Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cranky one eyed cat

Yuppers, that's been me pretty well since my cataract surgery (see the original post HERE) - that has left one eye slightly buggered up for seeing properly. 

I am hoping I am doing the right thing here, since tomorrow, I am going back under the knife - to remove the original lens ... and have a new one put in place (with or without stitches - it all depends according to my surgeon Dr. Tarkek Youssef ... and yes ... I'm bloody scared!!! 

Like all of us with diabetes, our fear is always having diabetic complications with our eyes.  So far, touch wood, I've been blessed, but since the surgery back in July, it's been non stop problems that have left me drained emotionally, since I depend highly on my eyesight for the work I do.  I have finally, after 4 months, learned to accept my limited vision which varies daily, but it's put a lot of stress on everyone around me, since I can get a wee bit impatient sometimes!

I think my biggest fear tomorrow is ... the surgeon is performing surgery at the local hospital here in Cornwall rather than in his office (where my original surgery was done privately).  In the past (see my post of how my blood sugars over a 6 hour surgery caused DKA HERE), staff do not have much knowledge of Type 1 diabetics or the devices we use to stay healthy and out of overcrowded ER's!  It'll be interesting to see how things go with my wearing the Omnipod, and whether the PDM device also will be allowed in the OR ... along with the Dexcom CGMS.  If I was able to have my DH in the OR, or someone who has knowledge of what to do incase of alarms ... I would be more at ease. 

So, hopefully the next time you see a blog post or post on Facebook ...  I'll be more perky ... and I'll be able to perform my job that has been sadly sacrificed due to limited vision (my work requires good eyesight).  Though if I have to only have vision in one eye - I'm sure I'd be rocking a eyepatch that is out of sight!

Handmade eye patch from

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Life as a Podder

Okay – well at least for a month – I’m being a Podder … and for those of you who are wondering … WTF is she talking about ??? ....   I’m using what is referred to as a “tubeless pump” for pumping insulin through my body 24/7 called the Omnipod.  A plastic mini-me type of insulin pump is replaced every 3 days on your skin (if you’re lucky enough to not have it fail as you’ll see below).  

I’m now approaching my 2nd week as a Podder and the notes I’ve made up so far on how it has been going will hopefully help any Canadian on the fence post as to which of the 2 current pump manufacturers we have as an option with Animas exiting the pump market (NB – you can still use your current Animas pump – get supplies well into 2019 – so do not think you have to jump ship just yet – it’s just you’ll be buying your supplies from Medtronic eventually once Animas closes up shop – sigh).

As far as purchasing Omnipod supplies, especially if you are one of the Canadian provinces that have a pump program, the price tag of $300/month for the pods will go over and beyond what you might be paying for a tubing pump.  For some, that can be a deal breaker, especially if you do NOT have private insurance/work insurance.  In Canada, you also have to buy the pods directly from Diabetes Express .

My first few pods I used before the meet up with the rep from Omnipod were from a former Podder who for one reason or another, decided to go with a tube pump.  The funny thing, was the pods I used from them are newer, but they are the ones that I had problems with.  The 1st one alarmed with “OCCLUSION” about 2 hours before the Pod would shut down for a new one to be installed.  The 2nd pod, after 1 ½ days, just “FAILED”.  I went through the steps to get it to work again, and after a few futile attempts, had to remove the pod, losing about 50 units of NovoRapid.  I was NOT to happy with that since I have no insurance anymore, but I just told myself, this is an EXPERIMENT.
After that, I started to use the pods that the Omnipod rep had given me (and these are older manufactured ones than what my friend had donated to me).  So far, with only filling the pods up with the minimum amount of insulin ... NO PROBLEMS to report to date!!! 

Now for my beefs (isn't that a cute cow or what?) with the Omnipod so far, is the PDM (Personal Diabetic Manager) – which serves as your blood meter as well as for bolusing for meals and/or corrections … and setting up the programming for your pod on your body.  It’s abit dated due to not touch screen and it’s so bloody big!!!  I still keep on occasionally reaching for my waistline where I used to clip my Animas Vibe, to  bolus, etc. – then having to remember where I left the PDM (I now have a system - which works most of the time - yes - you can teach a cat new tricks)!   I also find it takes longer to punch in everything into the PDM to get my juice of life infused into me for a meal and/or correction (though I'm getting faster now - but I find more thinking is required than my Animas Vibe).  If you do misplace the PDM, the pod will continue to disperse basal insulin, nothing else, but f the pod starts to alarm, and you don’t have your PDM on you, you have no idea what it’s alarming for.  NB Rep did give me a belt clip case for the PDM, but it’s kind of useless since you still require the test strip container and finger pricker – and there’s no room for either of these.  So I am designing a little wristlet to fit everything in (yes .. I am such a Fashionista).

