Monday, September 19, 2011

Dexcom Trial - Post 2

Post two. Last night I lost several hours of feed on the receiver. But I'm sure it was my fault. I hadn't charged the receiver and I think it was just having trouble picking up the signal. I charged it today at work and there's not been an issue so far.

Accuracy today has been about the same as MiniMed. They are usually all within 20 points. I am noticing a faster turn around time. When my blood sugar starts to move quickly (after eating, treating a low, etc) the Dexcom picks up the changes way sooner than the MiniMed. But when my blood sugars are fairly stable, they both are sending about the same results.

I had some questions asked of me in my comments on my last post, so I'll do my best to answer them today. Adhesive: so far it's okay. The very edges of the tape are starting to peel up though, and it makes me wonder if I'm going to make it the full 7 days. I tried to find some Skin Tac here in my (very) small town to no avail. I found something similar, but it was way, way expensive and not worth the money if I chose not to go with Dexcom. I figure I'll tough it out the best I can for now.

Reception: I, too, have to keep my pump and my MiniMed CGM on the same side of my body of the read gets lost. It's annoying at times, but I have a system worked out so that it isn't an issue for me. The Dexcom has a much better range. They tell me it's around five feet. I've not noticed the exact amount. If I forget it somewhere, I'm usually far enough away from it that I'd lose signal anyway. But I leave it on my nightstand and it doesn't have problems picking up a signal, even when I'm sleeping on the transmitter.

Some of the things that I don't like about the Dexcom are the fact that you can't scroll back and see previous readings. I'm used to being able to scroll back on the MiniMed system, so it is a little strange to me. I also don't like that there is no place on the Dexcom to check to see the next calibration time. I'm horrible to forget to calibrate so I always check my MiniMed before I go to be to be sure I don't have to get up in the middle of the night to recalibrate. That being said, I've taken to calibrating both the MiniMed and the Dexcom with my pre-bed testing. So it's not a huge deal.

Let me know if you have tips, questions, etc. I'm here all week! :P

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dexcom Trial

I'm ending my second full day on the Dexcom. I'm not sure what to say about it yet. First off, the insertion was way less painful than the MiniMed, but I think part of that was the fact that I couldn't see the needle on the Dex. And you can totally see the harpoon on the MiniMed sensor.

As far as accuracy goes, so far it's been about 50/50. I'm wearing the MiniMed now also. And I've been checking my blood sugar like crazy to compare them all. About half the time the Dexcom is closer and the other half of the time the MiniMed is closer. In a way that annoys me. I wish there was a clear cut, better option in order to make my choice easier. So far, there hasn't been.

I will also say that I am having a horrible time remembering to take the Dexcom receiver with me. I tend to leave it in one room and go to another for a while before I remember. And unlike the MiniMed, the Dexcom doesn't recover the missed data (MiniMed stores for 30 minutes). Other than wearing it on my pants, what's your suggestion for remembering to take it with me???

From those of you who've used both MiniMed and Dexcom I'd like to hear what the kicker for your final choice was?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Tomorrow's the day I pick up the trial Dex. Other than that, I'm just burned out on diabetes right now. I'm so tired to the wild blood sugar swings. I'm tired of feeling horrible from highs and shaky from lows. Hypo unawareness? Lately it seems to have taken a vacation on me. On one hand, that's
a good thing. I actually feel my lows. On the other hand, I'm a shaky sweaty mess when I'm in the high 60s. I hate that.

Part of me is hoping that the Dex will kick me into wanting to try harder. The other part of me wonders if I'll ever care again. Sure, I want to be healthy and as complication free as possible. But lately, the immediate work is something I am not only unmotivated to do, it also seems that when I try it doesn't do any good.

I go back on my endo in October. My plan after my last horrible appointment, was to be able to go back and and have a lower A1c and to be able to tell my endo that I had "fixed" my motivation issues. At this point I don't know if I'll be able to do that. And I don't know WHY.

Why don't I have the motivation? Why don't I want to do the things I know I should. I start out every day with good intentions...and they seem to fall by the wayside.

