Just a Little Girl and her Mommy…and Mommy’s Diabetes Accessories

Ruby's-AccessoriesLittle girls do love their accessories and mine has an eagle eye for detail.  Here, my daughter Ruby has on her cool Reef flip-flops, a white snap bracelet with cherries, blue mirror shades, a pink and green striped raccoon tail, and a multicolored hair wrap with hot pink feathers on the end.

Needless to say, when I changed up my diabetes supply cases this weekend, she was quick to notice.  “Mommy I like your new gold case with the white case better than the old silver case with the green case.  And I like the pink case too.”  Hmmm, that’s a lot of cases. She’s grown up knowing it’s “Mommy’s diabetes stuff” but we haven’t ever talked about which case is for what.

New-Diabetes-CasesMy husband and I explained that the white case was a “skin” case for Mommy’s OmniPod, the gold case was Mommy’s diabetes kit and the pink case was for Mommy’s CGM, which stands for Continuous Glucose Monitor.  “Rubes, do you know what continuous means?”


“It means all the time and Glucose means sugar.  Do you know what monitor means?”


“Monitor means watcher.  So, the pink case is Mommy’s all the time sugar watcher.”

Ruby grinned and chimed in with “And your bracelet is your sleep watcher!”

Oh, yeah, that’s right…there’s also the Fitbit Flex I wear, which tracks activity and sleep. Little girls…they don’t miss an “accessory” beat!

If you have to lift, try GlucoLift

GlucoliftairlinedrinkGlucoLift…sounds like some kind of super-fab brand name from the 1960s, right?  Maybe it was for a hair product to craft the perfect beehive “do”, or a popular baking yeast, or better yet some groovy, airline cocktail that you could only get on board an international Pan Am flight.  I mean…check out the cool, retro, rocket logo and the little stickers that add an “ed” on the end of the logo, thus proclaiming you “GlocoLifted.”


So, what is it really?  Glucose tabs, of course (this is a diabetes blog after all).  Besides the cool name and logo, why do I like them?  Do they taste good?  Well, um no….they’re glucose tabs.  But they do taste better than any other tabs I’ve had…and I’ve tried lots of tabs.   I’ve found some I can stomach and some that I’ve actually gone out of my way to return because they tasted so bad.  GlucoLift tabs also manage to be much less chalky than other brands.  Of course, to avoid the unpleasant chalky texture altogether you can get single-serve gels and liquids, which don’t taste half bad, but around here they’re 2-3$ a tube.   Treating a low with GlucoLift costs about 84 cents.  That’s a big difference when you might have 1 or 2 lows a day!   So “thanks” to all those companies out there making liquids and gels but I think I’ll save my “drinking” money for Starbucks and Guinness.

As for GlucoLift flavors, I use Orange Cream and Wildberry.  I leave the Orange Cream by the bed for night lows.  They aren’t terribly sweet or shockingly tart, so I like to think the mild flavor won’t wake me up as much.  To keep things interesting, I use mostly the Wildberry during the day, which taste a little stronger to me.  I haven’t tried the cherry flavor, as I have a general aversion to most things cherry-flavored.

I love that the company donates 1% of its profits to 1% for the Planet, especially since diabetes is associated with environmental risk factors.  I also appreciate that they only use natural dyes.  There has been an ongoing debate on adverse health affects of artificial dyes for years.  Should we trust the FDA to have our healthiest interest at heart or in the end is it all about the bottom dollar for the food industry giants?  For me, if I can use natural dye instead of artificial its one less adverse health unknown to deal with.  Don’t we already have enough health conditions to worry about?

GlocoLift logoOne small GlucoLift nitpic is that they don’t fit in tubes from other glucose tab manufacturers.  I like to refill and reuse these, so I can leave tubes of tabs in multiple bags, cars, etc.  They do fit in the GlucoLift tubes, which you can purchase separately, so no biggie in the end.  Bottom line:  Next time you need to restock on (blech) glucose tabs, remember it’s a bird, it’s a plane…no, it’s GlucoLift!

GlucoLIft Website

Forbes Magazine, “Living in Color: The Potential Dangers of Artificial Dyes.”

Big Diabetes Data Requires Big Analyses

If you’re anything like me, you’re currently clocking data on your CGM, your insulin pump, your BG meter, and any other number of devices including mobile apps for diabetes, fitness, or menstrual cycle, and wearable fitness devices like Fitbit.

