I've been taking a bit of a bloggy hiatus. Although it felt weird at first to not be blogging every day/week, it's actually become pretty freeing. I've been able to spend more time with family, focus more at work, and the nights I would have stayed up late to write on my own site or keep up on other blogs, I've been going to bed earlier. All of those are pluses for me, sitting squarely in the "good for my health" column.
I do miss connecting with this community in the ways I used to. I miss knowing what my friends are up to. I miss the random connections and uplifting camaraderie. I miss being up-to-date on every FDA filing and approval; every piece of diabetes legislation; every #dsma conversation. I miss the impromptu, softly spoken calls to action that morphed into something much bigger. I miss you guys, period.
I don't think I'll be returning to my former participation level; at least not soon. I'm juggling a lot of responsibilities at the moment, and this part of my life is where I can "opt out" for a while. I want to especially blog during these next six months, but we'll see what time and energy allows.
Disclosure right up front: the shoe company Vionic contacted me a few weeks back and instead of me immediately deleting their email like I do with most PR pitches, I was excited - I really love the two pairs of Vionic shoes I already own. They asked if they could send me a pair of their orthotic support shoes or sandals, and I picked out these sandals to try out. They also asked that I review them here, though they did not ask me to link back to their site or say anything specific. This is that review.
Here's a fun thing that has happened to me: sometime in late 2013, I started having some really wicked pain in the arch/heel area of my right foot. Like, out of nowhere, shooting pain, OMG, what is wrong with my foot kind of stuff. I would get out of bed in the morning and have to limp my way around until my foot "warmed up", which (I realized later) magically happened shortly after I put shoes on for the day.
I Googled things, like one does, and terms like "Plantar fasciitis" came up. I'm not saying that's what I have for sure - because I'm not a doctor, nor have I seen one for this specific issue (though when I told my endocrinologist about my symptoms, she was all "Yeah, it's probably that") - but I am saying that it could kind of maybe be that because my situation seems to fit all of the criteria.
It took me several months to really do anything differently, but at the end of last summer I finally decided I should probably stop wearing shoes with zero legit arch support (cough) and see if some more supportive shoes would do anything. I asked my Facebook friends what they'd recommend, and Alanna came through with a solid recommendation for Vionic shoes. I ordered a pair of ballet flats and you guys, it was like a revelation. They have orthotic support! They aren't ugly! I now have three pairs (ohhai) and my foot is so much happier!
(My normal inclination right now would be to make some sort of self-deprecating joke about being a middle-aged mom who drives a Subaru and wears orthotic shoes and how did this happen, but you know what? I'm not going to do that this time. All of those things are me right now, and I'm a fan of me. Me doesn't need those self-imposed digs. Me also hates the grammar of that last sentence. Me go with it anyway!)
I've never been a big fan of high heels or really any kind of shoe I can't just slip on... but as it turns out, wearing something with good arch support needs to be one of my criteria going forward, too. Aside from a little bit of itchiness caused by the underside of the straps on these, they're really comfortable for me.
I swear I'm not really this translucent
So, hooray for responsible adult footwear that can still look cute, is my point.
I want to disclose in a more formal way, rather than a what-does-that-hashtag-mean sort of way, that this weekend I will be attending a conference in Jersey City hosted by Janssen (a Johnson & Johnson company) and Everyday Health. Here's the conference description:
Healthevoices is a first-ever conference created specifically for online health advocates and focus(es) on strengthening online communities; providing valuable insights and education that will lead to stronger networks and empowered health communities.
That's pretty ambitious (how do they know their insights are valuable to me?), but I'm hoping it's mostly true. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with friends and meeting new ones, and learning some things along the way.
I'm also looking forward to the first time, because of the lack of capitalization, that someone mistakes the event's hashtag for a laryngitis fundraiser. ("Heal the Voices!")
Additionally, I want to disclose that my costs to attend this conference are being covered by Janssen. That means hotel costs, flights, most of the meals, and transportation between the airport and the hotel are all being covered for all attendees.
