Saturday, September 29, 2012

My need for CGMS

I am starting to truly understand the need for a CGM. I used to just think it was going to be another way to innondate myself with data that will go by the wayside. But the more I read about it and the more I interact with people who used it I am starting to see the value of knowing when your sugar is either dropping rapidly or balancing out.

This would be especially useful at night. I have been battling my evening sugars since forever. They are severely unpredictable and any alterations to my basal rates make a major swing. So my basals stay as they are for now and I adjust accordingly to my bgs and hope they work.

My sensitivity over night is incredibly high. I have a basal of around 2.0u per hour which is low for me, as it jumps to almost 4u at 6:30am (when I also take a metformin tablet for resistance in the mornings).

Overnight I can spike to 18.0-20.0 one night, and correct and come down to around 10.

The next night I can wake up at 1am with a bg of 2.2 on the exact same basal rates and the same schedule the day before.

I think the key is my before bed sugars. I can kind of grasp them, but if I knew if I was trending down or balancing out, I would be in a much better place to correct accordingly.

And that is why I need a CGM. It's a real shame my insurance won't cover the potential CGM that might some day make its way to Canada.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The NS NDP and Diabetes.

Something has been really getting under my skin lately in my province (Nova Scotia) and I know I am not alone.

Our provincial government has funded $600 million in restructuring/redeveloping/saving WHATEVER you want to call it a dying industry. Bowater Mersey and NewPage are pulp and paper manufacturers.

Look, I get it. I GET IT. The people who are working there are tax paying Nova Scotians. But you know what? They are qualified Nova Scotians who worked hard in their lives, they should be given the honour and dignity of receiving recognition and compensation for this and they should move on. This is what happens when industries die, people move on. See steel, coal mining etc. etc.

The thing is there are around (and this is only a guess) 1500 people living with Type One diabetes in Nova Scotia. Less than half of those people are on insulin pumps.

An insulin pump is NOT a cure for type one diabetes, but it makes life that much easier. It makes management of glucose levels easier, it makes exercising easier, it makes living a life like a human without diabetes almost manageable. YES a person with type one can live without an insulin pump, but it's not easy. And for me, my body does not react to long acting insulin any more. Do you know how much more complicated, and how many more injections that would be?

In the interest of full disclosure of what's peeving me off,  I will give you a breakdown of the costs of running an insulin pump:

The pump is $7000. Insurance will sometimes cover a portion of this. My insurance covered $2000 of that when I needed a new one in April. So I was stuck with a bill of $5000. Because the company I went with does interest free financing I pay $140 a month for 36 months to cover the additional cost.

Infusion sets are around $18 each (10 per box/per month). So that's $180 a month.

Reservoirs are around $15 each (10 per box per month). So that's $150 a month.

Insulin is somewhere around $65 a bottle. I go through 3 a month but that varies greatly. So that's $195.

Glucose tablets are around $10 a bottle and I go through one every two months. $5 a month.

Test strips are $80 for 100. I go through 10 a day. So 300 a month average (if I do not have a sick day). That's $240.

My total monthly diabetes costs: $910. That's $10,920 a year. I am one of the few very lucky folk who have diabetes supplies covered by insurance. I do pay some out of pocket but it is negligible in comparison to some. I have the strictest control over my blood sugar because I can financially afford to. The problem is, some Nova Scotians can't.

If the government pitched in what I pay for each Nova Scotian with type one diabetes, who was not funded by insurance, it would cost them approximately $16,380,000 a year. Of course that's assuming that each person desired the pump AND were not covered under private insurance, which we know isn't true.

Do you see what I am getting at here?$600 million could go a long way for this disease. More importantly it would prevent serious strain on the future health care system.

Type one diabetes IS NOT a lifestyle choice. It is NOT because the person is fat, lazy, ate too much sugar. Our bodies have SHUT part of itself down. It's the EXACT same thing if someones kidney stops working for no reason other than an auto immune response. When I was 6 my body attacked itself. There's no other answer, there's no cure. I can't just start exercising more, eating right and hope it goes away. It's the hand I have been dealt and it's the hand I will play.

What happens when someone can't do what I am doing (and obsessing over)? Diabetes is the NUMBER ONE cause of heart disease and stroke, kidney damage, neuropathy, retinopathy. It can take a toll on your body. When a person does not have the financial ability to take care of themselves it is PROOF that our health care system is FAILING.

