Category Archives: Diabetes

Spare a Rose, Save a Child

Déjà février ?! La saison des galettes est finie. Mes filles sont satisfaites car elles ont eu 2 fèves chacune sur 4 galettes mangées à la maison (2 sans gluten et 2 avec). Mes glycémies sont contentes car je n’ai plus à gérer les pics inévitables après chaque petit morceau de galette.

On arrive du coup dans la saison de la Saint Valentin. Mes filles sont contentes car nous allons faire des gâteaux en forme de coeur à la maison.  Pour la glycémie ça va – je sais mieux gérer le chocolat que la frangipane. Par contre, il n’y aura pas de bouquet de fleurs pour marquer l’occasion. Voici pourquoi :

Il y a un autre focus autour de la Saint Valentin en ce qui concerne le diabète.  Un groupe de blogueurs américains a élaboré la campagne “Spare a Rose, Save a Child” pour lever des fonds dans le but d’aider les enfants et les jeunes des pays ou l’accès à l’insuline est inadéquat. L’idée est simple : en offrant 11 roses au lieu de 12 le jour de la Saint Valentin et en faisant un don équivalent à la valeur de la dernière rose, on peut financer l’accès à l’insuline pendant un mois pour un enfant dans un pays en voie de développement. Remplacer le bouquet de roses en entier par un don est l’équivalent d’un an d’insuline pour un enfant qui en a besoin pour survivre.

Ces dons vont au programme “Life for a Child” de la Fédération internationale du diabète (FID), qui oeuvre dans des pays en voie de développement où l’accès à l’insuline, les matériaux pour tester sa glycémie et l’éducation ne sont pas accessible à tous.

Voici comment participer :

– Faire un Don
La campagne se déroule du 1er au 14 février. Vous pouvez donner en une fois ou établir un don mensuel sur l’année via prélèvement automatique.  Cliquez ici pour faire un don.

– Partager l’information sur la campagne
Parlez-en autour de vous. A vos proches et sur les réseaux sociaux. Au sein de la communauté diabète et en dehors. Cliquez ici pour plus d’informations sur la campagne “Spare a Rose Save a Child”.

Il est facile de se plaindre des chercheurs qui n’arrêtent pas de guérir le diabète des souris mais jamais des humains. Des progrès sur le pancréas bionique bien lent. De la sécu qui ne rembourse pas les lecteurs de glycémie en continu ni les lecteurs de glycémie flash. Mais nous avons de la chance de vivre en France, en Europe, dans des pays où on ne meurt pas à cause d’un manque d’information, d’éducation et surtout d’un manque d’accès à l’insuline qui rend la vie possible quand on a un diabète de type 1. Voici l’opportunité d’aider ceux qui n’ont pas la même chance que nous.

New pump but keeping the Cozmo!

A month ago, my insulin pump started giving me more frequent alarms. Most of them have been “dead battery” alarms, when I know there has been a brand new battery in there. One day it told me pump was without power (ie – dead battery) in the middle of each meal bolus of the day. I really can’t complain. This little piece of amazing technology has been on my hip for close to 5 years now. It has been bumped on door frames and dropped on tile floors more times than I can count. It’s well past its warranty and I’ve never had any major problem with it. But when it was clear where my pump was heading, I made sure that I had all my current basal and alarm settings written down.

One morning a couple of weeks ago, as I did a routine cartridge change, the pump simply couldn’t recognise there was a cartridge there. I must have tried to rewind a dozen times but eventually, there was a single, unending BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP and a “Your-pump-is-dead-please-call-your-doctor-or-pump-rep.” message.

My backup plan in the event of pump failure is that I have a second pump at home. This is possible because I still wear a Cozmo and since there are only a few of us Cozmo users left on the planet, my pump supply company was willing to give me an extra one on “permanent loan”. This one is also almost 5 years old, but never been used so it felt brand new as I punched in all my personalised settings.

This event of course gave me another chance to ponder pump choices, but they haven’t changed since my post in July so I’m still sticking to the status quo. And the extra good news in all of this is that my pump supply company managed to get me a brand new black Cozmo. I couldn’t believe they still had one in stock! So I am set to go for another few years – either until they run out of Cozmo reservoirs or until a more interesting pump comes out on the French market. 2015 should see the release of the Accu-Chek Insight,
The Medtronic Minimed 640g, minimed640g

And the Ypsopump. YpsoPump2

Just so you don’t think I’m too set in my ways (is 11+ years with the same insulin pump too much?), I’m excited to see some new options in pumping coming to the European market and I will be looking carefully at my possibilities to modernise! In the meantime, I programmed my blue Cozmo replacement pump while waiting for the new black one to arrive and I the colour grew on me. Plus my 4 and 6 year old daughters think it is SO much prettier and would be mad if I went back to the black one. Blue Cozmo it is then! I always have the new black one to fall back on.