Always, always have a spare pod, insulin, gunk remover, alcohol etc. on hand.  I know people who inject, or use tube pumps are always ... ALWAYS ... supposed to have those with them every time they leave the house.  In the case of the Omnipod, if it starts screaming, and it can't be resolved with following instructions on PDM, you will have to remove and put a new pod in place (tip - always have an opened paper clip to mute the bloody thing - been there done that - and it is all in the very detailed instruction manual supplied with the PDM).  So, with an tube insulin pump, if you're a 15 minute drive away, and haven't got supplies, it's abit less stressful and not go bonky with a screaming pod. 

One of my other concerns originally with Omnipod was the large amount of adhesive along with the 60 degree 6.5 mm cannula.  I’ve not had much luck with plastic cannulas over the last 8 years of pumping with Animas, so stainless steel 90 degree sets are what I’ve always used, and when removing the sets, you would never know I had been infusing insulin, along with no skin irritation from the adhesive.  So my other beef is, where my insulin has infused the cannula … there’s a hard small lump underneath the skin.  I never had this with the Animas sets, so have been closely watching how the area heals (so far it seems it may take 2 weeks for the lumps to go away).  I was wondering how people who are insulin resistant – and take more than my normal 2-4 units each time for a bolus or correction  - if they experience this - and how long it takes to heal.

Now for bonuses of being on the Omnipod !  I feel quite free without any tubing (oohhh cannot wait for a romantic weekend with the hubby).  Oh, and last weekend I went thrift shopping, and usually when trying on clothing, it takes forever with unclipping pump, etc.  With no pump clipped on me, or bulk of pump … badda bing badda boom … I feel like a fashionista again … though … damn … where did some of those extra rolls of fat come from ? <lol>

There is less waste of insulin, that's if the pod doesn’t fail!  Usually with tube pumps, we have to fill our tubing, which we can’t reuse again (some do, but I wouldn’t recommend it).  So, on average, I’d lose about 10 units of insulin.  With the pod, filling it up to exactly to 3 days worth of insulin, I’m seeing about 2-6 units wasted.  NB:  I have been using Fiasp a few times for last minute meals via MDI, or a correction over 12 mmol/l (very rare these days) – so in reality – I might have run out of insulin before the 3 days is up.

One caveat is the Eco-pod Disposal Kit available free of charge from Diabetes Express.  I hate the amount of garbage that our gadgets we use for health creates on our big blue marble.  According to my rep, some items can be recycled.  I hope so!

The other great bonus though?  It uses FreeStyle test strips – yippee – small droplet of blood – more accuracy!  I sadly am almost out of the strips I was given, so back  to use my One Touch since I have lots of those test strips.  

So, that’s about it in a nutshell - I'll carry on testing it out until the last pod is used up, and decide from there ... should I stay or should I go ... back to Animas or just MDI.  If you’ve not caught my posts on Instagram and/or Facebook you’ll be able to see some extra pictures and discussions.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

My trial with Fiasp

With the advent of FIASP now coming to the United States, I thought I'd finally get around to doing my much promised write up on how my trial with FIASP went earlier this year.  If you can't wade through my words here ... just go to "Dr. Google" and type in "FIASP review" and you'll get lots of hits from various bloggers around the globe - some engineeringly intense- and some - like mine - less so.  Again, remember, what I write here ... does not mean it will be the same for you.  Our bodies are all different as to how it will react.

I went against my endocrinologists wishes.  She felt that because of no medical proof/research showing that it works in an insulin pump (I'm presently on the soon to be dinosaur Animas Vibe ... sigh) that she doesn't recommend it.  I'm such a #diabadass, and off to my favourite pharmacy here in Canada, and viola, a freshly squeeze vial of our juice of life called Fiasp ... with a touch of Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) to increase the speed of absorption, along with a naturally occurring Amino Acid (L-Arginine) for stability.  These last two additions are what make Fisap work supposably much faster to absorb.  It's like they're describing a fine bottle of Chianti, maybe with some fava beans ?

My experiment involved for 2 weeks, keeping my insulin pump filled with NovoRapid purely for the basal portion of my insulin regime.  For meal times, and corrections, I injected Fiasp according to my blood sugar results.  Taking the injection a few minutes before a meal resulted in hardly any spike at all, e.g. I tested a 5 mmol/l ... 2 hours later 8 mmol/l .  I didn't eat any differently when I ate, I just did my usual thing as a semi-low carb eater (I try to stay under 150 grams of carbs a day which according to my medical team ... is not enough ... but that's the way I've always eaten).