Heck, at this point I don't even have the motivation to blog much about diabetes. And I've been severely absent on Twitter. I feel guilty. I miss my friends. I feel like I'm failing as a patient advocate. But I just kind of wish diabetes wasn't around right now. And the more I don't want to feel this way, the more it seems to get worse.

I also feel like the fact that I'm frustrated and burned out is the only thing I blog about anymore and I'm tired of being a whiner. So, know that I love you all. And pray for me and my lack of motivation. And hopefully I'll stop being so negative on this blog.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Trying Dex

Labor Day weekend was a really relaxing weekend for me. I didn't have any real plans and basically planned to do a whole lot of nothing all weekend. Monday was time for my "full change," meaning I was due to not only switch my infusion site, but also my CGM sensor. My sensor came off first since I have to recharge my transmitter for a while before reattaching. When I took my IV-3000 tape and medical tape off of my transmitter and prepared to disconnect I noticed that my transmitter had a crack in it. This is NOT a good thing, considering that the transmitter is supposed to be water tight.

I knew that it was time to order a new one. I've had this one since February of 2008. Over three and a half years. The average transmitter through MiniMed is only supposed to last around 2 years and is only under warranty for 6 months. I did what I thought I should, which is called the technical assistance line for MiniMed. After talking with them, they advised me to stop using the transmitter and call back on Tuesday to start the process of getting a new system approved by my insurance company.

Here's the deal: I really respect the things that MiniMed says. I do. But just like I used my sensors for more than 3 days, I had no desire to stop using this transmitter (even with it's cracks). Mostly because I had no desire to go without a sensor at all. I've become sadly dependant on them. And at that time, I'd not been getting strange readings or anything. So I taped up the transmitter with waterproof tape and medical tape and put it back on. But I knew this wasn't a permanent fix. And as much as I love my MiniMed pump and CGM system, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to check out the illusive Dexcom system.

I'll be honest, I have almost no problems with the MiniMed sensors. My readings are fairly accurate almost all of the time. I rarely have issues with "bad" sensors. And I'm certain that I don't have many of the same problems as a lot of MiniMed users have. That's most of the reason I haven't checked out the Dex earlier. But with the upgrade to the MiniMed Revel pump, I'm having issues hearing my alarms at night. And that worries me since I live alone. And while being high for several hours in a night is an issue, but not really a life or death issue...what if I were to have a low? That's the whole purpose for having the CGM system. To save my life.

So, I called Dexcom. I got in touch with my local rep and talked with her on the phone last week. She has graciously offered to let me test a Dex for a week (I could have done it through my doctor's office, but my next appointment isn't until mid-October, and it's a 2.5 hour drive for me). I meet with her Friday. So far, my experience with Dexcom has been good. I've gotten great customer service. And I'm excited to try the Dexcom out.

I'll be blogging about it after I get hooked up. I may even post daily, I'm not sure yet. Also, on the good side, I have a co-worker who's husband has the MiniMed CGM and happens to have a spare transmitter, which they have graciously let me borrow in case my current transmitter bites the dust and until I can make a decision on which system I'd like to go with.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Over Your Shoulder

I took my first trip to New York City when I was 17 years old. There were sixty-nine of us from a small town in the South that raised enough money to go on our Senior trip. Stops in Washington D.C., Hershey, Pennsylvania, and New York City were on the agenda. Most of us had never traveled much. Some of my classmates had never left our state.

Out of all the things we did, my single most memorable moment of the stop in New York was when we were leaving the city for the final time. It was late at night. As we drove out of New York my high school principal stood up and turned around and said, “Look over your shoulder. This may be the last view you ever have of New York.” I turned around. The unmistakable lights of the city light up the sky. In the distance I saw the World Trade Center buildings. The iconic markers in the skyline of New York. I sighed.

It turns out my principal was right. Many of my classmates would never and will never return to New York. I did. But only after the skyline, and the world, had been changed forever. In many ways the New York I visited in 1999 is nothing like the New York that I know now. It’s strange to me sometimes. When I think of 9/11 my first memory isn’t of the newscasts that played for weeks and months after the attacks. Of the buildings and the smoke and the horror. My first memory is of what I saw when I looked over my shoulder and out that bus window that final time.

