June’s DSMA Blog Carnival topic is about diabetes devices: blood glucose meters, insulin pumps, and all other diabetes medications. Here is the prompt:
How do you select the diabetes devices you use? To others looking into new or replacement devices, what would be your best advice to someone shopping around?
I must say that I am very excited about reading others’ posts. I will be frank with you and say that I have no great advice to someone shopping around. All of my “decisions” have been about convenience. I have been a Medtronic customer since 1997. I don’t even remember how I got my test kit. The only decision regarding devices I remember making was about my CGM but that was basically made for me because I am a Medtronic pump user.
The devices I use are as follows:
Test Kit — One Touch Ultra
Insulin Pump — Medtronic Minimed Paradigm 523
Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) — Minimed Paradigm Real-Time Revel System
I was diagnosed in 1993. I was 9 years old and I admit I don’t remember what my first meter was. I remember it taking 45 seconds to show a result and required a lot of blood. For as long as I can remember though, I have been using a One Touch Ultra test kit. One nice thing about the One Touch Ultra is that it connects to my insulin pump. This is a huge plus for me. I don’t know if any other test kits link to insulin pumps but I probably wouldn’t go with one that didn’t. I also have a healthy supply of test strips so I can’t see myself switching anytime soon.
Back in 1997, I received my first insulin pump. I was 13 and I was told I was the youngest pumper in Virginia (at the time). I’m not sure if that was accurate but they made a big fuss about how young I was to be on an insulin pump. I don’t remember making the decision to be on the pump but I couldn’t imagine my life without it. As I said above, I have always been a Medtronic Minimed pump user. Whenever I’m do for an upgrade, I never even think to look at different pumps. I’m happy with Minimed. I know the pump well. The only thing that might make me switch is if another pump comes out with an iPhone app to connect the pump to the phone. This feature would be amazing for when I’m wearing a dress and can’t get to my pump. Another amazing feature that I’ve heard about is the waterproof Animas pump. This has me intrigued but not enough to actually pull the trigger and make a change. Like my test kit, I also have a healthy supply of Minimed supplies like reservoirs and infusion sets.
Finally, the decision to get my CGM was one that I remember very well. I had been wanting a CGM for a while but when I first looked into it, my insurance required some crazy requirements to be approved. I can’t recall all the requirements but the main one that sticks out in my head was where I need to have blood sugars in the 50’s for at least five times or some craziness like that. So I wasn’t approved since at the time I was rarely under 120 (100 was low for me!). I think at least two years passed before I looked into it again. It was the summer of 2011, after I got married and while babies weren’t on the mind quite yet, my husband and I were definitely starting to think that way. This was around the time that I realized my A1C needed to be Below Seven or even better around 6.5 to get pregnant. In the summer of 2011, I think there were only two options for a CGM-Minimed’s and Dexcom’s. I could be wrong but I remember doing a little bit of research and I remember only seeing two options. Of course, I went with Minimed’s CGM because I had the Minimed insulin pump and with the Revel system, it connects with my pump so a pretty easy decision on my part.
Those are the diabetes devices that I have. One device I did look into but didn’t get was an at home A1C kit. I really wanted this because I haven’t had much luck with finding a good endocrinologist in my area since moving last August and to be honest, I don’t usually get much out of the visits other than prescriptions so I figured I could go every 6 months instead of every 3 and do the A1C tests at home. For this diabetes device decision, I turned to trusty old Google. The Google/Amazon reviews on an at home A1C kit were awful. They appear to not have much accuracy at all. So I decided to be a good diabetic and just stick to my A1C tests at my endocrinologist appointment.
My main advice (which I will take myself one day) would be to ask the Diabetes Online Community for recommendations. They are such a great bunch and I know from this topic alone, there will be a lot of great feedback to guide someone making their next decision. I’m such a loyal Minimed customer but I’m tempted to see what else is out there that I could be missing. I have enjoyed seeing the Dexcom’s colored graphs from people I follow on Twitter, although a little bit of color is not enough for me to make a switch, at least not *yet*.
This post is my June entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2013/june-dsma-blog-carnival-3/