Saturday, November 23, 2013

Choosing An Insulin Pump, Continued.

[Find the first post here.]

Wheels have been turning! Here's where things stand.

After checking with my insurance carrier, I got the first-round standard answer that the pumps they're willing to cover amount to the four "more established" brands: Animas, Medtronic, Insulet (Omnipod) and Accu-chek.

But, in talking with the remaining two companies (Tandem and Asante), those options could potentially be back on the table coverage-wise. Paperwork has been submitted for both (solely for insurance verification purposes) because I'd like to know if my choices are less limited than that since I don't have $6,000-ish just laying around to buy a pump at full retail cost. Like just about everyone else with diabetes, my options are limited to what my insurance carrier decides. (And luckily for us PWDs, those device manufacturers are willing to do most of the heavy lifting with insurance companies to ensure coverage - less work for me!)

That said, I'm fairly sure that I've narrowed my decision (insurance coverage pending) to three: Ping, t:slim, or Snap.

I've been in the fortunate position where some of these companies have reached out to me to see how they could help me decide, and as a result I'll be trying some stuff out. I've already met with my local Tandem rep (Hi Nathan!) to ask more questions and experience the t:slim up close again, and I'm looking into seeing Medtronic's new "530G with Enlite" LGS system (notice how I'm NOT calling it an "artificial pancreas"?) in person. I'm waiting to hear back from my endo, but things should be in place to do a short trial with the Snap pump, as well. (And I'm definitely planning to share my experiences with the Snap, as soon as I can get my mitts on one.)

And speaking of devices - I hadn't realized that I was already out of warranty with my Dexcom system, but that's all straightened out now and I have my new system (black receiver this time!) sitting in the living room, waiting to be unboxed.

To add to the chaos, I'm also seriously considering a switch to Verio meters over my well-loved iBGStar. More on that later.

Apparently I like to overhaul all of my diabetes gear at the same time.

Go big or go home, or something.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

World Diabetes Day 2013.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...We're marking World Diabetes Day a couple of days late... you'll forgive us, yes?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#DWontStopMe: My Video.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...The "Diabetes Won't Stop Me" video launch is today!

Here's mine:

Make sure to use the hashtag #DWontStopMe when you share your video! (Or, tag me - @txtngmypancreas on Twitter, or @textingmypancreas on Instagram - and I"ll find you that way, too.) I'm excited to see everyone's videos!

All of the #DWontStopMe posts are being curated here:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


It began with a conversation on Facebook about the following quote on My Diabetes Secret:
"I publicly blame my lack of recent involvement in the DOC on my crazy schedule when in reality, I’m sick of feeling judged, alienated, and deserted by the group that’s supposed to support and encourage me and everyone else touched by diabetes."
I've noticed that this general sentiment cycles through our community every so often; a visible, vocal frustration concerning the dichotomy of our open, supportive reputation and the harsh reality that not everyone who approaches the community is welcomed with open arms. When we're really down, it can take a lot of the dwindling energy and motivation we have to actually reach out and say "Hey, I'm having a really hard time. Help.", and when those pleas go unanswered, we feel abandoned.

I also worry (a lot) that some of the "look at what I can accomplish with diabetes!" stuff does more harm than good; perhaps for some, it does more to discourage than inspire. For some who have reached their rock bottom, the bright lights are less illuminating and more blinding. The further you are from "okay", the more resentful and bitter you become of those who have achieved some semblance of it and your ears and eyes and heart shut out exactly everything that others want them to take in. When you're deep down in it, there is no suggestion or advice or solution or logic that can work. When diabetes, or life, or anything has drug you down and nailed you to the floor and made you so convinced that even your tiniest little effort will be futile because failure is your mode now and there's no hope left - what can anyone do for that person then?

It becomes difficult, again then, when we all come to the table with differing expectations and needs. Some of us find what we need in reading the words of others; for some a tumble down a YouTube vortex sets them right for awhile. Some of us need immediate responses; some of us require just one person to speak up and say they get it. Some of us need drama. Some of us need attention.

None of it's wrong, assuming we're being honest about our situation. The trouble lies in what we reasonably expect the role of others to be.

I'm not saying our community doesn't have assholes in it or people who embellish the truth (or just selectively tell it) or people who perhaps take themselves a bit too seriously. We have exactly those people, just like the rest of the world, because our diabetes community is a microcosm. Diabetes doesn't discriminate.

What I've been thinking about, moreso today than normal, is what our role might be for each other. We are no official community; there are no credentials required or tests passed or rules for membership - we are this living, evolving, semi-solid of an organism whose adhesive is some combination of circumstance and empathy, a call to both arms and duty. What keeps us together, and what I hope we remember in times of divisiveness, is sameness. We're all dealing with this same horrible thing. It may not always look or act the same, and we may not all react to it in the same way, but all of it is horrible.

So what can we do?

I don't know, but I can tell you what we can't do. We can't be hammers looking for nails. I think that's where we trip up - we don't have to "fix" everything that's wrong. Sometimes, things just have to be shitty. But if it's shitty out in the open, if we admit and share and yes, sometimes even bask in those feelings out in the open, that takes away the part of the burden that says "I'm a horrible person for thinking this. What is wrong with me? No one else is as messed up as I am."

What you can do is say, "Yes it is, and I'm right in it with you, and we're going to be not okay together."

And if those you open yourself to don't respond in the ways you'd hoped, remember that everyone is dealing with something, even if you can't see it, and the way they respond to you may not be a reflection of you, per se, but a comment on how overwhelmed they already are. Most of us aren't doctors and haven't received any kind of training in how to "help" in these kinds of situations, but we are all human and can offer empathy.

