Insulin Pump Demystified

Friday, October 20, 2006

Really inspiring!

I had the real pleasure of interviewing Pittsburgh Steeler Kendall Simmons a few days ago--Kendall was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a few years ago and is going on a campaign to raise public awareness about diabetes. I interviewed him for "Diabetes Health" magazine--look for the article in an upcoming issue. Now, I must disclose that I was a little bit intimidated to talk with Kendall because I am basically football--illiterate. This admission comes with the disclaimer that I grew up with a Dad who is a die-hard fan (especially of the Steelers & Eagles) and married a man who may be an even bigger fan (Eagles specifically, with respect for the Steelers). Yet all of those Sunday afternoon and Monday night games pretty much washed over me, just specks on the screen, as I went about my business. Yeah, I've paid a little bit of attention during the Super Bowl, but that's a national holiday, after all.

So Fred prepped me a bit for the interview and my Dad assured me that the Pittsburgh steelers are all stand-up guys, and in the end, Kendall was probably one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people I've interviewed. He talked about what it was like to go from feeling at the top of his game, having won "Rookie of the Year" to getting extremely sick during training camp before his Type 1 diagnosis came. He talked about needing to change his eating habits from basically eaiting whatever he wanted (Kendall is 315 pounds) to learning how to count carbs. He talked about how he needs to manage his insulin so that he can go out and block 400 lbs of weight as an offensive lineman, without worrying about being too high or too low sugar-wise.

But mostly what inspired me was his attitude that he had simpley worked too hard in his career to let his Type 1 diagnosis get the best of him. And that is what he is out there in the world talking about.

His message brought me back to thinking about, though I don't need to go out and tackle anyone (barring my 3 and 1/2 year-old from time to time) on a daily basis, I do need to keep my diabetes management at the top of its game so that I have the strength to manage whatever comes at me in life. Stress at work, at home, parenting, financial pressures, worries about the state of the world...I have a lot on my plate, as each one of us does. It's too easy sometimes to just give in to it all, to lose motivation, to feel a little self-pity, to let your sugars swing out of control.

Talking with Kendall gave me a good shot in the arm, no pun intended, and I'm watching myself a little more closely this week. And--not a word to my husband or Dad--I think I'm going to follow the Steelers for the rest of the season.

Peace to you,

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Getting closer to a new pump...

Last week I had an appointment with my endo, the fabulous Dr. Levetan (see her web site and her equally fabulous diabetes educator, Susan, and took a step closer to choosing a new pump. I actually listened to Susan's insights and experiences with all of the new pumps that are out there and took home literature to read about the Animas and Deltec pumps and the MiniMed pump with continous glucose sensor. It's a big decision but I am feeling ready to take advantage of the new advances in pump therapy--and am relaizing how much easier it will be to have a pump that does the math for you in terms of carb counting and how much insulin is in your body, as opposed to using my D-tron plus, which doesn't include those features. In my heart of hearts, I want to get a pump with a's the best technology there is, and right now, I'm going through some big hormonal shifts connected to my cycle and it would be great to have a sensor giving me a heads-up about my sugars suddenly going too high. I really need it...last night, I was 140 an hour after dinner...then was 276 two hours later, having eaten nothing else. This is the kind of crazy, sudden blood sugar spikes that I've been experiencing. Even as a I write this, it's feeling apparent that I should do for the sensor. I'm just bummed out that insurance is not covering it, but I think I'll just have to suck up paying for it out of pocket.

Susan mentioned that Deltec will be coming out with a pump/sesnor combo, too--maybe within a few months--so I may want to wait for that and see which company will give me a better deal. It stinks, but you have to act like a smart consumer when it comes to diabetes supply decisions. I am still feeling stung that my husband's new health insurance plan only pays for the cost of 70% of my strips.

Did you see the AP newswire in yesterday's paper about a man with Type 1 diabetes who was in a major car accident and survived for four days in his car, with a fractured leg, before someone found him? It was all because he kept a box of crackers in his car, he ate them and was able to grab his insulin. Amazing story. This morning I made sure to put extra snacks in the glove compartment. It's horrible to think about the possibility of such an experience, but stupid not to be prepared.
Wishing you all much safety and good health!