Thursday, 31 May 2007

This is not another post about Doug Burns.

Heard enough about Doug Burns yet? Sick of the story? Don't want one more blog post about it? Well OK, but let me just say YAY that it's over! YAY to Doug for being so wonderful through it all and being such a great example. YAY for Micah Jacobs, his lawyer, who took the case on pro-bono and helped see this to the end. YAY for Amy, Bernard, and all you bloggers who got involved by spreading the news and making phone calls.

I hadn't realised how involved I was with this story until today when I read it was all over. If I'm feeling this relieved, I wonder how Doug, & others more involved, are feeling!

But anyway, as I said, I wont talk about Doug, as I see in my list of recently updated blogs that just about everyone else has talked about him & his drama today.

So, urrr... I did some gardening today, and it's lovely weather... sorta... well, for this time of year. Gosh, is that the time?

Have a great day, everyone - especially he-who-I'm-not-actually-blogging-about. :)

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

When symptoms get weird

You are probably aware of the typical symptoms of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar). There's plenty of information available on the net about them if you aren't. Chances are good that you're here reading this because you're diabetic, so you know all about it.

The general consensus is that low blood sugar can bring on the shakes, make your heart race, make you hungry (a hunger like you may never ever know if you aren't diabetic), make you sweat, and stop you thinking straight - among many other symptoms.

As with anything, symptoms can display quite differently in different people. In general though, we get a hold on our symptoms and (not forgetting those with hypo-unawareness) we're able to catch it before it gets worse.

What then, if your symptoms change regularly? Am I alone in this? Surely not!

I often get the common symptoms including a racing heart, feeling shaky, disoriented, and hungry. Every now & then I get odd ones though. It takes me a while to recognise them as symptoms, sometimes weeks - and usually by the time I have it sussed it changes to something else equally as weird. (Murphy's law strikes again?)

A few months ago I started feeling quite sick when my blood sugar got low. It didn't even have to get very low - mid 4's - still in the safety zone, but if I'm feeling low then I treat it anyway in case I'm dropping or can't trust my meter reading. So there it was, I was feeling nausea sometimes a couple of times a day. And I had to EAT to make it go away. Yick!

Just last week a new symptom started. Yawning. Yes yawning! A weird one for sure. It made me think I had high BG, as feeling tired would be normal for highs. But no... three times so far I've found myself yawning constantly with barely a break for breathing. I'd test, and I'd be in the low 4s or high 3s. The yawning would stop once I'd had a lolly or a drink containing sugar. I think this is my weirdest one yet...

One ongoing symptom I have that doesn't seem to match the 'norm' is needing to pee. It's a very common symptom for HIGH BG, but for low? WHY would my body do this to me?

Now, imagine a low sneaks up on you. You must eat. You probably want to test so you can figure out how much glucose you need to bring you back to normal. The brain isn't working quite right but you have to get sugar in you quick-smart before it gets lower and becomes a real danger. But no... first you HAVE to pee. I mean seriously, this is a need to pee like no other. A desperate need to go, even if I should already have an empty bladder. How weird is that? Perhaps it's wrong, but I always visit the bathroom first... eating/drinking & testing can wait. I just don't want to make a mess, and that's how desperately I need to go.

I also get ridiculous thirst when I'm low - yet another symptom that is meant to be reserved for high BGs. I'm sure it doesn't help me when I've sipped coke or munched a lolly, and then I water it down... but I can't avoid it, I HAVE to drink, and it must be water, and lots of it.

Another typical symptom for me is a bit of moodiness. I can avoid this if I'm not too low, or if I treat really quickly, but if my BG drops further or stays down for too long, WATCH OUT WORLD!! I'll be wondering why the people around me aren't worrying about me, aren't offering me the food I must have INSTANTLY, and aren't asking me if I'm OK .... Or, if they actually are trying to help, I'll be wondering why they wont piss off. Wishing they'd leave me alone, after all, I'm quite capable of looking after myself and sometimes I'm embarrassed if I'm being a bit 'wobbly'. Generally I manage to keep my moodiness in check, but I suspect that one of these days I'll bite someone's head off for some silly reason that will only make sense to me, and even then, not for long.

If a low is sneaking up on me without obvious symptoms I often find the tell-tale sign is in my thoughts. Without realising it, I'll start thinking, or maybe even talking, about diabetes. Whatever I'm doing, I know it's time to grab the meter if I suddenly find my mind has travelled to thoughts about testing my blood sugar, eating sugary treats, or crazy things one might need to do if one went low while travelling in space on a golden banana with only Neil Gaiman for company... (would he be sweet enough? Could I just nibble one of his fingers, d'ya think? Would he mind donating body parts to save a woman in need?).

I once talked to my Auntie on the phone for a good half an hour about my history with diabetes, about other people's lack of understanding, about how it feels to worry about my future - OK, no problem discussing these things with people, but I probably wasn't making a lot of sense and I should have realised that she wouldn't have understood half of what I said (the diabetes lingo, and just the fact that I raved on and on...). Poor woman! When I tested after getting off the phone I suddenly understood why I'd done it. That was the day I realised I should listen to my subconscious thoughts!

