LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Saturday, July 15, 2006

No room for macho

Buzzzzzzzip. Buzzzzzzzip. Buzzzzzzzip.

I'm using my trusty Norelco that I bought at Wal-Mart. Once again, I'm shaving a part of my body that I never anticipated shaving. I've had a beard most of my life. I use a Braun razor to trim the cheek bones and my neck. But when I started pumping I needed to shave the skin on my stomach. For that the Braun was no good. Too much surface area. So I bought the Norelco with it's three whirring little heads.

When I started using the Girl I shaved the top of my legs. I'm not a gorilla, mind you, but it doesn't take much hair to screw up these sticky things. And we won't even talk about the pain of pulling the sticky things off of hair. We men are weenies when it comes to waxing. Don't know how the ladies do it....

Now I'm shaving the inside (bottom side?) of my forearms. The thin, willowy hair comes right off. No trouble. But the skin tingles and burns a bit. From past experience I know that skin that has never been exposed to the razor does not care for the experience the first few times. That's why I'm getting a jump start on my next tech project. Give the skin a chance to get used to the razor and the air before the new toy gets attached.

So what is the new toy? Well, that requires us to take a step back in time. Actually it was earlier in the day of a previous post. The one about inhaled insulin. When you don’t post every day you sometimes have to be creative with how you organize your posts. That was quite a day. I did some lab work in the morning, then visited with the new CDE at my endo’s office, then went to Trader Joe’s, Albertson’s, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Starbucks. Can you guess which places I visited with a list from my wife, and which place I went to on my own accord? Then it was off to Albuquerque to hear about Exhubera.

So what’s up with the new CDE, you ask? Well the old one, who I dearly loved (and who was directly responsible for my getting my new job--more on that in a future post, as I keep promising) met a guy. Well, THE guy, as it turned out. Actually she met the guy on-line. Match dot com? I’m not sure if that was the one, but one of those kinds of places. What do I know about these things? I’ve been married forevvvvvvver. Happily. Of course.

So she met this guy, who is a Chef. Long story short: she fell in love. Got engaged. Planed to move. Tempted me with her job. Got wet feet. Took job away again. Almost called wedding off. Recovered senses. Married Chef. Moved away. In all the confusion someone else got her job. She made it up to me by finding me my current job. Everyone lives happily ever after. At least her, the Chef, and me. But not as one weird family or anything like that.

As is typical, I’ve wandered off here. It would probably completely destroy my writing style if I ever got more than six hours of sleep. So the point was I was meeting the new CDE. We were sitting in her office chatting when two boxes on her book shelf caught my eye. They said.....well, now that’s going to spoil the surprise, isn’t it?

Let me back up a minute. What do all of you think my new toy is?

I'll bet some of you put your money on a sensor augmented pump. Wrong. Sorry. Blue Cross won't buy me a new pump for....three years? then there will be several to choose from.

Some of you probably put your money on a DexCom. Nope. Sorry, wrong again. Not that I wouldn't want to try one. Not that I didn't write and request a review copy (they never responded). I might have one in the next month or two anyway, however. My buddies in the big city have a practice that is buying a half dozen with the plan to rent them out to patients to help fine tune and/or test drive. It might be possible for me to wear one for a month at the same time I’m wearing the Girl to compare. How's that for exciting?

Many of you are praying I've some how got my paws on an advance unit of the Navigator. Again, sorry. No. But I do know of a CDE who's going out to be trained on it. Lucky dog.

No the boxes that caught my eye said: GlucoWatch G-2. Now I thought I had read that there was a second generation of this much-maligned machine on the market. So I asked CDE 2, “so what do you think of the new GlucoWatch?”

She shrugged and told me she didn’t know. They didn’t have any patients on it yet, and she wasn’t even quite sure where they‘d come from. Did I want one?

I’m not good a turning down free stuff.

Now the original GlucoWatch was a ground breaking disappointment that almost everyone universally hated. It was the first continuous glucose monitor and the first non-invasive glucose monitor. It was called inaccurate and it burned some people’s skins. Seems everyone hated it and I thought I’d heard that the company that invented it went under.

I’d recently seen ads in the back of the ADA magazine pushing it, or a new version of it, again.
So I snagged it. I was so tickled that someone gave me an $800 piece of equipment that I ordered a box of sensors before doing proper due diligence. Stupid me. Well, maybe stupid. Maybe not. We’ll see.

Anyway, it turns out that Animas (the pump company) now owns the GlucoWatch. And it also turns out that it is the same old much-hated watch. The original GlucoWatch was called G-2. I guess what I had read was the Animas had bought it. When I saw the “2” I mistakenly assumed there was a new generation. Not so.

Well, I’d already ordered sensors by the time I realized my mistake. So seventy bucks down the drain. But then I got to thinking.

When I first had the Guardian I had a lot of disappointments. And it is actually a fine device. One I would not want to live without. One whose weaknesses I can live with. One whose personality I now understand.

And that got me to wondering. Was the GlucoWatch really bad? Or did it suffer from merely not living up to people’s expectations for it? We now all understand the limits of continuous monitors, whether Guardian or DexCom. But back then, we all expected a silver bullet. A magical device that was 100% accurate and read 100% of the time. We now know that isn’t the way it is. But even so, we find great value in the systems.

So was the GW unfairly maligned or is it really a piece of crap? CGM is not what we had hoped it would be, but it is damn useful. From our new perspective will the first to market prove to have a use after all? Animas must think so. They’ve bought it and aren’t afraid to associated their name with it.

So I'm going to wear it for at least a couple of weeks and compare the data to the Guardian and to finger sticks as well. Come on, it'll be a fun science experiment! Repeat after me: science is fun, science is fun, science is fun....

So I take the my GW out of the box to try it on. Just to see what it will look like.

Buck Rogers. Dick Tracy. James Bond. And me. Oh yeah.

What do these four manly-men have in common? Other than smashing good looks and incredible intelligence? That's right, all four of us are Type-1 Diabetics. (Yeah, I know, James tries to hide it. That tiny little insulin pump Q made takes a sharp eye to spot.)

And we all four wear cool tech on our wrists.


Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

I knew there was something about that 007 that piqued my interest as a young boy...

So you've gotten a hold of a glucowatch eh?

Like you say, back when they first launched, big disappointment (or so I've heard). I think that your approach to it might shed some interesting light on the subject though.

I can't think of a better person to give us an objective comparison, pros/cons of the device.

I'm sure interested to hear if it bothers your skin or not too.

Can't wait!

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Wil.
Glad you decided to come back to blog: I had your blog way at the bottom of my list and hadn't caught on. Look forward to your promissed post on how you've turned from photo lab to CDE... though I must say, you sure sound qualified!!
Congratulations, again on returning.
Peter J.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous JasonJayhawk said...

Yeah, let's hear it! Out with the scoop!

1:15 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Yes Wil, I too am interested in how you transitioned to CDE. I'm assuming you have no formal training in this field. If this is true I'm doubly interested in the career change.

I'm not doubting your knowledge, as I applied to be a Minimed Rep a couple of months ago and unfortunately didn't here a peep. If 37 years of wrestling with this doesn't make you an expert, I don't know what does.

9:37 AM  

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