Testing it out 20 minutes later resulted in various results, rarely did I go over my zone of 10 mmol/l after eating.  As well, it all depends on how accurate you are with figuring out carbs for that yummy dessert you decide to have later.

Correcting via injection with Fiasp went well if I had to, but I found it very rare that I went crazy high, unless, again, I didn't calculate the insulin to carb ratio (I:C).  We have to be precise in our calculations in order to stay within the range we want to be in, without sacrificing ourselves to either a low blood sugar or high blood sugar.  At times when you think about it, diabetes can be a game of chance like at a casino of rolling the dice !

Next came a 2 week session with having Fiasp in my insulin pump, so both basal and bolus were taken care of it.  Testing it out the same way, the results were no different than just using NovoRapid.  The other problem I had with the Fiasp was when removing the infusion set after 3 days, the puncture point of the Contact D set was red and irritated.  I'm thinking it maybe due to the additive, not sure.  Also, there was stinging at times with infusing insulin, but not often.

I keep on wondering if the reason it didn't work as well for me in my insulin pump was due to the insulin not being "fresh", which it is when drawn up by syringe each time.  Hard to say.

One thing before I forget, I tend to do something I've learned from the Diabetes Online Community (#DOC) that my endocrinologist and her team chastise me about. That's the intramuscular shot (IM) of rapid insulin to lower a high blood sugar (for me this is only done when in the 20 mmol/l range).  I do it in the upper muscle of my shoulder, and based on my Insulin Sensitivity Factor (ISF), I am usually in range within an hour or two.  Because the pump with Fiasp didn't do as well, I did hit a few above 20's ... and found that Fiasp via syringe worked the same.  No sudden drastic drop into no-no-land which is what I have been warned about over and over again from my medical team.

So, that's it, in a nutshell, how my little trial went.  It's worth giving it a go, if the vials aren't too expensive (here in Canada I can get a vial for $35 ... or 5-pack of penfills are $72 ... I have no insurance ... so according to my "legal drugs dealer" aka pharmacist ... I'd be paying about $10 more if I had insurance (urrrhhhh).  Both my pharmacist and myself are curious to see what Americans pay out of pocket for Fiasp - so if you do look past your co-pay - and do question why you pay such and such for a drug ... great ... let me know.


Since this experiment with Fiasp - I have found that with NovoRapid in my insulin pump ... in order to NOT have spikes ... waiting almost an hour for the insulin to start doing its "thing" ... rather than 20 minutes which is usually recommended for most of us ... gives me much better results.  Therefore, I may give Fiasp another go and try different waiting time before eating.  Also, with contemplating what insulin pump to go on due to Animas Canada pulling out of the pump business and my dislike for the company that has said they'd replace our pumps with theirs - I'm on the fence post about continuing with an insulin pump.  I was injecting for 40+ years before going onto a pump, and can if I have to, go back hopefully with Tresiba being introduced in Canada this month as another long lasting insulin (and that'll make another blog post one day in the near future).

Monday, October 2, 2017

I've Got My Eyes On You

Before I go on ... all I can say is #prayersforlasvegas ... words cannot describe my feelings of what happened in Las Vegas Sunday night. 

Last Friday night, one of my neighbours commented that my inner eyeball looked red.  It felt abit hot and itchy (I'm still not sure if I maybe had scratched it earlier, but since being told women are the worst out of the sexes to have eye irritations due to rubbing their eyes, I now am vigilant to NOT rub) .  If you think this is all poppy cock ... go check out this link to learn how dangerous it can be!

When I was washing my face later at night as I prepared for zzzzz time I saw how the blood vessels had broken in the corner of my eye.  Pretty ugly to say the least, but it was when I opened my eye up wide, I discovered what looked like a clump of cottage cheese.  Of course, I freaked out, when after washing my hands carefully, I couldn't dislodge it.  When my DH eventually heard me, he tried with a Q-tip.  No luck.  So, off to ER at Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) we went.

Three hours later ... it was mutually decided to not remove it (the on call doctor said he could but to me that's like having a dentist do plastic surgery).  My ophthalmologist luckily was on call that weekend so he would be contacted the next day.  Main thing, they determined it was nothing serious and to use lubricating drops every hour.  I felt abit stupid going to ER, but they've told me that I did the right thing, especially being a Type 1 diabetic.  The fear of losing my our sight is always in the back of our minds, or it is for me!