(The old black one has now gone back to my pump supplier but I was amused to have 3 for a short time!)


I want to become a runner again

I discovered running at the age of 9 thanks to a wonderful coach who volunteered at my primary school. She was great at encouraging everyone, no matter what their natural talent was and empowered us to find our own strengths. I was never a fast runner but that didn’t matter. I learned to love running because it made me feel powerful. (Plus, the cross country team at school was the one team with out tryouts – everyone was welcome!) I ran less in my early university years because I was sick a lot (with what I now know was undiagnosed CD and then undiagnosed diabetes).

After my diabetes diagnosis, I got very serious about exercise and went to the gym 4-5 times a week. But I didn’t take up running again for about 3 years. I found running particularly tricky in terms of blood sugar balance. I really struggled with lows at first and trying to prevent those post-run lows was one of my main motivations to get an insulin pump. I wanted to have more control on my insulin doses to be able to run more often and longer distances without sacrificing stable glucose levels. In that first year on a pump, I ran my first 5k race (in a decade), my first 10k race and my first half marathon. I was hooked. Over the next 5 years I did several 5 and 10k races, 4 more half marathons and the big prize: one marathon.

I was super proud of my accomplishments and even prouder of how well I was managing to balance my running AND my diabetes. Then life got in the way of running. I was busy. Planned a wedding. Bought and renovated our home. Had two kids. Anyone who has done it can confirm that balancing pregnancy and diabetes is like a marathon in itself!  So during those years, my runs were sporadic at best.

After my second daughter was born, I wanted to get back at it but I had loads of excuses to delay. I breastfed for a long time and wasn’t sure how to handle the bouncing lactating boobs. My 2nd was not as great a sleeper as my 1st and I was chronically exhausted. When I went back to work, figuring out work/life balance was particularly stressful for me. All of these are probably reasons I should have used to start running again, but I let them work against my desire to lace up my shoes.

There was also one factor that was entirely diabetes related. When I was marathon training, I only had to worry about me and my diabetes. In the meantime, my family had become my top priority and it was hard trying to prioritise diabetes management and my own fitness into that mix. Plus, a new fear of exercise lows had wormed its way into my brain. I just didn’t want to have to deal with extra lows on top of everything else so the simplest solution was not to exercise!

But I had gained some kilos after having lost all of my pregnancy weight. And I know how good regular exercise is for physical and mental health and how good it can make you feel. So bit by bit I gathered the courage over the past year and started running again. Slow. Steady. Easy pace. I’m not out to win races, but then again, I never was. I gathered motivation where I could find it. I installed Run Keeper on my phone. I increased my goal for steps on my pedometer. My husband and planned our weeks so we knew who could run when. I tried running first thing in the morning before breakfast and was amazed at how stable blood glucose levels can be when exercising on an empty stomach and with no bolus-on-board.

But there is one thing that has recently boosted my confidence and my desire to actually become a runner again (because even though I’ve been running more on than off for the last 10 months I still haven’t quite reached a point where I feel “legit”).

Here in Paris we have a “Café Diabète” once a month. It’s a laid back support group for people with diabetes. Family and friends are welcome too. Each month there is a different theme and last month it was diabetes and sports – not just physical activity, but actually taking things to the next intensity level. Of the people who came, one did 5 marathons this year; another had recently attempted a 100+km trail race. I loved hearing theirs stories, their motivation, their tips on balancing food, exercise and blood sugar while putting their minds and bodies to the test.

I have never let diabetes hold me back from anything I wanted to accomplish. And I have run one marathon so I know I CAN do this. But sharing the goals, the struggles and the successes with others who are striving for similar things brings a whole new level of motivation. I’ve been running more consistently since our Café Diabète a few weeks ago and I feel really good about it. I’m not out to run 7500 km in 9 months or to become an IronMan (woman?). What I would like to do is solidify my exercise routine and I know that running is the sport for me based on how I feel after coming in from a run – even if it’s only 5 or 7 km. And I will make sure to surround myself with the support and motivation that comes from others who are in the same boat. I want to become a runner again for myself, but also for my daughters to grow up seeing the strength that comes with physical fitness.

