Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC) Releases New Advocacy App – Review

If you haven’t heard of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC) yet, then you can check them out with the link and you can read everything that I’ve written about them over the last couple of years by clicking on this custom search.

I have been a huge fan of DPAC from the day I found out about them. They have done so much for diabetes advocacy that it’s unreal. They have truly made it so easy and simple to advocate. You can go to their website and just click on your reps names and send them tweets and emails. Seriously, how much easier can it get?

Well, they actually did just make it that much more easier. Like many others, I live on my phone or iPad. I’m connected to it at all times. I love apps. I particularly love apps that do good. And this one does.

Now, you can simply download the DPAC App and advocate right from your phone.

 

Well, here’s my initial review of the app.

[bctt tweet=”Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC) App Review” username=”@lifeofadiabetic”]

Once I downloaded the app, it was super easy to set up. You can link to your Facebook or Twitter account or email if you would like. This creates your profile for others to see. I love the idea of building a community around advocacy. It helps me knowing that others are participating in some of the same efforts that I am.

The profile set up part was super easy.

Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition - DPAC App 1

 

By inputting your address, the app is able to figure out exactly who your reps and Senators are and makes it super easy to then contact them.

The next part was to simply take action, already. For me, the easiest, quickest thing to do was going to be to Tweet my Representative. So, that’s what I clicked on. Once you click on Tweet your Representative, a second option pops up for which one you want to tweet to. Click on the button and it will automatically draft your tweet for you. You can add more to the tweet if more characters are available. If you don’t want to edit, then just simply send the tweet.

Finally, you will get confirmation of your tweet and you can go back and start taking more actions.

Earning Points

People are driven by success. Success can be measured in any way that you want to. I am super competitive, in anything. I compete against my diabetes to beat it. I compete against fellow advocates, because I don’t want to be out-advocated. It drives the advocacy efforts.

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Doing more to collect points is a way to keep people engaged and keep people doing more. If you’re last on the leaderboard and you feel like you’ve done enough, chances are, you haven’t, so you will want to do more.

Do More.

It’s a quote I have everywhere around my life. Simply, Do More.

[bctt tweet=”Simply Do, Then Do More.” username=”@lifeofadiabetic”]

So, there’s my review. The app is super easy to navigate. It really does make advocating so easy. You can do this while waiting in your doctor’s office, while you’re waiting for the water to boil for dinner, in the bathroom, waiting for your coffee to brew, anywhere!

Download the app here (iOS Link)

Dario Meter Review

I was sent a Dario All in One meter to review last month, so I figured it was time to get my review up.

When I first heard about the Dario meter, my initial thoughts were:

Cool, I can use my iPhone to test my sugar.

Awesome, the strips and lancing device are all in one, so less items I have to carry.

That was all I knew about the product before I received it.

When I first received the item in the mail, I liked the white box that the meter and strips came in. It felt very Apple-ish, and one thing to know about me, I love my Apple products. The box was actually extremely difficult to open. I basically had to rip the entire thing open because I couldn’t just easily take the meter and other items out of the box.

Inside the box was was the meter, lancets, the device that goes into the audible jack and a sample vial of 25 test strips.

The instruction manual made it very simple to set the meter up. On one end of the device the test strips slip into an open compartment that has a white cover. On the other end, the lancing device is attached. On the other side is a button to push up and then the actual meter pops out and plugs into the audible jack on your iPhone.

Setting up the meter itself was pretty quick and easy and simple to do.

The next step was to install the Dario app from the Apple Store. Once the app was installed, I just opened up the app and followed the instructions.

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The kit also came with these bags to put your iPhone in so that there is no contamination of blood. This is a great idea, even though I only used the bags for the initial first test.

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The entire set up was pretty easy to get ready to test.

My first test however, was not the best, as you can see.

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The kit also came with an additional 25 test strips, so I used the meter 50 times. I feel after 50 tests, that is enough to determine whether or not you like something.

I loved having the app automatically logging my BG’s for me and giving me a quick snapshot of my average results. As soon as I opened the app, it provided me with what my average blood sugar was. As you can see, I had a rough couple of weeks with blood sugars. Also, this is why meter BG logging doesn’t always tell the whole story because if my CGM said 120, I don’t test, so it skews higher.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, I did like the meter. I liked the ease of use and having the test strips and lancing device all in one. It was less that I had to carry. In fact, I didn’t even carry my whole meter bag that I usually do because I could just keep this in my pocket and that’s it. I like being able to test directly on my iPhone.

