Animas Vibe – an in depth, long term use review

Last year I wrote comparing the Animas Vibe and the Dexcom standalone receiver.  At that time, I summarized my thoughts that while the Vibe had great features, I felt the Dexcom standalone was a better unit overall.  The wonderful thing about opinions is that they can change. ūüôā  Maybe not change, but evolve or adapt to suit.  At the time of the review I wrote that the Vibe was better for running (less to carry) and for anything involving water.  Well, Newfoundland is wet quite a lot of the time  and I ran a lot in 2014.  Still, what changed?  I have an amazing Animas rep who loaned the pink beast loaner pump for my Marathon – and it performed smashingly well and made running that much less complex that I was swayed.  Still, there was the issue of the cost of a whole pump, but Animas Canada offered an upgrade from the Ping to a Vibe at a “nominal” cost I decided to bite the bullet.  I say nominal because when I bought the ping state-side I was told 99$ upgrade, but Animas Canada was not on board with that.  C’est la vie, but I do mention it because it costs more to update in Canada vs USA.

So what have I learned being on a Vibe and abandoning my standalone receiver since August?  Rather than rehash what I wrote last time comparing the two, I’ll jump into a more in depth review of each aspect of the pump and why ultimately, it’s better for me right now.


The Animas Vibe has improved the Ping interface in a few ways.  For those of you familiar with the Ping, you will even start to wonder if it’s just the same pump; however, some great changes have occurred.  First of all, there is a left and right arrow in the settings window! 


That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a huge deal that you can go left and right when trying to tweak settings.  The quick bolus button is still there on the right side of the pump, but the contrast button on top now serves a great purpose.  It’s a quick access button to the pump CGM trend graph. One push brings up the last viewed graph, and then subsequent pushes go through various contrasts ‚Äď very helpful if you are trying to view on a bright sunny day. However, if you accidently hit another button while trying to access the pump, the contrast button won‚Äôt just bring you to that screen ‚Äď it only goes to the trend graph when the pump is not ‚Äúawake‚ÄĚ, so you have to make sure you don‚Äôt manhandle it in a rush trying to see a number.

One issue with integrating pumps and CGMS is the extra button pushes required to get into the CGM.  It‚Äôs not too bad on the Vibe ‚Äď yes, it‚Äôs buried one submenu; however, the quick access button generally alleviates this issue.  Maybe in future models they can have a dedicated CGMS button (rather than dual purposing the contrast button), but I understand that they didn‚Äôt want to make a button that is solely for CGMS when market uptake is not always there.


One downside is that the Vibe is like the Ping ‚Äď it lags and doesn‚Äôt respond while it‚Äôs dishing out it‚Äôs little blast of basal insulin. So, if you are trying to navigate the pump while it is basal dosing it will seem like it‚Äôs frozen.  This was less of an issue with the ping because you simply didn‚Äôt interact with it as much for two reasons ‚Äď no integrate CGM and the Ping BG Remote.  However, the Vibe eschews the ping blood meter (which I‚Äôm okay with, it was clunky, large, and I wasn‚Äôt a huge fan of it) and also has an integrated CGMS.  With integrated CGMS you interface with the Vibe a lot more, and that means you‚Äôll get these freezes from time to time.  Usually it‚Äôs innocuous, but if you are trying to do something while say, running, it can be annoying!

The CGM Portion

Rather than delay talking about it, let’s get right into it – the CGM is why you would upgrade.  While the Dex stand alone receiver is fantastic, it’s another device to carry.  This isn’t much of a problem if you have pocket room or just day to day doing stuff, but when you’re active the convenience of integration is appealing.  But integration is useless if it’s done poorly (ever try and read a Medtronic CGMS graph?).  So how did the Vibe fare?

For the most part, it does a pretty bang up job with some trade-offs that you really have to decide for yourself.  In the good camp is the most useful screen on the pump – before the usual 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 hour trend graphs is a screen that shows your trend arrow and your insulin on board (IOB).  This is fantastic!  If you set this as your home screen and are running you can easily see “okay, I have 1 unit active, I’m a 4.8 mmol/L with a down arrow, I should eat!”.  Sometimes when I’m active it’s too little to rely on listening to my body to read the signs of a low.  They can hit faster at times during activity, so knowing my IOB and trend I can gauge if I need to fuel up based on my intensity and duration remaining. 


Seriously, this screen and the one-hour trend are the two screens I use while exercising.  The three hour screen is useful for day-to-day management and especially useful in gauging “success” in post-meal glucose rise.


However, on the flip side – the 12 and 24 hour graphs are nearly useless due to the size of the screen and the time it takes to render them.


I’m wishy washy on the 6 hour screen; it’s useful for trying to manage a sticky high and figure out if you are making progress.


On the neutral front, both the Dexcom and Animas interface annoy me for one simple reason – you cannot scale the vertical axis.  I can only think of one time I’ve needed a glucose over 22.5 mmol/L, and that was when driving from Phoenix to Las Vegas with a jammed up infusion site.  Other than that, I am treating the high before it happens.  By not allowing customizable Y axis it really causes me to squint since I tend to prefer my numbers in the tight control band I set.  I find the inability to change Y axis scale compromises the minutiae of detail that folks with tighter control may appreciate in point to point trend analysis that gets lost when zoomed out.


The Vibe has two areas that I‚Äôm not please with ‚Äď alarm volume, and alarm tones (or lack of variability).  A huge selling point of the Dexcom stand alone is the alarm volume and customization.  On hypo alert that thing was a saint waking me up in some extreme lows.  If you set it on a table it would vibrate you awake before the darn sounds went off!  The Vibe is a bit of a step back.  By sticking to the form factor it does not allow you to get very loud.  It does vibrate first, before an alarm.  Most times I feel this, except when I’m running or cycling and there is already so much movement that a small, low frequency vibration is going to go unnoticed.  It wakes me up more often than not (and if not me, my wife), but sometimes it can take a few minutes before it’s successful.  It works, but it’s not as good as it could be.  Also, you cannot customize alarms like the Ping or have different sounds for different alarms.  I really liked this on the Dexcom stand alone, but my wife liked it infinitely more as she knew if she had to panic to wake me up (low), or get ready for a long, drawn out, grumpy me to try and wake me up during an overnight  high.  It also helps us figure out, without glancing, what is going on ‚Äď and that is really helpful when you are active.  Sometimes you can‚Äôt just look at the screen.

I have read that there is a new receiver being released which will dual band and directly talk to the Dexcom Share app.  It will basically rebroadcast oiver Bluetooth.  That‚Äôs a sort of ‚Äúband-aid‚ÄĚ fix that may at least deal with the alarm volume overnight ‚Äď just have it share to a tableside iPad or iPhone and that issue is dealt with, but it won‚Äôt alleviate the problem during the day for those of us curmudgeons who don‚Äôt abide smart phones (like myself). 