Double trouble

Has this ever happened to you?

You come home from work and the kids jump all over you eager to tell you about their day. You try to get a few words in with the babysitter before she leaves while your kids are still trying to butt in every few seconds. You finally give them a few minutes each but then you really need to get dinner going. While you start cooking you try to estimate both carb content and timing of the meal and take your bolus while trying to figure out why one of the kids is now crying. Tripping over some toys that weren’t there 2 minutes ago you finally get dinner on the table and sit down to eat. Things are calmer now at the table and you think how your blood sugar has been reasonably well behaved today and you really should have pre-bolused for this meal. But whatever, better late than never. So you do the math and bolus while hearing about who was sitting beside whom at lunchtime at school. Then 45 minutes later as the kids are getting into bed and wanting a last pee, a last drink of water and a last kiss, your Dexcom starts blaring and your first thought is “I can’t be under 55, if anything I under-bolused for that meal and my 2 week old Dex sensor must just be showing its age”. Then the symptoms hit. Hard. And both Dexcom and Libre are reading LOW. And only then you think “Did I… No, I couldn’t have…” Then you look in your pump history to find that yes indeed, you bolused twice for that meal, 23 minutes apart. Then you drink the rest of the orange juice in the house and sit down and wait to feel human again, thankful that your husband is now home from work.

Result of a double bolus.

Result of a double bolus.

Yeah, me neither. Until yesterday.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t made a mistake like that since going on the pump almost 14 years ago. I’m glad that my boluses are relatively small so that I only took 3.35u twice rather than much more. I’m also glad that I have a pump so there is actually a record of past boluses. I have now programmed my pump to alert me if I try to take more than 7u (basal rate included) within an hour.

Stay safe! Don’t double bolus!

Premières impressions du FreeStyle Libre

Je suis maintenant dans la deuxième semaine de mon essai d’un mois avec le nouveau système “Flash” d’autosurveillance du glucose de chez Abbott : le Freestyle Libre. Ce dispositif devrait être disponible en France à partir de mi-octobre selon le fabricant, mais lors de mes contacts avec eux, la date précise n’est pas encore connue. Nous sommes plusieurs en France à le tester avant la sortie officielle. Les témoignages de chacun peuvent aider à déterminer si ce capteur peut être intéressant pour la gestion de votre diabète. Allez également lire les blogs, Diabète Base et DiabeticTeacher.

Je tiens à préciser un facteur qui influence mon opinion du Freestyle Libre. Je porte un lecteur de glucose en continue déjà depuis un an : le Dexcom (disponible en France pour les porteurs de la pompe Animas Vibe). Le système Flash d’autosurveillance du glucose n’est pas tout à fait pareil que la lecture en continue “traditionnelle” et chacun a ses avantages et ses inconvénients.

Dexcom à gauche

Dexcom à gauche

Libre à droite

Libre à droite

Donc voici un premier billet sur mes impressions du Freestyle Libre. J’en promets d’autres au cours des prochaines semaines.

Le capteur
Il est facile et complètement indolore à poser. Un dispositif d’insertion est fourni avec chaque capteur. Il est équipé d’un ressort qui se déclenche automatiquement en appuyant le dispositif contre le bras. On sent plus la pression du dispositif que l’insertion à proprement parlé de l’aiguille. Le capteur est porté à l’arrière du bras et le geste de l’application peut être fait facilement avec une main que ça soit à droite ou à gauche. Je suis droitière et j’ai fait exprès de poser mon premier capteur à droite avec la main gauche.

Le capteur lui même est plus petit que d’autres capteurs de lecteurs de glucose en continue qui sont disponibles. Il est très confortable, même si on dort sur le coté la nuit.  Il n’est épais que de 5mm et tout rond, il ne s’accroche donc pas trop sur les vêtements ou les hanses de sac à main. Je le trouve clairement plus “joli” que mon capteur de Dexcom. Cela dit, une différence entre les deux dispositifs (et non la moindre) : le Libre ne transmet pas automatiquement les données au lecteur. Il faut physiquement le scanner, il n’y a pas d’alertes de glycémie trop basse ou trop élevé avec le Libre.