But... empathy requires energy, and if you've already spent yours just keeping yourself afloat, there's not going to be much to spare for others. We can't be everything for everyone and expect to have anything left for ourselves at the end of the day. (Spoons, and all that.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's Back: #GiveAllTheThings 2013.

I was going to wait until the end of November to announce this, but because people are asking and I don't like to leave you hanging:

Yes. It's coming back.

Just as I did last year, I'll be hosting a series of rapid-fire giveaways (my brain is already melting from thinking about how I'm going to get this done, but I'll pull it off somehow) of diabetes-related-ish swag of all sorts throughout December. Each day will have a new "thing" you can win, so keep coming back to check in on what you could score.

Why? Same reason as last year. (The short answer, if you don't feel like clicking over - the diabetes online community is a wonderful place, and this is a way for me to facilitate some do-gooding.) I don't generate any income from doing this, and for the most part I'm not receiving any free stuff in exchange for hosting a giveaway (but in any cases where I do, you'll know). I hand-picked stuff that either 1. I personally use/love/admire from afar, or 2. was asked for when I put out the call for ideas. I like seeing people happy, what can I say?

This year's giveaways will launch on Monday, December 2nd, and be sure to use the hashtag #GiveAllTheThings when you share what you're doing for others (so I can find you and RT it!).

I am so amped about what I get to give you guys this year!!! And if you or your organization would like to sponsor a giveaway - please contact me! I still have a few spots open. Thank you to everyone who has signed on already!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Choosing An Insulin Pump.

It's that magical time of every-four-years-or-so where we insulin pump folks are allowed to select which small hunk of plastic, metal and science will help us manage our diabetes for the next few years. My Animas warranty runs out at the end of December, which means that our insurance plan is probably, possibly willing to cover some yet-to-be-learned percentage of the cost of a new insulin pump (assuming the paperwork gets processed before the end of the year).

The freedom! The choices! The intense pressure to choose wisely!

I've been pretty happy with my Animas Ping over the past few years. (I mean, I drew it into my blog header - I must be fond of it, right?) I've had very few technical issues with it, Animas' customer service has always been a pleasure to work with, the pump is waterproof, and frankly, I'm just used to it. It's familiar and comfortable. And who knows, maybe the Vibe will be granted the a-okay from FDA soon, and I'd be able to upgrade for (what I hope would be) a small fee. The Ping feels... safe.

But what about new hotness?

There's Medtronic's low glucose suspend pump and CGM combo, the 530g with Enlite. There's Omnipod (I've never worn one!), and there's that snazzy touchscreen (ooooh, shiny) pump from Tandem, the t:slim.There's also Accu-check's Combo pump and Asante's Snap. (Aw, snap!)

Six choices! SIX!

How will I decide? Which features are most important, this go-round? (I think all of these pumps are "good", and which one you choose really just depends on what features are important to you and fit the way you live/play. I don't think there's a "bad pump", just maybe a bad fit for an individual.) I think I can eliminate the Omnipod, because I appreciate tubed pumps (as I can move it around to accomadate different outfits during the time that infusion set is in).

Okay, how about Medtronic? The LGS pump could be nice during nighttime low excursions. But... it's not integrated with the Dexcom CGM I love so much, so getting the full benefit out of that system would require me to abandon my Dexcom.

Ah, now the t:slim! I trialed this pump for a couple of days during FFL 2012, and I liked what I could test of it. Touchscreen = cool. Bigger reservoir = cool. More intuitive functionality = cool. But it's a whole new company and device, and it feels like it would be a pretty big transition for me. Am I ready for that?

Then there's the Asante Snap. I don't know much about it, or the company that makes it, but I know that Scott liked it, and I totally trust him, so maybe that's good enough for me. Besides, it looks super easy (a snap, ha ha haaaaaaa) to use.

And the Combo pump from Accu-chek: again, haven't seen it in person, but I know someone that's worn it and liked it. I'm just not sure it's for me.

Which circles me back to Animas. While the features of my pump wouldn't change, I'd at least be able to order a different color.... but I'd be sticking with the same technology I've had for the past four years.

I've got some things to ponder.

Update: I tried to sign up for the Snap's four-week trial, and was told (by way of automated reply) that this pump is not yet available in my area.

Update to the update: Even though our insurance plan tells me that they will cover any pump except Tandem's and Asante's, there may be ways to work through this. I'll update when I know something!

Update, v3.0: You can find the rest of this story here, here, and here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Diabetes Won't Stop Me.

Whether you're a kid or an adult, type 1 or type 2, diagnosed recently or decades ago, MDI or insulin pump, diet and exercise or insulin therapy... I think one of the things we can all come together around is the idea that diabetes doesn't have to stop us from living the lives we want to live.

You can call it resilience... hope... optimism... stubbornness... whatever it is, it's a part of us that fights against the idea that living with a chronic disease limits us. And it can be comforting - even inspiring - to see others are "just like us" succeed and struggle and face the same things we do.

"Me too!" is a powerful emotion, no?

It's with that mindset that I'm announcing this: You Can Do This Project and Jerry the Bear are partnering to launch a new video campaign called "Diabetes Won't Stop Me". And we want you to join in!

The idea came about after watching the video below:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

... and realizing how inspiring it would be to see dozens - hundreds! - of short videos from all sorts of people in the diabetes community, just like this! We want you to share why "Diabetes Won't Stop Me".

So here's what we're asking:

  • Make a short (less than 30 seconds!) video telling and showing us about your biggest dreams and goals - or if you've already accomplished some, share what you did!
  • Starting on November 14th (yep, World Diabetes Day!), upload your video to somewhere like YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram or Vine. 

I can't wait to see what you share!