So fast forward to Monday, which is today.  Took a cool stroll into downtown, and discovered that what the white clump is all to do with is the "Dropless/No Drops Long Acting Meds" that you see in the bill below when I had double cataract surgery performed at the end of July.  It will dissolve in time, and as the surgeon said, it lasts a long time.  I went this route rather than drops due to already having enough to remember about with diabetes and other meds I take.  This way, bing ... it's done ... though as he explained ... he thinks he should now maybe warn his patients about what may occur.

If you notice below, in the bill ... I went private due to feeling unsure about how I'd be treated at the CCH as a Type 1 diabetic wearing an insulin pump and CGM.  Also, any laser correction required for follow up to lens implant, is covered with this charge (this is where I'm abit puzzled, if I'd gone public, then I'd be paying for this???).  Laser has been performed once to remove cloudiness on the implanted lenses, called posterior capsule opacification (PCO) and is often more common in younger cataract patients - so that must mean I'm not an old fart <lol>.  Laser will probably be performed again to hopefully correct my other eye that surgeon had difficulty placing lens into the vitreous so it's sitting more securely (that eye had the bigger cataract .. my buggered up eye in this blog had just a itsy bitsy one starting).  Today, he also talked of removing that lens and suturing a new one in place rather than compromising my thinning vitreous.  The things I learned today when he was open and honest with both myself and my husband.

From a personal point of view, which is why I haven't written in awhile ... I wish I had never had the cataract surgery and saved the $3K for something else (wine, holiday, yadda, yadda).  I also wish I had not gone with having BOTH eyes done.  I only had a small cataract starting in the other eye (the eye that you see here in this post) ... the other one was supposedly larger.  I miss my glasses (have been wearing them since Grade 5), and during this process of recovery, miss having good vision.  My vision was never that bad even with needing extra light once in awhile due to the larger cataract, plus I only wore glasses for driving since my eyesight had been improving over the years believe it or not.  Now, both distance and close up ... are buggered up - I have my good days of seeing semi-clear ... and bad days where I frustrate myself and my husband to no end when I'm trying to read a recipe or magazine (I do not read as much or watch TV now that often - which I miss so much).  Again, I keep on telling myself it's still early days as other cataract patients (thanks Dad) have told me as well as my surgeon.
The only thing I can leave you with, if you are like myself, having doubts about going for cataract surgery along with the promise from your ophthalmologist of having perfect vision (which most times does happen ... along with not wearing glasses if you dislike wearing them).  DO YOUR RESEARCH ... this is coming from someone who researches diligently when creating a blog like this and didn't for her own health. I sadly, did not, and only saw afterwards a statement at the RNIB (see below) that if your vision is NOT helped by changing your lenses, then having cataract surgery is probably your best option.

If you need more help in understanding about cataracts, I highly recommend the Royal Institute of Blind People based in the UK ... it has amazing information ... written in easy to understand terms ... you can find a downloadable .pdf file at this website link.  If you're wondering about complications like I've just had with this surgery, check out All About Vision at this website link.

NB: the wait time for cataract surgery varies from province to province in Canada.  I was told if I'd not gone private that it would not be performed until 6 months later.  If you're Canadian and reading this, you maybe able to find a similar link like this one for Ontario wait times

Update to blog 2023-10-21  - with another link  below to a post that was written a few months later - when surgeon removed lens that they'd had problems with - and my fear of hospitals that don't understand Type 1 Diabetic patients - entitled Cranky One Eyed Cat

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Drooling acidity as a diabetic

The first thing that came to my mind as I was trying to figure out what title to give this post was ...  yeah, that drooling alien that makes you just want to hug it and bring it home to meet your Mum (due to some problems with Google saying I violated rules of posting in 2023 - years after this post - I have removed the picture of the "alien" and instead you'll find what I'd posted in this YouTube video clip. 

Today, I went to have my fangs scaled.  Something I'm doing now in between the once a year cleaning.  As of September, this will no longer be covered since medical insurance that we've had through my husbands work place ... stops.  No more, 80% payout for anything we have performed that isn't covered by the provincial healthcare (optometrists, eye ware, dental, specialist services).  So, of course, I'm stressed out (and maybe my Dad is right, my recent ocular rosacea flare up that sent me to ER since my regular eye doctors were both on holidays and their answering machines said ... take thyself to the ER ... which I did).

It didn't help that I was having a low about an hour before hand, and as I was telling this to the Stephanie, my dental hygienist, that I was okay at 4.1 (yes, yes, yes, I know, I was below 5 - but sometimes we break our own rules that we try to get others to follow - don't shoot the messenger).  Oh darn, I'm just realising as I write this, that I was supposed to contact the dental office that I arrived home safe .... uhmm ... that was like 4 hours ago.