Porter le capteur
Le capteur à une durée de vie de 14 jours. C’est deux fois plus long que le capteur dexcom, qui, à son tour, est déjà plus long que les capteurs Navigateur ou Enlite. Cette durée de vie pourra être intéressante, les capteurs ne seront bien entendu pas remboursés pour l’instant par la Sécurité Sociale. L’écran d’accueil du lecteur affiche le nombre de jours restant du capteur en cours d’utilisation. Le patch autocollant du capteur ne dépasse que de quelques millimètres, j’ai demandé à Abbott s’il pouvait vraiment rester collé 14 jours avec aussi peu de surface collante. Ils m’ont assuré que oui voire que j’aurais peut-être du mal à le décoller au bout des 2 semaines.

Ca commence à se décoller au bout de 6 jours

Il commence à se décoller au bout de 6 jours

Malheureusement pour moi, j’ai eu raison de m’inquiéter. Au bout de 6 jours les bords commençaient à se décoller. La pharmacienne m’a proposé un autocollant transparent pour recouvrir le tout et j’ai hésité. La vie quotidienne reprenant le dessus j’ai trop attendu pour m’en occuper et le matin du 8e jour, le capteur est tout simplement tombé.

J’ai l’habitude de porter mes capteurs de Dexcom de 3 à 5 semaines. Ils restent collés aussi longtemps car je recouvre l’autocollant intégré avec des bandes autocollantes pour athlètes. Le bord de l’autocollant Libre n’est cependant pas assez large pour utiliser cette même technique. J’ai déjà posé mon deuxième capteur et je serai plus vigilante cette fois pour qu’il ne tombe pas.

Scanner le capteur
Il est facile de scanner le capteur avec le lecteur pour avoir les données de taux de glucose et de tendances. Un unique bouton sur le lecteur permet de le réveiller. On place ensuite le lecteur à proximité (max 4cm selon de fabricant, 6cm selon mes mesures) du capteur posé sur le bras. Le résultat, la tendance et la courbe des 8 dernières heures sont affichés sur l’écran de façon instantanée.  Vous pouvez choisir un bip, une vibration ou rien au moment du scan. Il lit à travers des vêtements mais je ne sais pas comment il se comporte en cas de températures extérieures très basses (il peut être pratique de connaitre sa glycémie en faisant des sports d’hiver!).

Fiabilité et précision des données
Comme noté par Abbott, les 24 premières heures avec un nouveau capteur sont “les moins précises”. En effet, après avoir attendu les 60 minutes obligatoires après la pose du capteur, le premier scan que j’ai effectué m’a donné le résultat “LO” (c’est-à-dire moins de 0,40 g/L)!

Sans symptômes, j’ai quand même effectué une glycémie capillaire et le résultat de 0,87g/L me semblait plus vraisemblable. J’ai attendu une heure supplémentaire et là, le capteur Libre, le capteur Dexcom et mon lecteur classique étaient tous plus ou moins d’accord, en tout cas dans la limite de la précision obligatoire pour les lecteurs de glycémie.

2 heures après la pose du capteur

2 heures après la pose du capteur

Depuis, je trouve que les résultats sont très proches de mon lecteur et les tendances quasi-superposables avec les courbes dont j’ai l’habitude de Dexcom.


12 heures de données pour Libre et Dexcom

J’ai demandé à Abbott si on pouvait calculer les doses d’insuline pour un repas à partir des résultats donnés par le capteur. La réponse, très politiquement correcte, “il faut en parler avec votre professionnel de santé”. Mais, pour l’instant, je connais mieux cette technologie que ma diabétologue, je suppose que sa réaction serait de faire une glycémie capillaire avant chaque repas.

Pour ceux qui aimeraient utiliser le calculateur de bolus du lecteur Libre (que je n’utilise pas car il y en a déjà un intégré à ma pompe à insuline), il ne peut être utilisé que dans les 15 minutes après avoir effectué une glycémie capillaire avec le lecteur Libre. Le Libre utilise les mêmes bandelettes que les lecteurs Freestyle Optium ou Neo.

L’effort de marketing d’Abbott par rapport à ce dispositif repose beaucoup sur le fait qu’il permet d’éliminer la contrainte de la piqure au bout du doigt (et ainsi permettre toute sorte de sensations plus douces …. etc etc etc). Mais, dans la réalité, il faut quand même se piquer un peu – pour le calcul de bolus, pour vérifier une hypo ou une hyper, à chaque fois que l’on questionne le résultat du capteur…

Ce qu’il permet, par contre, c’est de vérifier son taux de glucose (et en plus de voir les tendances) de multiples fois par jour tout en limitant les piqures au bout des doigts. Pour l’instant, j’ai une moyenne de 16 scans par jour. C’est peut-être un peu excessif mais c’est dans le but d’apprendre le maximum sur le dispositif et le comparer avec d’autres technologies. Si jamais je décide d’acheter un Freestyle Libre et de l’utiliser sur le long-terme, j’imagine que “l’obsession” serait moindre.

