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Anna's Blog

Anna's Blog
By: FatCatAnna

The Roller Coaster Ride of Diabetes! Whoo! Whoo!

I am a Type 1 diabetic diagnosed back in the early 60's as a child.  I am living in Montreal, Canada and enjoy scribbling about diabetes from time to time. I’ve had my ups / downs just like any person would experience with going through life - diabetic or not.  My motto in life?  Diabetes does not control me – I control it!! 

You can find more posts/discussions at my Facebook page called "The Roller Coaster Ride of Diabetes" and also on Twitter under my name of FatCatAnna.  Feel free to "friend" me at both places - since I love to meet up with new folks all around our big blue marble!


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 Blog Entries
Brownie in a Mug (FatCatAnna Style) - Mar 30
Okay that title in brackets almost sounds like Gangnam Style  – I don’t have many sweet things in the house for after dinner indulgence.  I’m ...
more
Comparing prescription coverage in Canada - Mar 29
For some of us - who don't have either private or work medical coverage here in Canada for prescriptions we require - it can be tough to manage the budget between food ...
more
Update on I-Port - Mar 07
It’s been a month now since coming back to Canada from what I think was the best holiday I’ve had in ages.  I’m still in the process of getting my ...
more
Life is Good - Hockey - Nutella - Insulin! - Feb 23
I was just about to post on my Facebook page with a follow up to my  sweaty dripping wakeup call at 0202 (see below) – then thought – ahhh heck – why ...
more
Air Pressure on Medical Devices - Feb 21
Most of you know, I started insulin pumping back in 2008 with an Animas 2020 after 40+ years with multiple dosage injections (MDI).  Sadly, with the problems over ...
more
Brownie in a Mug (FatCatAnna Style)
Posted: Mar 30, 2014 21:15:06 1 Comment.
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  • Okay that title in brackets almost sounds like Gangnam Style  – I don’t have many sweet things in the house for after dinner indulgence.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a diabetic or the way my Mum was (fresh fruit or occasional Betty Crocker mix in it’s own box cake were her favs for us).  I just know that sometimes I get that urge to have something I consider sinful (e.g. ice cream is a rarity in my freezer – usually it gets freezer burn as I forget I have some).

    So, lately, I’ve been playing around with recipes I’ve found online for making a brownie in a mug.  The best one so far, that I came across is from Simply Recipes.  It’s a no brainer.  The only thing I did with it though  – due to the carb count of the ingredients was a) make 1 portion into 2 nice sized treats; and b) go full out with making it gluten free as possible (I’m still new at this – so don’t shout me if there’s a hint of gluten in recipe below).

    No, I have not been diagnosed with celiac.  Though it seems many Type 1 diabetics are being diagnosed with it (and there’s a new test from Australia that says “ it doesn’t require a month or more of eating gluten or painful intestinal biopsies” along more accuracy of diagnosis).   All I know is, that sometimes I’m finding I have a few of the symptoms of possible wheat intolerance – despite not eating masses of bread – and wonder …. am I or am I not allergic to gluten?  So far, I’ve had no success in having my endo say yes to testing (some of my T1 diabetics online mates have said I should get it done – even in my later stages of life with diabetes).  For now, while I learn to deal with some other new health problems in my life – I just skip along merrily – and deal with having a yummy brownie in a mug that doesn’t make my #BGnow go wacko afterwards and makes me smile!

    My chocolate mug gluten free creation

    So with a drum roll …. here’s my easy peasy recipe – that hopefully you will find as yummy as I do.  Feel free to play around with the type of flour you want – just like I did.  Also, I have made it with 50/50 sugar & Splenda – but that was only when using mixture of wheat/rice flour.  It was great – but if I’m going to have something sweet – I might as well go all the way – with the real thing (see my little notes of other sweetners I've used below)!!!

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1/4 cup flour (I use a mixture of ¼ cup brown rice flour and ¼ cup coconut flour)
    • ¼ cup sugar (I’ve played around with using Maple Flakes – which is  lower in carbs then regular sugar along with added vitamins/minerals in it that are natural.  I’ve even used my home made version of lavender sugar ).
    • 2 Tbsp of cocoa (natural, unsweetened)
    • Pinch of salt (like you’d throw over your shoulder for good luck – careful – not  that big a pinch)
    • Tiny pinch of cinnamon (I love cinnamon!!!)
    • 1/4 cup of water
    • 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil (Simply Recipes recommended not to use olive oil due to taste factor - but I have - along with trying it out with Organic Coconut Oil from this company)
    • 1 to 2 drops vanilla extract
    • 1 small (hee!hee!) scoop of ice cream or 1-2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream to serve

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Place flour(s), sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl (see pictures). Stir with a fork to mix well.  Next add oil, water,  and vanilla to bowl.  Mix well with a fork until the mixture is smooth and there are no clumps.  Take TWO mugs and divide mixture into them. Place in a microwave (I do each one individually) – heat on HIGH for 1 minute.  If you go more than 30 secs over – mixture may be too dry.  I find 1 minute makes it purrfectly yummy texture – not overly dry – not overly goopy.  Of course, this all depends on your microwave!  As the original recipe states at Simply Recipes – “it should still be moist when cooked through not dry”.  Let cool for a minute and serve with one of the toppings above.

