July 8, 2009

Emergency Recall - Medtronic Minimed Quick-Set Infusion Sets "Lot 8"

Medtronic Minimed has issued an emergency recall of it's "Lot 8" Quick-Set Infusion Sets.

This evening I arrived home to find a UPS package from Medtronic Minimed. It contained information about a recall of all Quick-Set Infusion Sets with Lot numbers beginning with an 8 with the reference numbers MMT-396, MMT-397, MMT-398 and MMT-399. The package also contained a fresh box of replacements with instructions to stop using the Lot 8 sets and ship them back to Medtronic.

Medtronic estimates that 2% of Lot 8 (approx. 60,000 out of 3 million) are faulty and may cause over-delivery or under-delivery of insulin while the pump appears to be working properly. These errors are caused by faulty vents and can occur whether in a stable altitude or stable air pressure, or during a change in altitude or air pressure.

If you use Quick-Set Infusion Sets and haven't yet received a package with replacements and instructions, Medtronic's instructions are to use one of the following:
  • Silhouette infusion sets
  • Sof-set QR / Sof-set Ultimate QR infusion sets
  • Sure-T infusion sets
  • Polyfin infusion sets
  • Revert to the back-up injection plan established with your doctor
If you change to any of the above back-up methods, notify your doctor.

Medtronic anticipates all customers will receive the same package I received by this Friday, July 10. For more information, click here to visit this special web page regarding this product recall.

June 29, 2009

3 Reasons Why I Hate The OneTouch UltraLink Blood Tester

I recently started using the OneTouch UltraLink Blood Glucometer and I must say, I officially hate it.

As a diabetic who is literally in love with the Freestyle Lite (like, it's so awesome that I could marry it), I was devastated when my Endocrinologist handed me the OneTouch UltraLink saying that I needed to make the switch. The reason being that the OneTouch UltraLink actually communicates with my insulin pump, the Medtronic Minimed Paradigm.

OK, so it sounded cool. Plus this whole communication thing would probably help me be better controlled. I sadly kissed my Freestyle Lite goodbye and placed it into my supply cabinet (aka the tester cemetery).

After a few months of testing with the OneTouch UltraLink, I can honestly say it's the worst tester I've ever tried. It's as if they tossed it together without the input of actual diabetics during an all-nighter just to take advantage of a marketing opportunity with Medtronic. I mean, the communication technology is well-developed, but did you think that just because it communicates with a pump we would overlook the basics? And I must say, someone was sleeping on the job when Medtronic agreed to partner with such a shoddy tester (although I still love you, Medtronic).

The 3 reasons why I hate the OneTouch UltraLink are (and these are major deal-breakers for me):
  1. The screen's not backlit!?!?! You've GOT to be effing kidding me. Diabetics test 'round the clock including the wee hours of the morning. When I wake up at 3am, I have two options... Scenario A. Turn on the bedside light, wake up husband, test, fall back asleep after 15 minutes, listen to husband complain the next morning that he couldn't go back to sleep. Scenario B. Get out of bed, walk to the bathroom, close the door, turn on the light, test, walk back to bed, then lie fully awake for an hour thinking about how much I hate the OneTouch UltraLink. I usually opt for B. Keeps the husband happy and me from feeling guilty.
  2. Is that much blood really necessary? The answer is NO. Not when the Freestyle Lite and Freestyle Flash require just a fraction of that amount. Get with the program, OneTouch. We already have to poke ourselves and now your going to make us squeeze our fingers until they throb? Sadists.
  3. The size is ridiculous! Who wants to carry an enormous tester everywhere they go? Not me. And certainly no woman who values space in her purse or enjoys using clutches. And definitely no man who plans to carry his tester in a pocket. It brings back memories of dragging around a graphing calculator in high school.
OneTouch, you should really do some market testing to see how actual diabetics use a tester before putting it out on the market. Sure, you've got me as a customer, but you did it the wrong way. Here I am posting your flubs publicly and will certainly Tweet about it (follow me on Twitter, @sarahsavage8). Never underestimate the power of social media.

You need to take a lesson from the geniuses over at Freestyle. Based on what I've experienced with their products, they actual talk to diabetics about how they'll be used. Now, if only they would create a little beauty that will talk to my pump. Freestyle...you had me at hello and I'm ready to take this relationship to the next level.

Just one more note - the best thing about the Freestyle Lite and Freestyle Flash is the handy little light where the test strip inserts. It lets you accurately test in the dark, in bed, in a movie theatre, while camping, without disturbing a soul. YES! Now that's innovation.

March 30, 2009

Stress-Induced Diabetes Downers

The past few weeks, my blog has been silent. I've been having what I like to call Diabetes Downers. This is when I mentally go through a period of pretending that I don't have diabetes. And so, pushed my blog to the back of my mind.