The closer and closer that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 has gotten, the more and more I tried to avoid thinking about it. But the truth is that we can’t avoid it. Ten years ago the world changed forever. American changed forever. I changed forever. I didn’t need to know anyone in New York. I didn’t need to live there. I didn’t need to be a frequent visitor. It didn’t stop the unmistakable change in my life.

As horrible as those hours, days and weeks following the attacks were, I saw something that I don’t think many generations have seen. I saw Americans coming together and supporting each other. It didn’t matter what race they were or what nationality. Gender, political affiliation, social status….it all took a backseat to the fact that we needed each other.

I was twenty years old. Not a child. But by no means an actual adult. In that time of life when you are trying to figure out who you are and what you want out of life was a time I also learned that the world can be cruel, and people you’ve never met can be kind. I didn’t need to know anyone who lived there.
That day left a mark on my life.
Since that time so many other things have changed in the world. I think we often forget, or try to block out the feelings of companionship and connection that we felt with complete strangers right after the attacks. Remember that. Remember that love you felt for complete strangers. Remember that anger you felt for the horrible things that were happening. Remember it. I know I do.

So let today be a day that we remember these things. Let today be a day that we are reminded of what we lost as a nation. Even if you (or I) didn’t know a single person who perished that September day, remember the innocence we lost.

But even through all those memories, and all of my memories of my many trips to New York, one of the strongest will always be that last view. That over the shoulder, out the bus window view that would be my last view of the Twin Towers, and one of my most powerful memories of New York.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A "Your Voice" Hiatus

For the past month I've been having guest bloggers twice a week as part of the "Your Voice" project. I wanted people who aren't bloggers to have a chance to share their stories about diabetes. At first the posts were coming in fairly well, but now they have dwindled. However, I am NOT abandoning this project. Unoffically, it has no end. All the posts are still linked and all the information on how to submit a post is still listed at the top of the page.

I encourage you to submit a post if you'd like. Even if you've already submitted one. I hope to continue this project so that people living with diabetes can have an outlet to share without the time commitment of a blog of their own. So, if you know someone that might like to share a story with the Diabetes Online Community, click the little link at the top of the page for Info on the "Your Voice" project.

I can't wait to share your story.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Readers – Help Improve My Blog & Share Your Thoughts!

I wanted to share this new project I’m working on with WEGO Health to learn more about my blog and about all of you who read it!

First some background: For those of you who aren’t familiar with WEGO Health, they’re a different kind of social media company focused on helping Health Activists – folks like me who use the internet and social media to connect with others around health topics. WEGO Health’s mission is to empower Health Activists to help others, and they offer Health Activists the chance to get involved with video through, to learn and connect through webinars and chats, and to gain a voice in the healthcare industry through insight panels and the Health Activist Speakers Bureau.

Now WEGO Health is launching the Reader Insight Program – helping Health Bloggers like me to gather feedback from their readers, while telling you a bit about yourself. At the same time, WEGO Health has a chance to see if any of you are Health Activists eligible for their programs. I know many of you out there are as dedicated sharing health info and I have a feeling you’re Health Activists too!

I agreed to try the Reader Insight Program because I’m excited to learn more about why you visit my blog and how I can make it even more valuable for you. I hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts with me by taking WEGO Health’s Quick Quiz. By taking the quiz, you’ll help me learn what you need – and you’ll also receive customized social media tips for yourself!

A few things to know about the program:
- WEGO Health will gather your quiz responses and feedback for 2 weeks starting today. After the 2 weeks are up, they’ll create a Reader Insight Report for me (then I’ll share it with you!)
- Your responses will be shared with me anonymously – please be candid!
- Your information will not be shared or sold by WEGO Health

Thank you for helping me make my blog even more engaging! I can’t wait to see you what you think!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Simple Meals

I'd like to share another post by my friend Sherry. She has some wonderful posts that she has sent me and she always has a great story to tell. Today's post hit me especially hard because I know how true it rings. When is the last time you had a simple meal? Truly?