    To see a FULL set of pictures of this recipe along with extra descriptiions and tips  - go to this link - and promise me - when you get there ...

    DO NOT LICK THE SCREEN!!!

    Unicorn licking screen

    Comparing prescription coverage in Canada
    Posted: Mar 29, 2014 16:21:07 0 Comments.
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  • If only money grew on trees

    For some of us - who don't have either private or work medical coverage here in Canada for prescriptions we require - it can be tough to manage the budget between food / rent / and other things that we require to stay alive.

    For example, in my case, even though I don't have pump coverage (in Quebec it is for under 18 only - and as long as you remain in the province after that age - you are covered) - my visits to doctors / hospital (ER) they are paid for through our provincial income taxes.  Of course, this is all based on your income.

    Wait but currency grows on trees

    The same applies for medical coverage in our province - it is all based on your income - and so far - since starting to research where I'll get my best bang for my buck based on cost of living (housing / rent is relatively cheaper here in Quebec than in Ontario which is "next door").  These are things you have to weigh out when having to survive on medications to keep you alive.  

    Sadly, when attempting to find out what each province covers via the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) - I'm finding no information at all.  In away, this is something I thought they would have shown on their website - to help ALL Canadians figure out what is covered by each province.  Either I'm looking in the wrong place - but this is what lead me to post this blog - incase others are like myself - wondering about their best option for medical/prescription coverage for their diabetes health.

    UPDATE: Thanks to Petronella Peach - she sent me this link from CDA - that shows what our provinces cover for diabetes prescriptions.  They're abit out of date (2011) - but better than nothing!

    what Canadian funds looks like to a foreigner

    Take for example, I move to Ontario (that has insulin pump coverage if I go back to it that is).  You have to pay for your prescriptions until you reach retirement age.  They do not have a similar medical plan like we do here in Quebec - which is a more socialist system similar to France. Ontarians of course - pay less in provincial taxes - so there goes the thinking cap of what works out better financially in the long run to maintain my diabetic health?  Paying out of your own pocket OR paying the province more in taxes to have your drugs covered.  Hmmmm, decisions, decisions. If only money grew on trees.

     

    Current Drug Insurance Plan in Quebec

    Above it the current public prescription drug in my province (for larger picture go to this link link

    How does your own province/state/country compare to mine?  I'm curious - as I prepare to make a move after retirement to a new frontier - perhaps to the east coast (closer to the sea for sailing) - wait - maybe to France!

     

    Update on I-Port
    Posted: Mar 7, 2014 13:59:38 0 Comments.
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  • It’s been a month now since coming back to Canada from what I think was the best holiday I’ve had in ages.  I’m still in the process of getting my thoughts together for a good travel blog on the experience along with going thru’ the 1,000’s of pictures both my DH and I took – but in the meantime – it’s back to business for blogging about what I do the best … diabetes … staying in control with it … using whatever method suits you best.

    For myself, on this past holiday, I was determined to use the I-Port for all my rapid insulin shots that I take during my waking hours.  I average about 6 shots a day when using my rapid insulin for my meals and corrections.  The ability to not worry about where I last injected (yes – some people keep charts).  I’m lazy – too much work - using the I-Port – which is like an infusion set on an insulin pump (both devices to infuse are very similar) – makes it easier to give time to heal as you move the I-Port/infusion to the next spot.  It makes my life easier!

    If I could have put my long lasting insulin into the same port – that would be great – but you can’t – according to the instructions.  It makes sense – since the long lasting insulin (Levemir / Lantus) – work at a different speed – so best to keep them separated.  So, for my regime of using Levemir during my holidays (x3 a day) that was fine (though the 6 AM wake up call for 1st of 3 shots – yawwwnnn – did I say I’m not an early morning riser???).

    Anyway, the jist of my blog here is that … I had to ditch using the I-Ports into the 2nd day of our 14 days of sailing.  The reason why?

    • Heavy seas when sailing (we sometimes had waves of 12’ high) – a lot of movement – equals unable to get the needle into the rubber port  that you inject into on the infusion set – tres difficile.   Often I would just inject with pen needle the regular way – and forgo the I-Port altogether.  Sigh.
    • Lack of light.  You need GOOD light to be able to see the rubber port.  A few times when going offshore – the places we were going to – either candle light – flashlight – or next to no light at all.  The life of a boater – lighting is not always what we are used to in our homes that are connected to the grid.

    So, I ditched using the I-Ports for the whole 3 weeks of my holidays.