Finally, if you are one that likes to silence it all, I must point out that there is one alarm you cannot silence – it’s the calibration sound.  Say you bolus using eZBG – enter a blood glucose and bolus accordingly.  After the pump delivers it’s bolus it then lets out a beep and asks you if you’d like to use it as a calibration.  I have not been able to silence this beep, so just be aware that you can beep at times when you may not want to (think savasana in yoga).

Glad they kept it the same

So one thing Animas really got right was their metal belt clip.  That thing is bullet proof!  I clip it on to everything – every day stuff like belts, jean pockets, boxer shorts, bed sheets, etc.  For cycling it clips to jersey pockets or wind vests – even the bottom hem of a gilet without pockets!  I’ve had no issues during 70 km/h descents and vigorous out of the saddle climbs.  See if you can spot the pump on my outrageous coffee themed jersey Winking smile – no problem on an off-road mud ride!  Climbing I can clip it to my leg loop of my harness without much of an issue unless I’m doing off widths.


Prior to getting a Vibe I had thought the Dexcom was more convenient in certain sports (like cycling, climbing); however, in cycling I find that I like having my bars clear; especially here in Newfoundland where you’re always climbing!  Being able to ride the flats is worth having to slow down or stop to read your pump – and that’s if you even have to, because honestly, reaching back to check your pump is not much different than digging in your jersey for food.  And then there‚Äôs the waterproof factor ‚Äď more on that later.  For climbing it’s one less item to carry, and it’s not like I’m going to be checking my BG while in the middle of a crux move.  My wife is the only other person I trust with my blood monitor, and honestly, she’s also one of the few I trust to belay me, so – I’d rather her hands on the ATC than the Dexcom.  Call me crazy but that’s my life line! ūüôā

Another Ultimate Convenience

Waterproof – it should be apparent, this was a huge benefit of the Ping over Medtronic, and now Animas has made it possible to not worry about water and the Dexcom.  In the past I’ve been paranoid about the Dexcom on wet rides and missed out on valuable BG information while waiting for the swim start of a tri with the added stress of leaving my Dexcom in transition and hoping it will pick me up when I got out of the swim.

My extreme test case was running with the Vibe during the Cape to Cabot 20K 2014 race – during Hurricane Gonzalo.  Even if it was double digit temperatures, the wind and rain was causing me to go hypothermic.  I was shaking at the start of the race form the cold – drenched to the core.  The pump kept on ticking and worked admirably.  You can’t get much more extreme than that.  The picture doesn‚Äôt do it justice, but these are the conditions it survived (and as a bonus, it‚Äôs a shot of me photo bombing some real competitive runners).


But what about the future?

And here‚Äôs where I have concerns ‚Äď the Vibe feels like a pump that‚Äôs half in the future and half in the past.  It‚Äôs basically a ping with an attached CGMS, and that‚Äôs not bad ‚Äď the Ping was a tank.  But, this design decision has caused some compromises.  Essentially, it‚Äôs not future proof.  Dexcom has released an updated algorithm to their stand-alone receivers which cannot be uploaded to the Vibe.  This is not a game changer (I still use the vibe), but the upgrade would really benefit me as it lowers MARD and especially the time to recover from lows.

Also, Dexcom is pushing ahead towards the Gen5 which will be a Bluetooth transmitter.  This is a feature not found in the Vibe.  They haven‚Äôt indicated yet if it will dual band, but I imagine it will be BT only.  This is great for talking directly to smart phones, but not good for Vibe users.  I can only hope Animas has something in the pipeline and considers future proofing pumps a bit better for the future.  Dexcom tends to innovate faster than pumps, and right now that makes the Vibe a bit vulnerable in a year or two.  Given the cost of pumps this is a concern.


While the Vibe may not be perfect, it’s a great stepping stone in integration and my pump of choice.  I still have a fully functioning Dexcom receiver that has sat in it’s box since day 2 of being on the vibe.  I don’t regret it – I’ve learned to adapt to the differences, and it’s made it more enjoyable.  However, I am concerned about how vulnerable it is given the pace of innovation in CGMS technology. 

On a side note – Animas has really stepped up their game in Canada.  When I moved away in 2010 there was nary much heard about them, and now I find their support amazing.  I’ve called in with an order and off hand mentioned that I had some issues with infusion sites and rather than chastise me for doing something wrong (here’s looking at you Medtronic), they connected me with a nurse (which I hesitated, see comment about previous chastise comment) who offered up some replacements!  And my local rep?  I can’t say enough kind words – she’s friendly, always willing to help, interacts with the local D community, and walks the walk of an active diabetic lifestyle.  Seriously, she just did the Chicago Marathon this year – how cool is that; a pump rep and a role model for the community all in one.


A year in review, and an exciting one to come

Well, I fell off the blog wagon. ¬†Blogging takes a lot of work and as race season came upon me, I consciously chose to spend time training and time with the family than write. ¬†Priorities were in the right place, but I could’ve at least maybe not went radio silent. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†I missed blogging – it was a good release and way to clarify my thoughts on diabetes, active life, and all the things that overlap amongst them. ¬†So without further ado, I’ll talk a bit about my 2014 – what I accomplished and why I feel diabetes empowered, what I learned, and what I have in the pipes for 2015 (both activity and blog wise). ¬†This is a bit of a fluffy, nice post, but I need to ease back into so please be patient. ūüôā

I had a nifty email from Strava the other day which did one of those corny, cheesy, “year in review” movies that I absolutely loathe, but it did have some really interesting stats in it. According to Strava, I have travelled 5746 km in 2014 by either running or cycling. ¬†That includes 29 km of elevation gain. ¬†In total, I spent¬†311 hours and 30 minutes of active time: 207 hours cycling¬†and 160 hours running. ¬†I found that really put into perspective how much effort is involved in trying to be active and manage this disease. ¬†The best part though – I enjoyed almost every minute of it! ūüôā

2014 was my first year racing. ¬†Sure, I dabbled in a sprint tri in 2013, but 2014 is when I actually tried it out in force. ¬†I ran 7 road races – the Flat Out 5K¬†(18:38), Harbour Front 10K¬†(38:02), Uniformed Services Run 1/2 Marathon¬†(1:32:01), Mews 8K¬†(29:11), Tely 10 (mile)¬†(1:04:46), Marathon by the Sea¬†(3:31:32)¬†and the Cape to Cabot 20K¬†(1:34:07). ¬†The best part about your first year racing is that every race is a new PB! ūüôā ¬†If asked what the most memorable race was for me, I’d be hard pressed to say – the Tely 10 was a fantastic amazing event from start to finish, and finishing in the top 50 of a field of 4000 was amazing.


