with T2 can control their diabetes with diet and exercise. But that isn’t always possible. With T1’s, as we all know, insulin is essential. We die without it. But even for some T2’s, it’s nessecery to add oral medications or insulin to their treatment plans.

My second issue is that after basically telling people in their HUGE font, that they can reverse diabetes (read: CURE), the rest of the ad just focuses on getting control of your diabetes. It’s kind of false advertising. No, wait. It IS false advertising.

People will pick up this “special issue” in May thinking that there is a cure to be found inside. Instead, they are (hopefully) going to find only tips and suggestions on a healthier lifestyle that can help control blood sugars better. Maybe for some people wishing for a cure, this will help them get better control over this disease that they live with. But for others, it may just be another disappointment in a long line of fake “cures” that they’ve had thrown in front of them.

And even more people won’t pick up the issue at all. They’ll simply read the title in the supermarket checkout line and assume that there’s a cure for this devastating disease. And then they’ll wonder why I don’t do something to cure myself.

Control with diet and exercise is not a cure. Control with diet, exercise & medication is not a cure. Diabetes has NO CURE. The media perpetuates the myths that diabetes can be “reversed” by things like this Reader’s Digest “Special Issue.” All it does is let people who don’t understand things, continue to not understand, thereby making it harder on all people living with diabetes as well as harder on the people who know and love them.

So, I’m doing what I have to do. I’m writing a letter to Reader’s Digest to let them know. In truth, all the copies of this “Special Issue” are probably already printed up and sitting in boxes in a warehouse somewhere. But if we don’t try to do something, the myths will continue to be sold as truth.

You can contact Reader’s Digest by e-mailing
Do it. Make a difference.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Voices Raised

We've all been talking about the steps that we can take to become advocates, outside of just blogging (although that in itself is a lot). We've talked about so many ways, and there are people out there taking those steps. And it makes me proud. It also pushes me to do those things as well.

Last week, when MTV posted the casting call for people with diabetes for their show True Life, it was offensive in many ways. It's nice to know that diabetes is getting some attention, but the way it was worded was in many ways ignorant and worried many of us on how the show was going to be presented.

So, people in the D-OC did what I expected them to do. They e-mailed. They responded to MTV to let them know that living with diabetes wasn't the end of the world, but that it is a whole lot of hard work and can be very annoying. It's funny because I was so busy that I let a couple of days pass before I could write to MTV, but even without my help, the D-OC rang through loud and clear. 

MTV reworded their casting call and sent out form letters apologizing to all the people who e-mailed them. The best part about the form letter was the apology at the beginning stating that they got so many e-mails from people in the D-OC (though they didn't use that exact term) that they couldn't possibly reply to all of them individually.

Wow. I think that's the first time in my life that a form letter hasn't annoyed the daylights out of me. And yet again, the combined voices of the people in the D-OC made a difference. Sure, we still don't know whta the final outcome of the actual episode of True Life will be. But in the meantime, we let them know that we care. We care how it's done, we care how we are represented. And we care what they present to the world. And the listened.

How many groups of people can claim that they've had a part in causing a major network to change something? We did it with the Hannah Montana episode a while back (I did get in on the e-mailing Disney with that one!). And now with MTV. These are 2 of the largest networks in the country. That is something to be proud of. 

I am very proud of the D-OC. I am so glad that I'm a part of this community. I'm glad I have the opportunities to advocate for people with diabetes. And I'm glad to know that even when I can't, or don't get the chance to do so, that other people are out there speaking for me. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

The First Step in the Right Direction

Last week I wrote about not going to the endo, eye doctor, or dentist in wayyyyy too long. And I promised myself to get that problem fixed. In blogging about it, I kind of put a fire under my tail. It's one of the best parts about being a blogger. In a way, I think it helps me hold myself accountable. So thank you, D-OC, for holding me accountable, just by reading my blog.
I set myself a goal to have the eye appointment made by this week. And I did it. Yesterday I made my eye appointment for the third week in April. And while I was at it I made my dental appointment as well.
It's not perfect. But it's a start.

I actually wasn't sure I was going to get it done. Especially after my rant the other day about just being tired of diabetes. :/ But that's part of what made me make those calls today. I realize I'm tired. I realize I'd like a break. But I know that "taking a break," a.k.a. ignoring things about my diabetes, I'm only hurting myself in the long run. And it doesn't make the diabetes go away.

So, April is going to be my month that starts getting me back where I need to be. Taking care of myself so that I am as healthy as possible for as long as possible.