    And yes, I am back on the I-Port now back on terra-firma – still enjoying the pump break I’m taking for now.  Testing out Levemir once again – but only on 2X a day injections (sorry Doris - the 3X regime was too much like being a slave to insulin - all I did was worry about times, etc. - not my personal style of controlling my diabetes health - too stressful).

    Sadly I only have 6 I-Ports left – and after talks with Diabetes Express / and Fay at Medtronic Canada – who knows when we’ll be able to obtain more.  Discussions are ongoing for distribution since Medtronic took over distribution from Patton Medical Devices in February.  It’s also very sad – when I hear from parents of kids who use the I-Port – and their not being able to get what they need (most kids use 6mm – as an adult – I use the 9mm – otherwise – I’d give the I-Ports to those that need them most).

    Feel like discussing this in the forums? You can go check it out here - where I originally posted about the I-Port back in 2008.  It's not new - and many Americans don't know much about it. 

    Meanwhile, back to dreaming I’m still living on water ….

    Life is Good - Hockey - Nutella - Insulin!
    Posted: Feb 23, 2014 11:00:57 0 Comments.
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  • I was just about to post on my Facebook page with a follow up to my  sweaty dripping wakeup call at 0202 (see below) – then thought – ahhh heck – why not post another entertaining #dblog –

    As I dealt with a #BGnow of 1.8/30 in the wee hours of the morning - and scooped into an imitator Nutella - I came across this great site. I now have more info into the pros/cons of hazelnut chocolate spreads (shoulda gone for the PB route after eating sweet stuff to bring myself out of this low). Back to testing again - to see if I can lay my head down to sleep for a few more zzzzz's before getting up for work (and hockey game - go Sweden - go Canada)

    I decided that “what the heck” - LIFE IS GOOD – Canada won against Sweden (now – tell me – who did NOT get up early today – even out in the western sector of Canada – that is 12 hours behind – THEY WERE UP!!) #goCanadago

    Canadians win Gold in hockey

    On top of it all – despite how some of you may react to this ... my #BGnow reading – taken AFTER the hockey game ended (who has time to test???) – had spiked all to heck at *** 17.4 / 313 *** with my inhaling of the hazelnut spread - lick lick lick (inferior to the one I’d bought from Cedar last year by a long shot – which lead me to the original post on Facebook with reading the #blog from veggirlrd.com ).  Have ou ever seen those huge jars of Nutella at Costco?  Have you ever bought one yourself? LOL
     
    Chemistry Cat
     
    Wait - I'm getting off track here (nuts do this to you - excitement of hockey game win) ....  maybe my #BGnow went up as I was actually playing the hockey game alongside the team members??  Ya know what can happen when we do exercise – and how our #BGnow spikes up ( you can view ongoing discussion here at Diabetes1.org on that subject )

    The conclusion to this post is - with the use of insulin – lovely rapid stuff we have available today – as a professional human dart board (back to using the i-port again and sometimes bad diabetic when having a hypo and goes overboard with correcting) – I am now happily coming down to regular programming with #BGnow – along with having had an espresso with a bit of cream in it.

    LIFE IS GOOD (it all depends on how you lick LOOK at it!!!)

    Air Pressure on Medical Devices
    Posted: Feb 21, 2014 16:22:29 0 Comments.
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  • Most of you know, I started insulin pumping back in 2008 with an Animas 2020 after 40+ years with multiple dosage injections (MDI).  Sadly, with the problems over the years when I go on holidays with a pump – it often fails on me - and I have to use the loaner pump that all Animas owners with a warranty can take advantage of.  I also had always brought MDI back  up incase the loaner pump also crapped out on me (See NOTE1).

    Cool picture of an aircraft

    On a recent trip to Martinique, with my assortment of insulin products I use for my MDI adventures - I experienced a little scare when it came to doing my basal injection with Levemir (I decided to give this a go again - doing 3X shots a day every 8 hours rather than the usual Lantus 2X a day regime). 

    When I went to give my 14H00 Levemir injection with the NovoPen Echo (my American readers - it's now available in the USA as of January 2014) - like always - I went to prime the needle for injection.

    Nothing came out.

    I primed it again with 2 units instead of the normal 1.

    Nothing came out.

    I then started to panic.  Yes, I did have another 1/2 unit pen needle - the Novolin-Pen Junior - which has my NovoRapid in it for my bolus injections - but my mind wasn't thinking logically of taking out the vial of Levemir and inserting it into that pen. In cramped quarters on a plane – I just really was wanting to be a Princess!

    Princess Cat - that's me in a nutshell NOT

    Along comes my night in shining armor - my DH - saying something he'd said before when I used to fly with my insulin pump. 

    "Air pressure in the aircraft may make the plunger mechanism go wonky"

    Hmmm, I then looked down in the window where you can view  the insulin cartridge in the pen - and yuppers - the piston rod had gone back up to the top - even though earlier in the AM shot (in the airport before we left at the ungodly hour of 0600) - it had been in the correct position.  The plunger had actually retreated back to it’s base!

