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Woman With Diabetes Experiments With Her Collection Of Glucose Meters

I have several One Touch meters, a Freestyle one, and a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor that I consult on a regular basis.  (Not usually at the same time, but I have been doing multiple checks recently.  More on that below.)  I also have an Agamatrix meter and an Accu-chek one, somewhere in the diabetes cupboard in the bathroom, only without any strips that aren’t expired.

And I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to glucose meters.  The variability of these machines makes me crazy in the head, and it caused me a lot of grief when I was pregnant, because my blood sugar goal range at that point was so tight and so specific, and any variability was huge for me.  (I shared some samples of wonky results in this post.)

In the last few weeks, I’ve been doing some experimenting with my meters, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Why This Diabetic Isn’t Concerned About Her Insulin Pump Being Hacked

Jay Radcliffe is a fellow type 1 diabetic, and I remember reading his diabetes blog way back in the day, when I first started blogging.  We read and commented on each other’s posts, and we were both part of the blogosphere when the DOC first started to grow.  I knew he was married, had children, and did the day-to-day diabetes stuff that I did.

Which is why when I read the mainstream media’s take on his pump-hacking research (this article, Insulin Pumps Vulnerable to Hacking, for example), I reached out to him immediately.  “Can I just tell you that my mother sent me this article about your research?  Do you have time to talk?”

Jay was out in Las Vegas this morning, attending the Black Hat security conference, but he and I had a chance to hash it out over the phone.

“I know you!  And I know you as a diabetic, not as this guy who hacks insulin pumps and has a billion articles floating around about it on the web right now.  I have a few questions.  Starting with, why did you decide to hack into your own insulin pump?”
 Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

The Improving Outcome For People Living With Type 1 Diabetes

During the Joslin medalist meeting last week, I didn’t say anything.  I wasn’t presenting or doing any kind of networking.  I was invited as “media” (totally in quotes) but I attended as a grown-up child with diabetes, hoping to continue on that path of growing up.

I sat next to a woman named Eleanor (my beloved grandmother’s name) and she had been living with type 1 for 58 years.  She asked to see pictures of my daughter.  She offered me a cough drop after I spent a few minutes trying to clear my throat, and she stuck her hand out to take the wrapper, spying my pump tubing jutting out from my pocket.  “I don’t wear a pump,” she said.  “I do just fine with my needles.  And you appear to be doing just fine with your pump.  Do you need another cough drop?”  I almost hugged her.

As Dr. George King, director of research at the Joslin Clinic, gave his opening remarks, quotes from the medalists were flashing up on the screen behind him.  “I have learned to understand that perfection is not possible.”  “Tomorrow is another chance to do better.”  “Say YES to every opportunity.”

These people were incredible because of what they’ve accomplished with type 1 diabetes.  Hilary Keenan, PhD and pat of the Joslin biostatistics team, stunned me with the stats on this group. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

10 Ways Life Tries To Mess With Diabetes Control

Life is trying to further mess with my diabetes control. (Or is diabetes trying to mess with life? Is a zebra white with black stripes, or a horse with black and white stripes?) I’m making efforts to get it together, but odd little things keep leaping in the way. Oh, efforts to thwart: Let me count the ways!

1. Recently, the jar of glucose tabs in my car was empty, so I was forced to stop at a random store and buy a regular Mountain Dew from the vending machine. But I had to open it and let it settle a little first before I could chug it, because draining a can of fizzy sugar would make me instantly ralph.

2. It snowed and/or was freezing on the days I went to the gym. But on the days I didn’t go? Sunshine and warm weather. Stupid weather wants me to be fat.

3. I lost my Dexcom receiver for about five hours, until I heard its muffled scream from between the couch cushions.

4. The sound of the clothes dryer finishing a load sounds like the happy tinkling of the chimes on an ice cream van, which spawns this borderline insatiable craving for ice cream.

5. During my meetings last week with PWoutD (people withOUT diabetes), my blood sugar cruised inexplicably into the stratosphere, forcing me to rage bolus in order to be able to eat more than the plate garnish during lunch. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

I See Pump People

A few weeks ago, Chris and BSparl and I went out to dinner. Dining out with our little bird is a bit of a tangled experience, and we don’t spend as much time people watching as we used to because we’re very preoccupied with the baby wrangling. 

That night, though, we were sitting and settled and throwing gluten-free puffs (yes, all of us) around the dinner table like confetti when I saw this woman walk in with her family. She settled her family in at the table, and then reached to remove her coat, revealing a beeper clipped to her pocket.

Only it was one of them fancypants beepers with the tubes and the buttons and the accompanying not-making-insulin pancreas. I reckon it was an insulin pump.

Immediately, I wanted to swing mine over my head like a lasso and say “OMG lady, me too!!!” I’ve had this feeling before, of wanting to sidle up next to someone and say, “I like your pump — want to see my pump?” but to me that sounds more like an awkward attempt to flirt instead of a moment of diabetes bonding. Living in a very comfortable bubble of diabetes advocacy makes me think that everyone who has a visible “symptom” of diabetes wants to talk about it. I have to remind myself that some people just plain don’t want to talk about it.

But since I still wanted to say something, I targeted Chris instead. “Dude, 12 o’clock. Actually, my 12 o’clock, your six o’clock. MiniMed pump on that lady.” I said to Chris without moving my lips, as if a pump sighting was a covert Navy Seals operation. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

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