Tandem® t:slim X2™ is approved for use in Canada and we’re stoked

t:slimX2 approved for canadaTandem® t:slim X2™ insulin pump has been approved for sale in Canada and I am excited.  I know that this pump is not for everyone but for us…well, we have been waiting since it was first brought to the US market.

We were Cozmo users.  Actually Cozmo lovers.  Any pump after our beloved Cozmo was just not the same.  So many features were missing. It felt like we were going back in time.

When the Tandem® t:slim™ insulin pump came out in the US, I was jealous.  Many of our fellow Cozmo pumpers made the switch and were in love.  It wasn’t perfect. Some people have issues with certain features but overall most of them felt that one or two annoyances (some of which the company is working to change) were more than worth it.

Let’s face it, this pump looks cool. It has an iPhone phone look.  It also has some features that we have been missing and others that we are excited to see.

Here are a few of the features that the Tandem® t:slim X2™ have to offer Canadian insulin pumpers.

t:slim X2™ Features:

  • the smallest insulin pump currently available
  • has a 300 unit reservoir
  • does not use batteries but rather is recharged when you plug a USB cable into a regular AC current. You can go approximately 7 days between charges.
  • has a shatterproof, touchscreen
  • Dexcom integrated
  • Bolus by gram of carbs or units of insulin
  • Quick bolus option
  • Integrated calculator with numeric keypad
  •  6 personalized delivery profiles
  • 16 timed insulin delivery settings
  • Site change reminders
  • High and low blood glucose alerts
  • Missed meal bolus alerts
  • Remotely update software (no need to buy an entirely new pump!)
  • Waterproof for up to 3m for 30 minutes

For us, these are features that are worth getting excited about!  You can read the full Tandem announcement here. You can also sign up to learn when the new Tandem® t:slim X2™ will be available in your province here.

Now that we have shown you why we love this new pump, I am curious, what features are most important for you when choosing an insulin pump?

Learn more about insulin pumps available in North America on our insulin pump page. 

How to reduce diabetes waste

Whenever we have changed a site or try out a sensor, I have looked down at the pile of trash and feel incredible guilt. There seems to be so much “stuff” that we are putting in the garbage can. It can’t possibly be good for the environment. In an attempt to protect the world for my future grandchildren, I searched for some way to reduce our waste.  Here is what I found.

Buy in bulk

buy snacks for lows in bulk

If you are purchasing those travel sized packages of glucose tablets, you may want to consider buying the larger bottles.  You can also go to your local Bulk Barn or Walmart and purchase low blood sugar treats in bulk.  If you do this right after Halloween, you can usually score even more treats at a way lower price!

Once you get your glucose tablets or other low treats home, you can then break them down into properly portioned, travel sizes in reusable containers. Those old glucose tablet bottles can be great for this.

Recycle the cardboard

recycle your cardboard boxes

Test strips come in boxes. Insulin comes in boxes. Infusion sets come in boxes. You get the idea. There are a lot of boxes when you live with diabetes. The great news is that most boxes and paper inserts are recyclable. Simply break them down and place them in your cardboard recycling container.

Drop off electronic diabetes devices for recycling

recycle glucometers

Did you know that often your old glucometer and DexCom can be returned to a recycling depot? I didn’t! You no longer have to have a dead meter collection in your drawer because you worried about throwing them in the trash.  Most will be accepted by your local e-waste or e-cycling drop-off center.  If you aren’t sure of a location in your area, you can also go to Earth911.com for the nearest recycling location.

Reuse tubing and other “waste” materials

diabetes art

If you are using an insulin pump, you already have come up with some great ways to reuse your tubing.  Young children love it when you snip the ends off of infusion set tubing and then let them string beads. They can spend hours making cute bracelets and more!

If you don’t have littles around, don’t worry, for those of you who like to garden, tubing is perfect for holding up plants!

Test strip bottle and insulin vials have many uses in creative art projects. Test strip bottles can also be perfect storage containers for thumb-tacks and other small items. Think about all of those things that you used to store in film containers and now you can put them in test strip bottles!