    So, I pull pen needle apart, and get the piston rod to behave the way it should.  The one thing with the "improved" NovoPen Echo - is the rod seems more flimsy than the Junior pen I've been using for about 3 years (the piston rod seems more strong).  We're thinking maybe it's due to the Echo pen having "dose memory" of how much was injected and abit of an ability to tell you how long ago it was done (it's not the most precise for time of dose). 

    After that - all was fine - and on return trip 3 weeks later (sigh - good bye warm ocean breeze and dolphins) - it never occurred.  Still - it makes me wonder - does this happen that often with an insulin pump - that the plunger mechanism can rewind itself back? 

    In the meantime, I’ve posted to @NovoNordiskCanada on Twitter about this glitch that happened – and I’ll keep you posted with their reply. Hopefully if all goes well - compared to how it went with obtaining a 1/2 dose pen delivery system will be easier than it was last year

    NOTE1: Hmmm, this doesn't make an insulin pump sound very reliable does it - well - in my case - I sometimes think I've been jinxed - so don't worry - if you are new to pumping - just ensure you have every possible back up with you - incase something goes wrong – since without insulin – we are plain and simple - DEAD.  It's always better to be safe than sorry - and I can do it all in a carry on for a month  (I really should make a YouTube video on how I do this – it’s so easy - and trust me - I still bring more then I need even in a small space).  All the “legal drugs”  we have to tote along can take up space (what leave my sexy sandals behind?? NEVER).  Though some airlines now will allow an extra carry (e.g. tote bag that fits under seat in front of you) as long as it contains ONLY medical equipment (always check with your airline carrier first). 

    What did I do when I was in Martinique?
    Posted: Feb 16, 2014 15:33:22 0 Comments.
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  • I wrote this back on the 13th of February (no - not a Friday ) - my 2nd day of a 3 week holiday in the French Antilles (sailing for 2 weeks - 1 week on dry land).  Have a laugh NOT - especially if you've done a similar thing - but in my case - this was my FIRST time in all my years as a T1 diabetic (I was diagnosed in 1967).  Live and learn - right?  You'll find a link to Zouk music further down - which I found I quite liked.

    It’s just after 22h00 and I was all set to go to bed after my basal shot of Levemir.  I’ve done something I’ve never ever done in my life as a diabetic.  I’ve read about it in forums.  I’ve helped people through their fear of what they’ve done - many of us have stayed up late in the night to help them thru' it.  Sadly, due to where I am in Le Marin, Martinique ... I’m stuck without access to high speed Wi-Fi – so unable to get onto FB to post in the appropriate groups – to have someone help me feel more at ease as I play this waiting game. 

    I'm feeling very alone right now without my DOC (diabetic online community) and D-friends nearby to talk me through my fears.

    What have I done you are wondering?

    I’ve just injected my rapid insulin used for meals and corrections to my blood sugar aka bolus  – but it should have been my slow insulin injection aka basal.  Crikey – panic set into me at that point very quickly.   Why it did not dawn on me at the time I did this – as the needle seemed dull (it had been used all day to inject into the I-port for my bolus shots and was bent out shape) – is beyond my comprehension.  Double crikey!!!

    Alot has to do with STRESS (you will see this word ALOT in this post) - being on holidays - different routine – which seems to be a thing for me as I become older (plucking my grey nostril hairs out).  Not like when I was younger – when travel was so exciting – and I didn’t seem to worry about diabetes the way I do now.

    What stresses you are all saying?  .... "You’re on holidays - we aren't - quit complaining!!!!"   Well, one of them was getting in some of the provisions for the catamaran we are chartering  with some friends over the next few weeks in the French Antilles (the shopping market was so packed, itt was like people were preparing for a tropical storm).  Of course, it was a Friday, and people preparing for “les weekend”.  STRESSSSS – did I tell you that I’m not a big lover of crowds?   In my little brain I was playing Zouk music - to stay sane with getting around the cramped store with shelves fast emptying out.

    Along with getting the car back to the rental agency before noon when they close (and sometimes they close before – things you learn about places you visit).   STRESS – if only we could have had a full 3 days rental (it was a total of 140 Euros – which to most North Americans – is ALOT of money – but then taxi fare from Fort du France for 30 km distance to Le Marin – is 60-90 Euros – so win-win situation for a car rental despite the return time). So, trying to get all we had to do before it was to be returned ... STRESS.

    Top it with with trying to find a restaurant in Le Marin that night which realistically in the North America wouldn’t require 2 billion days advance for a reservation -  STRESS!! Yes, life in a foreign country can be fun sometimes that often differs from what we’re used to at home – but  ....

    NOT as fun as when a diabetic injects with the frigging wrong kind of insulin!!! 

    STRESS!!!

