Happy days

Let’s start the new year in a cheery fashion. The marvellous thing about being pancreatically challenged is that it gives you little pleasures that those with a working pancreas will never experience. The little things in life that make you smile…

  • The satisfying feel of having a fresh infusion set in, a fully loaded reservoir, a new sensor and a full battery. With that I can take on the world
  • Realising as I reread the first point that I am a true bionic woman and fully functioning member of the Borg
  • Opening a new box of test strips or a new bottle of insulin
  • Meeting strange men on the internet, writing a blog and becoming friends with them (please note, I don’t make a habit of meeting strange men on the internet, this was a one off and my husband has been very understanding about the whole thing!)
  • A flat line on the CGM graph
  • A post-meal reading of 9 that tells me I am a carb counting goddess
  • A post-curry recovery where the carb counting goddess got her sums wrong initially but the insulin guru eventually woke up and you’re now back down from the heights of the high teens
  • Seeing 5.0 on the meter when I wake up. I like being a 5, it feels like a very happy medium
  • A surprisingly low HbA1c result
  • A properly naked bath. No infusion set, no sensor, nothing
  • Building diabetic snowmen
  • Being medically obliged to eat Fruit Pastilles
  • Realising that someone actually reads this stuff when people leave entertaining comments about the little pancreas related things that make them smile…cue you lot  :-)


Swine flu - these guys started it
Swine flu – these guys started it

Later today, you’ll be thrilled to hear, I’m off to the doctors to go and get my swine flu jab. I mentioned in my earlier post about seasonal flu that last year I did manage to successfully contract flu (proper flu I mean, not “man flu”; no, honestly) and I vowed never to miss a vaccination again. The sweats, weakness, aching, misery, despond and despair caused by flu were just far too horrible to contemplate ever having again.

So I’m therefore looking forward to an injection given by someone else for once (ohh, luxury!) and a slightly aching arm. This is clearly more than fair recompense from protection from the oinking disease.

When I was a small child, many, many years ago I would occasionally have philosophical moments (well, as much as a seven year old can have philosophical moments) and wonder what the future would be like. Say in 2009. Hovercars would be pretty cool, entire meals in a pill would be great but, even then, I thought the traditional silver space suit would be perhaps a little impractical and perhaps somewhat dull.

Sadly, none of the things I imagined have come to fruition – we don’t holiday on the moon or travel through time like Doctor Who (which is probably a good thing, given the scrapes that can result from inadvertently opening worm holes in fourth dimensional black holes and messing with the space-time continuum (apparently)). So maybe we’re just living in a stagnant technological backwater of the early 21st century with little to show for the last 25 years.

Then I thought about swine flu for a moment. Back in April swine flu was a brand new strain of influenza that hadn’t been seen before. Now, by November, that new strain has been isolated, genetically sequenced, a vaccine has been engineered, thoroughly tested and is available in my local surgery. When I think for a moment about that I’m utterly amazed. That vaccinations can be made available to the public within 6 months of them turning up on the virus-scene is utterly flabbergasting.

Similarly with diabetes, in merely 90 years we’ve moved from the single option of slow, unpleasant death (never ideal) to having a choice of a whole range of artificially engineered insulins which work extremely well and give us pancreatically-challenged hoards pretty much a normal life. Similarly blood testing equipment and other accessories having moved on massively in recent years – tiny blood samples, three second results and so on. It’s genuinely amazing.

We might not live on the moon, like I imagined at 7, but – by crikey- when you think about it for a minute we’re living in the future right now. Cool!

Poll results – why should the NHS pay for CGM?

Happy Shoot Up readers vote in our latest poll
Happy Shoot Up readers vote in our latest poll

Well, it’s poll results time again chaps. This month your soaraway Shoot Up asked why should the NHS pay for CGMS for diabetics? For the acronymically-challenged among you, CGMS stands for Continuous Glucose Monitoring System and is a device which checks your blood glucose every five minutes or so and beams the results back to a receiver – resulting in tonnes of useful statistics to help improve your control.

Anyway, getting the NHS to fund a CGMS and its necessary consumables is nigh-on impossible even though they have been proven to help diabetic control; so we wanted to know why the cash-strapped NHS should fork out for your CGMS.

The top answer was simply so you could improve the general quality of day to day life (42%) as CGMS can alarm if you go to high or too low – useful if your hypo symptoms aren’t so good. They can also be used to see exactly how certain foods effect your BG, allowing you to compensate better for them in future. Lovely!

23% voted that the NHS should cough up just ’cause we’re worth it – a great argument if ever there was one. A sizeable 16% want a CGMS because of an inherent lust for shiny technology, which is – after all – one of the few benefits of diabetes. I love shiny gadgets!

15% of voters wanted CGMS to prevent incapacitation through nephro/retinopathy, which is fair enough – that why we all bother looking after our diabetes and CGMS makes this easier to do. And finally, 4% wanted to finger prick less frequently. This was, of course, the trick answer as you still need to finger prick with CGMS so you can calibrate the system. So there

Anyway, this month we’re asking when you think the holy grail of diabetes research (aside from a complete cure, of course) of a closed loop system will be made available to the great unwashed. Closed loop systems are ones in which a super-accurate CGMS is combined with an insulin pump to automatically adjust your blood glucose levels on the fly. It would be pretty damned wonderful, but will we see it in our lifetimes? Give us your vote below on the right!

Those results in full:

  • Improve general quality of day to day life (42%)
  • Just ’cause we’re worth it (23%)
  • Shiny gadgets are cool (16%)
  • Prevent incapacitation through nephro/retinopathy (15%)
  • Save us having to finger prick so much (4%)

Comatose and rotting toes – the lighter side of insulin dependency

Skip to toolbar