Recycle

recycle diabetes products

After a bit of investigating, I did find that some diabetes supplies can be put in your household recycling bins.

Syringe caps can be recycled in areas that recycle bottle caps. The tops of the built-in inserters on inset®, insetII®s, mio®, Mio30®, Autosoft90® and Autosoft30® can also be recycled. Please ensure proper disposal of the insertion needles, however. If you use an OmniPod, you can take part in the Eco-pod program. It allows you to return pods to Diabetes Express for recycling.

If you are like me, you may still feel like there is a lot of waste in diabetes care but I was surprised to read a study that showed that there may not be as much as we think. A person consuming one soft drink or one beer in a can only every three days has a similar impact on the environment as eleven insulin pump patients using one infusion set each in the same time period. Let me repeat that….one beverage can every three days creates the same amount of waste as eleven pumpers who use one infusion set each!

A person using a tubed insulin pump in fact only produces the same amount of environmental waste as a person who purchases one cup of coffee per day. Mind-blowing.

As great as that makes me feel, by using the tips above, we can further reduce the environmental impact of diabetes waste.

What else do you do to reduce your diabetes waste?

How to manage airport security with an insulin pump and CGM

traveling with your insulin pump and CGMIn May of 2012, after reading about a friend having problems getting their insulin pump through security at a US airport, I did some research on the subject.  Should you put your pump through the x-ray machine? Can you wear your CGM through a full-body scanner? There were a lot of questions in 2012 and there still are in 2018 so I reached out to a few friends in the industry to see if things have changed at all.  Here is what you need to know when you are traveling with an insulin pump or CGM.

If you wear a Dexcom®

The Dexcom® G5 is cleared to take through metal detectors, be hand-wanded and be worn during flights. There are a few situations to be concerned about, however.

NEVER put your receiver or extra sensors through an x-ray machine.  Ask the security personnel to do a hand-check of the items to avoid permanent damage of these devices.

According to Dexcom®, the effects of full body scanners on CGM components have not been studied. It is therefore recommended that you do not take your Dexcom® through one.

Once you are through security and on your plane waiting for takeoff, make sure to set your app to airplane mode, keeping the bluetooth on and leave your receiver turned on.

If you use FreeStyle Libre

The Dream Big Travel Far blog contacted the people at FreeStyle and asked what the guidelines were for air travel with the Libre.  This is what they reported.

“We recommend the user notify security personnel when going through airport security screening. the user can go through X-ray machines while wearing a sensor. We recommend the reader be powered off during a flight and not used for scanning a sensor. However, the strip port on the reader can be used to take blood glucose or ketone readings during flight. Turning on the reader with the Home Button will activate the radio. The user must turn on the reader by inserting a test strip so as to not activate the radio.”

If you wear an Omnipod

Good news for Omnipod users! You can wear the pod through the metal detector, x-ray machines and full body scanners with no worry.  The PDM can also go through the X-ray. Insulet does recommend that if you are selected for a “pat down” you disclose that you are wearing the pod.

If you wear a Medtronic® insulin pump

Medtronic® insulin pumps can be worn through metal detectors and be wanded.  They should NOT be sent through x-ray machines however.

Medtronic® also notes that your sensor and transmitter must be removed if you are going through a full-body scanner. If you do not want to remove your sensor, you can ask to be pat down instead.

If you wear a Tandem® t:slim X2™ insulin pump

Tandem® t:slim X2™ can be worn through metal detectors and can be wanded.  They should not be sent through x-ray machines.

Changes in air pressure cause bubbles to form in insulin, and the related expansion can cause unintentional insulin delivery.  This is NOT a problem in the Tandem pump.

The pumping mechanism used in Tandem pumps isolates the insulin reservoir (bag) from the user line, so if bubbles are formed in the cartridge due to pressure changes, the internal bag will expand, but no insulin will be delivered to the user from the reservoir.  The only volume in line with the user at any given time is the insulin in their infusion set and cartridge tubing, and the contents of the 0.3 unit Micro-Delivery chamber.