    Alright – it’s only 4 units of insulin that I’ve injected – for some of you it doesn’t sound like alot – but I’m very insulin sensitive.  On average – I take about 25 units a day of insulin I use (when on the pump).   With the MDI method that I’m using while on holidays – I use less insulin – and average about a total of 5 units of rapid insulin for meals/corrections – with the rest being taken care of by a basal insulin of about 12-18 units a day depending on my activity, etc.    In my case, 1 unit of rapid insulin – takes me down 3.5 mmol/l or 63 mg/dl – and my reading of my blood sugar (BG) just before I decided to go to sleep was 7.4 / 133.  Except I still have 2 units of rapid insulin on board (IOB) – due to a pizza and a few sinful cookies that had high fat (yes - a no reservations place near our boat - thumbs up to Pizz'amis Martinique!!).  So who knows what will be in store for me over the next few hours.

    Yes, I am staying fully awake – and I’m composing this #dblog for posting when I get back home in 3 weeks.  I’m Fing freaked out by this error.  Have not even fathomed if I should take my Levemir shot or not (as my DH was saying before headed off to bed – with an insulin pump this would never have happened – one insulin – no mix up with injecting with the incorrect insulin).  I now finally after almost 50 years of diabetes – know what some of you – who have done the same thing – feel like.  PANIC!!!

    I’ve already consumed the breakfast guava juice (it’s about 30 grams of carbohydrates) – inhaled a few Dex 4’s  – I am playing a waiting game of making sure I don’t go into la la land – but hoping I eventually can get some sleep – since we have to move our bodies out of the quaint little hotel we’ve been at here in Le Marin.  Walk down the hill to the marina in the AM – with all the foods we aren’t having delivered to the boat (yuppers – found a good deal for someone to get some of the bulky stuff in for us instead of us heave hoeing it). 

    So, if I can post this on Diabetes1.org without access to Facebook – this is what I’ll be doing.  If not – you’ll be reading this later on – when I have Wi-Fi access again – that is of better speed – and nodding your heads in agreement .... Been there done that ...

    I hope to never EVER do this again – and will faithfully check the pen needle BEFORE proceeding with the dart board practise on my behind with my basal insulin.

     

    The wanna be "insulin pump" called InsuLinx
    Posted: Jan 12, 2014 17:31:36 0 Comments.
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  • I had reviewed/blogged about the InsuLinx made by Abbott and in the forums here over the years – but at the time – I didn’t really know how to use it to its fullest (e.g. downloading the Auto-Assist software  on your PC since  in order to use it 100% you have to connect up via your PC).  So in actual fact – it wasn’t really a true review – and as some of you know – I go in head first (dumb, dumb, dumb) – and HATE READING MANUALS!!!  My beef at the time was that I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the insulin increments to .5.  Luckily a Dmate of mine here in Montreal who saw my Tweet last year – had told me the “how to use it properly”.  At that point I tucked it away as I was planning on going back onto George Michael (GM)  – and went back to my little FreeStyle Lite meter.

    Roll forward to December 2013, as I was deciding to take my regular holiday pump break for a month or two or three.   I thought I’d give the InsuLinx a go once again since it has some nifty features that I actually sort of trashed in my forum post above (ouch – can’t take those words back can I?).

    Anyway, I "tweeted" about not hearing from Abbott due to a small complaint I have about the visual aspect of viewing the screen in low lighting – even with the battery gobbling backlight feature on.  I heard from fellow Canadian Kendra@kendrac_twosix who has had diabetes almost 30 years.  She takes multiple injections like myself – though she tests more than I do (which is good)  – more insight into your overall control (don’t follow my example as an old D-fart girls and boys).

    At that point we started corresponding both on/off Twitter (sometimes that 140 character count just doesn’t quite do it for some topics).  She told me she had written a lengthy email to Abbott giving them the pros/cons of their InsuLinx.   We share similar beefs – and hopefully the fantastic email she sent to them about her 6 month test (much longer than my 1 month) plus what she’d like to see improved will be rewarded to users like myself if they take heed.  So come on Abbott respond to Kendra!!!  Or else she’ll take up my other suggestions to get noticed as the squeaky wheel in the fight for diabetes gadgets that work to their fullest!

    Comparing the results from GM with the InsuLinx (I have to give it a name eventually don’t I – I mean it’s my BFF?)  made me pretty happy – this time.  After using them side by side for a week prior to my unhooking from GM – the results are pretty comparable - I hadn't been on GM when I'd done my review in the forums last year.  This made a world of difference in comparing the two side by side.  Of course, the suggestions you receive from the meter are dependant on correct programming (best done with medical assistance if you’re new to diabetes).  If you are happy with doing it on your own, like Kendra and myself have done - then great!  You just need the code to access the area meant for professionals (e.g. your endo/GP/CDE).   Originally an RN was supposed to teach me how to use it when I picked it up from the pharmacy - but when she saw I was on a pump - and knew some of the lingo associated with the programming  - she gave me the code (sometimes I think I should have been not so "I know everything" and had her show me through the steps <lol>). 