So basically what I'm saying is that I'm weird. But I'm not alone... am I?

Bullet points, again, just coz.

Too much to say and not enough time / motivation to get the job done! So here's another dose of M's bullet points.
  • Accu-chek have added a warning on their NZ site to let us all know about the new Performa meters reading plasma. Pleased to see that :) I hope there's also a note of some sort included with all the new meters they're sending out now. There must be heaps of diabetics who don't visit the website... They've also sent an update to health professionals around the country so that they can catch all the 'omg my numbers are suddenly higher' comments and let people know they're still OK. A good move, but I hope they're not relying on doctors to get the word out. Who wants to pay for a docs appointment to find out something that could've been more clearly stated on the packaging?
  • I never did hear back from Novo Nordisk about the lack of C-peptide in our insulins. Maybe it's chase-up time.
  • We might end up with a third cat! There's been a really sad looking cat around here for months. He's brown - darker brown around his head, lighter brown from his shoulders down to his tail. His hair always looks matted and he's just so damned small. Kitten sized, but a full grown cat. He used to run a mile whenever there were people about, but now he comes up to us and is very snuggly. Whenever possible I give him some food and comb his hair. He seems to love us for it :) I'm pretty sure he mustn't have a home - who'd let a cat get so skinny? And leave his hair like that? Poor puddy tat :( If we can be sure he's homeless, then he has a home with us. He's met my two girls and none of them seem to have a problem with each other. All good! My son has named the little fluff-ball 'Noodle' - a most excellent name. I think it will end up being my son's cat - I already have to fight for space on my bed at night!
  • Today was almost another beautiful BG day! My highest reading was when I got up (late) at 6.5 - can't complain! Lots of readings in the 5s. Only stuffed up by having 2 low readings... Not surprising though, as I spent a lot of time this afternoon chopping wood & breaking off branches for kindling. And nibbling on a chocolate bar! Of course, I wont feel too cocky about this... those numbers only reflect where my BG was at 7 points during the space of today. Any one of those tests could've been on the way down from something twice as high. Oh how I want a CGMS!
  • Doesn't anyone make blog posts on the weekends? You lot all leave me DESPERATE for a good read! I go blog surfing every day, and I feel a little lost during the weekend. It's all so quiet out there... Go on, I dare you, make LOTS of posts next weekend! Feed my addiction!
There's my condensed version of 'everything M has on her mind this evening'. Trimmed because I could've gone on for hours if I told you everything that goes on in my mind... This brain is over-active at the best of times, and round-about now, when it should be shutting down (it's nearly 2am), seems to be when I most want to write!

Goodnight, world! Sweet dreams and a happy tomorrow to you all :)

Friday, 25 May 2007

Just showing off... bear with me

You know how some days just suck? Sometimes there are these weird BG highs you just can't get rid of, and yet you've done everything right? Some days it feels like someone is playing with you, pressing all the wrong buttons, making everything go stupid and nothing will make any sense, the BG wont settle down and you probably feel like total shit...

Well today IS NOT one of those days! Finally I have the super-dooper day to balance out all those pain-in-the-arse days!

About bloomin' time I say!!

Check it out! (with huge thanks to Kevin for the FANTASTIC excel stuff!)

NO highs.
NO lows.
Most tests in the 4s.


If only I could tell my body to keep this up forever!

Sorry... had to share... I'm in shock. ;-)

Thursday, 24 May 2007

And the winner is...

Not me! I was (thankfully) wrong about my a1c. The results are in:


teehee :) That made my day. Now to make my way into the 5s! I'm determined!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Update: My review of the Performa Meter

Now that I've had the Performa for a couple of weeks I thought I'd add a little review here, especially for the kiwi readers who are still waiting for their new Accu-chek Performa BG meter to land on their doorsteps.

By the way, Kiwis: Do you know about this? Have you signed up with Accu-chek? Do they have the right address for you? This is a free meter upgrade and one well worth having.

First off, this thing is FAST. Any time I use my old meter now I get SO impatient!

It's easy - it's just like the last one: stick a strip in, prick, bleed, wait. Even easier, in fact, because you only need a tiny drop of blood and you put it on the bottom of the strip, not the side, so it doesn't matter which hand you're using - no need to hold the meter sideways while doing a balancing act.

The multiclix Lancer is brilliant. A little chunkier than we're used to, but totally worth it. The button could be raised a little more - it seems too 'flat' and harder to find when going by feel. Nonetheless, it's genuinely soft & gentle, I barely feel a thing. You can probably have it on a lower setting than the old pricker, simply because you need less blood. The drums are only a little more expensive and well worthwhile.

