CGM Data: Around the World and Back Again – to my Pebble Watch

After attending the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit last November and being inspired by the Nightscout crew (and pretty much everyone else there as well!), I finally decided to take the time to set up a Nightscout website. I’ve had it up and running since Dec 2014. Being an adult with Type 1, I monitor my own blood glucose levels. I don’t have anyone that would be interested in following my data on a daily (much less hourly) basis, so I wasn’t sure if the functionality of Nightscout would be worth it for me. After 8 months, I can say with certainty that it has been…and then some!!!

I don’t actually use my NightPebbleWatchscout website or phone app very much but I LOVE wearing my real-time data on my Pebble watch. I’m probably 1000 times more likely to glance at my watch to check on my blood sugar than I am to dig in my purse (through all the snacks and toddler/kid gear) and haul out my Dex receiver or my phone. The setup to get my data to my watch was somewhat complicated but with the addition of the Dexcom G4 receiver in May, my data is almost 100% constant without much involvement from me other than occasionally restarting a few apps on my iPhone.

Last week, however, it suddenly quit working and I got emails written in what may as well have been a foreign language, saying things like “your Heroku app on free dynos needs to recharge.” I’m pretty techno-savvy and am generally an early adopter of new technology but I’m not a programmer and certainly don’t fully understand all of the ins and outs for each step I followed in the pipeline to ultimately setup Nightscout. Going back through them to figure out which accounts I used in my setup needed changes and what else it might affect wasn’t quite like starting at the beginning for me…but it was close.

There are so many different ways to setup Nightscout, including what hardware you’re using, what service providers you chose, what account parameters you chose with some of those service providers, etc., that it’s not an easy task for me to filter through the Nightscout setup guides and Facebook group looking for clues related to updating each piece of the specific pipeline that I selected to use. So, after I finished getting my data stream to my Pebble working again (took me about 3 hours), I decided to make a little diagram to help me understand how all the pieces I’m using fit together. Disclaimer: I’m pretty sure I have my pipeline figured out correctly but wouldn’t bet my house on it : )


My hope is that next time I need to make a change, I’ll be able to get it corrected more quickly…and with a little less terror! My current pipeline configuration prior to last week was free and now, with the required changes, looks like it will cost me $14/month, but it works for me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

MeandKidsI can no longer imagine not having my data on my Pebble. I feel so much safer. EVERY time I’m with my kids at the park, or the market, or driving in the car, and I glance at my Pebble, I’m thankful. Quite simply: I want to be the best mom I can be; I want to stick around to watch my kids grow up…and Nightscout helps me do that.

Disability: To Disclose or Not to Disclose.

My family recently moved to a new state and now I’m job hunting with Type 1: Just like any other stressful event in life, having diabetes adds a whole layer of complexity that most people don’t have to worry about. Is my sugar going to go low during my phone interview? Will my CGM go off while I’m meeting with a potential new supervisor? If it does, I’ll have to either explain what it is or look incredibly rude for having electronic devices going off during an important meeting. Then there is the part of me that feels compelled to explain a little bit about the disease, so no negative assumptions are made about me, like “No, I didn’t get this because I’m lazy and eat unhealthy food all the time” and “No, it can’t be corrected with diet and exercise” and “Yes, I can complete the duties of the job just like everyone else (or better).”

Now, things are made more complicated by the new Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form CC-305. Apparently the US Labor department issued new regulations that went into effect this past spring, requiring companies with federal contracts (over 40,000 big names here) to meet an employment quota of at least 7% disabled workers. Disability Unemployment RateThis is done in an effort to close the large employment gap between people with disabilities and those without. The form explicitly states that you are considered to have a disability if you have diabetes (among many other conditions). Employers will offer up the form during your initial online application to the job, i.e. pre-interview! They will also ask current employees to fill out the form every 5 years, as disability status can change. In my recent job hunt I’ve seen a lot of language on applications associated with form CC-305 like “The information you provide will be used for statistical purposes only and will not in any way affect you individually. While self-identification is voluntary, your cooperation in providing accurate information is critical” and “If you are applying for a job any information you give will be kept private and will not be used against you.” I really want to believe this and I really want to help a potential new employer meet their requirements, however, personally I am uncomfortable disclosing before I’ve even had in interview. I don’t want to be interviewed or get hired because I am considered to have a disability nor do I want to not be given the chance to interview because the hiring manager has a personal bias for some reason.