Thanks to BipedSports for the photo


My wife and I after the race

The marathon by the sea was an experience all in it’s own, and was a humbling experience as I fell apart (yes I realize a 3:31 marathon time is not falling apart) during the event¬†due to errors in training and electrolytes. ¬†I did hit my goals, so I’m still happy and elated, but I always know I can do better! ¬†What was awesome was running the event with my wife (5k) and friend (1/2 marathon), and the amount of family support I received¬†(but I’ve saved posting their photos).

What a team!

What a team!

However, ending the year running the Cape to Cabot during Hurricane Gonzalo was epic in so many ways – I’ll tell you I was some happy I had a waterproof pump/CGM (Animas Vibe) as I was drenched to the bone! ¬†That run has four significant climbs and doing those into hurricane force winds with rain blasting you made for an adventure unlike anything else. ¬†Finishing that race meant topping out on Signal Hill and being met by my wife and Gus (our youngest pup) to run the last meters meant the world to me. ¬†The event photos are epic – I look in agony, tubing flying in the wind, but I felt amazing!

C2C Start

C2C Start – Photo Credit to CBC (linked to Article); don’t we look miserable!

Finish line!  Cabot Tower in the background, beautiful weather.

Finish line! Cabot Tower in the background, beautiful weather.

What’s most notable about these races is that, through training and lots of trial and error, I managed without severe highs or any real notable lows. ¬†I’m still learning how to manage pre-race jitters and post-race spikes, but overall it¬†felt amazing to run these races and feel unhindered by diabetes. ¬†I ran most of these races in a “Changing Diabetes” singlet, and I hope at least one other diabetic saw the message and thought “I can do this”. ¬†But if not, I know it has at least changed me. ¬†I was also extremely fortunate to win one of Team Novo Nordisk’s #diabetesempowered challenges for my Tely 10 finisher photo and received a signed Team Novo Nordisk jersey!!!

2014 was not any easier for managing this disease. ¬†I have changed basal and bolus programs multiple times. ¬†I had a hypoglycaemic seizure that really caused me to doubt a lot of what I was doing and instilled a level of fear into my training. ¬†I modified my diabetes management and managed to get a 6.0 A1C. ¬†I’ve struggled with weight maintenance – finding it hard to lean up while managing highs and lows. ¬†Basically, for all the positivity I may have, I know that it’s not easy.¬†But what in life is worth it that is easy to get? ¬†Plus, it’s another year, so that puts us another year closer to a cure right? ¬†Just another 5 years right? ūüôā

So what does 2015 have in store? ¬†Well, less races overall – not because I didn’t enjoy them, but mostly because they consumed my entire summer between training, tapers, recovery and races. ¬†I do still plan to race, but to be a bit more selective so I don’t pass up a wonderful riding weekend because of tapers, so that I have more time to hike with my wife and our three dogs, so that we find time to go camping and climbing once more. ¬†If 2014 was about pushing myself to find out what my limits are,¬†then 2015 is going to be about refining and balancing. ¬†So without, further ado, my 2015 goals:

  • Ride in the Tour of Sufferlandria
  • Cycle the Irish Loop (1 or 2 days, not sure yet!) – ~310 km, 3.6 km of elevation gain
  • Become a Knight of Sufferlandria¬†– because what doesn’t sound more fun than 11-12 hours on a Trainer! ūüôā ¬†Good prep for the Irish Loop ride? ūüôā
  • Run in the Tely 10 and Cape to Cabot again and another marathon (TBD – but training underway?)
  • Be more spontaneous – camp and hike on a whim
  • Add strength training back into my balance –¬†basically start climbing again or learn to lift ūüėČ
  • Maintain a 6.0 A1C, but do so with less hypos – probably the hardest challenge of the year
  • Learn to recover! ¬†Listen to my body an train smart – I’ll have a blog post about what not listening does! ūüôā

And last, but certainly not least, blog more! ¬†In 2015 I plan to write about recovery (or my lack of), an Animas Vibe in depth review, infusion site issues, and many other topics. ¬†So thanks for reading, excuse my utter lack of posts for most of 2014, and trust me that I will write more next year, it shouldn’t be hard! ūüôā

Here’s to 2015!

Hypos and frustration

Tonight’s post is a bit of departure. ¬†It’s not so much about physical activity. ¬†More so, it’s a story about a terrible night, a chance to have a teachable moment, and also a chance to share with others that we all struggle with control whether we have tight or loose targets.

Tonight was a frustrating, exhausting night. ¬†I had my second hypoglycaemia induced seizure. ¬†When I got home for supper I felt really terrible. ¬†It was coming on fast. ¬†I sat down, ate a couple sugar pills, and my wife was very proactive and mixed up glucagon and called 911. ¬†We had one fresh vial, and one “expired vial”. ¬†Thank goodness – the fresh batch had the needle bend when she stabbed my quad, so she mixed up the second vial that worked. ¬†Unlike my first hypo back a few years ago, I did not hallucinate. ¬†I did seize up for a few minutes and bit my tongue quite viciously. ¬†I was blood soaked.

Paramedics were great and got me to the hospital quickly (it’s only two blocks down the road). ¬†The nurse staff were great. ¬†However, I had a most frustrating doctor attending me, and this is one of the reasons I wrote this post. ¬†She said to me “You need to ease up on your control, studies show that tight control is no longer the holy grail, and you need to do better”. ¬†I snapped.

I told her that her advice is completely counter to every piece of literature I’ve read, that it’s easy for her to say this when she is not currently experiencing some of the complications (for me, non-proliferative retinopathy and some irregular blood counts), and that she doesn’t understand that insulin isn’t always the most predictable hormone. ¬†I told her that her negativity is a stereotype that diabetics deal with 24/7, and that she could give me some damn credit for how well I control it the other 99.9% of the time instead of focusing on one stupid mistake. ¬†She gave me a knowing smirk, it felt good to use that as a teachable moment to add some positivity to diabetes care.

Anyways, right now I am exhausted. ¬†No hyperbole or exageration – the use of glucagon to dump my liver’s glucose is more exhausting than the marathon I ran this weekend, the two centuries I’ve cycled, climbing the Grand Teton or backpacking the grand canyon for 4 days. ¬†It’s that tiring, and I’ll still be awake for a few more hours (it’s 11:40 PM now) nursing a high blood sugar (obviously I don’t want to be aggressive).

So a picture is worth a thousand words – this picture of me with about 10 electrodes (only a few visible) says it all. ¬†Blood soaked shirt and all. ūüôā

Not impressed at tonight's hypo

Not impressed at tonight’s hypo

So next time you get a negative comment, feel empowered to use it as a teachable moment. It’s the only way we can conquer stereotypes and negativity.

Animas Vibe or Dexcom Standalone Receiver?