Je vous laisse digérer tout ça… La prochaine fois, des détails sur les fonctionnalités du lecteur et l’analyse des données disponibles sur le lecteur et sur le logiciel téléchargeable.

First impressions of the Freestyle Libre

I am now a week and a half into my one month trial with the soon-to-be-released (in Europe) Abbott flash glucose monitor, the Freestyle Libre. By now there are several places on the Internet to get info about what this new diabetes monitoring device is and how it works. For starters, you can go HERE (I hope that webiste works outside of europe). There are also a number of other bloggers who are trying out the system and since YDMV (your diabetes may vary) I would suggest reading many posts about different experiences with the Libre to get a better idea as to whether it would be a good option for yourself. Check out user reviews by Laura, Mike, Jen and Dave.

One of the most important factors that is influencing my own opinion of the Libre is that I have been using a dexcom CGM for the past year. Flash glucose monitoring is not the same as a “traditional” CGM and it definitely has some advantages and some drawbacks.

Dexcom on left arm

Dexcom on left arm

Libre on right arm

Libre on right arm

This is the first of several posts about this device and I’m going to break them up into individual features that I find are worth considering and give my take on the pros and cons of the Libre. FYI and as illustrated by the fact that I still use an insulin pump that has been off the market for 5 years, I’m quite picky about the features in my diabetes devices. So here goes… Some of my thoughts after 9 days using the freestyle Libre:

It is very easy and virtually pain free to insert. The insertor is spring loaded and the action of pressing it onto the arm releases the spring. You feel the pressure of the device on your skin more then the insetor needle going in. It’s easy to do one handed and on either arm no matter if you are using your dominant hand or not.

The sensor itself is smaller than other cgm sensors I have seen. It’s quite low profile (5mm thick) and round so doesn’t get caught on clothing or purse or backpack straps. It’s definitely nicer looking than the dexcom 4G sensor and transmitter. That said, an important difference between the two is that the Libre doesn’t automatically transmit any data. I’ll get back to that in another post.

The sensor is meant to last upto 14 days. That’s twice as long as the longest CGM sensor on the market! And of course this could be interesting in terms of cost (I’ll get back to that too!). The meter has a countdown on the home screen to let you know how many days are left. The tape around the sensor is impressively small and I asked the reps at Abbott if it would actually stay stuck for 2 weeks without the need for extra tape. They assured me that it was very sticky and I might even have some difficulty peeling it off at the end of the 14 days.

Not so sticky after 6 days

Not so sticky after 6 days

Unfortunately that didn’t turn out to be true for me. After 6 days, I noticed that the edge of the tape seemed to be peeling up. I had heard of “liquid tape” being spoken about on the diabetes online community and enquired in a pharmacy where they didn’t seem to be aware that anything of the sort existed. I hesitated to buy tape to cover the whole sensor and wasn’t sure enough in my abilities to cut a hole in the tape to the exact dimension of the sensor to be able to overlap the tiny bit of tape already there.

Between a busy work and home life, I didn’t take the time to explore more options for glueing or taping the sensor back down quickly enough and on Saturday morning, 7 1/2 days after putting it in, the sensor simply fell off. I’m pretty sure my dexcom sensor would do the same after 7 days if I didn’t reinforce the tape by the end of the first week. It is only with careful taping and retaping that I am able to get multiple weeks out of a dexcom sensor. But a dex sensor is only supposed to last a week. Libre should be able to last 2.

It’s very easy to obtain a reading from the sensor. Simply press the (one and only) button on the meter and bring it close to the sensor on the back of the arm. The reading, the trend arrow and the graph from the last 8 hours appear instantly. You can also chose to have it beep, vibrate or do nothing at all when you scan the sensor with the meter. It can read through clothing so is convenient in almost any situation. I’m curious about the cold weather though. I noted last winter while on vacation in Canada that my dexcom had a little trouble with the very cold temps. And if using the Libre, you’d have to take it out into the cold to scan through a jacket.