Don't worry. I've been testing my blood sugar, pumping insulin and eating well. I'm still in good control and taking care of myself.

Getting my Diabetes Downers is usually caused by going through a stressful period of time when my brain is consumed by thoughts of work, finances and house work. At times, it feels that there are too many responsibilities and this is when I secretly wish that diabetes was not one of them.

During a Diabetes Downer, it's like the part of my brain that helps me manage my diabetes goes on auto-pilot. I keep doing everything I'm supposed to be doing, but I'm not really thinking about it.

I have no idea if other diabetics experience Diabetes Downers in the same way that I do. In the first years after I was diagnosed, moments like these made me depressed and angry. I still have bouts of this, but I've slowly learned to channel it into something else. Allowing depression and anger to take over always led me to a place where I was no longer healthy, mentally and physically.

As I've come to terms with having diabetes, this coping mechanism has morphed into something that ensures my health and safety. I'm thankful I'm able to handle my Diabetes Downers now. Acceptance has been difficult, and while it may never be 100% acceptance, I'm encouraged each time I come out of a Diabetes Downer. I've made it through this round, and will keep on keepin' on.

February 27, 2009

Sobe Wisdom Misses The Mark

The other day, my hubby and I were watching a movie. I opened up a Sobe Lean Green Tea (which I love) and set the cap on the seat next to me. He picked it up, read the inside of the cap and started laughing. I grabbed it and discovered these bits of wisdom printed in the lid:

We were laughing so hard at the irony of a diabetic getting this advice. The marketing geniuses over at Sobe that came up with this "wisdom" definitely don't have diabetes. That also goes for the executives who approved it to be printed on the caps of their sugar-free drinks.

Carb counting consumes my life, as it should all diabetics lives. When I say consume, I don't mean in a negative, overbearing way, but carb counting is necessary for survival.

I think this incident proves that the general public is not educated enough on diabetes. I'm sure Sobe's marketing team is good at what they do; Sobe is a very popular brand. But if they're going to market a sugar-free drink, they should realized that diabetics are going to drink it. And diabetics count carbs.

Soy's Link To Hypothyroidism: It Almost Happened To Me

The past few months have been a bit rough on me. You see, last October my doctor told me I wasn't getting enough protein. Naturally, being a vegetarian, I upped my soy intake to solve the problem.

My December diabetes lab tests showed I was developing Hypothyroidism. The results were still in the "normal" range, but borderline. My doctor suggested that we redo the tests in January to see if it would get any worse.

Two weeks went by and my husband randomly read a blurb in Men's Health magazine that soy may inhibit thyroid hormone and cause Hypothyroidism. I instantly cut out all soy from my diet, and my January lab tests came back normal!

I am completely shocked that my Endocrinologist was not aware of this soy/Hypothyroidism relationship. Diabetics have a higher incidence of developing thyroid disorders than non-diabetics so this is crucial knowledge for diabetic vegetarians. I would think all Endocrinologists would tell their patients, specifically their vegetarian patients, about the risk of eating too much soy.

This experience confirms my philosophy that doctors do not know it all. While I respect them and understand how vital they are to helping me maintain my health, I am truly my own best advocate. I believe all diabetics need to research their diseases and symptoms as much as possible, and stay actively involved in the health care decisions that many people just let doctors make for them.

Having family and friends who are aware of your diabetes and are looking out for you is also an important part of staying healthy too. If it weren't for my husband having his eyes open, I'd probably be starting a lifetime of thyroid medication right now.

February 18, 2009

Mission: Accomplished

Six weeks, in the grand scheme of things, is a relatively brief period of time. I thought the past six weeks of tackling the Special K 6-week Challenge would be excruciating, but they've surprisingly sped by.

I did it! Here's the stats.
  • Days on the diet: 42
  • Bowls of Special K: 84, give or take a few. (Cut me some slack. No one can resist pizza when everyone at work is eating it.)
  • Pounds lost in the 1st 3 weeks: 4
  • Pounds lost in the 2nd 3 weeks: 0
  • Blood sugar changes: My BGs are consistently landing near my targets and are much more stable!

This challenge was easy. Even more importantly, I've learned tremendously from this experience. What did I learn?
  • Small meals do wonders for my blood sugar. I'm going to stick to just 1 normal meal a day, with 4 mini meals.
  • Mini meals between 15-25 grams of carbs seem to work best.
  • My carb counting skills and my insulin dosages have been honed to near perfection. When your BGs are stable all day, you can get a better reading on how accurate you are with that normal meal for dinner.

Will I continue eating Special K every day? Probably not. But I do still like Special K. I plan to do my best with sticking to mini meals. The good thing is I know I can always count on that crunchy cereal if I fall off the wagon and need to start over, which will almost certainly happen.

