Medtronic or Animas Insulin Pump

My Medtronic Pump

I have been using a Medtronic Minimed 715 insulin pump for the last 5.5 years. I believe the warranty is only for 3 or 4 years, which means if mine breaks now I need to pay for a new one (insurance copay). If it was under warranty I would probably be able to get a new one from Medtronic at zero cost. The Rep for Medtronic told me that it’s beneficial to have the pump under warranty in the event it breaks I can get a new one a little quicker due to paperwork that will be needed. I get that and haven’t wanted to spend the money on a new pump since mine works perfectly fine and it’s over a grand for a new one.

Decision

I am starting to plan for 2012 and potentially using my Flexible Spending account to get a new pump. I’ve really been thinking through what pump I want to get and it hasn’t been easy. For the record, I’m still undecided and don’t know which way I will go at this point. Here are the features that I like/dislike about each that are factoring into my decision.

Animas Ping

I’ve really been looking hard at the Ping. The big features I like about the Ping is that A) It’s waterproof – like really waterproof to the point where I could jump in a pool fully submerged without issue. B) It’s pretty cool looking with a color screen (lower on my priority list) and finally C) They are working on integration with DexCom a leader in the continuous glucose monitor (CGM) market. I might take the plunge down the road on a CGM and I think I would prefer a Dexcom over the Medtronic CGM.

I know it sounds weird, but the waterproof feature is almost a game-changer for me. I don’t go on vacation or to the pool often, but it would be SO NICE to not have to disconnect my infusion set each time I went in the pool. That also means more checking, tweaking of bolus/basal for time disconnected. The waterproof feature is big to me. Note, the Medtronic Rep made a good point to combat the fact that their pump is NOT waterproof. He said, do you really want to take the chance with a $6,000 medical device? They focus on features that will help patients manage their diabetes versus making it waterproof.

Medtronic Revel

Now with Medtronic, I get a company that is focused and built a strong reputation with it’s insulin pump. My pump has worked very well for 5+ years and when I did have an issue, Medtronic responded quickly and resolved the situation perfectly. I also have CareLink, my web-based program that has tracked my diabetes data for a long time now and works well. My doctor likes the reports it produces and I like studying them for potential changes.

I have all the infusion sets and reservoirs that are for Medtronic, which isn’t a huge issue but a pain for timing a change. The downside is that the Revel and CGM from Medtronic is not as good as the Dexcom from what I’ve heard. They are working on changes and making the sensor more comfortable for insertion, but not there yet. With a somewhat lean body type and goal of getting leaner, the size of the needle can be an issue.

Summary

As I previously wrote, it’s difficult to get an unbiased comparison from a pump manufacturer. This is a pretty tough decision because it’s one I will have to live with for probably at least 5 more years. Which company do I think will be better over those 5 years, what product will have better support and what will I be happier with? Basically I am weighing the waterproof and change aspect of the Animas Ping against the proven support and product quality of Medtronic. It’s a tough decision that I will continue to think through over the coming months.

Ping
+ Waterproof, CGM Integration coming and looks

– Untested/unknown customer support, change from what I’m use to, 2 devices if I want a CGM now

Revel
+ Proven performance, customer support, Carelink reporting, CGM integrated with pump

– Not waterproof, CGM inferior…

World Diabetes Postcard Exchange

This is super cool and I’m excited to participate in Lee Ann’s postcard exchange for this year’s World Diabetes Day. Below is the rules for the exchange and a little bit about why Lee Ann wanted to start this for WDD. I find it really nastalgic to think back to grade school (WAY BACK) before there was e-mail and writing to pen pals. I wonder what kids do these days, e-mail pals??? Anyway, this exchange will be a fun way to share a little bit of your diabetes with someone who gets it. The greatest thing I have related to diabetes is the on/offline community that shares, doesn’t judge and just understands. As of writing this, a TON of people have signed up so let’s all join together. I signed up!

Please take a moment to let Lee Ann know you want to be involved.

