Monday, June 17, 2013

Product Review: iBGStar

So I did a really dumb thing and bought a meter without doing proper research; because of that, I thought I'd do a product review so that you can hear what I think.

The Positives: 

The meter was really cheap.  I've seen some of my "friends" post pictures of their blood glucose readings from their iBG Star meters and I thought it looked like a nice meter.  I found a really good deal on Walgreens and ordered it.  I think the meter cost me $5, shipping included!  Score.

I just discovered that I can use the meter WITHOUT  plugging it into your phone.  So, it is a very, very small meter.  But don't forget the test strip vial and your favorite lancet delivery device AKA poker.

I did like the log book.  That is easy to use, easy to read, and easy to make changes in my insulin and basal adjustments.  I really like that.  The graphs, logs, and statistics are all very easy to read and use.  I can email my data to my HCP if he even has an email address and then we can use that at our appointment.

It's a crowd pleaser.  Everyone loves that I can plug my meter into my iPhone and test my blood sugar.  And it does a really fun graphic while it's processing.

The Negatives: 

The strips are VERY expensive.  I called my Endo and asked one of the nurses to call in an Rx for strips to my pharmacy company.  Another mistake I made was that I did not look in to the price of said strips.  I was charged $318.00 for 90 days worth of strips.  My usual co-pay for 90 days (One Touch Ultra Link) is $50.  So, wow.  I was kind of shocked by that.  Once I'd received the strips, I could not return them.  So I was stuck using these expensive strips, hopefully making them last as long as possible.

I cannot use a case of any kind on my phone. I use the iPhone 4s.  It is really not a good thing to walk around with my case off all of the time but this is what I've resorted to due to the fact that I don't want to be taking my case off an on 6-10 times daily.  I know there's a case which keeps the meter plugged in all of the time but I OFTEN plug my phone onto a radio and listen to music in my home, office, and wherever I'm at.  So.. yeah.  Don't like that.

I really don't like haivng to charge a meter.  Finding a battery, even a weird battery, every, what? 5 years? is FINE BY ME.  But having to plug the meter in to charge, ANNOYING!

I don't like how long the meter takes.  It technically only takes about 5 seconds to register a blood glucose, but you have to plug in the meter to the bottom of your phone (or iPod if anyone is still using one of those) and wait.  It has to register the clock, register your last reading, and THEN it's ready for a test.
The graphic on it is pretty cool, but HONESTLY, I do not need a meter to do that.  I don't even need a meter to be in COLOR.  Just tell me the number.

There is no pump sync.  What a pain in the butt.  I hate having to remember the sugar, and scroll up or down to tell my pump what my reading was.  Meters which sync to pumps are MUCH better.  I know this may sound totally snob-ish but Diabetes is a big enough pain, devices which make it easier, I love you!

Errors.  I've had more errors with this meter than with ANY OTHER METER I'VE EVER USED.  When you're paying more for strips than you have for any others, that's just a real, big drawback.

The last thing is Apple's fault.  The meter will not work with the new generation of iPhones and iPods due to the different port they've put on their new devices.  iBG Star will have to go through the FDA again to get approval on a meter with the new port.  That's really lame, Apple.

Overall, I think the meter is too much of a gadgety gimmick.  It's not a practical meter at all.  The cost is outrageous and I'll be happy when I run out of strips so I can go back to my old meter.

Sorry for such a negative post.  If someone had been honest like this about the meter before I bought mine (totally my fault because I didn't read any reviews) then I definitely wouldn't have purchased it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tour de Cure

It was such an honor and truly an awesome time to ride in this year's Tour de Cure in Brigham City, Utah.  The American Diabetes Association puts this ride on in cities across America each summer.  This is my first time participating in the ride and it was really, really great!  I am SO GLAD that I decided, even though last minute, to participate.  I signed up for the ride less than a month before it was held and was able to raise $210 for diabetes research.  Many of you know that I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent) in my early twenties.  And guess what?  I didn't get this disease by eating too much sugar!  Nope, my pancreas just pooped out on me as the result of a virus from a simple sore throat.  Researchers are working VERY HARD on finding ways to improve the lives of those who suffer with diabetes and I believe that there will be a cure some day.  So, that's why I rode.  Because I hate having diabetes, and what better cause to ride for than the very condition which I struggle with 24 hours a day 365 days a year.  