The biggest downside to me was that I had to have my phone on me in order to test. I like to test in the middle of the night when I wake up to use the bathroom, but pretty much every time I forgot my phone on my night stand and had to go back out from the bathroom to get my phone in order to test.

I also did not like that I had to wait to open up the app in order to test. It would be nice for the app to open automatically once the jack was plugged in. But hey, those are things that would make the perfect device. Testing on the iPhone was great, so I am not going to complain about having to open up the app first.

I would not use the Dario meter as my full time meter, however I would like to keep some test strips as a back up meter. I like it for traveling purposes because it’s easy to just put in my pocket.

I would recommend this meter to people though because overall, I like it.

What would make this meter the perfect fit?

Truly be all in one. Meaning that the test strips, lancing device and the meter itself is all in the same device, no needing to connect to the iPhone. Then, once the test is complete, it can send the results directly to my iPhone via Bluetooth without me needing to open up the app.

Have you used the meter? If so, I would love to hear your feedback.

Please leave a comment or message on Facebook.

 

Advocate Diabetes Stor-More Review

I was recently sent a Diabetes Stor-More from Advocate and decided to review the product. I currently have most of my diabetes supplies that I use frequently on my bathroom counter and my wife does not like that very much. When I heard about this product, I was actually very happy to review it because I really needed something to help with my countertop organization.

I currently have a pretty good organization method for my supplies, but my daily use items, not so much, especially syringes.

When I am on MDI, the syringes don’t always go right into the sharps container. I usually collect a bunch until they get out of hand and then throw into a sharps container. This has a nice compartment that you can either put unused or used syringes in.

There is also a great place to put your testing strips, meter, lancing device, insulin and more.

The bottom drawer pulls out and includes more storage for other items. I have currently been able to use it to store an extra infusion site, sensor, infusion site inserter and tape for my Enlite sensors.

You could possibly use it for gauze, alcohol pads, etc.

My wife is extremely happy that I now have this storage device.

I would definitely recommend it, especially if you keep supplies in your bathroom or kitchen counter or office desk, etc.

You can purchase this device directly at Advocate. You will have to call in to order.

Gift Ideas for People with Diabetes This Holiday Season

If you are reading this, then you probably have diabetes yourself, so I recommend that you share this post with your family members and friends.

If you have a loved one that is living with diabetes, or a co-worker, or you just want to spoil yourself, then what better time to show them how much you love them than with a diabetes related gift for the holidays.

I’ve put together a list of items below that I think would make the best holiday gifts for people with diabetes. Also, please add additional gift ideas in the comment section below. Just as an FYI, most of the products I’m listing were created by people with diabetes or a parent of someone with diabetes.

Diabetic Dabs

If your glucose meter bag is anything like mine, then it is filled with blood. There are people who lick their finger after testing, some wipe with a wet wipe or napkin, some just wipe their finger on the inside of their meter bag (me!) or some carry around some bulky product to wipe it with. Diabetic Dabs make it easy to just stick to the inside of your meter bag and simply “dab” your finger into the gauze cloth without making a huge mess. – http://diabeticdabs.com/

Books About Diabetes

I’m not going to list all of the books here, I am just going to link to my recent post about my favorite diabetes books. These are all great gift ideas and the best part is that if you know multiple people, you can just buy several!

PumpStash

There are several products out there that were created by those living with diabetes to make it easier to hold your insulin pump while playing sports, or even just everyday wear. Corrine started this company and created this product. She created the product to help her store her pump more easily by adding a pocket to the back of spandex. – http://www.pumpstash.com/

Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry

If you are anything like me, then you hate the thought of having to wear some sort of medical ID bracelet or necklace. In fact, I don’t even wear one because they annoy me, especially the really plain ugly ones. So, this could be a great gift idea for someone who doesn’t currently wear a medical ID bracelet because they aren’t fashionable or cool. Remember my niece who was recently diagnosed? Well, my sister in law bought her an ID bracelet from here and she absolutely loves it and doesn’t mind wearing it. – https://www.laurenshope.com/

Use the coupon code FAN for 10% off an order

Pump Peelz

If you know someone who rocks an insulin pump, then why not help them add a little flare to it with an insulin pump skin. You can choose from their favorite NFL team to a color, to a simple design (I’m into all things camo). Pump Peelz offers skins for Dexcom, Animas Ping / Vibe, tSlim, OmniPod, Medtronic, Pebble Watch, VerioIQ and more – http://pumppeelz.com/

Charity Donation

If you’re not sure if any of these gifts will work for the person with diabetes that you know, then simply make a cash donation in their honor to their charity of choice. I have done this in the past with birthday gift ideas and it worked out quite well.