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One of my criteria for my timing of moving back to Canada was approval of the Dexcom G4 in Canada. ¬†I rely on the Dexcom so much it’s almost disturbing. ¬†For me, it’s been crucial in management of blood sugar and hypo prevention during exercise. ¬†However, I have yet to localize my CGMS receiver, so it still reads in mg/dL. ¬†Since that’s an out of pocket expense, I wanted to see if it made sense to get a mmol/L receiver, or if¬†the newly approved Animas Vibe would be sufficient. ¬†For those not in the know, the Animas Vibe integrates the Dexcom G4 CGMS with the unit. ¬†It’s basically an upgraded Ping (although some would argue losing the remote meter is a huge deal), with lots of UI and usability adjustments and CGMS on the unit. ¬†Rather than review the Animas Vibe as a whole, what I wanted to do was review the Animas Vibe vs. the Dexcom G4 standalone receiver – which one is better for exercise? ¬†Is there still a place for a Dexcom G4 receiver, or is it redundant? ¬†Is there a place for both? ¬†If I had to choose, which one would I go with? The Newfoundland Animas rep sent me a surprise e-mail on Wednesday offering me a loaner Animas Vibe. ¬†She knew I was keen on trying it out. ¬†The extra surprise – it’s an awesome pink unit. ¬†So I made plans to do a long run this weekend to see how the Vibe would fare – running is the one activity where I sometimes find I run out of places to put things; and the fact that the Dexcom receiver is not waterproof makes it a necessity to carry it in a LokSak or ziploc bag depending on the weather. So without further ado, I powered it up, programmed it, and calibrated the CGMS the same as my receiver. ¬†Since my receiver was already running the numbers were slightly different. ¬†So Friday I took it on a bike ride, and thanks to the combo of old sensor and noise/friction from the wind jacket I lost the reception. ¬†At least both units failed. ¬†What’s interesting is the Vibe actually gave an error (and stopped the session), whereas the Dexcom receiver just showed a “lost signal”. ¬†So I put a new sensor in and got them both running with the same calibration – good news, they showed the same results. ¬†I’ve had this issue with Dexcom sensors before – it’s a combination of materials and sensor age that seem to lead to the lost communication. ¬†You can just restart, wait two hours and grab a new calibration, but my sensor was plenty old. I also made plans to try and run my first marathon – why not go big or stay home! ūüôā ¬†I’ll write more about that in another post, but let’s try and trim this one down and write about what I liked and didn’t like and what I learned. ¬†As usual, I started the run with my usual pre-run oatmeal. ¬†You can see my multinational setup – mmol/L and mg/dL playing together! ¬†Trust me, they are the same readings.

Pre race, real food, and diabetes tech

Pre race, real food, and diabetes tech

So, jokes aside, what did I think? Here’s a few talking points:

  • First of all, the best part – this screen. ¬†It shows the time, your current CGMS blood glucose, the trend arrow, and the insulin on board. ¬†This is¬†almost everything you need to know, and the real value of having the units integrated. ¬†It’s a great screen, and the one I leave hotkeyed on the pump. ¬†Why do I say almost? ¬†Well, sometimes my sugar can start creeping up ever so slowly – the Dexcom algorithms still say it’s flat, but really it’s a slow creep up until I hit a high. ¬†So that flat can be misleading which is why it’s good to also actually see a few data points. ¬†You only get that on the pure graph screens. ¬†Still, if I am running, this is the main screen to see.
Best screen ever - CGMS, trend arrow and IOB

Best screen ever – CGMS, trend arrow and IOB

  • When you zoom out, the CGM graph is actually kinda hard to read on the Vibe, and this is my major pet peeve. ¬†The Dexcom screen is just bigger, and on top of that, they colour the dots white. ¬†Also, note the Dexcom shows time stamps so you have an idea at what time your trends are firing off. ¬†The markings are there on the vibe, but really not as easy to read. ¬†If you wanted to be scientific with your trends, you’d have to look at the time (4:53 pm in this photo), then figure out the scale (3 hours, so 6 ticks, so each tick is 30 minutes), then back off from that. ¬†At least on the Dexcom I can quick glance and see that around 1:30 PM I had a low alarm. ¬†I also find the green just harder to read. ¬†Dexcom’s colour scheme is red(low), white (in range) and yellow (high). ¬†Maybe it’s just the change to green that messes me up, but I found it a bit harder to read. ¬†Maybe it was my tinted sun glasses. ¬†Finally, font size is much smaller, especially on this screen – the blood glucose value is just harder to read than Dexcoms (and also harder to read than the above screen that I love). ¬†It’s all just a function of smaller screen real estate.
3 hour graph, less readable when you have tight control

3 hour graph, less readable when you have tight control

  • These problems become more exacerbated when you zoom out. ¬†Now, for exercise purposes, you aren’t really going to be looking 6 hours (unless you’re doing an ultra) but for every day use this screen starts to lose it’s utility. ¬†If you were trying to make decisions on your blood sugar management based off this it would be tricky – you’d be better served to upload it to try and read it. ¬†I’ll touch on this later.

    6 hour trend

    6 hour trend

  • The final photo evidence useability feature I want to touch on is thickness. ¬†The Dexcom G4 is svelte; it’s like an iPod. ¬†I find it very easy to slide it in and out of my tights pockets. ¬†All my running clothes are spandex – short tights and long. ¬†The hip pockets on these tend to be quite snug/compressed against the leg. ¬†The Dexcom easily slides in and out for a quick glance. ¬†I found myself having to fight to pull the pump out. ¬†This is also true of the Ping; however, I consult my Dexcom a fair amount and only pull the ping out to bolus. ¬†So this meant I spend more time trying to slide this in and out of my pocket. ¬† If you have numb fingers (like I did for the first half of this run) it can make it quite challenging!


So what else did I learn from a usability stand point. ¬†Here’s a short list of pros and cons. For the Vibe:

  • Waterproof – you could use this during a tri and not worry about leaving the receiver in transition. ¬†Also, you would not need to bag a receiver like I do on a wet day.
  • Integration means that if you need to action a BG you already have the pump out. ¬†So there’s an efficiency there.
  • Glucose trend and IOB on one screen – pure gold
  • You can’t drop it – since you’re hooked up with tubing you really can’t drop it on the ground and loose it. ¬†Well, at least you’d have to try really ahrd.

For the Dexcom:

  • Having a separate unit is perfect for sports like cycling where you can mount it. ¬†It’s much more convenient on the bike than trying to read your glucose off the pump on a bike. ¬†My pump sits in my jersey and rarely comes out.
  • Access to data – this is almost the key part to me. ¬†To get your CGMS readings off the pump you need to use Diasend. ¬†Diasend is an amazing website for integrating glucometers, cgms and pumps; however, it does not export data in raw formats like Dexcom Studio will. ¬†Now, I do realize that the Tidepool project has ways of doing it, but this is not for the every day diabetic. ¬†I love data, and the Dexcom’s USB port makes it possible to upload to Diasend AND Dexcom Studio. ¬†Dexcom studio will dump any data available into a tab de-limited format. ¬†I also like how Dexcom Studio does trends and identifies areas you are going high/low.
  • Readability – the separate receiver is just better to read
  • Range – I noticed the G4 receiver has a much longer range to communicate with the transmitter. ¬†You may not think it a huge deal, but I can envision scenarios where one may disconnect and leave technology behind – like crack climbing. ¬†I’ve been up an 80′ pitch and left my Dexcom on the ground and still had reception. ¬†The Vibe just won’t – probably battery life related.
  • Form factor – if you frequently check your glucose, getting the Dexcom out to look can be much quicker and easier to do since it’s so small.
  • Speed – the screen refreshes on the Vibe are slow whereas the Dexcom renders much faster
  • Alarms – sometimes I don’t feel the vibration alarms; however, the Dexcom alarms are also extremely loud.