NOTE: If you haven't read here already, the Performa meter measures in blood plasma, not whole blood like previous meters. This is apparently what's being used around the world these days as it matches more fairly with lab tests. You will read every so slightly (10 - 12%) higher, but the higher numbers are ok once you get used to them. In fact, for me it seems to make control easier - everything makes more sense now and seems to match how I feel most of the time. (Read what the Joslin Diabetes Centre (American) has to say about it)

The accu-chek Performa is now on the accu-check NZ website, along with a video on how to use it, check it out if you don't mind the voice that talks down to us, and the American accent (could they not make a more kiwi suited one? Maybe I will! 'Stab ya finger there-ish. Squish it. Get a blob. Righto. 5,4,3,2,1... sweeeeeet, she'll be right, mate!')

All in all, I think this meter is wonderful. I do wish they made a bigger deal about the fact that it measures blood plasma though - there are people around the country making dosing decisions based on the results from this meter. What if they unknowingly dose too much? The difference in readings should only be tiny, but when there already other reasons for variations in numbers this can make a big difference. Although I now admit the new meter reads more accurately (according to my own feelings), it could still be a danger to anyone who isn't warned about it.

Happy finger pricking, everyone!

[Edited a longggg time later: I notice that people are finding this blog post with a google search for the Performa Meter... I should point out that after using the meter for a while I was definitely NOT so impressed with it. Now that Accu-chek have fixed the dud strip issue it should be better, but I will never know as I traded mine in for an Optium Xceed, which I am quite happy with. I still use the multi-clix pricker though as it's much nicer to use and doesn't hurt much at all. Just thought I should let people know in case my little blog post was helping people make decisions!]

Update - 26th October 2010: 3 years later! I am now quite happy using a Performa meter alongside my Xceed. All issues were resolved years ago (the early runs of strips for these meters were reading weird, mostly very high) and I'd happily recommend it to anyone.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Going without gluten

How do the Gluten-free do it? I've been vaguely gluten free for a long time, but only vaguely. I avoid it where possible, but If I'm out or can't be bothered I don't mind eating what's offered, or reaching for a bit of toast. It still has to be thin sliced high grain stuff coz I'm picky about carbs & my general health (unless I'm eating chocolate, which is allowed to break all the rules!) but I don't worry about gluten if it's too awkward to get a decent meal without it. I don't mind buying things that have a little bit of gluten hanging around, so long as I'm not eating it often.

But every now & then I try to go totally gluten-free. It's great! I feel lighter & brighter & less hungry & more happy! Partly because gluten-free often means low-carb too, and both of those things are excellent for me.

Trouble is, it's hard to keep up. Today is day 3 of going totally gluten-free. I stuffed up on day one because I got low and all I could think of was a chocolate chip biscuit. I had plenty of other options - fizzy drinks for starters, but a hypo-ing brain is a DUH brain, unfortunately. I ignored my 'failure' with the biscuit and carried on with my GF plans.

Day two was easy, though I almost caved in and had toast for breakfast because we had a mad morning - getting up early and rushing around to get a friend to a hospital appointment. Last night's roast dinner saved me and I had a few slices of cold meat for breakfast. Lunch was more leftovers. Dinner was home made pumpkin soup with grated cheese & bacon on top, with a hash brown on the side. No problem, until the cravings for munchies hit me in the evening...

Even that was sorted quick-smart. I adjusted my caramel slice recipe to make it gluten free, and it was heavenly! A little naughty for the blood sugar but that turned out to be a good thing as my dinner insulin must've been a bit too heavy.

Breakfast this morning was harder still. I didn't have any leftovers, I don't like omelettes and I don't like any other egg breakfasts unless they have toast (egg on it's own is just horrible! Poached eggs with HP sauce, pepper and toast... YUM!!) So I caved in and had Caramel slice for breakfast.

Caramel slice! For Breakfast! EW! At least I managed one more gluten-free meal... but I'm not sure how long my stomach will appreciate this kind of food!

Now it's lunch time. I've been out working in the garden and I feel like a real lunch - normally lunch is a small event for me: an apple, maybe, if I have it at all. I'd like a good fat sandwich! Ah, bread is a no-no. I'll reheat something from the freezer (I often make extra dinner so I can freeze some for those lazy days). What do we have.. hmm... Vegetarian Lasagne, yum! Ah. Pasta. No. OK! Lets see... an apple? Nah that's what I have most days. BORING and not filling enough to satisfy me today. SO urr... GF Caramel slice?

Where's my self control? Here I am having caramel slice for lunch! Still, at least I've avoided the gluten again. *sigh*

The thing that bothers me here is that I KNOW what to do. I have salad stuff in the fridge which is great for low-carb and non-gluten meals. I just didn't feel like it. I normally try to keep some sort of cold meat in the fridge (hard to believe I was a vegetarian for years) to whip up quick meals & snacks. I sometimes have specialty gluten-free foods in the house but they tend to be dry & horrible and high carb, so I don't bother with them often. I am happy to eat apples for lunch and have weird meals - I think half the trick to getting used to low carb or gluten free eating is accepting that a meal doesn't have to be the way you always thought of it. Food is food, no matter what time of day you're eating.