January 28, 2009

The Challenge Continues

Believe it or not, I'm still rolling on the Special K 6-Week Challenge! It's day 5 of week 4 and you'd think at this point that I'd be tired of Special K. It's just as cold, crispy and delicious as I always thought it was.

The great news - I'm down 4 pounds. That's 4 pounds in almost 4 weeks, which is a pretty healthy rate based on what I've read about weight loss. I've got a few more to ditch, but I have no doubt that I'll get there one day.

The best results I've seen from this diet so far have been reflected in my blood sugar numbers. Eating these mini meals has helped me to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. It's as if my body is able to recover more easily after each meal.

I now envision each meal becoming an internal fight between my food and my body. Thinking back to how hard I've had to work at maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, and now seeing these results, I truly think that's what happens. Eating small meals means that my body doesn't have to fight as hard as it would with a big meal or a high carbohydrate meal. Then when I eat a normal sized meal for dinner, my body handles it better because isn't recovering from the last meal.

This is, of course, my own theory. I'll keep on testing it one test strip at a time.

January 17, 2009

Challenging Myself

A society being threatened with obesity seems to be the perfect environment to breed fad diets. New dieting concepts pop up constantly, grab our attention and most of us can never stick to them. I'll admit, I've never been able to.

My doctors say I'm not overweight, but I'm not comfortable where I currently am. With the start of the new year, I decided to try something new. I decided to take the Special K 6-Week Challenge!

It's a simple diet - replace 2 meals with 1 serving of Special K, have a healthy snack between meals (like an apple, yogurt or carrots), then have a normal 3rd meal.

Believe it or not, today is Day 1 of Week 3. So far I'm doing pretty good! I've had a moment or 2 of weakness but all in all I'm sticking to it, and it's done wonders for my blood sugar. It's more stable throughout the day and I'm getting more consistent numbers where I want them to be.

Whether this is specific to Special K or not, I don't know. My theory is that having "mini meals" throughout the day is easier for my body to process. I'm going to keep it up for as long as possible to see how it affects my A1C.

January 11, 2009

Off The Wagon Already

Just 11 days into 2009, it looks like it's time to pick my resolutions and dust them off. Time to start again.

Yesterday, I took my husband and his crew of boys to Monster Jam for his birthday (check out this video we took!). It was a crazy fun day, but after breakfast, I fell off the wagon. First came the Garden Burger, which is pretty healthy if you don't count the delicious carbalicious bun, the cheese, mayo or sugary ketchup. Then came Pringles, nachos, french fries, beer...it was delicious.

As expected, the high carb and high fat day hit my veins like a ton of bricks. Fortunately I stepped up my blood sugar testing and kept my insulin pump workin' overtime. The results? I maintained pretty tight control.

It's tempting to turn a blind eye and pretend that foods like these won't affect you, but every carb counts. I'm proud of my work yesterday. Just because I'm out having fun and veering from my diet for a day doesn't mean I have to feel guilty as long as I'm paying attention along the way.

January 8, 2009

Resolutions That Last A Lifetime

We're 1 week into the new year, and most people's resolutions are starting to wane. You probably made the typical resolutions - lose weight, eat better, exercise more. Since these goals are so expected (because we all could be healthier), it's somehow no surprise when we don't keep them. In fact, it's almost expected for resolutions to be broken.

While cliche, these health-focused resolutions are very important resolutions for us diabetics to make and to keep. Sometimes, meeting these goals are the difference between life and death, and in some Type II cases, the difference between having or not having diabetes.

I've made resolutions this year to not only try to do the expected, but also to test my blood sugar more frequently and lower my Hemoglobin A1C. It feels like a big resolution. It happens to be the same resolution I've made every year since I was diagnosed over 10 years ago.

For me, the tough thing about being diabetic is being constantly reminded that I'm diabetic throughout the day. There's no running away from it. This reminder causes me to be constantly reminded that I'm not meeting the goals of my resolutions. That's enough to make a girl want to scream and run for the hills. But since I can't run away from myself, I also can't run away from my goals because my diabetes will never go away.

The best I can do is try to follow my resolutions. If I fail, I'll dust myself off, try again, and accept the fact that I'll have to make the same resolutions every year of my life...which will hopefully be a very long time.

January 7, 2009

Breaking The Hiatus

After months of letting my blog become stale, I'm officially back. And I apologize to my readers for ditching out like that...although I'm sure at this point you're not reading anymore.

My husband was going bonkers because each time I posted something to this blog, his computer server would crash. And along with his server went his company's website and the numerous other websites that he hosts. So I was forced to go on hiatus until the problem could be solved.

You see, I just couldn't go on with my husband constantly upset with me over my blog. I hope you understand. = )

But then, life happened, and the next thing I knew it was January. And what do I have? A dead blog. So here I go with trying to resurrect it. My fingers are crossed that my readers return...