Medtronic Trial Over

Medtronic 723 & Deltec Cozmo 1800

I am done with the Medtronic MySentry trial, and am happy to report that I didn’t see another motor error or have any more unusual encounters with ceiling fans.

I have a lot of notes to review, and more than a lot of opinions on the whole experience.  All in all, it was a positive experience, but maybe not for the reasons you think.  More to come in the near future.

In the meantime, I’m back on my beloved Cozmo.  Feels like coming home.

Forgot My Meter

Cozmo pump with attached CoZmonitor

Cozmo pump with attached CoZmonitor

For the first time in about eight years I forgot to take my blood sugar meter with me today.  I have been wearing a Cozmo insulin pump for at least that long, and as such, I’ve had my meter connected to me, literally.

The Cozmo pump (discontinued in 2009) had a Freestyle glucose meter that actually clipped onto the back of the pump.  There was a slot for the test strip, and the results would be displayed right on the screen of the pump.

In a slightly over-sized belt pouch, I could carry days and days worth of insulin and everything I needed to test my blood sugar.

I haven’t had to carry one of those “meter pouches” for longer than I can remember.  Until now.

I was recently given an opportunity to try the Medtronic MySentry device for a few months.

The system only works with the Medtronic pump and sensors, so in order to try the system I have to also try the pump and sensor.  Which means I have to let go of my dear old Cozmo for a little while.

The biggest adjustment so far has been the need to remember to bring a glucose meter (and supplies) with me.

I can’t emphasize enough how big of a lifestyle change this is for me.  I knew it would be just a matter of time before I forgot it.  Sure enough, today at lunch.

So what did I do?  I did what any meterless PWD would do.  I bolused based on my CGM reading (though I’m not wearing the MedT CGM just yet – I get hooked up on Monday).

I know, I know!  We are never supposed to make such important treatment decisions based on CGM readings.

What would YOU have done?

ADA Expo 2011 & D-Meetups

Mari & Heather

Mari & Heather

The 2011 ADA Expo came through Minneapolis a couple of weekends ago.  Unfortunately, not much changes with the vendors from year to year.  Diabetes is a slow business, ya know?

But when I heard that Mari Ruddy would be there, I knew I had to go.  As an added bonus, my friend (and road trip buddy) Heather was also going to be there.

I also enjoy seeing friends that I used to work with at Cozmo.  The diabetes business world is pretty small, and many of the highly talented folks landed with companies in the expo hall somewhere.

It was a good morning, and worth braving the crazed crowd and Rascal scooters.  It’s amazing to me how nutty people start to act when there are free giveaways nearby.  I swear I saw a group of old ladies mud wrestling for a free light-up pen…

The rest of the weekend was spent visiting with some new friends from out of town, and some local d-peeps that I spend time with whenever possible.  Richard, a Joslin medalist with over 66 years of type 1 diabetes under his belt, came to town, as well as Lloyd, a neat guy living with type 2 diabetes.

Image of Kathy, Scott, & Richard

Kathy, Scott, Richard

Part of the Group

Coffee & Company (and sodapop!)

Lloyd, Kathy, & Scott

Lloyd, Kathy, & Scott

And finally, ‘The Pocket…”  This is one of my best d-buddies around town, and I freaking LOVE this guy.  We were teasing him about his pocket, and its ability to hold everything in the world.  I asked him if I could take a picture of it and put it on the internet.  He agreed, loaded it up with MORE stuff, and asked me to obscure his identity. Haha!

Picture of my friend with his shirt pocket completely overflowing

"The Pocket"

A Story That Set The Bar

I bumped into Mike at the ice machine in the lunchroom, and took the opportunity to thank him for all of his time, energy, and hard work on a product that is attached to me 24×7.

At this time, probably around the fall of 2006, I had been in only a few meetings with him and didn’t know him very well.   But his reputation as the “brains behind the system” was solidified with each and every exposure I had to him.   He put so much of himself into each and every little decision.  It was clear that he completely understood diabetes.  It was also clear that he was incredibly smart and very talented.

Yet he was very humble and approachable, and always looked for input and differing perspectives.  Even with all he knew, he knew he didn’t know it all.

His response to me at the ice machine that day said so much.  I will always remember it.

“By introducing ‘insulin on board’, we have improved the lives of insulin pump users whether they choose our pump or not.”

He was all about improving lives and improving insulin pump therapy in general.

Seeing that sort of dedication to the general well-being of those living with diabetes affected me.  It wasn’t about business, resources, dollars and cents, and the financial bottom-line.

It was about improving lives.

I will forever miss working at Cozmo, mostly because of people like Mike.

I am so grateful for that short conversation at the ice machine.  That memory will always remind me what I want my life to be about — helping people.

Experiments, Wake Up Bolus, Breakfast, and Exercise

I was really fighting the blues through the tail end of last week and through the weekend.  Really bad.  What really kicked it off for me was some job stuff that I thought was going well, but wasn’t.  So once again I am looking for work.  Freelance, contract, full-time, part-time, a combination of all of the above – anything will help.  Since Cozmo closed down, this transition has been trying.  Most of all, it has been hard keeping depression at arms length.

stuckWith my current contracting gig crumbling away a little bit, I got pretty dang close and comfortable with depression again, and it sucks.  But depression is a weird monster, because as sucky as it is, there is a strange comfort in it.  Comfort is a bad word for it, because it is anything but comfortable.  But somehow it paralyzes you into staying stuck.  It has this magical power that convinces you the work needed to get out of the hole is WAY worse than the discomfort of actually being in the hole.  It is crazy stuff, and so damn powerful.