    The amount of insulin required for carbs intake – or correcting a high blood sugar reading were pretty right on because of the matching programs in both of the meter and pump.   It’s like having an insulin pump – without the expense – or being hooked up via tubes, etc.   The only thing is that you can only calculate your insulin dose in .5 increments (whereas with a pump you can do smaller increments).   So far it’s not caused any problems with my going low– that sometimes for someone who is insulin sensitive like myself - can make a big difference.

    The few things I find abit annoying about the meter though is the " time out " feature of 15 minutes after you’ve done a blood test (while you sit in the corner after being naughty - wait - I meant to say .. figure out what to cook for dinner - regressing back to childhood - I was an evil child).   If you don’t – then you have to retest if you are wanting to use the calculator to figure out how much to inject.  I hate having to use more test strips or finger prick than I have to.   It’s not happened that often – but when it does - I just get out my calculator or figure it in my sponge brain.  By doing this manual calculation though – I may forget in my haste to take into account the IOB (Insulin On Board) . 

    The only thing is with the " time out " – if I do go back to the meter within the 15 minute time frame – the logging of the insulin I take is based on the time I originally took the BG reading in the beginning.  No biggie for me – but for some people – that could be annoying – and not a true reflection of the time factor of their insulin coverage.  Again, for myself, this isn’t a major issue (you should see me with my 3X a day Levemir regime – I don’t exactly take it at 0600 / 1400 (had to think just now – did I take it?? Yes I did) / 2200.  Now in my purrfect world – it would be great if I could log my basal (slow insulin) into the meter as well – so I wouldn’t forget if I took it or not J  So, I just log it into my pretty log book I pick from the Dollar Store.

    You can do a weekly review of how you’re meeting your target directly on the itty bitty screen (did I mention I’m an old fart D with aging eyeballs that needs more light, yadda, yadda, yadda).  I have yet to give this a whirl – as I’d not set it up until earlier last week – so I’ll get to see how I’m doing in a few days. 

    One thing I know that Kendra had written to Abbott about was entering in your carbs.  It starts off a 15 grams – but for someone who might be eating a meal of say 80 grams – then it’s a bit slow for inputting (or for myself - that 5 ml of raw sugar in my coffee that equals 7 grams).  I had told Kendra that GM has a food data base that you can set up yourself – or download – which many pumpers use.  I personally never used that feature of GM – as I don’t mind entering the numbers in – it keeps my old D fart brain active.  Whether Abbott could put this into the InsuLinx would be an interesting feature – to quicken the time of input.

    So yes, it is a little bit larger than the FreeStyle Lite I’ve used for years (Lolita) – but still requires a teeny tiny droplet of blood – that if it’s not enough on the first suck – you can still “fill ‘er up” with more of our vampire juice.

    In a nutshell, if you’re Canadian or live in the countries that has the features that Abbot offers in this meter then great - you have it made and it’s well worth giving a try.  Unfortunately, Americans don’t have the exact same thing sad to say, which makes me scratch my head as to “why”?

    Squirrel in a nutshell-sorry could not find a cat one :)

    My Third Left "Nipple"
    Posted: Jan 4, 2014 13:46:33 0 Comments.
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  • Remember the movie with Daniel Lewis - My Left Foot? It was based on a true story about Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy.  Christy could only control his left foot.  

    As I started to try to figure out a title for this blog - my British sarcastic humour way of thinking brain - did what it always does - whether it's having a hypo or not ... breasts came into play - just like some of my previous blogs have done.  So I apologise to anyone who thinks I'm making fun of Christy's situation - and now I'll proceed on with the reason I'm posting this blog. 

    Oh, and the nipple bit in my title is actually my i-port - which I like to play around with at times (does that make me kinky?) .  Over the past few weeks at get togethers - I've been asked about "why did you go off the pump, yadda, yadda, yadda".  For some reason, I start to feel my "nipple" and tell them the story.  I'm always educating EVERYWHERE I go - with abit of humour in it - and at the same time - telling them that without good control - diabetes is a serious condition to have - that has dire consequences if you don't take care of yourself.

    I am loving my i-port - aka "nipple".  Using it for my NovoRapid shots - not worrying about injecting in an area I have already done - and have problems with healing.  This little baby solves everything (to read more about my previous trial with two i-ports - check it out here).

    You can inject ONE insulin only into the port - so with my Lantus - I've been injecting the "old fashioned way" (no biggie with a 32 gauge 6mm pen needle).  I have a good fleshy area on my backside which makes for a good dart board practise.  After a few weeks of being off the pump (of course - I chose the holiday season - when there is LOTS of good healthy food around) - I thought I'd give Levemir a try again.