As noted by Abbott, the first 24 hours with a new sensor is indeed its “least accurate period”. I was all set to do my first scan at the end of the one hour startup period. Much to my surprise, the meter read LO (meaning under 40mg/dl or 2.2 mmol/L).  Not having any symptoms of a low, I tested with a finger stick using my regular glucose meter. The 87 (4.8mmol/L) staring back at me made much more sense. But another hour later, all 3 of my devices were in very reasonable agreement:

2 hours after insertion all devices agree

2 hours after insertion all devices agree

Since then, I can find no fault in the accuracy compared to dexcom or my meter (especially given the liberal definition of accuracy allowed on glucose meters).  I asked Abbott about dosing insulin off a scanned Libre reading. They gave a vague “talk to your medical professional about it” type of response. But in all honesty, my hcp won’t know this tecnology well enough to give an informed opinion on it and will of course say “only dose insulin for a meal or a correction bolus off a finger stick reading”.

Plus, for anyone who would like to use the bolus calculator included in the meter (I don’t bother as I have that feature in my insulin pump), it can only be used within 15 minutes of a finger stick test using the Libre meter.

Abbott has put a good deal of marketing into the fact that this new flash glucose monitoring technology eliminates the need to stick your fingers (allowing you to enjoy all sorts of gentler sensations with your fingertips… Yadda yadda yadda). But in reality there is still some need for testing, even if you aren’t calibrating the sensor twice daily like with some CGMs.

What the Libre does permit though, is checking glucose levels multiple times per day while only doing a few finger sticks. So far I’ve averaged 16 scans per day which seems like a lot (obsess much?) but also has to do with the fact that I’m testing out the device and comparing it to my meter and my dexcom.

In the next post I’ll get into some of the features of the meter and the data & analysis available both on the meter itself and in the downloadable software.

Système Flash d’autosurveillance du glucose : FreeStyle Libre, un essai d’un mois

C’est la première fois que j’écris en français sur mon blog. Désolée si ça se lit un peu comme une traduction de l’anglais… c’est le cas ! Et merci de me pardonner s’il reste quelques fautes de grammaire…

Au cours des prochaines semaines, je souhaite partager mon expérience du nouveau dispositif d’autosurveillance de glucose de chez Abbott, le Freestyle Libre. Ce lecteur vient de recevoir la marque CE pour la commercialisation en Europe et sera bientôt disponible en France.

Pour commencer il faut que je précise :

J’ai été invité par Abbott à pré-tester le nouveau système FreeStyle Libre qui vient de recevoir la marque CE en Europe mais qui n’est pas encore commercialisé. J’ai reçu gratuitement de la part d’Abbott, le lecteur Flash et deux capteurs (à porter 14 jours chacun). Je remplirai un questionnaire pour le fabricant sur le dispositif à la fin du mois et autrement je suis libre de parler de mon expérience comme je le souhaite. A la fin de mon essai, je rendrai tout matériel non-jetable à Abbott.

Kit de démarrage du Freestyle Libre

Bon, c’est dit, donc je peux commencer… Je suis très contente de pouvoir tester ce nouveau dispositif car c’est le premier lecteur de ce type à être fabriqué. D’après les vidéos que j’ai pu regarder sur le site dédié, je vois déjà des avantages par rapport à un lecteur de glycémie “classique”. De plus, je porte un lecteur de glucose en continue (Dexcom) depuis un an maintenant et j’ai hâte de pouvoir comparer les deux méthodes de suivre ma glycémie.

Quelques avantages évident du système Freestyle Libre :

  • Il n’a pas besoin de calibration, c’est-à-dire, plus besoin d’effectuer de piqure au bout du doigt pour connaitre son taux de glucose et autant de fois par jour qu’on veut ! Mais bien évidemment, la consigne donnée est de tester sa glycémie par une goute de sang si jamais il y a un doute ou pour vérifier une hypoglycémie.
  • Chaque capteur aurait une durée de vie de 14 jours (et j’espère bien que ça reste collé aussi longtemps!!)
  • Le capteur garde des données en mémoire, ce qui veut dire qu’on peut s’éloigner du lecteur pour jusqu’à 8 h sans perdre des données.

Pour l’instant le point négatif qui me saute aux yeux comparé à la technologie que je porte actuellement, c’est qu’il n’y a pas d’alerte pour une glycémie trop basse, trop haute ou qui change très rapidement en montant ou descendant.