Overall, if I could only have one, I’d choose the Dexcom receiver. ¬†It’s versatility to work well with every sport makes it a clear winner. ¬†On top of that, readability is key. ¬†Now I’m not saying the vibe isn’t an amazing product – it really is and I do hope to get one. ¬†It makes running simpler to plan, and for a long run it makes blood glucose management even easier with that one magic screen. ¬†However, that one screen, while amazing, is still no match for the total pack of the standalone receiver. ¬†Besides, in every day life I like being able to set my CGMS on my desk and work away. ¬†I don’t have to take my pump out to look at my levels. ¬†That goes a long way to feeling like we have a “normal” life. ¬†I plan to localize my CGMS receiver soon; and hopefully check a Vibe out in the near future. ¬†Both are great, but the Dexcom is my first choice for CGMS usage. ¬†I don’t think they are redundant – but I do feel like one is a better all-arounder. Summary:

  • Vibe is a great product, it really fixes a lot of usability issues with the Ping (but you loose remote bolus)
  • Dexcom receiver is a better all around CGMS receiver
  • For running and swimming, Vibe may be a better solution
  • For cycling and rock climbing, I’d rather the Dexcom
  • For every day use, the Dexcom is more useful to me

DBlogweek Favorite Things – Sunday Topic, DBlogweek 2014



What a week! ¬†I thought a week of writing blog topics would get difficult, but it wasn’t too hard. ¬†Today’s topic should be easy but it’s difficult for me – my favourite things from the week. ¬†It’s hard because there are so many things and also because I didn’t get to read as many blogs as I had hoped. ¬†Maybe that’s my favourite thing – how much I’ve been exposed to and how many people I’ve met through it. ¬†Still, I won’t cop out like that, so here’s a breakdown of my some of my favourites. ¬†It’s not exhaustive, but it’s something.

Monday: Change the world

Jane at Running Without Sugar¬†was a refreshing and great start to the week for me. ¬†It hit on so many important topics to me; exercise, “equal” treatment of diabetics, and I especially liked the mental checklist. ūüôā ¬†She had a great message, having diabetes is not a limitation. ¬†Thanks Jane!

Tuesday: Poetry Tuesday

Laddie at Test Guess and Go¬†was a shoe in for me. ¬†I have an immense soft spot for our canine friends, and I love how she worked it into her poem. ¬†I’ve really enjoyed Laddie’s blog throughout the week. ¬†There were also some other great poems – I wish I could find them all, but I also loved “This is just to say” from Elizabeth at T1International

Wednesday: What Gets you Down

This was a hard day for me. ¬†Mental health is not an easy topic, and ready a lot of blogs with so many sad emotions was very taxing. ¬†I think this highlights how difficult a topic of mental health is. ¬†I just don’t have a favourite from this day because I stopped reading after a bit – I couldn’t let myself go into that dark place. ¬†It’s just a place I try to stay away from mentally.

Thursday: Mantras and More

This post by Daley at I Run on Batteries is awesome. ¬†Look at the bright side. ¬†The message in her post is exactly my experience – so I’m biased, who cares! ūüôā

Friday: Diabetes Life Hacks

I loved the hacks Alberta Diabetic Girl shared; solely for the reminder that I need to keep a coin in my meter bag for when I have to change out batteries.  That, and her tip about infusion sites.  I do the same just in case my new site sucks (literally, if I have a blood filled vampire cannula).

Saturday: Snapshots

Two favourites Рone is from The Diabetic Medic for her awesome photos of a year of diagnosis spent as a year thriving with diabetes.  Great photos!

The second – T1International’s post showing diabetes initiatives around the globe. ¬†Words cannot describe, but I’m sure you understand why it’s a favorite.

My own favourites from the week

Monday, we adopted a new member in our family.  Winston the rescue!



And another amazing thing happened this week. ¬†Team NovoNordisk had it’s first podium finish in the Amgen Tour of California! ¬†They also captured the Most Courageous Rider jersey two days in a row! Way to go TNN!

So that’s my week, and that’s me signing out for Diabetes Blog 2014. ¬†Thanks to all those who posted and those who read. ¬†A special thanks to Karen at Bittersweet¬†for putting this together.

I hope some of you stick around to read my (less frequent) updates. ūüôā

Saturday Snapshots, (Active) Life with Diabetes ‚Äď Friday Topic 2014 Diabetes Blog Week



It’s hard to believe DBlog Week is almost over! ¬†But here goes!

Today’s topic is what does life with diabetes look like. ¬†My take, being an athletic themed diabetes blog, is to show what I did on this absolutely beautiful Newfoundland summer’s day!

I knew the weather would be great, but we got to bed late, so I had hoped to sleep until 6. ¬†Well, the morning actually started with a 4:45 wake up call from Winston, the foster. ¬†I got up, fed the three fur kids, then fed myself my usual pre-ride meal (oatmeal, yogurt, cappuccino). ¬†Then I took the creatures out to pee and realized it was going to actually be a warm day. ¬†This was a shocker since we had snow this week! ¬†Anywho, I got my summer kit on, and got my ride goodies ready. ¬†My plan was 3 two-bite pies (sourdough quick “crust”, blueberries with a strawberry preserve, creme cheese, and a bit of brown sugar – ~110 cal each, 21 g carb) and a bottle of skratch labs. ¬†The plan was a 40ish mile bike ride with lots of hills, so I wanted to make sure I had enough glycogen for the climbs at hand. ¬†Just in case I took 10 sugar pills and a sugar gel – they were not needed. ¬†For once I took my blood meter because I figured the Dexcom wouldn’t mess up on me that way. ūüôā

And of course, my pump in my trusty jersey pocket.

Diabetic riding kit

Diabetic riding kit

One of the many reasons I use 43" tubing!

One of the many reasons I use 43″ tubing!