So, that's a thing. And I'll be using the event's hashtag, #HealthEVoices15, for the next few days, in case you got curious.
You know that thing where you start a new job and you also have a toddler and you just aren't making time to blog much anymore because any free time you have, you don't want to spend in front of a computer? That! That thing!
For a change of pace, I thought I'd check in here and share (insert cymbal crash here) an update of sorts. I've been using the Dexcom Share receiver and corresponding Share2 app on my iPhone for the past couple of weeks. (If you don't know what any of those things are, that's okay - here's where you can get up to speed.)
Let me back up a bit. I've been using some version of the Dexcom CGM since 2009 (holler, Seven Plus) and the information, education, and confidence that this technology gives me is incredible. (Super serious side note: has anyone else seen the Sesame Street video with Adam Sandler? Every time I see the word "incredible" now, I think "incredib-ELMO!" #toddlerlife) But seriously... if I had to pick between a CGM or an insulin pump, I'd pick CGM every time. More data about what my BGs are doing equals less risk for me when it comes to sleep, exercise, alcohol, uncharted food adventures... everything that's part of living a LIFE is on the list, so this little device has become pretty important to me.
Which makes it even more baffling that for the past... a long time... I haven't been on top of my diabetes management game. I've been wearing my insulin pump, but I'm not making the incremental adjustments to basal rates on my own in between endo appointments, like I'd done in the past. I hadn't been testing more than a couple of times a day, even though I had all of the equipment with which to do that a lot more often. And even though I still wear my CGM constantly, I haven't been checking the receiver as frequently as I historically have. I was finding myself going through a whole morning at work and realizing once I left for lunch that my receiver had been in my purse, untouched, for that whole time.
So when the word came out that Dexcom's bluetooth-enabled receiver (which corresponds with an iPhone app) had been FDA-approved, I placed an order. Maybe a change of "scenery" would help. And even though I wouldn't be using its namesake feature - actually sharing my CGM data with other people, through the Follow app - I thought I might find value in the ability to check my BG from my phone, because how cool is that, and I am absolutely a fan of any little incremental improvement that makes me feel better about doing something I hate.
The novelty works for me.
(I'll put the thought in there that I'm aware of the wonderful work and awesome resource that is Nightscout - that rig/system/thing isn't as good of a fit for me right now, but I am so, so thankful for the hard work that's happening there.)
Now that my CGM data is available on my phone, I'm paying a lot more attention to it again. Which means I'm paying more attention to diabetes again, and that's a really good thing.
But you know what I just discovered today after a co-worker showed me what she was tracking with the Health app, and it got my brain ticking? The Dexcom Share2 app can share data with the iPhone Health app.
Which means I can see multiple days, weeks, or months worth of Dexcom data in one tap.
Here's what I had to start with, and here's how I got it to "go". I don't work for Dexcom (my disclaimer policy as it relates to Dexcom is here), so I don't really know which of these things is required and which isn't, so I'm just going to tell you everything and hopefully it works for you. I also couldn't find any information on Dexcom's website on how to do this sync, which I think is totally weird, so in the interest of collective knowledge I'll share what I did here. I'm calling this tutorial Montell Jordan because ::sings:: THIS IS HOW WE DO IT.
What I already had: The Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitoring system with the adult version of the Share receiver (there's a pediatric version, and I can't confirm how/if this still works with that one), the Dexcom Share2 app, an iPhone with the Health app installed and bluetooth enabled, and a sandwich.
What you don't actually need: The sandwich, unless you're hungry and then you should totally get a sandwich.
What I did: I installed the Share2 app on my phone a couple of weeks ago, so that was already all synced up.
I went into the Health app, and if I'm remembering my steps right (it all happened so fast!) I tapped "Health Data", then "All", then "Blood Glucose". At some point I also was in the "Sources" tab on the bottom and Dexcom was a choice I could select. Then I chose "Allow Dexcom to Write Data". I really have no memory of the order in which I did these steps - this is why I'm not a technology writer, you guys.