Abbott s’appui fortement dans leurs efforts de marketing sur le fait qu’il n’y a plus besoin de se piquer le doigt – à mon avis ils vont un peu trop loin. Dans une des vidéos “teasers” qui sont sorties il y a quelques semaines, il y a la phrase “ce sont les mains qui sont le plus affecté par le diabète”. Je ne peux pas être d’accord. Autant je serais contente de laisser mes pauvres doigts tranquilles, je dirais que mon diabète a beaucoup plus d’effet sur mes émotions et ma santé mentale, sans parler du côté physique des hypers et des hypos quotidiennes et la planification, les calculs et l’organisation qui rempli bien les journées!

Pour l’instant je ne peux pas donner d’avis spécifique sur le produit car je vais poser mon premier capteur vendredi prochain. Par la suite, je ne manquerai pas de relayer mes impressions. Pour l’instant, je ne peux que réjouir du fait que des nouveaux dispositifs de ce type soient développés et commercialisés. Cela dit, commercialisé ne veut pas forcément dire accessible. La sécurité sociale n’est pas encore prêt à rembourser cette nouvelle technologie et je n’ai encore aucune idée de son coût réel (ça sera une de mes questions pour Abbott!).

Donc revenez voir mon blog au cours du prochain mois si vous voulez en savoir plus sur le lecteur Freestyle Libre. Si vous avez des questions, je ferai de mon mieux pour y répondre.

Vous pouvez également suivre les impressions de Fred sur ce nouveau lecteur sur le site de

Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring system – 1 month trial

Over the next month, I am going to be trialling the newly CE approved Freestyle Libre glucose meter by Abbott. This meter has received a whole lot of press this past week (HERE and HERE and all over the diabetes online community on twitter and Facebook) when the news came out that it was going to be released in Europe.

Starter kit for Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring system

I’m going to start right off the bat with the disclaimer :

I have been invited by Abbott to test out the newly CE marked Freestyle Libre glucose monitor, slightly before it is officially released in Europe. I have received the meter and 2 sensors (to be worn 14 days each) free of charge from Abbott. At the ed of the month-long trial, I will be filling out a questionnaire on the system and I am free but not obliged to write more about my experience. I am not being paid to participate in this trial and will return all non-disposible material after the trial to Abbott.

There, now that that’s out of the way, I’m very excited to give this new product a try. From watching a few videos online, I can already see the many advantages it has over a regular blood glucose meter. However, I’ve been wearing a Dexcom CGM for a year now and I am unsure how I’ll feel about some of the differences between this new device and a CGM.

Some of the most obvious perks of the Libre :

  • It requires no calibration, not even at start up – and has only a one hour startup “blind” time. (Although precaution is of course give to test your blood glucose level with a finger stick test if unsure of the Libre reading or to confirm a low.)
  • Sensors are to be worn for 14 days (and I hope they stay stuck that long!!).
  • The sensor stores data so you can be away from the “reader” (hand held part of the kit) for up to 8 hours with no gaps in your graph.

The most obvious downside, at least compared to my current technology, is that it is not a continuous glucose monitor and since I have to scan the sensor for readings, there are no alerts to lows or highs or rapidly rising or falling blood sugar levels.

Abbott is leaning heavily on the “no finger pricks” in their marketing effort – almost too far in my opinion. In one video released in France, they go as far as to say that fingers are what is most affected by diabetes. I strongly disagree with this statement. Even if I would love to give my poor finger tips a break, diabetes has a far greater influence on my emotions and mental health, not to mention the physical side of dealing with daily highs and lows and all the D-planning, D-math and D-organisation that fills my days.

I can’t say much more on the specifics of this new product yet as I won’t be inserting my first sensor until friday this week but I will report back with how I feel about it once I’m wearing it. So far, I’m excited that new technology like this is becoming available. Of course being available and actually having access is another question. As far as I know, there will be no reimbursement for this new product in the European countries where it’s being released over the coming months. I have no idea what the cost will be but that will be one of my questions to Abbott.

So stay tuned over the next month and I promise some feedback and would be happy to try to answer any questions people may have.

Eating out with D and CD

This past week my husband and I have been childless as the girls are spending 10 days with their grandparents. It’s been eerily quiet at home but we’ve been productive with things that are difficult to do with kids under-feet (like go to Ikea and put up new wardrobes). We have also taken advantage of spontaneously being able to go out in the evening to dinner or a movie. And, since next week is our wedding anniversary (8 years!) we planned an evening out in a very nice parisian restaurant. Lucky for us, there is no shortage of choice in that regard!