My plan was to warm up the legs with 4 miles of easy, fast cycling, then hit some hill climbs (Cat 3 and Cat 4) on my way out to Cape Spear, the most eastern point in North America. ¬†It’s a great and challenging ride. ¬†The climbs are leg burners and the descents are epic. ¬†Here’s a link to the route.¬† Anyways, it was an amazing ride as planned – definitely not as fast as Texas flats, but a hell of a lot more fun. ¬†On the ride out to Cape Spear I spotted an iceberg in a little village called Blackhead, so I marked that for the return trip. ¬†I did NOT want to loose momentum before the climb out of Blackhead. ¬†After the final climb I descended into Cape Spear and fully spun out my gearing (50×12) and hit 73 km/h. ¬†It was riveting! ¬†You could hear me yelling this is *$)(% awesome the whole way in. ūüôā ¬†Anyways, a nice person out sightseeing at 6:30 AM snapped¬†a photo of me, and I snapped a photo for the readers of the most eastern point in North America.

The Wilier with the furthest east point in the background

The Wilier with the furthest east point in the background

Sunrise at Cape Spear

Sunrise at Cape Spear

Me at Cape Spear

Me at Cape Spear

And of course, the diabetic portion of this post.  I took this chance to check in, about 1/4 way into my planned ride.  Blood glucose levels were perfect!  5 mmol/l, flat trend since breakfast onward.  Since it was about 40-50 minutes in, I popped a two bite pie, had a sip of skratch.  I tried to snag a photo of this, but alas, the sun glared out the Dexcom.

Diabetes and riding can be a tasty endeavour.

Diabetes and riding can be a tasty endeavour.

Next, I climbed back out of Cape Spear and descended into Blackhead. ¬†I tapped on the brakes a bit on that descent. ¬†It was super windy and the road quality was a bit sketchy. ¬†I didn’t need road rash at 70 clicks an hour. ¬†Here’s what greeted me and Wilier there:

Iceberg at Blackhead!

Iceberg at Blackhead!

I texted Meg to let her know how things were going, and then climbed out of Blackhead. ¬†I turned towards Petty Harbour/Maddox Cove and met up with a runner jogging up one of the hills. ¬†Great training. ¬†I had a wonderful ride through Petty Harbour through to the Goulds. ¬†That’s when I decided the day was just too beautiful and decided to ride out to Bay Bulls and back (~20 mile addition) – I also ate my second pie here. ¬†It was great – I felt slow, but that was the wind in my face. ¬†On the return (which I ate my third pie at) I was benefitting from that wind! ¬†A majority of the end of the ride was spent at ~35 km/h, so I can’t complain! ūüôā ¬†I didn’t stop to snag any more photos because I was having too much fun. ¬†I got back to the house just in time to head to the market in town. ¬†All told, I got in 82.5 km (51 miles). ¬†I contemplated going for a full metric (100k), but I didn’t want to be too selfish.

So how did my blood sugar do? ¬†I could not have asked for a better blood sugar day! ¬†My alarm levels are 70-140 mg/dL – yes, I know, I’m Canadian. ¬†I got the Dexcom in the USA, and haven’t paid to switch to a mmol/L unit yet. ¬†For the metric readers, that is 3.9-7.8. ¬†Anyways, by monitoring my CGMS, my HR and planning my nutrition I was able to get in this amazing ride and¬†not once did diabetes get in the way.¬† This is what the point of this blog is – yes, it’s a lot of work. ¬†But when you get it figured out, you can really knock it out of the park! ¬†This is what a day in the life of an active diabetic¬†can look like. ¬†It’s not every day, some just don’t work, but I promise you, we can do this – we can manage this disease so it doesn’t get in the way, and we can have a hell of a good time in the process.

Now back to this beautiful day!



So, total stats:

Calories Burned: 1843 cal (per Garmin, Strava too optimistic)

Calories Consumed on Ride: 446 calories (not counting breakfast)

Carbohydrates Consumed on Ride: 89g total, 3g fibre, 86 g net carb

Insulin Bolused: None; I had a temp bolus running from breakfast that covered these carbs and made sure it went to the muscles

Enjoyment: Immeasurable


Diabetes Life Hacks ‚Äď Friday Topic 2014 Diabetes Blog Week



I swear as this week goes on I’m finding less and less free time to do this! ¬†Eep! ¬†I hope some of you readers/D-bloggers feel the same. ¬†Anwyays, here goes. ¬†Below is a list of how I’ve adapted things to suit my diabetes technology (mostly).

First up is for cycling. ¬†This is the Tally Gear Dexcom G4 bike case¬†(yes, that is me she has on her webpage). ¬†This is a key hack for me because I can see my BG anytime I look at my bike computer. ¬†I don’t have to fish around in my jersey. ¬†I also hate riding with a lot of stuff on my bike (it violate the rules of style)¬†– so I really have anywhere else to put it. ūüôā ¬†She made adjustments to the case to help it fit my road bars, ¬†Right now it fits great on the flats, but my wife is going to make me longer straps so that I can mount it sideways on the stem itself. ¬†I rarely used the flats in Texas; however, in the hilly terrain of Newfoundland I’ve found myself wanting those flats for some of the climbs. ¬†Still, it’s a great case, and has fended off lots of drizzle and fog.

Tallygear Dexcom Bike Case

Tallygear Dexcom Bike Case

Next up is for rock climbing, but also works for running and other sports. ¬†The SPIbelt (small personal item). ¬†When I am lead climbing I was finding the tubing forever getting in the way of various pieces of protection. ¬†Nothing like trying to untangle tubing from a cam whilst pumping out on lead. ūüôā ¬†I usually wear the spibelt under my shirt (tucked into the harness), so this is one instance I’ll use my Ping meter. ¬†It’s also great for ice climbing when you need to keep stuff toasty warm. ¬†I’ve used the SPI for running and holding my food.

SPIbelt with pump

SPIbelt with pump

Next up is my meter case. ¬†Here’s where I seem to differ from most of the D-community I’ve met. ¬†I don’t have a “D-bag” (though I’ve been called one). ¬†I hate bulky diabetes stuff. ¬†The ping meter drove me mental with how huge it was – so I switched to the Verio IQ, and I swear the damn meter bag for that was even BIGGER than the ping bag. ¬†Something had to give. ¬†For now I’m using a Moleskine Shell XS, and it fits much smaller. ¬†Still, I’m looking to go ultralight, so if anyone has any other ideas, let me know!

Moleskine open

Moleskine open

Moleskine closed

Moleskine closed

Finally, the last two are sleep related.  I hate getting tangled up in tubing.  But it always happens Рat least until now!  I backed a kickstarter project for Underfuse Рlittle iPhone size iron on pouches.  To them, I added velcro to keep the pocked closed, and then ironed them on to some cheap boxer shorts.  Presto, whamo, no more pump falling out of pocket, tying me in knots, then waking me up with a jolt when I pull to hard on the tubing in my sleep.  It aint pretty, but it works!