I also added it to my dashboard within the Health app on this screen:
And discovered that you can look at every reading your Dexcom Share receiver is recording:
And if you figure out the right order of steps and want to share them below in the comments, that would be - wait for it - incredib-ELMO.
UPDATE: From reader Chris: "The missing steps: In the Share 2 app, go to "Account" and then click on "Health". This will take you to a screen where you can enable the Health app to access Dexcom data. After enabling, the data will appear in the Health app as you describe."
"The Dexcom Share receiver uses a secure wireless connection via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) between a patient’s receiver and an app on the patient’s smartphone to transmit glucose information to apps on the mobile devices of up to five designated recipients, or “followers,” without the need for a dedicated docking cradle. These followers can remotely monitor a patient’s glucose information and receive alert notifications from almost anywhere, initially via their Apple® iPhone® or iPod® touch and in the future on Android devices, giving them peace of mind and reassurance when they are apart. The “Share” and “Follower” apps will be available on the Apple App Store at no charge."
From what I've surmised, but please contact Dexcom directly for better info:
So there is now a new receiver called Share (which is confusing since the docking station is also called Share) that does the Bluetooth transmitting to Dexcom's apps.
If you already have a Share docking station, it sounds like you get a free upgrade.
If you have the G4 Platinum system but no Share docking station, there will be a "small cash upgrade" and they start shipping in March.
If you have ordered a new G4 Platinum regular receiver since January 1 2015, you get upgraded to the new Share receiver for free.
The "Follow) app lets the follower set their own alert parameters, ringtones, etc. independent of what the patient has for settings on the physical receiver.
The Share receiver is available to patients age 2 and up - no waiting for separate pediatric approval. YAY.
Dexcom held a conference call today to explain more about FDA's approval and the new system, and when that transcript is published I'll link to it.
Lilly Diabetes sent me a big ol' box of neon green backpacks filled with their collaborative Lilly/Disney books and publications, and I'm splitting them up between you all and my local JDRF chapter (minus the one that my daughter gets to keep, because books).
From Lilly Diabetes: "The durable, high quality backpacks are specially designed by Lilly Diabetes and L.L.Bean® with a customized emergency tag sewn inside." Like so:
And yes, the backpacks are BRIGHT GREEN EVERYONE PLEASE LOOK AT THIS BACKPACK. I think they are these, or at least really really similar to them. They seem enjoyable to wear, or so I was led to believe by this lovely backpack model:
Descriptions of the included books can be found here: http://www.t1everydaymagic.com/lilly-and-disneys-type-1-diabetes-bookshelf/. So, interested? I'll pick 6 winners on Monday morning, so get your entries in before midnight (Central time) Sunday. To enter yourself to win, follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget below. (Spoiler: you'll need to leave a comment on this blog post.) I can only ship to U.S. addresses, so keep that in mind. Good luck!
If I ignore the buzzing, the arrows will magically change direction. Look at me, laying here in bed defiantly! Ha HA!
Can I wish it away? Like, really, really wish? Or just pretend I didn't hear it? This will totally work this time.
Absolutely, I should eat peanut butter straight out of the jar. And these cookies. And a glass of almond milk. And more cookies. And bread with butter. Is butter a carb?
I can totally finish vacuuming this room, first. Now I'll go... oooo, that spill on the counter. I forgot about that. Gotta wipe that up. Now, where was... the window! It still has smears on it! First things first.
That conversation I half-remember having with my husband earlier today was clearly about how he shouldn't trust my judgement when I'm low, which means that he will obviously wake out of a deep sleep just because my CGM beeped once and will know, without speaking, that he needs to procure some quick-acting carbs for me RIGHT NOW. Wait.. still snoring. NOW. I'll just lay here a bit more. He'll wake up. Didn't we just talk about this? I'm pretty sure it was about me being low. So he'll wake up..... now.
It's not logic. It's low-gic.