Sponsor a Trip

This gift could be pricey, but if you have the budget and means, then why not? Pay for their trip to a diabetes conference in 2016. Christel has the ultimate list of diabetes conferences in 2016. (as well as the diabetes UNconference). I would say that the vast majority of us living with diabetes would love to attend some of the meetups and conferences but just simply can’t afford them, so of course this would make the perfect gift!

Etsy Items

There are a TON of diabetes related items on Etsy. If you just do a search for Diabetes (which I have done here for you), you will find a lot of items.  A lot of items on Etsy can actually be personalized for a few extra dollars.

Cupcakes

Every person with diabetes I ever met has loved cupcakes, so you can’t go wrong there!

If you have any additional gift ideas for someone with diabetes, or someone who loves / cares for someone with diabetes, then please add in the comments below or share on Facebook.

YourCareMoments Paid Health Surveys

A few months ago I read a blog post from Christel over at ThePerfectD about getting paid to take diabetes surveys. Over my years of working from home, I have tried as many different “get paid to take survey” websites out there and none of them were ever worked out. Until I found YourCareMoments.

Signing up was extremely easy to do. The surveys are anonymous, however it does require a valid email address to sign up (and get paid!).

First, go to their signup page here – YourCareMoments Registration. Once there you will need to provide your email address, what year you were born, zip code, condition you are diagnosed with, how did you find YourCareMoments (you can select “Other” and type “The Life of a Diabetic”) fill out the CAPTCHA and then you are registered.

Once signed up, you will receive several opportunities throughout the year to participate in the surveys. The surveys are pretty short and not very time consuming, about 10-15 minutes a piece and they pay $6-$10 per survey. So, if you think about that, for 15 minute survey, that’s like getting paid $24-$40/hr, not too shabby for taking a survey about your health.

You might be asking, what is the information used for and who is it given to? YourCareMoments will analyze the information from the survey and share with pharma companies that are interested in hearing our (the patient’s) voice. They are currently seeking anyone that is 18 years or older living in the United States that have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

If you are currently taking the following drugs then it would be beneficial to sign up now because they are seeking survey opportunities based around these drugs:

  • Afrezza
  • Glyxambi
  • Trluicity
  • Tanzeum
  • Jardiance
  • Tradjenta

Please note that names and addresses are not collected and are not required for payment either. Payment is made via PayPal. I received my payment within a few days of taking my first survey.

As I mentioned, when I first heard about Zitter Health Insights and their YourCareMoments survey opportunities from Christel, I knew it had to be legit. She said it was legit, she said she trusted them, then there was no doubt that I did too. And after completing my first survey, I confirmed that they are legit.

Even if the surveys did not pay, I would still participate. Why? Because these surveys provide the opportunity to voice my opinion and let the pharma companies know what our voices and opinions are.

What is better than helping those of us living with diabetes, type 1 and type 2, by providing your opinions and answers to the survey questions.

Please visit my disclosure page for all disclosure information.

A Pump-cation Leads to Reviewing Logging Apps

 

Does that word make you cringe too? Just when I hear it or think about it, I instantly think, “Ugh, so annoying” Even though I know in the back of my head it is worth it and the data I am going to get from it will be so much more beneficial then if I don’t do it. Why am I even bringing this up?

Last month I had a lot of vacation time with my parents then with in-laws, so there was a lot of time going in the pool and constantly being on the go. For a week, I decided that I was going to take a pump-cation also, which means no insulin pump, no CGM. So without the CGM that meant that I had no real-time data to let me know what my blood sugars were like.

I remember when I was first diagnosed, I used to like in a notebook like I was the World Blood Sugar Logging Champion. Now, I don’t even remember how I used to do it or what I used to write in that notebook.

I decided that I was just going to log them in my notes in my phone and just look over the data when I had a chance. I didn’t care to have a graph or chart or see trends, I knew I was taking a little vacation from all of that stuff. I just wanted to test, see what my number was, correct if need be, then move on and wait until the next time came, but I wanted to be able to have the info in case I needed it for some odd reason.

