Thursday, July 10, 2014

Diasend and Other Things I Didn't Know

Have you ever felt out of the loop? Like everyone else knows something and you don't?

I've had a few of those moments in my life. Some were minor. Like when I was in high school and everyone was talking about Bee Oh. Or B.O.?  Or Beo? I had no idea what B.O. meant or what it was. The internet did not exist yet so Google was of no assistance. B.O. was not in the dictionary (yes of course I checked). And everyone else seemed to use it regularly in conversation so I felt ridiculous asking.

One day I figured it out. It just popped into my head and I solved it. Kinda like Sherlock would have. I was so excited that I wanted to tell people how pleased I was at solving yet another awkward teenage mystery. Except that, if I told them, they would know that I didn't know. So 20 years later I'm coming clean on my blog.

I, CĂ©line Parent, did not know what B.O. was in high school.

And if you're reading this wondering what B.O. is, I'm not telling. Sometimes it's more fun to figure things out on your own.

Other moments of discovery are a little more major.

When I was in Orlando I asked a few questions about my Animas Vibe pump. When I was using the Dexcom, I had been told that there was a software that would allow me to upload all of my blood sugar readings but that it was not approved for use in Canada yet. So the best I could do was look at what had happened in the last 24 hours.

When Rose arrived, with the continuous glucose monitor built right in, I assumed (silly me) that I still could not upload that data. While in Orlando, I asked when that software was going to be approved because I was really interested in looking at my blood glucose trends. I mean I have a device that measures my blood glucose every five minutes. All day every day. Think of how useful it would be to  see trends over days or weeks. Or different times of the day.

Turns out that I've had the power to upload data from Rose all along. It's a completely different program when uploading from a pump than from the Dexcom. So I came home from Orlando, signed on to the website as instructed, went down to the basement and found the cable I didn't realize I had and, within a few minutes, had the last month's worth of blood glucose data on the screen.

By data I mean all of the readings from my continuous glucose monitor. And all of the insulin I've taken. And the number of carbs I eat at every meal. And every finger prick result. Screen after screen of data that I can look at and sort daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly.

I emailed the Diabetes Centre to ask if they hard heard of this miraculous new tool? To ask if they would be willing to look at those results rather than have me write down all of my numbers for two weeks.

Apparently they had already heard of it (whaaaaat?) and many of their patients have been using it for a while now.

Bloody hell.

I guess it's one of those things that everyone assumed I knew and, since I didn't know, I didn't know enough to ask.

Well now I know. And I can't stop looking at the numbers. They're fascinating.

Here is just one example of how cool this is:

This is a graph of blood glucose readings from the last month. The red dots are the average every hour of the day. The green line is the range I have set as 'acceptable'. I'm pleased to see that my average at every hour of the day falls within the range I've set which is a low of 4.0 and a high of 10.0.

I'm also pleased to see that I haven't fallen too far below my low threshold of 4.0. I'm not so happy about the fact that I have gone pretty far above my high threshold. Particularly before lunch as well as late in the evening.

This is my basal profile. That means how much insulin my pump is programmed to give me every hour of the day. This does not include the insulin I take when I eat or when I'm trying to bring down a high blood sugar.

I looked at the first graph and compared it to the second. I then changed some of my evening basal rates to try to bring down those night time highs I have been struggling with. It's only been two nights so far but I can report that my high alarm did not go off once - nor did my low. So there is the first improvement. I'll work on the pre-lunch highs next.

This is my favourite thing so far. It shows what percentage of my blood glucose readings fell within my 4.0-10.0 range in the last month. Turns out that 77% of them fall in rage. Even better, I have only been low 3% of the time in the last month. I'm not as happy with the highs but am already working to get those down. 

This is such a powerful tool and it tells so much more of the story than my 10 times a day finger pricks used to. Now I have 288 blood glucose checks per day, every day.

My goal in the next month? Get the highs down without increasing the lows. Having a CGM and this wicked software will certainly make that goal a little easier to meet.


  1. You're giving me more and more reasons to consider switching. I've put a lot of time into getting CGM and pump/meter data from my Minimed device, and I knew I would miss that kind of thing if I ever switched vendors. Sounds like it's not an issue.

  2. this just totally must make you go ape shit crazy happy! all the numbers... you love numbers!
    and btw... wow. awesome job. You are being too hard on yourself.

  3. I really do like the diasend. My health care team has my login and password and they go in before my appointments to check out my numbers and print off what they need. I find that much better than me trying to figure it out :)