My little brother, Justin returned home from his mission in November and since he's been home he's really been trying to be healthy and do things to improve his own health.  Part of that includes finding more ways to be active.  I did the Women of Steel triathlon last month and he would have done that with me except that it was an all women's race.  At the beginning of May I called him up and asked him what event he'd like to do with me.  There were two to chose from that both fell on June 8.  He said, "Jen, you've got diabetes, we should do the Tour de Cure".  I knew he was right so we both signed up.  

We've really enjoyed training and riding together this last month and when the big day came, we were so ready!  

I woke up at about 6:00 and my blood sugar was 170.  I had my regular breakfast and took a full bolus because our race time wasn't until 10:30am.  Justin and I loaded up our bikes and left his house at 7:30 am.  We had to drive from Bluffdale to Brigham City so we wanted to have enough time to get there in time for registration.  It only took us an hour to arrive so we were there an hour before registration, two before our race.  Oops.  Lots of time!  So we got registered, grabbed our t-shirts, I got my red rider jersey and then we had lots of time to take pictures, stretch, and get a little snack before our race started.  
At the start, my sugar was 116!!!! Wahoo.  Finally, a race day with a normal blood sugar.  I decreased my basal to about 25% and ate three gatorade chews and we were off just a little after 10:30am.    

The course was awesome.  It was really nice and flat.  The tradition of Tour de Cure is that every time you see a person in a red jersey, a "Red Rider" or someone who is diabetic- rides with diabetes, you shout to them, "Go Red Rider".  It is a shout that means you support them, you realize it is difficult to ride a bike (or participate in any physical activity) with diabetes, and that you love them.  Everyone on the course was AWESOME about yelling that phrase to each other.  I saw LOTS AND LOTS of Red Riders out there.  I was sure to give them the shout as I rode past and they did the same for me.  It was such a sense of camaraderie and I really loved that.  

We were keeping a really good pace and I felt AMAZING out there, I'm sure the good blood sugars had a lot to do with that.  We finally reached the turn around point and they had a full-service rest stop but I wasn't really interested in hanging around for too long.  Justin grabbed a snack, I loosened my shoes, tested my sugar (130!), ate three more chews, and we were off.  

On the way back I did "feel" it a little more.  I was starting to slow up a little bit I think.  This one guy we passed started drifting on us and then he just hung around us until the end of the ride.  He was really nice and chit chatted with us as we rode.  

When we crossed the finish line, our sister, mom, grandparents, and Justin's girlfriend were all there waiting and cheering us on.  It was so cool!  They also saw us on the start so that was cool too.  We got some really great pictures I thought and this event was so fun that I think I definitely want to do it again.  

Ready to go in the morning.  

Before the race

I found a clever way to store my meter on my bike.
I strap it to the side of my saddle bag.
So far, it has worked out pretty well!  

Together at the starting line. 

grabbing a quick snack at the pit-stop

Half way done! 

crossing the finish line together! 
All done with our 24 mile bike ride for Diabetes! 

whew!  all done

We are still a little bit short on funds.  Justin has 4 more weeks to earn $87.  If you've been wanting to donate but haven't done so yet, please follow this link.  
Thank you SO MUCH to those who have donated already!  We thank you and love you so much for your support of such a great cause.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Product Review: Level Life

I was asked to try these Level Life glucose packets out and report to you all about my thoughts.

I received quite a few samples in the mail and was glad to give them a go.  They come in four different flavors, as shown below.  Strawberry Banana, Mandarin Orange, Caramel, and Vanilla.  I think I like the caramel best, followed by Vanilla.  I love citrus usually but the Orange flavor just didn't really do it for me.

What I did really love about these is that they're small, they keep for a long time, and they come with exactly 15g. of glucose.  I really like that because I often find myself over treating.  So with these, I just took one and waited.  There was something about knowing that it was the correct amount of carbs for my low that just made it work for me. 

I've used these on my bike, a lot.  They fit really well inside of my saddle bag.  I've used them in the middle of the night, during the day, and at the gym.  They work really well.  Their priced pretty reasonably too.  I found them with the diabetes stuff at my local store and I know that most places carry them.  Try them out!  I liked them.