After that week experience I decided that I was going to start reading a bunch of reviews from others in the community about the many diabetes logging apps available. After reading a bunch, I knew that I had to just try them out myself and see which one worked the best for me.

I’m still in the process of figuring that out and reviewing a few of them myself, so I will definitely share my thoughts once I actually collect them.

What is your favorite diabetes logging app?

Omron BP 786 Blood Pressure Monitor Review

About 6 months ago, I received an email about doing a review of an Omron Blood Pressure monitor, and I agreed to use the product and write a review on it. Full disclosure here.

Like many of the products that I have been sent, it took me a while to get to (I am doing a weekly product review now, so time has freed up a bit). The day that I finally decided to open it, was out of necessity than anything else.

The night before, I was laying in bed, and I just felt off. I felt like my heart  was racing and pumping a lot hearder than what it normally is and something just felt off. So, the next day I said, “Oh yea, I have a blood pressure monitor, let’s check the blood pressure” and bam, there was my problem. My blood pressure was about 146/97. Whoa.

First thing I did was email my doctor (yes, email because she responds back pretty quickly). She told me to check it again in a couple of hours and if it didn’t come down then she wanted me to come in to the office.

Well, by the end of the day, I was started  on blood pressure medication. Started on Lisinopril, but have since changed to Lossarten.

So, with that back story , I can now get to the review of the product, because it really did help me a lot because without it, I probably wouldn’t have cheked my blood presure anywhere else or called a doctor, I would have just waited until the next appointment.

The exact model of the monitor is the Omron BP786 Blood Pressure Monitor

The set up of the blood pressure monitor was pretty easy to do with the instructions included. It basically came with two main parts, the monitor and the arm band sensor. Setting the monitor up was also pretty easy. The arm piece connects to the actual monitor itself on the side.

Once the monitor is plugged in (also can use 4 AA batteries) and turned on the arm cuff will begin to tighten on you. This process lasts for approximately 30-60 seconds. Once it releases, the screen shows a countdown for 60 seconds which is when the next reading is going to begin. The monitor takes 3 separate readings in order to provide the most accurate results.

omron2dAfter the 3rd reading, the monitor display will show you the SYS / DIA (mmHg) as well as your Pulse/min.

There are arrows that also allow you to backtrack and take a look at your previous testing results. This was helpful for me because sometimes I would forgoet to record ythe blood pressure results the previous time (sort of like my lack of BG logging).

This particular model also comes with a second person option. Meaning you can flip the switch on the bottom of the monitor to track results for a second person so that your data stays yours, and their data stays theirs.

Overall, I am extremely happy with this blood pressure monitor and would definitely recommend it to others. I have seen this monitor in Walmart and Target before, but I’ve also included a link to Amazon.

My Decision to Use ViaCord for Cord Blood Banking

Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine entirely. I received a $300 discount on the one time processing fee from ViaCord in exchange for writing a post about my experience. This discount was offered after I had made my decision to bank with them.

Once Amanda and I found out that we were going to be having our first child, I was hit with a full mix of emotions. I wrote about this over at Medtronic’s Loop-Blog, so I won’t go into too much detail here about that. One of the things on my list was whether or not to do cord blood banking. I was told by a lot of type 1 parents that it is a no brainer and that they did it because you never know what the future will hold. Based on that feedback, I knew I was going to do it, but I didn’t know what company I was going to use or how I was going to do it.

I had been collecting information about all of the different companies that do cord blood banking whenever I went to any sort of doctor visit or anything baby related that had information available. As time went by, I had narrowed down my choices to just 2 different companies. A week before the due date and I still hadn’t chosen a company or made a final decision. I know, I am a huge procrastinator.

On March 18, I finally decided that I was going to call ViaCord to set up our cord blood banking. Our due date was March 23 and we had just come home from a doctor’s appointment and Amanda was less than 1 cm, so I knew that I had a few days to get the package in the mail.

Setting up the account with ViaCord was very smooth. The person I spoke with was very friendly and very easy to deal with. After setting up the account, she alerted me that they will be shipping out the collection box to me overnight and I should receive it the next day. Later in the night, I received an email with the tracking number and said it should be at my house by 8 p.m. the next day. Perfect! Plenty of time for delivery.

