Thursday, May 31, 2007

ARGH! Spoke too soon! Bad Sensor Day Eight!

About an hour after I posted my last note, I got two "Cal Errors" and a "Bad Sensor."

I am ok with six or seven days, but I am really challenged to keep it on longer. Not becuase I have to, but becuase I love beating the system.

Try, try again!

How to Get Past Sensor Day 7--Minimed CGM Update

I am once again grateful to have this CGM AND I have figured out (with the help of a Minimed source) how to extend the life of the sensor beyond seven days! Once you see the "Sensor End" on the sixth day, the Minilink transmitter needs to be disconnected and charged 20 minutes or so. Then it can be reconnected and "Start Sensor."

Yea! So, I am on day eight with no irritation and accurate readings. I have promised to do comparisons of reading vs. finger tests, but I don't check my finger blood very often (bad girl).

My daughter is having a blast at Camp Sweeney, but I have to leave tonight and stay in Dallas, so I can go get her Friday morning. I have talked to her "Big Sister" at camp everyday, except today and she is well over her home sickness and doing really well.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Diabetes Camp for Kids--We are ALONE!

My daughter is not home. She is at Camp Sweeney in north Texas, close to the Oklahoma border. I was SO amazed at what a fabulous place this is and how many competent and extraordinarily friendly people were there waiting to greet us.

She is only staying for the Mini-Session which is Sunday through Friday morning, but for her first time, I think this will be perfect.

I feel so comfortable about the place that thinking about the possibility of her staying for the three week session next year amde my hubby and I giggle. We talked about hitting the Mexican Rivera for a week -- ALONE!

We haven't left our girl in any one's care for more than a sleepover and the idea of us getting some time alone is awesome. I just walked in the door from a very long drive, so I haven't had time to miss her yet, but I am so happy she is having fun and being cared for meticulously!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

UTMB gives hope for diabetes cure

From staff reports The Galveston Daily News

Published May 26, 2007

GALVESTON — A stem-cell cure for diabetes could be one step closer, thanks to a discovery at UTMB that is exciting the medical world.

Researchers at the Galveston facility have found a way to produce insulin by engineering the stem cells from umbilical cords rather than from embryonic stem cells.

Their discovery someday may help cure type 1 diabetes by allowing sufferers of the disease to grow their own insulin-producing cells for a damaged or defective pancreas.

The researchers announced their laboratory finding, which caps nearly four years of research, in the June issue of the medical journal Cell Proliferation, posted online this week.

Their paper called the process “the first demonstration that human umbilical-cord-blood-derived stem cells can be engineered” to synthesize insulin.”

At present, the discovery is extremely basic research, Dr. Randall J. Urban, senior author of the paper, said. “It doesn’t prove that we’re going to be able to do this in people — it’s just the first step up the rung of the ladder,” he cautioned.Urban, professor and chair of internal medicine at UTMB and director of its Nelda C. and Lutcher H. J. Stark Diabetes Center, said: “This discovery tells us that we have the potential to produce insulin from adult stem cells to help people with diabetes.”

The lead author of the paper, UTMB professor of internal medicine-endocrinology Larry Denner, said that, by working with adult rather than embryonic stem cells, doctors practicing so-called regenerative medicine eventually may be able to extract such cells from an individual’s blood, then grow them in the laboratory to large numbers and tweak them to direct them to create a needed organ.

In this way, he said, physicians could avoid the usual pitfall involved in transplanting cells or organs from other people — organ rejection, which requires organ recipients to take immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives.

Huge numbers of stem cells are thought to be required to create new organs. Researchers could remove thousands of donor cells from an individual and grow them in the laboratory into billions of cells, Denner explained.

Then, for a person with type 1 diabetes, researchers would engineer the new cells to become islets of Langerhans, the cellular masses that produce the hormone insulin, which allows the body to utilize sugar, synthesize proteins and store neutral fats, or lipids.

“But we’re a long way from that,” Denner warned. The researchers used human umbilical-cord blood because it is an especially rich source of fresh adult stem cells and is easily available from donors undergoing Caesarian section deliveries in UTMB hospitals.It also avoids the moral and legal difficulties associated with embryonic stem-cell research in this country.

“However,” Denner added, “embryonic stem-cell research was absolutely necessary to teach us how to do this.”Embryonic stem cells have been engineered to produce cardiac, neural, blood, lung and liver progenitor cells that perform many of the functions needed to help replace cells and tissues injured by many diseases, the paper notes.

Among the insights into cell and tissue engineering gained from work with embryonic stem cells, it adds, are those “relevant to the engineering of functional equivalents of pancreatic, islet-like, glucose-responsive, insulin-producing cells to treat diabetes.”

In addition to Denner and Urban, co-authors of the study — entitled “Directed engineering of umbilical cord blood stem cells to produce C-peptide and Insulin” — included Yvonne Bodenberg, Jiangang Zhao, Margaret Howe and Ronald G. Tilton, all of UTMB’s Stark Diabetes Center and McCoy Diabetes Mass Spectrometry Research Laboratory.