A neighbour had recommended Saturne. When my husband made the reservation, he gave them a heads up about the fact that my meal needs to be completely gluten free. Eating out is always risky when you have celiac disease but luckily, I rarely have an issue in french restaurants finding gluten free food on the menu. In fact, I have insulted a few chefs over the years just by asking if the sauce might be thickened with flour (Of COURSE not, madame, we only use crème fraiche!!). I know what I generally need to avoid and what dishes are usually ok and I know where the possible stumbling points are (like a biscut sticking out of the top of a chocolate mousse). I’ve got my gluten explanations down pat in french and I have found that the nicer the restaurant, the easier it is to deal with the gluten issue.

We were glad we made a reservation as the restaurant was booked out despite the fact that we went mid week in the middle of july (when half the population of France is on holidays). After we were seated, the first thing the server said was that it was a “carte blanche” 6 course menu with 2 starters, 2 main dishes and 2 desserts, but we would have no idea what would be served until it was actually on the table.

I love being surprised by food since 99.9% of the time I know exactly what I’m eating, both in terms of making sure it’s entirely gluten free and doing my best to guestimate carb content. But it was the next question from the server that really made me smile “Do you have any food allergies?”. This question was asked at each table so we hadn’t actually needed to mention the gluten when we made the reservation.

Food allergies are not a “thing” in France. You aren’t generally asked when invited to someone’s home or when you register for a conference or banquet dinner if you are vegetarian or have any allergies.

In this situation it makes sense that they ask given that everyone in the restaurant are eating the same meal but it is not a question that you’d hear very often around here. They actually told me that the whole meal is gluten free anyway so no worries.

And it was fabulous. A variety of textures and mixes of flavours, beautiful colours on each plate and different types of plates with each course. I should have taken more pictures. Here is the second starter of lobster wrapped in leek and topped with fresh almonds and some tasty greens.


It’s always difficult to bolus correctly for meals like this but I managed with a  small square bolus at first and a regular bolus once I saw the desserts. There were minimal carbs in the first 4 dishes and I wasn’t too hard to guestimate the carbs in the desserts (or, more likely, I got lucky!). My blood sugar stayed below 160 the whole meal and I’ll give partial credit the wine that accompanied each dish for keeping my blood sugar steady around 110mg/dl all night.

The only hiccup in the meal was the last dish which was like a chocolate mousse with a dollop of hay-infused cream and topped with bits of brownie.  I politely declined and when the server remembered that I was “the one with the gluten intolerance”, she quickly took it away and brought back a very chic fruit salad with green and orange melon, rhubarb and apricots, sprinkled with a variety of fresh herbs.

With the title of this post, it sounds like I’m going out to dinner with friends! Unfortunately I don’t have the choice to leave these two “friends” at home but I certainly don’t let them stop me from going out and enjoying myself.  I am so appreciative that I can trust a restaurant to give me a truly gastronomic meal with little fear on being “glutened”.

It was a lovely and relaxing evening out and a wonderful way to celebrate 8 years of marriage.

Voices in the #doc

The diabetes online community is amazing. There are so many committed, inspiring, and articulate individuals who contribute to the sense of community. These advocates Share their stories and spearhead actions that we can all participate in to increase awareness and support each other in the day to day burdens of managing diabetes.

Some of these people and initiatives are so amazing that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and think, “but what can I possibly contribute after what all these folks have already done and are doing?”. The internet is so full of accessible information and support about living with diabetes these days. Sure, I can add my voice, but won’t it just get drowned in the ocean of voices that are already out there (and that have more interesting, funny and inspiring things to say than me)?

And then something happens that reminds me that each voice is important.

I co-founded and moderate the #frdoc weekly tweetchats. They are very much based on the #dsma principles and format, but are in french and in a timezone that makes sense for people living in France. It’s a small group each week, as people tend not to be very public about living chronic illness here and twitter seems to have more of a professional than personal use in France. There are few PWD on twitter – or at least people who use twitter as a means to communicate about living with diabetes. But despite its modest reach, the group is slowly growing in participants and lurkers.

At one tweetchat a little while ago, the topic was finding the “positive” in living with diabetes. Before the chat began, someone who had until then never participated, tweeted to ask if the topic was a joke and how could anyone ever find anything positive about living with diabetes. After I replied that no, it was definitely not a joke, she decided to participate in the chat. At the end of the hour, her final comment was “Thank you so much for this chat. I will now be open to exchanges with other PWDs that I had, until now, been avoiding. It will have taken this unbelievable topic!”

Sometimes it just takes being a voice there in the right time and place (and in the right language) to make a positive difference in the life of one person. And that’s really what the #DOC is all about, isn’t it?