Underfused underwear

Underfused underwear

Finally, my wife made me this D-pouch for the side of our bed. ¬†In it, I store my sugar pills, my CGMS, and whatever else I need close to me. ¬†It’s great because I don’t have a bedside table, and it keeps thing nice and clean. ¬†Plus, if the CGMS vibrates it makes a hell of a racket against the bed frame. ¬†The inspiration for this – sofa remote control holders!

Meg's bedside pouch

Meg’s bedside pouch



Mantras and More – What Gets you Through a Tough Diabetes Day


I was out for a lot of cycling today (4 rides!), so I had little time to prep this. ¬†I feel terrible because I haven’t read any of yesterdays posts, so if you are reading this – I’m sorry, I’ll get around to reading the Wednesday posts soon!

So for today I have three things that get me through a tough diabetes day.

I am not alone

While it’s only been recent that I’ve gotten involved in local and online diabetes community, I have never felt alone in this disease. ¬†Anytime I’m stressed, ticked off, angry, whatever – I know I have my wonderful wife, my type 3 to rely on. ¬†So how do I get through a tough diabetes day – I sound off to her. ¬†She may have a fully functioning pancreas, but she’s listened and learned so much of what I do that she can suggest and help me through, and listen when I’m in a D-rage. ¬†Thanks Meg, you’re the best! ¬†She get’s me through a D-day. ¬†Having family support is so important, and I hope each and every one of my readers has someone like this they can fall back on. ¬†If not, you have the diabetes online community – remember, you are not alone.

My wonderful Type 3 wife.  Nothing like a mid-air kiss.

My wonderful Type 3 wife. Nothing like a mid-air kiss.

And a special shout out to the other creatures who remind me I am not alone and to not take life too seriously – our fur kids. ¬†Molly and Gus, and we’ve just recently added Winston to our pack. ¬†They are my unsung d-support heroes.

Hiking with Molly and Gus

Hiking with Molly and Gus

Winston, our senior rescue dog, and latest diabetes cheerleader.  Welcome to the family dude.

Winston, our senior rescue dog, and latest diabetes cheerleader. Welcome to the family dude.


My second mantra which I’m trying really hard to practice is:

You are more than a number

Yesterday I posted about holding myself to tough standards. ¬†Well, in prepping for this post, I realized that I need to take a step back. ¬†I was re-reading “The Rock Warriors Way” and I stumbled onto this quote:

In both success and failure anxiety, you lose focus.  By over-valuing the outcome and under valuing the process, you focus on the destination.

Basically, I’m worrying too much about one simple test and not focusing on how positive my life has changed, and how much my quality of life has improved. ¬†This made me go “Woah” today. ¬†A light bulb went off. ¬†It’s very hard for me, being an engineer, to not focus on each blood glucose number and scrutinize it and be a lunatic¬†about it. ¬†Now that’s not an excuse to forget the value of each test, but rather¬†in order to be “more than a number”, I need to take a step back, digest the number as data, learn from it, but not lose sight of the bigger picture. ¬†To get through a tough D-day I need to remember that I am more than just a number.

View from a morning run - this  is why I do it!

View from a morning run – this is why I do it!

I am in control

My final mantra may seem counter intuitive when I’m having a tough diabetes day and it feels like everything is spiralling out of control. ¬†I remind myself that, in the grand scheme of things, I have more control now than I ever did. ¬†I choose to wake up early to exercise. ¬†I choose to count my carbohydrates, my protein, and bolus accordingly. ¬†I choose to wear a CGM and be vigilant with the results. ¬†I choose my weight goals. ¬†The fact that I am having a tough D-day is because everything isn’t working out according to plan. ¬†So I remind myself that I better for it, and while I may not seem like I have control in the moment, I am doing better overall. ¬†If I can be happy with my progress, then I am in control.


What gets you down? – Wednesday Topic 2014 Diabetes Blog Week

I’m going to admit, I pre-wrote this post last week. ¬†The mood struck me. ¬†The theme of todays post is “What gets you down”, so without further ado, here goes:

Yesterday was a tough day.  Not because my sugar was high or I had something terrible happen.  It was a bad day because I am my own worst critic.  In trying to balance weight management, insulin intake and eating habits I let myself lose it.  I set my standards fairly high, and they sometimes seem like conflicting goals, but here they are:

  1. Blood sugar must be between 3.9 – 7.9 mmol/L at all times
  2. Exercise 5-6 days a week
  3. Caloric intake ~ 2300 calories (based on a moderate caloric deficit, and average exercise burning ~600-700 calories)
  4. Reduce/maintain total daily dosage (TDD) of insulin below 35 units
  5. Space meals at least 3 hours apart to prevent carbohydrate and insulin stacking

Yes, I’m one of “those” diabetics. ¬†I try to manage everything about this disease. ¬†Sometimes it’s a bit taxing, but I remind myself that so many others have it so much worse, so I put my head down,¬†keep on trucking and HTFU! ¬†ūüôā ¬†This disease doesn’t stop, it doesn’t take a break, so why should I? ¬†I’ve already started to have some complications (non-proliferative retinopathy), so I choose to be vigilant because I want to do all I can to stave off further complications.

Yesterday my mood wasn’t 100%. ¬†I was already a bit “not there” diabetes wise, but more on that later. ¬†In the mid-afternoon I was hungry. ¬†Fresh bread, white chocolate bark and other treats were left in the break room. ¬†I indulged, not even that much, but maybe 45g of carbs worth. ¬†I bolused, but when after the fact I checked my TDD calculations. ¬†We preplan our meal days, so we basically know what we’re eating. ¬†I saw how my TDD was going to be >35 (goal failed). ¬†Furthermore, I ate an unplanned snack (goal failed) less than 3 hours from lunch. It was going to put me over my caloric intake (fail). ¬†I let this get to me. ¬†I got snippy with others, including my wife – the best type 3 I know! ¬†So what gets me down? ¬†When I feel like I’ve failed myself. ¬†I don’t make excuses. ¬†This was my own fault. ¬†I don’t really get diabetes burn out though, I get diabetes rage. ¬†I was angry that I didn’t just walk past the food. ¬†I was angry that I was countering my own goals. ¬†So yeah, I kinda got down.

So what did I do about it. ¬†Well first of all, I apologized to everyone I was snippy with. ¬†They don’t need to put up with that! ¬†Then I worked with my wife to rejig our meal plan for supper. ¬†Items were substituted, spinach instead of freekah for a base, recipes adjusted, and at least I could get my TDD closer to where I wanted, my caloric intake more in line, and I didn’t feel like a failure. ¬†This is how I get out of the funk – I realize that while this disease isn’t a choice, how I manage it is. ¬†Yes, I may have “failed” my goals, but the power is in how I adapt my plans to get as close to my goals and move on. ¬†I feel a lot of empowerment when I stop making excuses and start taking action. ¬†I am accountable to myself. ¬†And, relying on the support of others, like my wife, helps me manage.

My type 3 wife - we can't do this alone.  This disease is so much easier with the help of others.