So perhaps later today I'll go on a little shopping trip and see if I can't fill the house with more M-friendly foods. That might keep me away from the evil caramel slice!

What I'd like to be if I ever grow up...

If I should ever grow up, I'd like to do it in style. I'm talking about old age here, and if I should be lucky enough to drag my diabetic body into the later decades, I shall make them the best years of my life!

We had a late mothers day lunch last week - myself, my mother, two Aunts and an Uncle, my Nana and my son. Cool to have four generations in the same room! We got to talking about The Zimmers cover of 'My Generation' and their success at waking the world up a little about the treatment of older people. Here we have a bunch of older people who are proving that age doesn't have to slow us down! I'm impressed.

Nana, who is in her eighties, nodded in wild agreement when someone mentioned the treatment of old people - it seems a lot of people look down on you once you're older. How did that happen? An older person has more experience in life, has a lot to give the world, and we treat them like dense children half the time. Not on!

I've probably been guilty of it myself sometimes. Never with my Nana though - in my eyes she's just Nana and has no age. I suppose knowing someone helps, at least in my case, though if I saw someone her age and didn't know them I may make completely the wrong first impressions. How unfair!

Check out The Zimmers website and see if you want to follow in their footsteps with me - if I keep practising my guitar playing I should know how to play a few chords by the time I'm 80... Let's Party!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

What's the future of diabetes?

I was thinking today about how far we've come - Once upon a time a diabetic was diagnosed and only had months to live. Then we were peeing on sticks & not eating sugar, waiting for complications. Now we're aware of carbs, using BG meters, some have pumps & Continuous Glucose Monitoring, and we're able to live a normal life (bar the disruptions and holes in our fingers!) and hopefully a nice long healthy one!

What next? What do you see in the future of diabetes?

I see:

º CGMS as an almost every-day thing for us all. The same way our BG meters were once just a tool for doctors and have become something we all need for self-monitoring, I suspect a huge amount of us diabetics will end up with Continuous Glucose Monitoring. I hope so, anyway! Imagine the control possibilities! I've heard the latest ones still have some question about accuracy, but I hope that's sorted in the near future.

º More diabetics of all types becoming more aware of the benefits of low carb. Not that we'll all go 'Bernstein', but it seems that some level of carb avoidance works wonders for pretty much anyone who tries it.
I can't see all the current diabetes associations eating their hats over their current recommendations though, so I'm not sure what happens there... perhaps a slow reduction in their advised carb amounts. (it still kills me that a newly diagnosed diabetic in America can be told to eat MORE carbs than they currently do... and that's seen as a good thing? How does that make sense?)

º A cure? Not really. I can't see that happening any time soon. There may be ways to help the newly diagnosed, and better tools for helping us keep good control, but I suspect the cure is a lot further off than most of us would like!

º A new name for either type 2 or type 1 - I hope it's type 1, as type 2's are the ones that own the show where the word 'diabetes' is concerned. Also the bulk of diabetics are T2, so it makes sense to make the change with the smaller group.
- Maybe this will never happen, but it'd certainly make me a happier chappy!

Your turn. What do you think is in store for us?

Friday, 18 May 2007

Ignorance: is it bliss? Stupidity?! Or no big deal?

Diabetes is a tricky thing and doesn't always make sense, but does it ever surprise you how little people know about it?

I try to be patient, but it still drives me completely batty when other people Just Don't Get IT.

This afternoon I went to have blood taken for my A1c test and the lovely lady who took my blood was very conversational. Our chat went something like this:

LL (lovely lady): I bet you hate having to do this every three months!
Me: Well, no, I don't mind at all - I like to know how I'm doing, especially if I make any changes.
LL: Ah, good! Have you always been a Type 1 diabetic?
Me: Naa I was a late starter, only had it a few years.
LL: Were you always a type 1?
Me: uhhhh
LL: You didn't start with type 2, you went straight to insulin?
Me after moments of not knowing quite how to reply: You can't change from one or the other... you can get a wrong diagnosis, but if you're a type 1 you stay a type 1, and the same for T2
LL: Oh no, some people start as type 2 and then go onto insulin
Me: Once a type 2, always a type 2... even if they're on insulin.
LL: noo... I... um...
Me: The difference is that T1 is auto-immune. It's all about the antibodies.
LL: (looking like she totally didn't get it, and really didn't think I knew what I was talking about) Well, you learn something new every day!

I guess it's no big deal if she never ever understands the difference, but as a woman who is likely to meet a lot of us D's every 3 or 6 months, it would be nice if she understood.

Admittedly we only talked for as long as it took for her to drain a tiny pot of blood from me - less than a minute I'd say. I would have loved to have completely educated her! But of course, I can't change everyone's views, and she'd probably never take in what I said anyway.

I was out at a meeting the other night and a friend of the family was there too. He's a type 2 diabetic. We were offered hot drinks and asked how we have them. "No Sugar," he says, "I'm diabetic". And he reaches for a biscuit before sitting down.