The last provincial election Premiere Dexter promised to fund pumps for children under 18. This past November the Dexter government completely went back on its word. In fact when I questioned Maureen MacDonald about this last year, I got a shitty canned letter about how they are investing in Kidney dialysis machines.

Well gee, thanks you idiots. Now I know that when someones kidneys fail because they did not have access to health care like they were promised, they will have up to date dialysis machines.

There is absolutely zero comprehension of what diabetes is doing to our people in Nova Scotia. But you know what's worse? The government doesn't give a damn either.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Inspiration

My dad. Faught cancer like a trooper. Ever positive, devoted, loving, funny. Love him. He inspires me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

September DSMA Blog carnival: My goodie bag formerly my dbag

I was calling my goodie bag my d-bag for awhile but uhm....well let's just say it dawned on me one day that it is a completely inappropriate term for something so valuable to me.

I love my goodie bag. I change it usually once every few months, usually when the blood stains and the sticky finger syndrome rubs off the pretty designs. I always use a make up bag that will fit in my purse. It's small, compact and it NEVER leaves my side. Wherever I am my goodies are with me.

Here is what I have with me at the bare minimum:

Back to front: cute pink make up bag (turned out since there are blood stains on the other side;)), anti bac for checking on the road, full vial of dex4 (says watermelon but is actually fruit punch, yum!), extra infusion set, finger poker, back up syringe, a few band aids, lancets (but who uses them anyway?), ibgstar meter, Novorapid backup, test strips, battery cap, reservoir cap, and an extra reservoir. Missing from photo: back up battery for my pump (I changed it last night and forgot to replace)

I also can be caught stealing little packs of peanut butter and honey from restaurants when my waitress/waiter isn't looking and stock piling them in my kit. I have been known to stock an extra vial of strips too.

And yeah, I like pink, ok?

This post is my September entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

Thursday, September 6, 2012

D-Friendly Food Product Review: Quest Protein Bars

Image courtesy of

I have found a treat that is not only guilt free, low calorie, low carb, high protein, high fibre, gluten free, no artificial sweeteners...but absolutely delicious! What I am actually considering calling a miracle treat.

I have tried several of the various flavours and have really enjoyed them all. The biggest complaint I hear about the bar is the texture. It's definitely an acquired...texture somewhere between a nougat and a toffee. But to be honest that's part of what I love about them! I find myself satisfied beyond belief when I eat one. They don't give me a huge sugar spike like other protein bars and they leave me feeling like I just ate a candy bar.

So, let me break it down for you:

  1. Almost “NO” blood sugar increase
  2. No Upset stomachs – Quest Bars are easily digested
  3. Reasonable in calories (160-200)
  4. No GLUTEN
  5. Softer & Better Flavors making them easy to eat
  6. No Sucralose
  7. Lower Sodium
  8. Low Net Carb Count
  9. No Junk (Simple Ingredients)
  10. No Soy

For example the bar I just ate is the following:

It was the cinnamon flavour and so yummy. My current favourite is coconut cashew, but I am definitely biased since coconut is one of my favourite flavours/smells for everything. I have also tried the peanut butter chocolate and strawberry cheesecake. Yum.

Now the other night I tried to just bolus for the net carbs (which was 6g in my other bar). It didn't go over well, I have to play around with my ratio with these since the protein to carb content is so high. I find if I have any sort of carbs with my protein I need to up my ratios. (Which is what I have discovered by having a protein laced smoothie every morning).

So yeah. Go out and buy them. A little pricy at $24.99 for 12, but absolutely worth the cost.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Find your passion


This will be short because the Y key on my BRAND NEW laptop is malfunctioning. However.

Just a quick note about finding passion.

I read Not Dead Yet written by Phil Southerland (of Team Type One fame) this weekend and it was totally inspiring. I mean, everyone finds hardships in their lives. Not just people living with diabetes. There is not one person in  this world that is not fighting a battle every day. I think what's important is that everyone be passionate about something. I think that being passionate is what gives life its flavor, but also what can keep a person going in the darkest times in their lives.

So I guess I need to focus on my passions so when things get tough (I have it pretty easy aside from living with the D) I will be able to redirect my energy. Just like Phil did in his training.

I highly recommend this book to everyone living with chronic illness, especially type one diabetes.