My type 3 wife – we can’t do this alone. This disease is so much easier with the help of others.

So earlier I mentioned about my mind not being totally there? ¬†During my lunch I was reading ¬†the book “The Diabetes Manifesto” by Lynn Crowe and Julie Stachowiak. ¬†This is considered by some to be crucial reading.¬†The medical content in the book does seem to be quite great. ¬†I’m still working through it. ¬†I really enjoy reading other diabetes books to gain a perspective on how other diabetics think, feel, and live. ¬†However, in Lynn¬†Crowe’s book, right in the very first chapter she made a very polarizing statement:

“Some people make diabetes the headliner. ¬†I have met many of these people over the years through my work and in other situations. ¬†You may know some of them – all they seem to be able to talk about is diabetes – a delicious gourmet dinner set in front of them becomes a plate of carb counts, a vacation to an exotic locale is described as a detailed account of the challenges of managing blood glucose in a foreign setting, with no mention of culture or scenery. ¬†It’s “all diabetes, all the time” with these people. ¬†To be honest, I find this extremely boring. ¬†To be really honest, I avoid these people like the plague.”

And there you have it. ¬†Talk about a gut punch. ¬†So the other thing that gets me down about diabetes? ¬†The stupid, unnecessary¬†politics and pissing contests that erupt when diabetics compare each other, label each other, or choose to treat each other differently. ¬†The politics, the in-fighting, the “types”, the classification, the judgement. ¬†We all have a chronic disease, we’re all different, can we at least work together instead of picking fights with each other? ¬†We’re not doing any favours to the cause when we stereotype and typecast each other.

Yes, I live and breathe diabetes, but what Lynn Crowe fails to acknowledge in people like me is that we do actually live.¬† I will eat and enjoy a gourmet meal, but I have diabetes so yes, I do try to count the carbs and the protein, adjust for timings, etc so that I don’t spend the whole night riding a hypo/hyper roller coaster only to feel like crap the next day and make my everyone around me suffer in the process. ¬†Yes, I love vacations and I do take everything diabetes into account because I don’t want the shit to hit the fan and leave my wife calling 911 because her husband is seizuring in a strange locale. ¬†Because of this vigilance during vacations I’ve been to the top of the Grand Teton to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and I loved every minute of it. ¬†These were lifelong dreams realized. ¬†They were a euphoric experience. ¬†They were only possible because I was so vigilant about my care and treatment. ¬†They were possible because I made diabetes the “main event”. ¬†By doing this I gain some modicum of control and take power away from the disease. ¬†Maybe the author¬†could benefit from not avoiding us and instead understand that we are actually not just living, but thriving in spite of this disease, that we have different goals and embrace us as a part of her community rather than ostracize us as if we have the plague (and interesting choice of words given that we are afflicted with a chronic disease). ¬†I am¬†utterly sick¬†of the infighting that diabetics have. ¬†It’s not doing us any good, so let’s get over it and move on. ¬†By setting rules on behaviour and adding politics, we just give the disease power. ¬†So yeah, yesterday I was frustrated and I let this get to me in a bad way.

On top of the Grand Teton (17,770'); a lifelong dream realized (with no hypoglycemia and no hyper glycemia to boot!)

On top of the Grand Teton (17,770′); a lifelong dream realized (with no hypoglycemia and no hyper glycemia to boot!)

But the goal of this post is to talk about what gets us down, and then what helps us through it. ¬†Problem and solution. ¬†That’s a good way to structure it – why complain if you don’t have a plan to deal with it. ¬†Perfect! ¬†So what helps me out of the funk. ¬†I could get mad about all this infighting, but what’s the point. ¬†It just makes me mad, and like I said above, that doesn’t put me in a good place. ¬†Instead I think back to the Tour de Cure training rides I took part in while preparing for the DFW 2013 Tour de Cure. ¬†We had Type 1’s, Type 2’s, and lots of non-diabetics show out. ¬†People of all sorts of experience with cycling and their diabetes. ¬†People who were “always on” were sharing tips with people who were “never on” and everything in between. ¬†We shared with each other and we learned from each other. ¬†Things like that help me move past the negativity –¬†working together instead of pushing off fellow diabetics because they are too lax or too uptight in their treatment. ¬†Also,¬†this blog has been a great thing for helping me out of the “lows”. I choose to share my experiences about being an active diabetic – what I’ve learned, how I got to this place (seriously, I was a poster child of inactivity), and maybe hopefully I can help others out or at least open up a dialog. ¬†Writing about how I am empowered in the management of this disease helps me feel even better about it, so I keep writing.

My first Tour de Cure training ride, filled with Type 1's, Type 2's and non-diabetics.  A true community experience that I won't forget.  And yes, I was riding a hybrid at the time. :)

My first Tour de Cure training ride, filled with Type 1’s, Type 2’s and non-diabetics. A true community experience that I won’t forget. And yes, I was riding a hybrid at the time. ūüôā

This is a bit more touchy-feely than I planned to write, but I do think it’s a good topic and thought I should stray from my normal posts plotting data and what not. ¬†So fellow diabetics, what gets you down? ¬†How do you move past it? ¬†What are your management goals?

Poetry Tuesday, Engineer doing poetry… help us all ‚Äď Tuesday Topic 2014 Diabetes Blog Week

Today’s Diabetes Blog Week topic is diabetes poetry. ¬†This is probably the hardest topic for me to write about because I am not a creative person. ¬†But I did think up a few based on some thoughts or photos I have. ¬†And you know what, I had fun in the process. ¬†So here goes! It’s either free form or haiku’s. ¬†I don’t have enough skill to rhyme! ūüôā


Every picture I take

It keeps cropping up

Pump bump, CGMS lump

It’s just sugar pills, I’m not that happy to see you

No point trying to crop these out

I’m proud of my photobombing, life sustaining friends

Inspiration for Photobombed, my CGMS hanging out ;)

Inspiration for Photobombed, my CGMS hanging out ūüėČ


Diabetes Haiku #1

We are pin cushions

Rotate, avoid scar tissue

Dwindling real estate


Diabetes Haiku #2

The quantified self

Endless batteries of test

Guide for a long life



Alarm! Buzz! Awake again at night

Test, Bolus, treat the high, pop another sugar pill, treat the low

Insulin, CGM, Glucometer

Our minds, always filled with these thoughts, no room for more

Never quiet, always there

We all need some release

A freedom, a silence, some peace

5 AM, morning frost, out the door

Feet pounding, heart racing

Pushing harder, breathing faster

The fog clears, the mind sharpens, focuses

The world shrinks, becomes the moment

Consumed in my breath, connect with my body

Finally, that solitude, that release, I only exist in this moment

And there it is

Silence, my moment of freedom, fleeting, but attainable

It ends too soon, Alarm! Buzz!

Inspiration for Silence

Inspiration for Silence