Lee Ann’s Postcard Exchange

Here are the rules (as displayed on The Butter Compartment):

  • Email your postal address to Lee Ann: [email protected] If you would like to be matched with an adult, child or family, another type 1 or type 2, or if you are a type 3, spouse, sibling or parent, please indicate that. I will do my absolute best to match you with someone who is similar. Otherwise, your assigned recipient will be random in that regard, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! We’re sending old-school post office-delivered postcards, so I need your snail mail address.
  • Expect to receive an email with the name and address of your postcard recipient. I’m trying to collect a nice list of participants from many different places, and as soon as the list fills out, I’ll be sending those emails.
  • Use the WDD Blue Circle and all the creativity you can fit on a 3.5”x5” piece of cardstock.
  • On the back of the postcard, complete this mini D meme, in addition to anything else you’d like to share with your recipient:
  • Your name:
  • Where you live:
  • Your connection to diabetes:
  • Type of diabetes:
  • Year of diagnosis:
  • One thing you do to Act On Diabetes:
  • One Word:
  • Mail it, ideally in time for the recipient to receive it by November 14th. If you’re unable to do that, please at least have it postmarked by then.
  • Check your mailbox for a postcard from the person who was assigned your name and address.
  • If you like, post a photo of the postcard you receive on the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange Facebook page.

Before I proceed, let me respond to anyone who is skeptical about sharing their address. I’m very conscientious about people’s confidentiality in all realms of my life as a result of my professional responsibilities. Other than the one person who will be assigned your name and address as their postcard recipient, your address will not be distributed or abused in any way. It’s reasonable to be wary, but I want to reassure all that I have no nefarious intentions. The worst that will happen is you might get a Christmas card from me IF I get off my butt and start making some.

Lee Ann’s Vision

Creativity: Needless to say, there is some creativity required on your part. I’m predictable like that. I will have some follow-up posts here with ideas, inspiration, and just some basic practical suggestions for the making of the postcard. I know that the easier this is, the more people will participate, so I want to make it easy. If you want to get fancy-pants with your postcard, that’s up to you.

Connection: As a kid, I lived for diabetes camp. Camp Sweeney was the only place where the shame I had for having diabetes evaporated, and being able to shirk that burden for a few weeks in the summer was a gift and a life-saver. During the rest of the year, I lived to check the mail in hopes of finding a letter from my camp friends. We elaborately decorated envelopes and letters, postmarked works of love and art. Just writing about it is making me teary-eyed because long before the internet, that was my reminder that I wasn’t alone. Looking in my mailbox and finding a reminder that someone else with diabetes was thinking about me still makes my heart burst with joy. We all deserve that, and I hope you feel it too when you get your postcard.

Participation & Activism: Because of where some people are geographically, the options for connecting with others on World Diabetes Day are limited or don’t exist at all. My belief is that no matter where you live, you should be able to participate in World Diabetes Day by connecting to someone else with diabetes. It’s not the same as hanging out with people in person, but I feel like a postcard exchange will allow us all to celebrate together. Imagine postcards with bright blue circles spinning around the globe, connecting us to each other!…

Something Worse Than A Low (Hypo)

Hypoglycemic (Low Blood Sugar) Incident

Just last week I was up in the middle of the night with a 48 mg/dl (low or hypo) and headed for the pantry. During the next 20 minutes I came up with the idea for this post when two things collided. These two things are what I would call the “Perfect Storm” with diabetes. It’s actually not the first time this has happened to me and I’m sure it won’t be the last. In the diabetes community, they will probably say that a low blood sugar is the worst feeling in the world and something that scares the heck out of me.

Lowest Low

I can vividly recall my lowest blood sugar ever that was around 8-9 years ago. When I tested I was in the 20s and thought I wasn’t going to make it. I was literally crawling on the floor and hyperventilating to the point where I thought I would pass out. That was scary and something I don’t want to happen again, yet it probably will. To get that low I think I got complacent and took 20 units of Humalog (fast acting insulin) when I meant to take Lantus (slow acting). At the time I was pretty much in range, so that much fast acting insulin was a VERY BAD thing. Needless to say I never made that mistake again and I strongly urge you to highly differentiate between the insulin bottles. So what could be worse than a low?

2 Things Collide

Whenever I wake up in the middle of the night with a low there’s usually something else present. That thing is: HUNGER! When you are experiencing the scariness of a low and the shakes from lack of sugar in your bloodstream, it’s super scary. BUT, when you are low AND hungry at the same time it usually makes for the dreaded: ~40 t0 300 rollercoaster. This means you wake up low or let’s say 40 and starving. You head to the pantry with a laser-like focus on treating the low and getting rid of the hunger. Problem is that it can take 20 minutes or so for your body to absorb the sugar you ingest. That translates to about 15 minutes of gorging.

In talking to others with diabetes, I know I’m not alone here. It’s called over treating a low. I usually don’t have a problem treating a low without over doing it unless… I’m starving. Some in the Diabetes community refer to this as:

Treating a low while simultaneously treating the upcoming high blood sugar. This means eating/drinking carbs to correct the low and then taking insulin to correct the over correction.…