Sunday, 30 September 2012

No One Likes a Bully

Let's face it - bullying is not exclusive to children or teens. Bullying behaviour is quite often carried out by adults as well. And never more so than online.

I have been the victim of a bully for a couple of years now. Just one person. One person who has decided that she doesn't like me - even though she doesn't know me. I feel sorry for her - I really do - but I will not lower myself to her level - ever. I will however continue to attempt to make things better - try to make peace. Not just for myself but for others.

Bullying bothers everyone. It doesn't just affect the person being picked on. The ramifications often spread far and wide, especially in online forums and so-called "support" groups. Bullies create a climate of fear - where everybody is scared to speak out or take action. I hate watching others stand up to the bully only to then become a victim themselves.

So WHY do people bully others? Bullies are usually looking for attention. They have an innate need to be popular or get what they want and they usually will do anything to make themselves feel important. This is why I feel sorry for her. To have to do that to other people so that she feels ok about herself must be a sad and lonely place to be indeed.

So how do we best deal with a bully? Firstly, it is important to feel good about yourself. Know that you are a good person. Secondly, avoid the bully if at all possible. If this is not possible, do not engage them, try not to show your emotions and definitely, do not bully back. I have, over much time, learned to step away from the situation and ignore the behaviour. I will not allow her to have any control over my life, who I am and what I do.

I hope that if others are experiencing such things, they too can learn to distance themselves. Know that you are not alone.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Animas Family

Its amazing how life turns out sometimes -

I haven't wanted to work for so many years - preferring to focus my attention and energy on caring for my daughter and doing volunteer work.  And now, it is that very volunteer work that has led me to the perfect job - a job that I am now ready for.  A job that I am so excited about.  A job that I couldn't have planned better if I had designed it myself.

I am now an employee of AMSL Diabetes, the Australian distributors of Animas insulin pumps and Diasend.  I am an extremely proud member of their Diabetes Customer Care Team and I am THRILLED.

To say that the team at AMSL have welcomed me with open arms would be an understatement.  From the minute I met my fellow workmates at the ADEA/ADS Conference on the Gold Coast, I have felt like I am "home".  This is where I belong.  This is what I have been waiting for - without even knowing it.

Disclosure Statement

In full disclosure, I am a paid employee of AMSL (Australasian Medical and Scientific Ltd). I work in the Diabetes Team - the Australian distributors of Animas Vibe and Diasend.

My employment with AMSL will not affect how I discuss our use of their products and any opinions expressed here are my own."

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The App That Makes It All Happen

I have already heralded the arrival of the Sanofi iBGStar® and told you about its many redeeming features.

Today, we are going to take a closer look at the App that makes this little meter really shine.

The iBGStar® Diabetes Manager App can be purchased for free from the App Store and can be used in conjunction with the iBGStar® or without - if you want to manually input your BGLs and additional data.

This modern, innovative tool - when used with the iBGStar® blood glucose meter - gives you convenient, on-the-run access to data to help you manage your diabetes.

You can track blood glucose levels
You can track carbohydrate intake

You can track insulin doses
You can tag readings for pre and post meals and night time.  
There is also the ability to add notes to each blood glucose level.
Food Information
Activity information
Insulin Information
Dosage Information
Other information
You can even add your own notes to suit. We have added several such as Pizza, Soccer, Basketball, Forgot to Bolus, Temp 100%, Temp 200%, Temp Off, Sleep In, Social Day and Correction Override.  Once that note is attached to the relevant record, it can either be kept for future use or deleted.

The App allows you to view and analyse your data through Trend Charts, a Logbook and Statistics for various time periods.  You can also share your data - this will be especially relevant to send to your healthcare provider.  We also use it for C to send data to me when she is away.

All in all - the Sanofi iBGStar® has everything you could possibly need to make your diabetes management just that little bit easier - and certainly more fun.  I highly recommend that you take a look at this little beauty and give it a go.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Troublesome Teens??

As far as teenagers go, mine are both pretty good.  I’m lucky.  The teenage years can be challenging at the best of times and when you throw type 1 diabetes into the mix, well – let’s just say “compliance” is not in their vocabulary.

My daughter has sensational levels at home and when she is in my care but, when it comes to school or socialising, testing and bolusing take a big back seat (sometimes, they get thrown out of the car altogether).

I’ve tried bribery – “If you can remember to test and bolus this week, I will buy you …, take you … anything, anywhere.”

I’ve tried the threat of embarrassment – “If you don’t remember to test and bolus this week, I am going to come into school and stand at your locker every lunch time to remind you.”

Nothing has worked – until now …

Enter the Sanofi iBGStar® (The angels are singing the Halleluiah Chorus in my head)

The iBGStar®  has single-handedly made it “cool” for her to test at school.  Her friends want to know what the groovy little device is AND she is ALLOWED to have her iPod at school.  How “cool” is that?

Im not going to go into all the technical information here.  This can easily be found at 

I am, however, going to tell you that the Sanofi iBGStar® is a fantastic little meter.  We have found it to be convenient, reliable, accurate and fun - yes, fun.  I know it sounds weird to say that about a product that, ultimately, requires you to prick your finger till you bleed - but it's true.  I guess if you have to do it, you may as well make it as enjoyable as you can.

Integrated cases are available to keep your meter
and your iPhone or iPod together

There are also groovy little silicon keyrings.

The iBGStar will be officially launched in Australia in September.  If I were you, I'd put one on my shopping list now.

I will post next week about the iPhone app that really makes this meter work for you and you Health Care team.

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 ...