    Dartboard with bright coloured needles

    Why do a trial with Levemir?  Well, I did try it a few years ago (back in 2009) – but sadly developed an allergy to it – which caused lumps/bumps in the area injected and swelling in areas I didn't want to swell up! I had horrible BG control - it plain freaked me out with all that happened - due to being a bit of a control freak with my diabetes management. 

    Fast forward to Dec 2013 – a friend of mine who decided she’d had enough of MDI (multiple dosage injecting) –went onto a pump (lucky person has 100% coverage for EVERYTHING) – oh did I mentioned that they’re in their 70’s – and they are uber techno cool? 

    So, they had a box of pen needle vials of Levemir – though I did tell them – keep them incase something goes wrong with your pump.  They detested - being a human dart board for the past 20+ years was enough for them - so I took the vials – thinking maybe another diabetic who needed it could use them before they expired in 2015.  That person now happens to be me - Ms. Guinea Pig!!

    Cat waving good byeI said sadly said "bye bye" to George Michael (my Animas 2020 insulin pump) mid-December for what now seems to be a ritual every year at this time for taking a pump holiday.   I started with Lantus originally – getting used to doing the X2 (every 12 hours) shots with the inbetween dart shots of NovoRapid (using the i-port)  for my meals and corrections.   Luckily, the notes I took earlier this year – unlike the previous time – where my record keeping was pretty lame  – the transition this time (who wouldn't get anxiety attacks going off their pump?) is much easier! 

    Why did I decide to give Levemir a go again?  I have a T1D mate who I lovingly call the "Insulin Guru" who swears (politely) by this insulin regime of 3X a day (every 8 hours) - and they have an A1C of 4.9% (note - a lower A1C is not my goal - just having level BG's - in my happy zone is all that matters the most to me).  Because that insulin doesn’t work as long as Lantus – they feel splitting it up into 3 shots instead of the usual 2 (or in some cases – people only take their basal insulin once a day – though I wonder about their BG readings over a 24 hour period – IF they do basal testing that is).

    The first few days – I was abit unsure if I was doing the right thing.  I took my total Lantus amount – and split it up into 3X – similar to Lantus – where I take more for my AM shot – less for PM shot.  So far, with my hormonal bursts (menopause / period / stress from holidays) – I’m actually not doing too badly.  My corrections with the doses to make sure I’m staying in my happy zone are working out alright.  I have tried to allow at least 3 days before I make any changes.

    The one thing that I’m finding as I enter into my 2nd week experiment with Levemir – my BG’s seem to be doing less of the roller coaster ride.  Sadly, Lantus has a reputation of landing those of us who use it – into hypo fairy land – as it has a tendency to peak – and bang – you are low.  One of the reasons I had originally gone onto George Michael was because of the hypos I was having overnight and in the mornings.  Not conducive to work at all!!!  Levemir from the research I’ve done in forums as well as medical discussions with endo’s/CDE’s tends to show that this doesn’t occur with Levemir.  

    Yes, you do have to be abit patient when you try any new regime that you may not be familiar with – I won’t lie to you about this.  I won’t lie to you either – that using a pump is way easier as it has the ability to do everything with one insulin – and ability to fine tune your basal requirements.  I’m finding the time to “think” about my carb count – despite the use of the InsuLinx (watch for a new blog on this soon).  I'm still writing in a log book (the meter sadly doesn’t have ability to do this).  So initially, it’s time consuming, but if it’s anything like last years 6 month holiday from the pump – it all becomes easier.  It's like tying up your shoe laces (wait – there’s Velcro for that right?).   

    The other aspect of using the Levemir – is being a clock watcher (actually it’s my android that’s my savoir).  Timing of the shots – remembering to test my BG’s a few hours later – it’s getting used to this that is bugging me slightly - but I'm determined to make this work - despite getting up at the ungodly hour of 0600 to do my first Levemir shot - that's too early for this little work at home puss cat (my other shots are at 1400 / 2200 - this is the regime that works for ME that I set up for myself).

    On the other side though – that’s good at least to me –

    • not being hooked up to a machine
    • no tubing (fast dressing/undressing - Whoo! Whoo! If you get my drift)
    • Wearing clothing that normally I can’t wear due to have the pump (this may change if I ever progress to a pump that has a remote – but still – depending on where you stuff the pump – it can lead to a bit of a bulge – and sorry – I have enough of those from fat deposits on me already) … I’m so vain ;)

    So, how many of you use Levemir - and find taking 3 shots of it a day work for you as well?