Stephanie went off to my dentist, and they both came back to my chair to make sure I was okay for this small procedure.  If it hadn't been myself in the chair, Dr. Chadwick said if it was anyone else, she would have rescheduled.  So, we proceeded while I suspended Big Blue, my Animas Vibe (and the CGM was way off with saying I was 2.8 mmol/l when I was actually at 4.1 mmol/l ).

So, the point of this long winded story?  Here I was thinking, since I am known by many of my dentists over the year as the "Drool Queen" that this was a good thing.  It is ... and it isn't.  It's better to not have a dry mouth as this can cause problems.  In my case, Stephanie went on to say that with being a Type 1 diabetic, we tend to have acid saliva which causes tartar build up.   It doesn't help as she explained that when we have a low blood sugar we are eating sugar.

At that point, I told her that I after eating foods containing sugar when I have a low blood sugar, I tend to rinse my mouth with water, and eat either a few nuts or cheese to offset the evils of the sugar decaying on my teeth.  While it is good, what she suggested next for future use after eating a meal is something I wish I'd known about before!

You know how we've all been told to brush our teeth after eating?  Well, again, it's 50/50 sorta good.  Because we have such acid saliva, and because the majority of the foods we eat (yes, eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables have/create acid in the mouth) ... that if you go to brush your teeth after eating a meal ... you are only pushing the acid further into your gums.

Her tip?  Before brushing your teeth, always rinse your mouth out with mouthwash BEFORE ... not afterwards.

So, here's my take on the whole thing ... that I will retain in my sponge brain for future, and maybe you will too, since as we all known healthy teeth and gums as a diabetic are important, and many people overlook this thinking

If need be (and do this on a daily basis anyways before bed), after your meal, FLOSS your teeth to remove any food debris stuck in between your teeth.   RINSE thoroughly with WATER to remove any dislodged particles.   GARGLE mouthwash for 30-60 seconds, then SPIT out.   Then without rinsing again,   BRUSH  your teeth for 2-3 minutes with a toothbrush, being sure to follow the correct brushing procedure shown to you by your dentist and/or hygienist.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Big Blue and Bowie - in bed together forever

UPDATED August 27, 2017 (see Note 1)

So, if you haven't read my blog post about Big Blue, my Animas Vibe's first week of use, then hop on over to this LINK.  The rest of what I write about below will make more sense.  I'll try to keep this short and sweet since hey, it's TGIF!   Let the weekend begin!!!

After posting the blog on my disappointment with the accuracy of Big Blue who has CGM capability (this sounds like the Six Million Dollar man ... we have the technology ) along with a few other quirks.  Here's my update.

I cannot return the Vibe.  Plain and simple according to the Animas representative that came by after my blog went around the globe.   Due to the ADP program in Ontario, you cannot just pick and choose a pump, then decide it's not to your taste.   A wee bit disappointed with that, but the rep made things abit easier with the following suggestions that I will have to live with for the next 5+ years, or until Big Blue bites the dust.

The reps suggestion?  While I still have a functioning Ping aka Ziggy.  When I want to wear something slinky that I can't access my insulin pump in order to bolus, etc.  Simply use Ziggy along side Stardust my One Touch blood meter with Bowie my Dexcom receiver.  Simply remove insulin cartridge from Big Blue - plop it into Ziggy.  Best of both worlds as the rep put it!

We also came to the decision that due to incorrect sensor placement on arm, that this was the reason for the Vibe CGM and Dexcom receiver being off that I wrote in my previous blog.  I can agree on that after removing the sensor due to the fact that it was not sticking well on my arm and sensor wire looking not too straight. We think it was barely in my skin.  Plus, I had placed the sensor incorrectly, since the muscles in my arm when it's placed HORIZONTALLY, tends to pull the wire back/forth, cause sensor tape to not stick as well.

Silly me, deciding to try the horizontal placement for a change of pace, thinking well, if it works great on my "flat" stomach, why not the arm too?  NOPE!  Muscle, muscle, muscle ... pull ... pull ... pull. The rep of course reminded me that we are not supposed to place our sensor anywhere else but our stomach, and basically just pretends he doesn't know that many of us do things with our medical devices that are not approved of in the manual.

So, after placing a new sensor in ... correctly ... this is where I found both the Vibe and the Dexcom receiver were spot on with each other.  Cancel that FAIL quote from the previous blog!

