Wednesday, 18 July 2012

#OzDOC is alive and well

Exciting things are happening in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) in Australia.  At last, we have our own hashtag #OzDOC.

Now for those of you who are screwing up your forehead, looking at the computer quizzically and saying "hashtag?",  I'm talking about Twitter.

To most members of the OzDOC (Australian Diabetes Online Community), Twitter is still a dark, scary place where no one wants to venture.  I have been playing in its muddy waters for a while now - and I'm still confused but, with help of other members of the DOC (that's the Diabetes Online Community - Worldwide), I am slowly navigating my way through.

I encourage you to give it a go.  Its not as scary as you think and you will make lots of new friends in the DOC.  I believe that social media is the way of the future and we must learn to embrace it, not be scared of it.

Twitter is an ideal place to connect with others worldwide and to share information.  Basically, as a member of Twitter, you have a "handle" or username (mine is @CoastCath) and you send out "Tweets" - a short status message in 140 characters.  You use "hashtags" (things like #OzDOC, #diabetes and #T1D) to mark keywords or topics in your Tweet.  If you want to direct a Tweet to a certain person, you use their "handle" in the Tweet, usually at the start to let them know that the Tweet is for them (for example @CoastCath Loving your new Blog about #OzDOC).

So, are you willing to give it a go?

Go to Twitter and register.  Then spend some time looking around.  Feel your way.  "Follow" me if you like and start looking at who I am following and who is following me.  You can also use the Search function to find others by using hashtags in your search such as #diabetes.  You will find #OzDOC is alive and well.

The first ever #OzDOC chat will be held on Tuesday, 31 July at 8.30pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time).  Get on board and come and join us.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A New Player in the Blood Glucose Meter arena - BGStar®

We have been trialing the BGStar® from Sanofi for the past two weeks. And we love it.

Much to the excitement of my 13 year old, our trial iBGStar® is now on its way and, as much as we like the BGStar®, I know that it is going to be put aside for its’ highly exciting, technologically advanced sister as soon as the delivery man gets here.

So, I only felt it fair to review the lovely little BGStar® before the razzle, dazzle of the new toy takes over.

The BGStar® is a fantastic little unit. It got its first big tick when I realized how easy it was to set up. We had it ready to use in a matter of minutes. The BGStar® is slimline and easy to handle and has a large, easy to read display which can be backlit at the touch of a button. It draws up a tiny blood sample (0.5 microliters) at the speed of light (well, it seems that fast anyway) and the visual countdown and beep indicate when the test is complete (6 seconds).

Look at that cute little smiley face

Our favourite function on the BGStar® is the smiley face that appears on the screen when your BGL is within range – a range that you set according to your own parameters. You can also set Hypo and Hyper Alarms to suit your own individual requirements. Reminder alarms can also be set. Pre and post meal tags can be added with each sample to help you and your team assess your blood glucose patterns.

Statistics are also easy to access on the BGStar®. 14 day Stats as well as 14, 30 and 90 day averages can be found at the touch of a button. By using mealtime tags, you can easily view pre and post mealtime averages and you can easily access trend graphs for 3 day, 2 week and 1 month periods.

Unfortunately, as with most Meters in Australia, it doesn’t test blood ketones.

The lancing device isn’t too bad. It has 8 settings, making it easier to get a lancing level that is just right for you. We have used it a couple of times and C doesn’t mind it at all.

We are however, rather attached to our Accu-Chek Fastclix and Multiclix. I firmly believe that they are the gentlest lancing devices for our little ones fingers. They also alleviate the need to touch any exposed needles when changing the lancets. Even though the drums are more expensive, they will certainly remain as our “prickers” of choice.

While it’s true that we have also become very comfortable with the “no strips” concept using the Accu-Chek Mobile, going back to a canister of strips wasn’t nearly as annoying as I thought it would. The strips do not require coding. Strips will be available through your NDSS agencies later this week. The cost of 100 strips is $2.40 with a Health Care Card. The NDSS code is 145.

Blood samples are analysed using patented, state-of-the-art
Dynamic Electrochemistry®.

“Dynamic Electrochemistry® is an innovative technology which extracts a spectrum of information from the blood that is inaccessible to traditional electrochemical methods. This new method compensates for many interfering factors that can often distort blood glucose results, helping to ensure accurate and reliable blood glucose readings. A complex signal detects and corrects common errors for accurate performance”

The BGStar® testing range goes from 1.1 to 33.3 mmol/L and it will store the previous 1,865 test results, including the date, time, and meal time tag (if enabled) with each reading.

For those looking for a new, accurate BGL Meter and not hanging out for the iBGStar®, I’d say give this little beauty a go. I think her lovely smiling face will be a fantastic incentive for the kids especially.

BGStar has now been released in Australia and should be available at most pharmacies. You can call 1800 BGSTAR (1800 247 827) or go to the BGStar Australian Website for more details -

Monday, 9 July 2012

National Diabetes Week #NDW12

Today, I have learnt a very valuable lesson.


Yesterday, marked the launch of National Diabetes Week here in Australia.  The #NDW12 Campaign is "Let's Prevent Diabetes".

As a dedicated advocate for people with type 1 diabetes, the campaign title raised my hackles and had me tweeting and sending messages to insist that Diabetes Australia bodies use the words "type 2".

I watched as my fellow #T1D Mummas got upset about television coverage, banners on the bridges in Capital Cities, posters, news reports, Facebook posts and tweets.  And I saw the anger rise.  I started to feel ill.  I started to shake.  This is not what I wanted.  I didn't want to incite anger.  I want to bring about change.  I just want people to call a spade a spade - not a shovel.  I want to hear the words type 1, type 2 and gestational  EVERY time that diabetes is mentioned.

I AM disappointed that National Diabetes Week is #T2D focused.
I AM disappointed that DA were not using those two magic words - "Type 2".
I AM disappointed that a marvellous opportunity to educate about #T1D was lost.

But most of all, I am disappointed that we, the passionate ambassadors and advocates for #T1D, are being seen in a negative light.

There is a very, very fine line between advocacy and being seen as troublemakers.

How do we walk this tightrope without falling into the abyss?

"Advocacy is speaking, acting, writing with minimal conflict of interest on behalf of the sincerely perceived interests of a disadvantaged person or group to promote, protect and defend their welfare and justice"

By its very nature, advocacy is active.  It means doing something.  I cannot NOT do something.

Advocacy is what gets me up every morning and keeps me up most nights.  I want an amazing future for my child with type 1 diabetes. 

I do not want her to have to explain her disease to every person that she comes across.  I do not want her to spend her entire life explaining to people that she didn't get type 1 diabetes because of diet or lifestyle habits.  I do not want her to have to be constantly faced with the lack of knowledge and ignorance that the type 1 diabetes community has to face.

And THIS is why I do what I do.

I do not let type 1 diabetes rule our lives - far from it - on most days in our household, an outsider wouldn't even know that this charming disease resides here.  We go about our business.  We enjoy life to the absolute fullest.  We live.

And behind all that, I cross that tightrope.  I hold onto my balance bar.  And I hope and pray that I do not tumble over into the darkness that is bitterness and trouble making.

I am here to do good ...