Most of the time I don't even realize how much time diabetes takes.  I mean, you just test, bolus, calibrate, test again, etc all the time without thinking about it.  Food doesn't look like looks like carbs and numbers and boluses and wondering if you are going to get anywhere close to matching everything and not feel like crap later. 
I haven't been diabetic all my life.  I used to sit down and eat without thinking of anything but the food.  I can sort of remember "before diabetes", but not really.  The first year of my diabetic life was so chaotic.  I was diagnosed with type 2 and given medicine. I tried so hard to keep it between the lines, blood sugar wise.  I measured everything, sized everything, even picked the shredded carrots out of salad lest a tiny carb pass my lips.  I could give you the carb count on any rock or breath of air you wanted.  Of course, none of this worked.  Terrible blood sugars all the time, totally sick and the weight dropping off at an alarming rate. When I was finally diagnosed with type 1 and started using the insulin I so desperately needed, things were much better, but the anal retentive eating continued. 
I was sitting in Sonic drive- in while ago, waiting on food for my son and his friend.  I watched 4 beautiful children playing about in the little courtyard while their parents waited at an outside table for the food .  It was a gorgeous May Saturday afternoon, and my mind was just wandering about...thinking of the busy day I had just finished. When the food arrived, the children scurried to the table and sat like baby robins, waiting for Mom to dole out the brown paper bags of dinner. With mild interest I kept watching as the family unwrapped hamburgers while popping fries into their mouths.
All at once, I was shocked out of my daydream by I know not what emotion. My entire body startled.  It felt like someone had poked me with electricity!  The shock was from the realization that I had just watched a family begin eating and no one had bolused.  No one took out their pump, tested blood sugar, calibrated a sensor, or looked at what they were eating.  They just sat there and ate.  I just sat there and watched. 
I really can't put a name on what I felt while watching this.  As I'm writing this a few hours later, I still can't find words to explain it.  Something so commonplace for me, something I do every time food enters my mouth......this family knew nothing of it.                                                                                                                                                                                  

By direct contrast, while I tested, calibrated, eyed my food and bolused for lunch today, I found eyes on me....looking bewildered.  I was at a picnic with some casual friends and just did my diabetes thing right there while sitting in the grass with my hamburger.  I really didn't think anything of it, didn't think anyone was paying attention to me. My curious lunch mate asked lots of questions, which I answered to him and the several other folks sitting with me.  When I finished talking, everyone was totally silent as they lit into their lunches, peering over their sandwiches with an " I could never do that every time I ate" look on their faces. Well, you would if you wanted to live, I would have answered if the question had been voiced.  
There are times when the full force of diabetes hits me right between the eyes.  Today was one of them.  I still don't know how I feel about it......the blow is so hard I can't think.

Sheery Neergaard lives in the Nashville area. She was (mis)diagnosed with T2 diabetes in 2005, and rediagnosed with T1 (adult onset) diabetes in 2006. Married to her best friend Daryl for 27 years, she is mother to college student Corey and special needs son Elijah. Daryl and Sherry are houseparents at Tennessee Baptist Children's Home.

In her free time (!), Sherry loves squaredancing, gardening, sewing, playing handbells, writing, and most any kinds of craft. She is a former elementary school teacher and hopes to return to school to become a registered her words "just for fun."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Diabetes Art Day

Today my normal Thursday "Your Voice" post is being put on hold because today is Diabetes Art Day! :) Diabetes Art Day is the brainchild of fellow blogger Lee Ann Thill. Lee Ann blogs at The Butter Compartment and is an Art Therapist! How cool is that?!

Last year was the first Diabetes Art Day and I was a total slacker and didn't participate. This year I didn't want the chance to get away from me again. So I did MY kind of art... I work with cake. :) Sure, it's a little contradictory, but I love working with cake and it's where I'm my most creative.

I wanted to do the two major symbols of diabetes (at least to me) awareness. The grey ribbon for Diabetes Awareness and the blue circle to represent World Diabetes Day. I also did mini cupcakes for these because I though that the mini-size was nice for less carbs per serving. Fat lot of good it does if you eat five of them at once. :D

As an added bonus... I did some plan cupcakes with sprinkles. Cause I know how much my fellow D-OC members LOVE our sprinkles. :)

Also, not to promote myself too much, but I'm still looking for "Your Voice" submissions from non-bloggers. If you're interested in sharing your story, click on the hyperlink above for info on how to submit a post. Thanks everyone!