So, I am now only using my Vibe for seeing my trend (when you press the Contrast button, you can see the last CGM screen viewed).  I tend to to like to see the current blood sugar, that shows which way the arrows are going, along with the IOB (Insulin-On-Board).  Bowie, takes care of all my other needs for info on my blood sugar trend, etc.

NOTE 1:  August 27, 2017 - since writing this blog - I have decided to no longer use Bowie - since often I lose him  ... urrrhhh.  I've gotten used to relying on the vibrations/alarm set up on the Vibe ... though I may eventually go back to Bowie ... since again ... the alarms on the receiver are easier to determine if it's a LOW/HIGH .

Handy Trend Arrow Chart from Animas representative

The trend, and other information that is shown on Bowie aka the Dexcom receiver.  It is far is better for viewing than the Vibe pump screen. Also, when it comes to alarms, as stated in previous blog, hands down for Bowie who sings like a Hero in my eyes to save me from either going too low or too high.

Remember use me as an example .... don't rush in too fast for something until you do your research, which I should have done!  You might regret it!  DOH!!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

First week with Animas Vibe aka Big Blue

UPDATED August 27, 2017 (see Note 1)

I finally took advantage of the ADP program here in Ontario and now have been in possession of Big Blue .. aka an Animas VIBE and CGM System.  The program pays for all age groups of Type 1 diabetics in the province of Ontario for the pump and $2,500 a year towards pump supplies.  So, no more paying outright for my pump ... and making Visa travel reward miles on the purchase - boo! hoo! The pump warranty is for 5 years rather than the 4, when I would purchase my pump privately, so win win.  So until the pump breaks down, it's my buddy until it's death date of ... get this ... 2040!!!  Unlike my previous pump, a ONE TOUCH Ping aka Ziggy Stardust ... his death date IS December 31, 2022.  I'm still keeping Ziggy, as a back up for holiday until then.  He served me well!  I just wanted to have the pump and CGM integration that the VIBE offers.


A few people have written to me privately, asking me what I think of the Vibe, and after a week of using it, here's my honest thoughts.  I'll keep this as easy to understand as possible.  If it doesn't make sense, comment below and I'll do my best to answer you.

Comparison of Ziggy and Big Blue


  • The pump is a little bit bigger then the ONE TOUCH PING, so the screen is abit larger.  Probably due to housing more hardware inside due to the CGM being incorporated into it.  See below in CONS.    NOTE 1: After meet up with Animas rep - there is NO size difference - both the way (even they were fooled by the way the picture turned out).
  • When it comes to entering the TOTAL that is shown on your screen when doing an EzCarb or EzBg.  You no longer have to scroll the numbers from 0.  If your TOTAL is showing 3.0 units ... as soon as you touch the OK and the UP BUTTON ... you are at 3.0 instantly.  It is still taking me time to remember this ... since you can rapidly go up to 6.0 in a nanosecond.
  • You have your CGM display available to you.  See below in CONS.
  • You can use any blood meter you want to - which in my case when I was using the 2020 - was FreeStyle Lite which uses the smallest droplet of blood and according to research has better accuracy of many other meters on the market (plus the strips are less expensive - a big factor for me come September when I no longer have work coverage).

CONS or as I call it FAIL:

  • I'm finding the screen keys abit less soft, so you do have to press abit harder.  For someone with arthritis (which I have), it could be problematic in time.  Also, I wonder if the plastic on the buttons is more hardier, since the 2020 and PING seemed to wear down faster.  I never had these problems, but have heard from others who did.  Again, warranty for most people should cover this problem if it occurs.
  • For the CGM ALARM settings -  they suck compare to the DEXCOM Receiver!  You only have options similar to what you use on your insulin pump portion for ALARM settings.  It's annoying as all hell when you're driving, and it's going off on some hissy fit.  Hard to distinguish one from the other.   FAIL!!!
  • Accuracy between the DEXCOM receiver and the VIBE are not as accurate as I thought.  I had started them both off within 5 seconds of each other when booting them off so that Calibration times would coordinate.  The DEXCOM receiver wins hands down.  FAIL!
  • You cannot set the REMINDER time on the PING for HYPO any lower than 30 minutes.  The receiver you can enter in as low as 15.  Not good in my opinion.  This also surprised my CDE's when they witnessed me experiencing a 2.8 while in their office (and I amazed them further by acting the same way ... cool and under control ... actually I was sweating like a pig ... and sadly ... the alarms on the VIBE did not forewarn me of my rapid decline in blood sugar like my DEXCOM receiver does.  FAIL!
  • Too many screens to go though to get to the CGM area.  DEXCOM receiver wins hands down.
  • No ability on the VIBE to enter in Activity or additional Insulin perhaps given by IM for high blood sugar (a no no still in my endo and CDE's eyes ... I swear I have whip marks on my behind from them!!!).  DEXCOM receiver - wins hands down.
  • I am now limited to wearing separates again when it comes to being a Fashionista, no remote for pump entry for blood sugars, and also if you rely on pump soley for CGM reading ... you get it ... I dare you to look at this naughty picture!!