They were joined by Julie Cappo, formerly of UTMB and now of Institut Universitaire de Technologie, Montpellier, France; John A. Copland, of the Department of Cancer Biology, Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, Jacksonville, Fla.; and Nico Forraz and Colin McGuckin of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Things are good--Minimed Real-time working well

It has been awhile since I've written! I am happy to report no issues with the Minimed Real-Time System. It is working well, I just wish I could get my blood sugars down. It surprises me each and every month how steeply my blood sugars climb with PMS. It is shocking really. Last week I was 100...almost all the time, this week I can't get much below 200 and that is with a significant increase in my basal pattern.

The sensors on this thing have NOT lasted me more than seven days. I get a bad sensor reading on the seventh day almost every time.

My daughter is going away to a camp for kids with diabetes. This is her first time and she is really nervous, but I think she'll have a blast. I missed out on camps as a kid with type one. I am sad about that, but hopefully my girl will have enough fun for the both of us.

She put on the camp questionnaire that her goals at camp are to have a lot of fun and to learn how to measure her own food. How cute is that!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Minimed REAL-Time CGM Curses and Gratitudes--Part II

Having the Minimed Real-time CGM is a blessing, but it can be really annoying, too. I need to be frank and this may horrify some people, but I prefer NOT to deal with my diabetes. I am not motivated to take my blood sugars and I have a pretty good sense of my blood sugars without checking 4-10 times per day. I got the CGM because I thought it would lessen my resistance to diabetes self-care, but at times the thing just annoys me. I don’t WANT to look at my pump or hear that damned alarm. The alarms rarely warn me of problems, this is specifically BECAUSE I have the CGM and am in good control with its assistance, but the darned thing is always asking for something.

Yesterday, I left my blood sugar kit at home and missed a calibration for 5 hours. This means the alarm goes off what feels like every 10 minutes, but it may be 30, and I want to toss the thing out the window. Common sense says, “Just check your BS first thing in the morning and last thing at night, but I forget, so no logical solutions are necessary.

Then the sensor ends, which means stopping, starting the thing again and then calibrating again, then calibrating again in six hours and again before bed. Meanwhile, I get a low reservoir alarm and my battery is getting low and I just want the thing to quit beeping at me. Oh! I put my pump on the left and not the right side, so I also wrestle with “weak signal” alarms.

By the way the Navigator had a HUGE range for transmission--10 feet at minimum. I rarely had a weak signal and in fact left the receiver upstairs in my bathroom all the time and still tracked readings. I put the Minimed pump under my back while I’m sleeping and I get a “weak signal” alarm; THAT is ridiculous.

A friend who started the CGM with me just left the thing off for a week and that sounds good to me because all the blessing I have received are slightly shadowed by frequent alarms of one kind or another.

I am really just not as deeply committed to my diabetes care as I thought I “should be.” I want to reiterate that this CGM is a GIFT and one of the best diabetes technological advancements since insulin. Sometimes I just don’t want to think about it AND I know that if I don't, I won’t do any permanent damage.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Minimed REAL-Time Minilink Doing Well--Need Advice on Longer Wear!

OK, so I haven't posted in a long time about the Minilink, but things are going really well. The only problem I am having is that I can't get the sensor to last more than 7 days. At the sensor end warning on day three, I unplug the minilink and recharge it for a couple hours. At the second Sensor End warning, I try the same thing, but I get two Cal Errors after I reconnect and then a Bad Sensor. Any advice on moving past this would be appreciated.

Things I am doing:
  • I have tried inserting the sensor at a deeper angle than 45, I put the sensor in my stomach (tried my hip and for me, it hurt like hell, but I hate infusion sets there, too).
  • I let the sensor warm up about 30 minutes before I insert it
  • Once it is inserted, I wait about 15 minutes before connecting the Minilink(to wet the cannula)
  • I recharge the battery at each "Sensor End" which is every three days

Regarding accuracy. I have found this to be really accurate. I have discrepancies occasionally, but not on the norm. Overall, I am very happy with this and if I wasn't wearing it, I wouldn't know what my blood sugars are. As a busy mom, it is SO easy for me to blow off regular blood sugar checks, so this CGM is saving me (I do have a very good sense of whether I am high or low, but I would prefer to not be 180 all day, which is why I got this).

Send your advice my way on how you get longer sensor wear. I have a friend (medical professional) who has had three weeks of wear (still on her), but I have already tried everything she is doing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Joy of the Stomach Flu AND Low Blood Sugars?

Boy, yesterday afternoon started a doozie of an evening. My daughter had a snack and insulin around 4:30, was 54 at 5:30 and threw up the OJ for the low at 6:00 p.m. and still had insulin on board from the snack at 5:00.

I worked from then until about 10:00 p.m. to get her blood sugar above 55. I worked with her CDE on the phone and we tried honey, tiny sips of juice, the gels that taste like crap; we tried gum with about 8 grams of carbs, crackers, cheerios (honey nut) and finally resorted to a small amount of Glucagon injected to get her up over 100. We gave her some Phenergan to stop the madness; she only puked three times total.

I checked her blood sugars every hour last night waiting for highs, since that is normally what happens when she is sick. At 2:00 a.m. she was in the low 200s, so we gave a slight correction. At 5:30 she was 115, so I thought, “YEA, I can sleep a couple hours”, but at 7:30 she was 34 again. The good news is she drank her juice without argument or puking. The day has been fine from there, but that is the first time I have had that happen; even with 24 years of diabetes under my belt.

My daughter may never eat honey again.