There is no need to turn off your t:slim X2™ during takeoff or landing.  This system runs on Bluetooth which can operate during flights. If you are also using a Dexcom CGM that you are viewing with your smartphone, turn the phone on airplane mode and then turn on Bluetooth.

If you wear an Animas® insulin pump

A detailed list of where you can and cannot wear your Animas® pump can be found in my May 2012 post.

Animas® insulin pumps can be worn through metal detectors and can be wanded.  They should NOT be sent through x-ray machines.

Animas® pumps should not be worn through full-body scanners.

Click here for more tips on traveling with diabetes!

Tides of Change

 Artificial Pancreas approved by FDA”  Sounds great doesn’t it? Its sadly right up there with “Scientists find way to cure diabetes”…in mice.  Well, its not quite that bad but it is media hype that does not quite match the reality of the innovation.
The Medtronic Veo insulin pump has been available in Canada for quite some time.  For a change, we were able to avail of a new technology before the US market. In this case, it means availing of a technology that shuts down your insulin pump if your CGM tells the pump that you are low and dropping. This is a pretty great feature but does not for many equate to a true “artificial pancreas”.
A number of people in the diabetes community feel that a true artificial pancreas is more in keeping with Dr. Ed Damiano’s Bionic Pancreas project rather than these smarter pumps. His pro-type has been used on adults and children with Type 1 diabetes in real world settings. A bulky model at that moment, but it has given people with Type 1 diabetes a freedom that they have not experienced since prior to their diagnosis.
Dr. Damiano’s approach combines the use of insulin, glucagon, a CGM, a smart insulin pump, and finally an iPhone.  With all of this, he is able to create a pancreas for people like his son who live with Type 1.  Those who have listened to his presentation (like myself) walk away amazed and inspired. Those who have used the system talk of an experience like nothing that they have ever imagined before.  They were able to enjoy meals without carb counting. They had nights without testing.  They experienced relatively stable bg levels. It is truly amazing.
This research is not funded by an insulin pump company. This researched is fueled by a father’s desire to keep his son safe.  David Damiano was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 11 months. This amazing project has given my own son hope where he didn’t have a lot before.
There are many great changes in the wind for people living with diabetes. Whether we are looking at a bionic pancreas, an artificial pancreas, or simply the improved accuracy of Continuous Glucose Monitoring systems.  Diabetes care has moved forward a lot since our journey began over 13 years ago. I am excited to see it move forward much further in the next 13! The next challenge will be to ensure that people living with diabetes will have the ability to access these improved technologies.
paradigm_veo

The Lost Test Strips

It was recently that time of year again…time to clean out our diabetes supplies.  What once was able to fit in a drawer was now taking up a drawer, a roll-out tote, and underneath of my youngest son’s bed.  This had to stop.  I had no clue that he had supplies hidden in all of these places and was no longer sure as to what supplies we had and what we needed.

We found boxes of Cozmo reservoirs, a few different types of infusion sets, his very first meter, a Polar bear meter holder, way too many lancing devices and enough lancets to keep him going until he is 100.  We also found test strips that were about to expire.  There was no way I was going to waste these strips.  This was $100 and many people can’t even afford to buy them.  The strips would be used at home until such time as they were gone.

My son was fine with that. Like his mother, he loves trying out new meters.  This meter was far from new but since he hadn’t used it in a few years, it was new to him again. The novelty quickly wore off.

“Mom, this meter takes FOREVER to read!”

“How long is forever?”

“15 seconds! Can you believe that? This is crazy!”

I started to laugh! My son was far to used to the immediate gratification found after a five second countdown.  He did not remember the days of his first meter.  Thirty seconds seemed like an eternity and yet I remember back then knowing how lucky we were, the previous generation of meters had taken 60 seconds to show results. 

Despite the “long” wait, he continued to use the old strips.  A few lows and bad sites meant that it did not take more than a few weekends for the 100 test strips to be used up.  I must admit that I had been spoiled too. A few nights of having to wait for those extra 10 seconds did seem like forever.  Nonetheless, it still was not as long as waiting 30 seconds and wondering if your toddler was asleep because he was tired or passed out from a low. 

I love technology!