My lust for the ANIMAS Vibe was bigger than my brain!     


If you are with the ONE TOUCH PING ... stick with it.  The only thing that got me into going onto the VIBE was the representative wiggling a carrot in my face at the yearly Insulin Pump meeting in March that all ADP participants have to attend ...  that for only $800 I could get a box of sensors, transmitter, and receiver IF I purchased the VIBE soon (Animas Canada is no longer going to be selling Dexcom supplies as of this summer, so they're getting rid of all their G4 stock).  As many of you know,  I live on handouts of expired sensors, receivers (and I even have a transmitter that may still have life in it from someone who went onto a G5 system) due to paying out of pocket.  Here I was with lust in my eyes for this great deal (as bad as I am when I see a deal in a thrift shop, but this is a life saving article that isn't $2!!).

A week later .... this is how I feel ... blah ... and wishing maybe I'd just stuck with good old Ziggy and his  side kick Stardust (the ONE TOUCH blood meter)  who sucks up alot of blood, but means I don't have to pull my pump out all the time to bolus, look at CGM reading.  Really fun when you're wearing a dress I'm telling you, make sure you are wearing clean, unholey underwear!!) - and if you didn't click on the "naughty" picture in the CONS area ... scroll back up - I double dare you!!

Sigh - I should really be more serious when I write shouldn't I?  Chin up and all that stuff.

Anyhow, I've turned off the CGM on my Big Blue, gone back to the DEXCOM receiver, that I've had for almost 4 years that is still working strong.  I had hoped with the VIBE that I would not have to use it, but I guess I was spoiled by using the receiver, and it works, it notifies me when it's unhappy with me.  Perhaps if I was a newbie to the CGM system on the pump, and had nothing to compare it to, then I'd not be writing this.  I wouldn't know any better.

In hindsight, I should have just waited it out until the end of my ONE TOUCH PING life when perhaps updates could have been made on the programming of the VIBE.  I'm going to contact both my CDE and Animas (they'll be getting a link to this blog) next week to see what we can do.  I'll keep you posted in upcoming blogs on my progress and I hope it's good news.

By Manny Hernandez - 2008 - Hope: Diabetes Supplies Art 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Vampire testing on the fingertips

Okay, kidding aside ... as diabetics ... testing your blood sugar on your finger tips can be abit of a drag at times.  I've been doing this process since home testing was introduced back in the 1980's  (you can read more about the history of these blood sucking devices at David Mendosa's link HERE).  Even with wearing a CGMS (aka Bowie) which many people think means you won't have to do the old finger prick anymore, I still test on average about 6X a day, sometimes more, depending on what is going on in my life.

Recently, a family member of mine was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  Luckily, with the help of their spouse, they're are diligently performing 4 tests a day in order to stay in a good blood sugar range to avoid any complications of high blood sugars.  The one thing they admitted to me the other day, was how much it hurt.  I discovered the "nurse" was pricking the fatty portion of the finger tip, where numerous nerves exist ... that beg <NOT> to be heard when they're mistreated.

Screaming Hands by

I then slowly explained the best way to avoid the pain, by testing on their finger tips, which over the years I've shown nurses how to perform this task on their patients hands.  What better person to show them how to treat their patients, and not have them stop testing when they go back home to deal with diabetes on their own.

I even went as far as to post a few pictures on my Instagram account that you see below, since sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words!   If you've never tried testing on the sides of your finger tips, then give it a go next time, and be rewarded with no pain or scars.

Here's some of my tips to get the best results out of a pain free blood test:

  • Always wash your hands before testing, simple soap and water are fine (alcohol dries out the skin).
  • If your fingertips are cold, rub them gently to warm them up and get better blood circulation.
  • Use your lancing device on the SIDE of your fingertip to get a drop of blood sufficient for test.
  • Then hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood and wait for results 😀 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

I finally got inked for Diabetes!

I've been humming and hawing for awhile about getting a tattoo representing my diabetes status for sometime.  I finally decided to give it a go last week and made an appointment, since I'm celebrating my Diaversary of over 1/2 a century.  Along with this treat of being inked I'm going on a well deserved break from social media / work this Spring and I thought if I meet up with anyone from Diabetes UK  it would be fun to show it off!  

