Insulin Pump Demystified

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

In the news

I don't pay as close attention to the daily news as I should. I don't want to be a stereotypical mom of young children who can only talk about diapers and feeding, but some days, that's mostly what's going on in my world. I do try to watch the news at least once a day and listen to NPR when I'm driving, but some days I fall asleep with the TV on and some days there's fussing or whining from the back seat that makes it kind of hard to pay attention to NPR.

But in the last week or so, I've been paying very close attention to the crisis unfolding in the Middle much so, that I barely have had a chance to process Bush's veto last week of the bill that would give more funding to embryonic stem cell research. I'm just now catching up on the news item. And reading about the veto, and the politics leading up to it, just makes me compelety pissed.

You might like the President. You might respect him, think he's doing a decent job. I don't, and not only because I disagree with his foreign policy. I can not tolerate his stance on this stem cell issue. It is just mind-blowing to me, as someone living with Type 1 diabetes, that any human being is standing in the way of supporting research that will ultimately save millions, millions, millions of lives.

I don't know about you, but I want the Type 1 cure to come soon, and I know that researchers are really close, and I know that those stem cells could help them out. And this is all selfish, yes, for my own benefit--but I also speak this way because as someone living with Type 1, I feel like I have a sense of empathy and urgency for anyone living with a chronic illness.

I understand the President's perspective that the 5-day-old embryos have the potential to become human lives (or maybe he considers that they are lives); but a recent poll by USA Today shows that 61% of American disagree with this idea. Who is representing us? The majority of Americans want to save the lives of people suffering from chronic illnesses. Which, by the way, will help people all over the world. Woudln't it be awesome for an American scienetist to cure alzheimers or diabetes?


On a more uplifting note, here's a news item that hasn't gotten much press:

World-class aviator and diabetes patient advocate Douglas Cairns has recently flown his plane to Orlando as part of a national tour to help raise awareness of diabetes and to inspire the 20 million Americans living with diabetes to take control of their condition.

In 1989, Douglas, then a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot in the UK, was no longer permitted to fly fast-jets after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. But now his determination and love for flying has inspired him to prove that diabetes need not limit the scope of people's dreams and ambitions.

Learn more about his flight at

In peace,

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Product happiness, Product disappointment...

Part of living with diabetes means living with paraphenilia. Diabetes paraphenilia. Whether you are a pumper or not, you've still got to shlep around a meter, glucose tabs, insulin or meds...the list goes on.

So, like many people living with diabetes, I've become a bit obsessed with my paraphenilia. It's amazing how something as little as a new meter case can improve your outlook--and even your management.

I'm happy to report that I just discovered one of the coolest pumping products ever: groovy patches. Go now--check them out at Designer Dina Klavon has created a very fun way to make sure your pump stays in place (I'm feeling that now in the heat of the summer!) while also making the pump into part of your fashion statement. How cool is it for kids who are into sports to have a sports patch? For teen girls to switch patches with outfits? Discovering Dina's patches brought a smile to my face...and reminded me that a sense of play can go a long way in dealing with the drudgery of diabetes.

But on the other side of diabetes paraphenilia-ville, I was surprised to come home the other day and find a fedex envelope from Disetronic at my door. My order for my D-tron plus supplies wasn't due to arrive yet. When I opened the envelope I discovered an "Urgent Product Recall" for Disetronic D-TRONplus Power Packs (batteries)--seems that when the batteries' design was recently changed by the manufacturer, the result is that now the pump does not have time to recognize the power supply decrease and the pump may shut down before the alarm is triggered. That's nicee. All I need in my rather hectic life (two young kids, writing assignments, part-time job, attemps at cleaning my house and talking to my husband) is for my pump to shut down with no warning.

Up until now, I've been 100% loyal to Disetronic, even after the DTRONplus was recalled shortly after I started using it. I've felt that, despite its underdod status in the pump companies, that Disetronic has been reliable and that their customer service has been there for me. Frankly, I really can't handle anything else from them being recalled. That's it. I'm done. I'm due for a new pump next year--and whether I go with the Omnipod or a traditional pump, I've just decided that Disetronic is no longer part of the decision.

Hope that you are well--and enjoying the summer--

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Symlin Pen?

I've written several posts about my experiences with taking Symlin, and I must say that I'm still feeling like I'm in process of mastering how to use it with my insulin. I'm not overbolusing and getting low anymore, but I still sometimes fail to extend my bolus enough to cover the two-hours after eating and taking symlin when some insulin is needed. But all that being said--my blood sugar control, post-meal, is absolutely better since starting symlin. I'm due for an A1c next month--my first since starting symlin--and I'm curious to see where my levels are.

But one thing I haven't been able to get over--having been on the pump for seven years now, I just can't bring myself to carry around a vial and syringe with me. Many days I'm on the road around lunchtime and might have dinner out (at a restaurant or eating with friends) 1-2 nights a week. At those times, I would rather push a few buttons and bolus rather than bolusing and shooting up with symlin...even if my post-meal blood sugars may not stay as even. Carrying a vial and excusing myself to the restroom (I could never bring myself to take out a syringe at a table)brings back memories of the old days, and I don't like it. Just thinking about backing up the symlin and a syringe makes me more grateful than ever for my pump.

But I've heard good news...that the makers of symlin are coming out with a pen. That I can deal with: one thing, convenient to carry, dial it up, shoot, done. I will carry a pen. As I continue to get better working with symlin and insulin, I am looking more and more forward to that pen coming out.

Are any of you working with symlin? How's it going for you?

In peace,

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Omnipod is looking better...

Happy 4th of July, everyone! Hope you've had a long weekend to enjoy cook-outs and fireworks. It's been a real treat for my husband and I to have four days off together. We spent two of them at my brother-in-law's beautiful home in Connecticut, which has a big inground pool in the backyard. It was great having the convenience of a pool in the backyard--if it was nap time for one kid, one of us could still swim with the other. The weather was mostly sunny, just a few clouds, a real treat.

But by the middle of the afternoon yesterday, I found myself getting tired of my on-and-off routine with my pump. The D-tron Plus is definitely not waterproof, so I test and bolus as needed before getting in the pool, and leave my pump in a cooler before getting in.

It's not a bad routine, but with little kids getting in and out of the water more frequently than I would if I were swimming on my own, it can get old. I had just spoken to someone who switched from a pump to the Omnipod about a week ago, and she really loved that the Omnipod stays on, during showers and swimming. I'm still worried that I'll lose the Omnipod's PDAS system, but after this weekend's pool and pump routine, I'm willing to give the Omnipod more serious consideration.
I made a really big mistake yesterday: after nearly 20 years of not eating a hamburger, I decided to try two. And they were good! I became a vegetarian at age 15 for moral reasons (those of you who were into "The Smiths" circa 1986 can relate to my "Meat is Murder" inspiration), but then lost my certainty about the evils of being a carnivore during my 20s, and returned to eating fish (which I really love) and poultry. Wanting to eat as healthy as possible, I decided to avoid red meat altogether(which I was never that crazy about, anyway). But yesterday, those burgers on the grill smelled so good and flooded me with childhood memories of summer barbeques. I ate one (on just half a roll), then went for a second (you know, to finish the other half). This morning, my stomach was not happy with that choice. I don't think my body knew what I put inside of it. So, that's it for now for me for hamburgers. Maybe I'll try again in another 20 years...

Happy 4th!