How Do I Know if I have a disability? Form CC-305Personally, I’m not inclined to answer, “Yes, I have a disability” on a job application. However I don’t want to lie, as the form does explicitly state that I do, so I’m not inclined to answer “No, I don’t have a disability” either. This leaves me checking the “I don’t wish to answer” box. Hmm, If I were a hiring manager and saw someone check that box, I would assume the actual answer was “Yes, but I don’t want to disclose on your weird form.” Will this cause the hiring manager to spend valuable interview time wondering what my disability is or if it will affect my work?

There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer and I’m not sure how I feel about the new form. Thoughts?


Check out these related articles:

Are You Disabled?  Your Boss Needs to Know.

Companies Ask Workers with Disabilities to Check the Box and That’s a Good Thing.

Big House : Small CGM Transmitter Range

So, we finally moved into our new house about a month ago. One of the strangest diabetes-related things I’ve had to get used to is the size and shape of my new house when it comes to my CGM signal. The Dexcom G4 is supposed to be in range as long as the receiver and transmitter are within 20 feet from each other. Our old house was kind of a 50s bungalow, where I could set my receiver in a central location and still have my signal picked up all over the house. Only our master bathroom stretched the range, so showering was the only time I had to remember to pick up my receiver and take it with me. Our new house is bigger and also more spread out. When we first moved in and I was unpacking, I missed hours of data at a time (and I missed a lot of lows and highs).

Caller-ID Big House:Small CGM Transmitter RangeI’ve really had to get adjusted to carrying my receiver with me from room to room in the house. It has turned into a bit of a ball-and-chain but my thinking is if I’m not going to have the receiver collecting a signal 99.9% of the time, then what’s the point of wearing this additional, ugly (yet not inexpensive!) hunk of plastic on my belly all the time, right? I’d love to take a vacation from my CGM occasionally but for me diabetes devices are like the original Caller ID box (remember those days?!) once you have it, you really can’t ever go back to being without it.  I hope to look back at my tummy devices and signal ranges one day just like I look back at the Caller ID box now and say “Wow, can you believe I used to use one of those things all the time? And I thought it was so high-tech!”

Dataphile Type 1 Diabetes Diet: Step 1

DinoPicFitnessSo, I’ve begun the initial earnest stages of “getting fit” (which of course involves all the additional fun stuff that happens when you start getting fit with diabetes).  No, I don’t ever expect to look like the gladiator chick with the T-rex in the picture but I will need to borrow her warrior spirit.

Brief Backstory:  Baby No. 2 (who is now 18 months) was a total surprise!  I’m pretty old to be a new mommy again and also was told I couldn’t have any more kids.   The pregnancy was difficult on my body in many ways, not to mention being Type 1, having Graves Disease, and requiring bucu synthetic hormones to maintain it.  It took me a little over a year postpartum to feel remotely back on track (and finish nursing the babe).  Then the week before this past Christmas I had outpatient surgery (also related to baby No. 2), which I hope was the final step in getting my body more or less regulated again.  Yippee!

MyFitnessPalStep1Now, it’s finally time to lose that baby weight (and hopefully get my A1c back to where it used to be)!  I’ve been tracking my weight and BGs, and keeping a rigid food journal for about three months so that I have a realistic baseline.  Also, while counting carbs is obviously a daily occurrence, I’ve never had occasion to count calories before.  The baseline data really gave me a good idea of where the calories I’m consuming are coming from.  (Note to self:  Yet another variable that I would love to compare long-term via computer algorithm to my BGs to see if there was any correlation between high/low calorie meals or days and BG readings).  I used MyFitnessPal food journaling app and a Fitbit to collect my data.

A week and a half ago I started hitting the gym for regular exercise and cutting out enough calories to supposedly lose 1lb a week.  More on how things are going and how all this is affecting my BGs in future posts : )  Wish me luck!

Check out these related posts:

Photo-a-Day: Exercise

My Fitbit Flex: A Delightful Surprise