The good thing with this holiday treat though is that it's been basically paid off by a few years of purchasing diabetic meds, pump supplies, food, clothing, you name it with a credit card that gives back the most travel rewards.  I figure, if I've got to have diabetes, I might as well enjoy some rewards from purchasing all the crap needed to stay alive with a credit card (and yes, I pay off my balance EVERY month especially at the current 19.99% interest rate).  So, it's win, win all around with getting to see family / friends overseas - relax on an ocean voyage and not doing dishes for a change of pace!

So, with further adieu ... here's the design that my new best tattoo artist Nat from The Skinwithin and I came up with after she looked over some of the designs I'd come sent to her during the week.  She knew I wanted to incorporate the blue circle from IDF, along with my pen name of FatCatAnna which evolved from my diabetic cat Beauduoin (though on hindsight ... I should have asked Nat to maybe tweak the cat  to be abit fuller (okay fatter) since this cat looks a bit malnourished ... but as my skin stretches with age ... maybe it'll blimp out <lol>).  

All in all, I'm happy I did it, and found out that having it on the left wrist is actually the best place to put a tattoo like this.  According to a paramedic, the left arm is where they first go to when checking your pulse, etc.  Even with the tattoo stating my being diabetic, I'll still wear my other piece of medical ID from Mediband ... just to be on the safe side. Again, as the paramedic told me, they still look for medical ID over a tattoo when they are performing their work in an emergency situation!

If you're looking for advise on getting a tattoo SAFELY - check out T1D's Chris Clement's blog post at this link.  He's got some great tips so you can safely have one done by your fav ink artist.  He should know, since I've viewed a few of his up close and personal ;)   

Below is how it's looking at the moment, after removing the plastic wrap it was kept in for about 12 hours.  I'm using Aveeno baby cream to keep it moist.  Luckily, I heal well from cuts, surgeries (due to my being a healthy diabetic probably).  Now what will be my next tattoo?


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Here I Am!

Wow, I can't believe how long it is since I've had time to sit down and compose a blog.

The last one I wrote was in the summer, dealing with my husband's motorcycle accident (his ribs and face are all healed).  Along with other issues, like work, still sorting out from house move, took me away from my usual bit of fun with composing a blog filled with fun links to click that are both educational and entertaining.

So,  ♩♬ HERE I AM ♬♪ ...  it's a new world, a new start .... ♪♪ my time has come .... ♬♫

And along with this, I'm trying to get into the New Years resolution crap  links that I'm working on for one of my contracts I do.  Resolutions have never been a big thing with me, but  I decided to take one of the ones I gave to them, which probably will not be chosen and just go ahead with it on my own (because I think this is a really good)!  I've been abit down and out, so anything to help get more motivated to being active,  Does running up and down the stairs of our house REALLY count as activity because my menopausal brain has leaks in it for forgetfulness?

So, what is it that I'm rambling on about? 

Fit2Me  is an online coach to get you active and into eating healthy.  It's aimed for those of us with chronic health conditions according to it's website as well, but I think it would work for basically anyone.  Even better, it is FREE (which I like) !!!   I've picked my own personal coach by the name of Tim (I feel like such a Cougar), who supposedly is a surfer and laid back and won't hopefully bark orders at me if I don't full fill my commitment of 150 minutes of exercise that I've set for myself.

I've chosen the types of exercises (and there are LOTS)  plus it is YOU that has to chose your exercise plan.  Originally, I had assumed that the site would chose them for you, but I am fine with doing my own thing.   Which is good in away, and probably why the Fit2Me site requests request that your own health team be fully aware of what you are doing (which I will be talking to my team about this Tuesday).  The site also gives you the option  to print out a form to take to them.  The last thing you want  to have happen is some health issues occurring to you without first consulting with your team, especially if you've been inactive for abit.

Setting up My Food preferences was easy and luckily I eat pretty well everything under the sun (my Mum had an easy child to feed) ... and one of the recipes suggested for me ... which is making my mouth water is this one - Greek Tuna Casserole (24 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein - WIN WIN).  I'm already salivating over when I'll be making this one up!!!  I've yet to explore what suggestions they will make to me, but I'll give it a go during the week when I have some free time.

So, that's it in a nutshell.  My plan is set in action to get more active, starting off with this online tool. Though, warning to non-Americans,  it states  that it is for residents of the USA.  I'm just pretending that I am semi-American, since I do only live about 5 kms from the American border!  Though if they see this post, hopefully they don't shut it down to outsiders like myself.

Work it! Work it! Work it!
Pete the Cat