Now I'm not saying that D's aren't allowed to eat biscuits, but to have said no to sugar, and taken the first bite of a biscuit (urr - cookie, to my American visitors) all in the same few seconds... Surely that's a bit, well... I'm kinda lost for words on that!

My pet peave is people confusing Type 1 and type 2. In a logical sense I DO understand their confusion. They should have totally different names to save hassles. I'm sometimes tempted to say I have a Pancreas Disorder, or Failed Islets Syndrome...

My second peave is people who knew someone who had diabetes and died, or lost a leg, or 'only had the mild type', or went blind because they ate cheesecake, etc etc etc. People have come to some weird conclusions about diabetes over the years... I just don't want to be compared to Great Uncle Bob, or your cousins cat who takes two shots a day, ok? Diabetes treatment has progressed a LONG way and I like to think I have a hope of living a normal life and hanging around long enough to be a doting Nana! I don't want to hear your horror stories!

It's fairly early days for me, having only been a diabetic for 2 (and a half, but who's counting) years. I'm sure I'll come across a lot of crazy comments... and when I do, I can only hope I'll keep my cool, try to educate a little, and not snap anyone's head off...

I will now be biting my nails waiting for the hba1c results!
My guestimate: 6.4 - 6.7 ish. (Last two tests were 6.3, and I feel I've been a little slack sometimes lately... but no huge change, I HOPE!)
My dream result: 5.6 - 5.8.

The waiting begins.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Did the earth move for you?

I so needed a good sleep tonight! It's been a long week of late nights, and I finally succumbed to that numb grumpiness that eventually hits me in these periods of bad sleep. I managed to get myself into bed before 1am... well it's better than 2am, right? I dozed off pretty quick, with the cats snuggled up against my legs. All was well until we had an earthquake just as I was off to noddy land.

I normally don't give a hoot about earthquakes - I'm used to them. This one managed to rattle & shake me fully awake, so here I am, back on the computer, now 2:20am and I'm blog-surfing (and obviously, blog posting).

A little tid-bit I found tucked off to the side on diabetes mine caught my attention. A study of tightly controlled and averagely controlled diabetics, and the results say: Diabetes treatment said no threat to mental skills. In other words, those of us who are trying for tighter control, and often experiencing more lows (and for some, seizures and hospitalisation from more serious lows) don't seem to suffer from mental troubles in the long term.

This has never been a serious worry for me personally - my lows have never been that serious (so far, touch wood...) but it has stuck in my mind that a lot of people warn against lows in case of brain damage. It struck me as possible, but unlikely for the average diabetic. I did wonder if it was different for those who end up having seizures or a coma though. We diabetics have enough to worry about, thank you very much.

There may, of course, be studies that came up with the opposite result - never can trust just one study to have all the answers - but I'll trust my instincts on this one. I'm much happier aiming for tight control and avoiding the dangers of those highs. Sure, lows can be a problem, sometimes scary, sometimes troublesome, always annoying, but I don't have many and I don't think they're much to worry about next to the fear of going blind, losing my kidney function, losing a foot - the sorts of things we can look forward to from allowing our blood sugar to get high. Icky.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

To all Mum's out there (at least, the ones in the countries that have Mother's Day today), a very happy Mother's Day!

I got a sleep in today, and my son made me a cup of tea. Typical Mother's Day stuff, really. My son just wants to look after me today. Part of his efforts to make sure I don't have to do anything included refilling my Novorapid and giving me my morning injections. I bet there aren't many kids doing that for their Mum's today!

It's fairly standard stuff for us. I don't want him thinking he has to look after me, but it's good that he knows how to do it all. He knows what to do if I'm low, he knows how to work my insulin pens and my testers, he knows what a carb is and how to eat a healthy balanced diet.

I'm proud of him, it's great stuff. He'd know what to do if I was in trouble. He'd know how to help other diabetics in trouble. But that doesn't stop me wishing he didn't have to do any of this. I wish he'd never seen an insulin injection! I wish he didn't have to worry about Mum conking out some day. I'd be happier if he had no idea what diabetes was!

I guess it's all a part of his wider education, and I'll be fine with all this... so long as he never gets diabetes. I'm not sure how I'd cope with that. Makes me wonder how my Dad copes with the fact that I'm diabetic. Parenting is a bitch sometimes, but never more so than when you have to watch your child go through something horrible that you can't change.

Anyway... have a great mother's day, world! My son and I are off to get me a pressie, some new slippers I think... here comes winter. Brrr.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Search and cure Diabetes

I found an easy way to help find a diabetes cure without getting off my butt... check out Search and cure - a google search but with some cash going to Diabetes research. COOL :) Set it as your home page, include it in your Firefox / IE 7 search bar... help add a few cents to a great cause.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007


Have you heard of RTFM?
In case you haven't, it's a well used term in call centres etc, especially in IT circles. It stands for Read The F'n Manual.