Then, the next day happened. Amanda woke up and she felt “different” then she had felt all through her pregnancy. And then it happened, she started to feel contractions. It was about 1 p.m. and I remembered that the ViaCord package had not been delivered by FedEx yet and I had to take the box with me to the hospital. At about 4:00 p.m. we called the OB and they instructed us to head to the hospital. As I was collecting the “Go Bag” and packing up the car, I could hear the engine of a nice Fed Ex truck coming down the street. And there it was, my ViaCord collection box just in time of going to the hospital.

Honestly, I don’t think they could have even written something like this for a movie! It arrived 10 minutes before we were leaving for the hospital.

The entire cord blood collection process was simple. Once I told the nurses we were doing it, they drew blood from Amanda first and then collected the cord blood after the delivery process happened. The doctor did all the work, and I tried to watch a bit, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of my daughter.

After that, I made a phone call to the 24 hour phone service to schedule for the package to be picked up the next morning. At about 6:45 AM, a courier picked the package up and took it off to the airport.

I received an email the next day stating that everything arrived in good condition and that it will take a couple weeks for the processing of the cord blood to take place.

After a couple of weeks, I did receive that email and stated that everything with the collection samples were good to go.

Overall, I am happy that I made the decision to do cord blood banking. There was not much effort on my end and it was something that the doctors and nurses seemed very well versed in.

24 – MiniMed 530G Edition

After I left training for my new pump, I was back on my own and back to the pumping life.  As soon as I got in the car it felt so different again having that pump in my pocket and having to buckle my seatbelt without pinching the tubing while doing so.  I haven’t had to do this in almost a year.

Once I drove home, it was approaching dinner time and I knew that I was going to be cooking chicken breasts with steamed green beans.  As I set the steamer, which takes about 25-30 minutes, the alerts started.  One set of vibrates, then another set of vibrates, and then again and again.  There were several “Low Predicted” alerts that started going off.  I loved the fact that this alert was going off because when I am cooking, I am usually sweating and concentrating on cooking the food and not paying so much attention to the quickly dropping blood sugar.  I took some time to test after a few of the alerts and the meter test confirmed that I was not just going low, but was in that low state.  Little cup of juice while I waited for dinner to finish was all I needed.

 

Later that night was #DSMA and I finally had some free time to participate for the first time in a really long time and I loved the topic of getting to know you. I always want to know more about people other than just the fact that they have diabetes, it’s not the only thing about you, so it would be nice to know more.

Several times during DSMA, I did receive a No Delivery when trying to deliver a few correction boluses.  I was in the middle of things, so I just re-tried the bolus thinking maybe it was just a hiccup.  Received the message again, so then I did a rewind and tube priming, still received the No Delivery.  Since that didn’t work, I figured that maybe it was the tubing, so I grabbed another tubing and primed that one as well, same result, No Delivery.  I kind of figured that it was a bad site, but before I just change out the site, I try to troubleshoot it with other options other than losing an infusion set.

Unfortunately, it was a bad site and when I pulled it out, there was blood.  There wasn’t a lot because I was prepared for blood to come out and put pressure on right away.  After that, it was delivering perfectly fine and my blood sugar began to come back down to normal.

In fact, it started to come down too much come morning time.  I woke up around 6 a.m. and I saw that the CGM was reading 72, and I had the threshold suspend set at 70.  That meant, that it was going to go off soon and I hadn’t really explained the really loud noise of the Threshold suspend to Amanda yet, so she was going to get freaked out.  In order to avoid this, I changed the settings to 60 instead of 70.  I then tested with a meter and the CGM read 72, and the meter was 105.  I was not very happy with that large difference in reading.  I know they will never be the same, and we are to look at the trends of the CGM and not the number, but my BG was actually rising at the time, not falling.

Once again, little OJ and we were good to go.

It was now my first day working again wearing the pump and CGM full time, so I was obsessively checking my BG (I tend to do that the day of and after an endo appt!)

There were not many alerts throughout the day.  A few highs, a few low predicted, and one that made me happy because the meter check re-assured me that the CGM was doing it’s job.

For dinner, I was really going to put the pump and infusion set site to the test with a meal at Pei Wei, which is about 200g carb in just one plate.  This was going to be close to about 2 max boluses.  I took a max bolus and then 10 minutes later did a max square bolus with 65% now and 35% 30 minutes later.  It worked….a little.  There was a high blood sugar later, but nothing the pump could have done any better.

All in all, the first day with the 530G was not bad.  It will take a while for me to work out my basal rates again, but I will get there.  Wednesday night will be a full week with the system, so I’ll be doing a weekly CareLink report as well.