     

    *** For more discussion on the I-port - feel free to check out the forums at this link ***

    COLD FX is a no go for T1 Diabetics
    Posted: Dec 20, 2013 12:47:16 0 Comments.
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  • Pirate Cat

     

    Yes, I’m going on a sailing holiday again in the winter – I swore after the one I did with my DH back in February – I would never EVER do this again.  I became very sick during that holiday – stress with one of  the Admirals on board due to their demand of use of water / food.   Not good for any person – diabetic or not.  This time, the gang we’re with – they’ve either read my blog I wrote OR we’ve talked – and I’ve been up front with them – and they’ve all said – WE ARE ON HOLIDAY – IF WE SPEND $100 MORE ON YADDA, YADDA, YADDA – WE ALL SHALL WALK THE PLANK TOGETHER.  Okay, the plank bit they didn’t say – but I’m sure with abit of rum in them – we be doing double flip swan dives off the plank.

    Last year on the charter we were on in the Bahamas, one of the couples on board is an RN.  She swears that she feels  due to taking COLD FX prior/during the holidays this is why they didn’t get ill like they had the previous year.   I figured, as an RN, who knows abit about diabetes, that it should be alright to take.  I went into the FAQ area to find out more – and it seemed to be alright for “diabetics” –but it did state that you should speak to your GP or pharmacist prior to taking. 

    Frank Walks the Plank (I love cat pictures don't I?)

    So, armed with this info – I spoke with my pharmacist yesterday – who told me NOT to take it due to my having Type 1 diabetes – where our autoimmune system has been compromised (this is what causes us to become insulin dependent ).  She said with Type 2 diabetics – its fine to take – as their diabetes is not the same (no kidding).  She said in taking this supplement (its main ingredient is North American ginsing) – that my autoimmune system would become abit whacky – and I’d be MORE prone to getting ill.  Phew – saved myself some $$$’s and potential harm.

    What did she recommend instead? 

    • Get a flu shot (I did a few weeks ago);
    • Make sure I tried to avoid places where people are hacking away (this will be hard on the airplane);
    • Start taking a teaspoon of honey every day (local she said was best);
    • Wash your hands (soap / water are fine);
    • Avoid putting hands in eyes and/or mouth. 

    Oh, and on the honey advise .... my Mum takes it – but mainly for seasonal allergies I believe.  She doesn’t even get a flu shot due to severe allergic reaction to it many years ago (and she’s never had the flu since I was a little girl – she’s very lucky).  Though when researching for this blog post I’ve come to the conclusion that due to mixed opinions (they say it doesn't work) -  I’ll just give it a go. Plus it does taste good on toast in the morning - right?

    Winnie The Pooh

    So, I’ll be looking to see when I arrive at my sunny destination – for local honey – to aid in my plan to not get sick like I did last year and pray I’m not sitting in the airplane with a person about to hack up their lungs (can you tell I love flying the friendly skies?).

    Would You Donate Your Kidney?
    Posted: Dec 14, 2013 15:25:18 0 Comments.
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  • Organ Donation

    Most of you know – I’m a big public radio listener – one of my many favourites is White Coat Black Arts with Dr. Brian Goldman  – a ½ hour segment – where the listener gets the inside story – that is understandable to the non-medical/technical  brain oriented person like myself.   It opens up my eyes to things that I would never perhaps know about.   Sometimes, the stories I hear each week – makes me want to write about it – and this one did – with the interview with Dr. Phil Fischer who has come public about himself becoming a living organ donor after he received a letter from the recipient of his kidney.

     “ a few weeks of recovery ”

    Dr. Fischer was saying that it took him 6 weeks to recover from the surgery and not the 3 weeks that he thought he could recover (he’s not a youngster anymore he was saying <lol>).  He actually could have taken medical leave from the Mayo Clinic where he works – but he decided instead to use his holiday time.   He did this as well with NO monetary gain!

    it was the right thing to do

    Why would someone do this for a person that they don’t even know?  I had sort of skirted the issue with my brother many years ago (he probably doesn’t remember) – about whether I ever needed a kidney transplant due to my long term diabetes perhaps shutting it down would he consider losing one to me .  He didn’t seem to be too receptive to the idea (and a relative doesn’t always mean you are matches).  

    You can listen to the full pod cast here – it’s only 28 minutes long – and may open up your eyes abit of organ donation (Dr. Fischer’s full interview comes during the last 15 minutes to the episode – and he does some small snippets in the beginning with the debate about  organ transplants).

    CURRENTLY 1 IN 500

    Canadians receive organ donations from a deceased person – and the low number is often due to the hospitals that handle the organs that can be donated – to the person who is in dire need of them to save their life.  Canada is at the bottom ½ of organ donations in the Western nations as well with Spain at the top.  If you listen to the pod cast link below – you’ll understand the system of how organ donations are done in our country – it’s not perfect – but maybe in time it will be.  Perhaps people will will also reconsider donating their organs in whatever method they feel comfortable with.

    I know for myself – that if I was not a diabetic – I would donate a kidney – even with the risk to myself – knowing I could save someone’s life.   I hope that when I do die – that if any of my organs can be used they will be put to good use (having visions of Dr. Lecter Hannibal below - shiver!!!) – and if not - at least my body can help aid medical research!

    Dr. Lecter Hannibal

    Would you?

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