Well, M, Ya didn't RTFM, did ya? When my new meter arrived I scanned through some info to make sure I could insert a new drum in the Multi-clix, and to have a peek at the bit about setting alarms for reminders, but did I actually read through all of it? No, course not. Do you? Did you see that photo of how much reading came with this thing? I wasn't about to spend an afternoon reading when I *ahem* thought I knew what I was doing.

I had a friend for roast dinner tonight (hmm tasty he was too... No, lol, what I mean is that he had dinner with us... he's too skinny to roast, he'd be better fried until crispy, perhaps with batter). He's also diabetic, so we took the opportunity to compare BG readings between three meters: his Advantage, my Advantage, and the new Performa.

The readings went like this:The first column shows our readings from My Accu-Chek Advantage meter.
The second column is S's Advantage, and the third is the new Performa meter.
Difference = the range between the Advantage meters & the Performa.
All tests were done from the same drop of blood at the same time.
S and I still have a few pints of blood left, thanks for asking.

The range between the two Advantage meters is acceptable - the biggest difference there is only .5 mmol. No danger in that. The Performa is a whole other matter.

My first test, pre-meal, got me thinking about how much I rely on my BG results. The first reading of 4.8 is most excellent for before dinner. I wouldn't need to do a thing. The performa reading of 6.8 would make me want to take my insulin earlier than usual (say, 20 - 25 minutes before eating, rather than my usual 5 - 10 minutes) and probably add another .5u to ensure I get back to the 5 - 6 spot that I love so much.

So, I wanted to get to the bottom of all this. Which meter should I trust? Should I trust any of them? Should I become a hermit, never driving again, never eating a high-carb food again, never trusting anyone or anything, especially my meter and my insulin which both have strange variances in their action?

It was the info with the strips that finally made us click - the new meter is reading blood PLASMA, not whole blood like we're used to. The difference between whole blood & plasma readings is apparently 11% (higher for plasma readings). So it's pretty much just a matter of getting used to seeing higher numbers and taking slightly different meanings from them. Those differences look like more than 11% to me (though I admit I haven't done the maths...) . The rest, well I guess it comes from the expected variance in results, and the fact that I did the test on a day that has a Y in it.

It's hard enough to get the balance right between carbs & insulin, without other things coming to play with our balance. Is diabetes truly as unpredictable as we think, or are we just trusting our meters more than we should?

I do realise I'm making too much fuss over nothing much. And I'm sure, in time, I'll get used to my new meter (still love it, it's fast!) and not even notice the different numbers. But I'm still wishing that Diabetes would be easy.
It wont happen.
I'm just going to have to put up with that.

I should've RTFM'd the multi-clix stuff properly too, because I missed the bit that said once a lancet drum is ejected it can't be put back in. A gal has to play with her new stuff, doesn't she? It went in, great. I used it, great. Almost painless, great. But I had to find out how it comes out. Hmm, it comes out easily, but its also rather final and not meant to be able to go back in. Good idea, I'll always know which ones are used... but this one wasn't used!

Thanks to some kiwi ingenuity - oh and some Pommy brains & a bit of force (and a small screwdriver) S managed to get the drum back to it's 'un-used' state so I could stick it back in and use it again. Phew. Ready to stick more holes in me. Can't wait :D

My new toy is here!

The courier pulls up my driveway. This has to be my new meter... YAY! I don't care that I'm in my PJs (and dressing gown, and slippers, dammit it was COLD this morning) I wander to the door with a big grin and accept my new toy.
It's a bigger box than I expected. It's got a shit-load of bits of paper inside too. Too much reading! I don't want bits of paper! Who needs a manual? Gimme the nice new BG meter! AH, there it is.

Dammit, it's all very pretty but I don't know how to use it... give me that reading material again. *sigh*

The obvious first thing to do is try it out, right? So I double test - same drop of blood, both meters. Here's what I think:

The good news:
  • It IS fast. I put blood on the strip, reach out to grab my old meter, and it's already done before I start with the old one. Wow. I like it :)
  • It does need only a tiny drop of blood. This is not just a marketing ploy. It was really a tiny drop!
  • The multi-clix really is nicer to use! That really, genuinely, absolutely, actually was almost pain free. IMPRESSED! (of course, that's after one use, who knows what I'll think in a week?)

The bad news:
It's only a silly little thing, but the new meter case doesn't have an outside pocket. No biggie... but I keep a spare needle for my insulin pens in the outside pocket of my old meter case. Its job is not to save me when I'm in a desperate need, but mark the difference between my case and my friend's identical one. The little lump in the side means it's mine. Nothing serious, but I'll miss that pocket!

The badder news:

Notice the difference in those readings? The exact same drop of blood from the exact same finger at almost the exact same moment in time. (P.S: Americans, 7.6 = 137 and 6.2 = 112). A difference of 1.4 (25). Enough for me to make a bad decision and get in trouble. Don't like that.

I know that meters aren't perfect, and that we have to expect a bit of variation in our readings (I hate that BTW... I want perfection. I'm trying to save my own life here, y'know? Can you just make the meters 100% reliable, please? I wish it was possible.)