It’s easy to look at one post-meal high and make a judgment call.  But it’s really hard to look at months worth of data and try to pull out patterns to really improve overall BGs and health.  Websites that integrate with my OmniPod and CGM (and are Mac compatible…don’t get me started on this…Gah!) only have the capability to really track BG and carb counts well.  But we all know it’s the type of carbs, not the number of carbs that really matters.  Also, was I especially active on a particular day?  Stressed from a big meeting at work?  Having PMS?  So many variables to consider!

big diabetes dataSince I already have all the BG and insulin data on my pump, meter, and CGM, (that I’ve laboriously collected!) I literally fantasize about just uploading those items to a single program online and then using apps of my choice to input details about my other “life variables,” such as food, exercise and activities, moods, monthly cycle, etc…..and finally (here’s the kicker) have the apps sync their data with the existing pump/meter/CGM data online in the same program!  Perfect!  Easy!  Right?  No way!

As you’re probably well aware, most of our diabetes meters, pumps, and CGMs have proprietary software and/or limited relationships with other diabetes-device companies.  So, based on who manufactured our devices, we’re all pretty much limited to one or two platforms for viewing the data…and those options sadly don’t integrate with apps we’re using to track our food, fitness, etc.

My current work-a-round solution for viewing OmniPod and CGM data (on a Mac) is Diasend, however even here you need a Clinic ID# (or to register as a non-US citizen) or your CGM tab will be grayed out.  I also use the mySugr app for logging (btw…I love mySugar), Google Cal for my monthly cycle and HRT, and just started tracking activity and sleep with a Fitbit Flex.  I make it work but it’s still me piecing together data from four different locations.

fitbit open apiFortunately (and just in the nick of time if you ask me) the US is at the beginning of a wave of personalized, data-centric healthcare, sometimes called the Quantified Self.  A lot of new data collection platforms designed for non-PWDs (like Fitbit and Lose It!) are using open APIs, which means they share and can integrate data.  After years of finding work-a-rounds and “making do” I feel like the current big data trend in healthcare is finally going to make my fantasy a realty…in the very near future.  So, everyone put down your proprietary diabetes devices for a second and raise your glass!  Here’s to hoping!

Super interested in the Quantified-Self movement like me?  Here are a few really cool recent articles:

Will An App A Day Keep The Doctor Away? The Coming Health Revolution (Forbes)

Solving America’s Big Health Care Challenges With Big Data (Huffington Post)

How Patient Generated Data Changes Healthcare (Information Week Healthcare)

I Heart Silicone Medical ID Bracelets ♥

Like most of us, some things “diabetes” I’m good at and some…not so good.   An area I usually excel in is being a “good girl” and wearing a type 1 medical ID bracelet.  I’m not the kind of person that wears a lot of jewelry on a regular basis, nevertheless, when I first started wearing a diabetes ID, I tried out a few different kinds of bracelets.  Most of them were very jewelry-like, lasted a day or two, and now sit in a drawer collecting dust.  Once I discovered the ease and beauty of simply wearing a piece of silicone, I never went back to the other “prettier” bracelets.  Silicone works for me because I don’t have to worry about getting it wet or getting food on it when I’m cooking; the kids can pull on it and play with it; I can shower, sleep, swim, play sports, and generally be active all while comfortably wearing it…and it still looks like it did on the day I started abusing it 4 years ago.

While I can’t control when or if an emergency situation might occur, I can try to have important info on hand (pun intended).  So, if I’m going to wear the darn thing every day (in case of an emergency), I don’t just want it to say “Type 1 Diabetic” on it.  I want it to at least list general medical information and my husbands phone number.  I really like the idea of providing a phone number of someone who knows what medications and dosages I’m on, who knows my kids and their schedules.  I find it comforting.

Geez, how can I fit all that information on a wristband?

I found a lot of bracelets that have tiny little pieces of papers or cards in them that you’re supposed to be able to neatly fill out with personal information.  Sorry, but my handwriting is not that good (or that small).  Plus, it’s paper…what kind of life expectancy can that little slip of paper have with stinky toddler fingers, days at the pool, and sinks full of dirty dishes?

custom silicone diabetes wristbandI’ve researched endlessly online to find a company that will let me add multiple lines of custom text to a silicone bracelet (without requiring a minimum order of 50!).  Here is my favorite: Design-A-Band.  OK, admittedly, their site might seem a little hokey but I’ve ordered various bracelets from these guys over the years and they’re always spot-on!

silicone medical type 1 diabetes bracelet frontAnd…drum role please…here’s my current favorite wristband: tried but true, worn day in and day out for 4 years, and glow-in-the-dark.  On the outside I have some basic info that the whole world can see and on the inside, I have personal medical information and contact phone numbers.

silicone medical type 1 diabetes bracelet backI’m on a continuous quest to find ever cooler looking, totally customizable silicone wristbands.  I’ll keep you posted…

Got one you really like?  Tell us about it!