With a lot of help from you, I got myself back to the gym on Monday morning.  It was not fun, but the way I felt afterward was incredible. Thankfully, that feeling carried me into working out again Tuesday, and again today (Wednesday).  The exercise seems to be just what I need to fight away the depression.

Managing my blood sugars was not difficult for the workouts on Monday and Tuesday.  Those two days were mostly weight lifting, so it while it got my heart pumping, it didn’t seem to drop my blood sugar much, if at all. Maybe I just got lucky.  Today was a different story though.  I was to do one hour of walking on a treadmill.  I knew that I would need to do something to keep my blood sugar from dropping.  Maybe I can make my “wake up bolus” work for me instead of against me?

Shortly after posting about the wake up bolus, I have been eating breakfast each day to see if that makes things easier.  For me, there is no doubt that eating breakfast makes a huge difference in my day.  Just like Brenda said, it is like a signal to turn off all the extra hormone & energy dumping into my system.  At least, that is what it seems like.

So maybe if I skip breakfast today, and work out right away, the “non-breakfast BG rise” and the “exercise BG fall” will cancel each other out.  It’s worth a try, right?

I woke up at 94 mg/dl, was just a hair of 100 mg/dl when I arrived to the gym.  I walked at various inclines and speeds ranging from 3.2 to 3.5 for exactly 42 minutes.  My blood sugar on my CGM (or interstitial fluid sugar, but let’s not get technical) held almost steady the whole time.  There was such a slight downward trend, but I was pretty sure I could make it through the hour without going low.  But, at the 42 minute mark I felt a bit funny.  My CGM said 72 mg/dl, and I thought I was probably lower than that (which is usually how it works for me).  So I decided I should stop.

I have to admit that the blood sugar was not the only thing that made me stop.  I think it was just the one that put me over the edge.  I was bored silly.  I think that I’ll maybe try to mix in a few different things for cardio next time.  I was also worried about running late to an appointment.  To pat myself on the back, I had been thinking it would have been safer to skip working out in the morning, and go “later”.  You know, that mythical “later” that never happens?  Instead, I just went on ahead and worked out, and I’m proud of me for doing it.  Even if I didn’t manage the full hour.

When I got back down to my stuff, and actually checked my blood sugar (note to CGM users & potential buyers, THAT (the blood sugar) is the one that matters), I was at 86 mg/dl.  So I probably could have gone ahead and finished my workout.  I’m still learning, as we always are, and next time I’ll do it a bit different.  But I feel good because I was so close to pulling it off.  My experiment to delay breakfast almost worked!

I have more sore muscles in my body than I can remember having in a very long time.  But my mood and attitude feel so much better that this painful price is well worth it.

Laid Off, Cozmo No More

I have very mixed feelings about this post.  One one hand, I am going to share with everyone some things that I have not been comfortable sharing before.  I am happy and excited about that.  On the other hand, one of the greatest tools we have seen to manage diabetes is no longer being developed or worked on.  And I don’t have a job anymore.

Many of you have already seen that Smiths Medical is no longer selling the Cozmo insulin pump and is exiting the diabetes business.  My first reaction to this announcement is sadness.  Cozmo is just too good to “go away”, and my heart hurts that people will not be able to use it and benefit from all that it offers.

Picture of a Cozmo PumpMy second reaction to this announcement is a mix of panic and excitement. I have worked for Smiths Medical and the Cozmo pump for a little over four years, and have been laid off effective immediately.  This announcement was a complete surprise to everybody that worked in the diabetes division.  Nobody knew this was going to happen until the early hours of this morning.  The panic is from trying to figure out how to pay the rent and feed the family.  The excitement is from knowing that there is something better just around the corner.

My employment with Cozmo is something that some of you knew about, but many did not.  It was not something I talked about on my blog. Early in my blogging I made a decision to keep my personal writing and my work life very separate for a few reasons:

1) First and foremost I didn’t want anyone to feel that my writing was biased or flavored by my employer.  I feel that I have stayed very true to that, and have stayed far away from any pump brand specific topics and company related subjects.  What you have always gotten was the real me, not the corporate colored me.
2) I have enjoyed two positions inside the company.  End user software support and inside sales.  Both positions were relatively low level “worker bee” positions that didn’t carry much weight.  I did not want to lead anyone to believe that I might be able to help with issues they had been dealing with, when I could not.
3) Finally, I did not want to jeopardize my employment by saying something on my personal blog that my employer did not agree with (a lot of people have been fired for what they say on their blogs).

There are so many great people that lost jobs today, and it is a shame because I have never, ever, worked with people who cared more about helping those of us with diabetes.  The people I have met and worked with have changed my life in many positive ways, and for that I am very grateful.

While it is never fun to get laid off, I am excited for whatever opportunity presents itself next.  I know that I will not be happy unless I am working with something related to diabetes.  That is what I am meant to do – to help people.

Thank you all for the incredible support and love you have shared with me today.  Please keep me in your thoughts if you hear of opportunities that may fit me.