OK, so it could be the typical variation of meters. Maybe one is high by .6 and the other is low by .8? No biggie really... (I'm trying to convince myself here!) But I suspect the problem is in my old meter. It's in need of a visit to the chemist for calibration (and a print out of my results over time - I'd have done this a LONG time ago if I'd known that it was free - I'm a bit of a tight-arse I guess...). It also explains (maybe) why I didn't feel as bad as I'd expected when I had my 1.1 reading a while back. Perhaps it was really 2.5? Still low, but not horrifying.

Come to think of it, I've been feeling pretty horrible with highs lately... I mean, a reading of 8.4 shouldn't be the end of the world, but I'm particularly sensitive to non-high highs. Perhaps 8.4 is really 9.8.... ugh... Oh I wish I'd had the old meter checked out last month when I had originally planned to!

WELL, the next step is to drop the old meter into the chemist for a good check up. And to call my doctor, I'll need a script for lots of test strips for the Performa. I wonder if this means battling my doctor yet again about the amount of strips I use? *sigh*

CONCLUSION: The new meter is kinda cute. It's not as small as I'd imagined, but that's a GOOD thing in my mind. Seen the latest cell phones? Too small to hold, too fiddly to use... nah, gimme a good handful, especially for something as important as my BG meter.

I'll need confirmation before I trust either of my meters to be reliable again, but at least I can say it's fast (very) and easy to use. Geez, don't even have to be careful of where we touch the strips! MUCH less fiddly!

I think I like it. And I DO like having two meters. I feel safer with a back-up :)

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

If you can't beat M, join M.

Seeing as I'm already an M...
And I had time on my hands...
And I'm a bit of a nut (peanut M&M, perhaps?)
I thought I should give this a try.

This is what I'd look like as an M&M.

Clickarooni, right here-a-rooni, if you'd like to try it yourself.

Monday, 7 May 2007

I've been inventing ;)

I was looking at my meter, which is soon to become my 'spare' when my new one arrives next week, and I was thinking... why are all these medical bits & pieces so boring? I thought it was time I came up with a fabulous new blood sugar meter. So here it is folks - place your orders now!

INTRODUCING... Fancy pants super meter!

Notice the big red button in the middle? That's to hide your result if people are looking over your shoulder (and they DO, don't they? grr). Press and hold to lock the buttons so friends, strangers and dribbling babies can't fiddle with the buttons and find those embarrassing results from last night's pig out!

The pager mode on the left is for when you need to get out of something. Imagine this: You're at a meeting, you're bored bored bored. Staring out the windows offers no entertainment, and what's this meeting about anyways? Do you really need to be here? Geez don't you wish someone would take you away from all this...?

Just push that pager button! The meter will make little vibrating ringing noises and a message will pop up on the screen urging you to ring Great Uncle Bob immediately. "Sorry Mr & Mrs whatsisface, I'd love to sit and talk about your constipation remedies, but I really must dash, this is important..." And off you trot. Tra-la-la.

Isn't that lovely. Your new meter is a complimentary meter, and will always start up with a positive message for you. There are hundreds of these welcome screens popping up on random, such as: "Hey I love what you've done with your hair!" And "I love it when you press my buttons!".

Have trouble seeing? NOT a problem. This meter comes with a range of voices that speak everything as you'd see it on the screen. Chose from:
  • Camp best friend (Darrrrrling! Mwah! Gosh you look FABULOUS today!)
  • Hot guy (Hmmm baby, love the way you push my buttons)
  • Hot gal (Hey baby, show me that lancet)
  • Cute kid (Are you gunna test your blood sugga? Can I help pwease?)
  • Grandma (That's right darling, it's time to test, Grandma will help)
  • and many more!

Don't we all have times where we expected a better BG result? No problem! Don't like what you see? Just press that 'perfect score' button for a pre-programmed perfect result (factory setting: 5.5). PERFECT for when your mother in law is being nosey!

Ever unsure what the date or time is? Just press that date/time button! Because there aren't enough clocks in the world with just your oven, microwave, video, dvd player, wall clock, watch, cellphone, etc, and we know you need just one more!

Without a doubt this is the best ever blood glucose measuring device - M said so! Order yours today!

May contain nuts. May not give accurate blood glucose readings. May get grumpy and want to sleep in some days. Comes in a range of colours as long as you want blue. NOT INTENDED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. Please read the 5 volume manual before use. In case of meter failure, press the parachute button on the bottom left of the back panel with a pin. It wont help but at least you'll be busy looking for a pin and wondering what parachute mode does. This meter comes with a lifetime guarantee - guaranteed to survive for as long as it lives! Please treat it with the respect and care it deserves as it is known to have tantrums and stop talking to people.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Cats, cats, more cats. Lolcatz!

Do you like cats? (and dogs, and mice, and there's even the odd walrus...) Check out the cute-ness on
Cuteness... and weirdness. Be prepared to learn a whole new version of English!


Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Meet my babies

I'd like to introduce you to my big baby girl, Bub (above) and my little baby girl, Minx (Bub's mother, though it's hard to believe when you see her - she's at least half Bub's size)

And thus end my run of Threes, by making four posts in one day.
Now's probably a good time to shut up then :)

Good news comes in threes too?

I'm making three posts in one sitting here this morning.
I often wake up at 3am... it's when my bladder hates me the most.
I have three computers - does it matter that one is a 20 year old Amiga? It works!
I have three siblings...
I had 9 grams of carb for breakfast this morning. (well, it's 3x3, that counts, doesn't it?)
Ok so my list of threes isn't as impressive as I thought, but the other day I had good news in threes - and that was a nice change after a couple of weeks of hurt cats and other bad news. Which reminds me, I never did mention did I? Sparky is OK! He has a broken back and has to be very careful, but he's cheerful, cuddly and everything else is working fine. I'm SO relieved!

Good News Number ONE:
Got a letter from Accu-Chek, they're sending me a new blood-sugar meter. FREE!
It's the Accu-Chek Performa - which I'd link to, if I could find any information about it, but... I can't :D
It has a 5 second countdown - amazing, as I'm waiting 20 - 30 seconds now with my accu-chek advantage.
It can work in a bigger range of temperatures - no more keeping my meter in my dressing gown/jacket pocket in winter!
It needs less blood - YAY no more double-pricking to get enough blood!
And finally, it comes with the multi-clix which I'm excited about (Oh yah, a new tool to prick my finger excites me? Really? What's wrong with me?!). I've heard the multi-clix is a little gentler on the skin, something to do with the lancets being compacted up there and having less room to wobble, thus less pain if it's going directly down & up again. We'll see, I'll have mine in a week or two. Yippeeeee!

Good News Number TWO:
My bestest bud in the whole wide world (am I too old to say that? Never!) found a house! Friend & boyfriend have been looking for months and they sound really happy with what they've found. It's COOL! At least, it looks it from the pictures. I look forward to seeing it - which will probably happen on moving day, if I can borrow wheels for the day :D

Good News Number THREE:
My friends got engaged! I think they're planning the wedding for later this year. Congrats darlinks!


I've been a little quiet lately - a bunch of reasons to put the blame on but mostly it's just that I've been staying up too late, getting up too late, and feeling pretty crappy most days... the vicious cycle returns. I must one day find out if my sleep troubles are insomnia or just me being me.

I've been wanting to write about my ONE POINT ONE since it happened, but somehow have managed to avoid it. Perhaps if I deny it, it never really happened?! Anyway, read on... the tale of ONE POINT ONE.

Sunday night, 4am, as the 23rd of April is beginning... I wake up to use the toilet as I so often must do. I'm OK as far as I can tell, just dozy and a bit clumsy because I'm too tired to open my eyes properly. As I leave the bathroom I notice I left the light on - unusual for me - so I reach to turn it off and wonder why such a habit failed me. I wobble my way back into my bedroom and try to ignore my growling stomach. It's 4am and food does not really appeal. I just want to sleep, I'm sooo tired. I lay back down in bed and realise things are not quite right. Struggling against the urge to sleep, I grab my tester, test and wait.

At this point I feel that the back of my neck is all sweaty. I double check that I turned my electric blanket off, and yes, I did. My meter flashes at me, 1.1 - I look at it in better light, thinking it must be 7.7 or maybe the damn thing is broken. There's no way I should still be functioning normally at 1.1, surely? Well, now I know.

In those few seconds while the meter is counting down, I realise I AM low. The signs were there, but I guess I was too low to accept it or piece the info together. I reach for the coke bottle beside my bed and take a guzzle. I think about re-testing to double check, and decide against it - more important to just eat now that I can feel how low I am. I eat, and drink, and eat, and drink... and fall asleep.

I wake up at over 12mmol. Urrrrgh.

1.1! That's shocking, people! That's horrible! That's less than 20 mg/dl for you Americans. My lowest low yet.

The number was bad enough, but the realisation that I was pretty much OK during that was double shocking. I can't knock it - after all, I was totally alone and would've been in BIG trouble if I didn't have my wits about me. I just thought that 1.1 would be enough to see me truly in trouble.

Regardless, it scared me, especially the fact that I didn't wake up in the 3's as I have done before. I will never again throw caution to the wind when correcting for a high caused by evening munchies. (I'm sure I will, actually... but I'll try not to!)

No C-peptide in insulin?

Have just been reading the diabetes blog post about c-peptide.
Until now, I had no idea of the importance of c-peptide. I knew it was an indicator of how much insulin is in our systems, but to think it has a very good job to do, and we are NOT getting it in our insulins any more... scary.
Would this mean that all my efforts to keep my a1c low and look after myself could be useless? Without c-peptide are we destined for complications regardless?
A little worrying! Nay, a LOT worrying!
More research needed - if anyone has any info, please leave a comment.