The New Dia Bag – CMC Urban Pack | PDM Carrying Case

For the past few years, Caleb’s been able to effectively carry his OmniPod PDM and other essentials in this: Photo Jul 17, 3 16 47 PMContents and full post about this nifty little case can be found here. Contents of his updated bag mentioned below can be found here.

This year, he’s upgraded to something a little bigger. Things were a little cramped in the other bag. But the proportions of the bag to his body were good so we made it work. Now that he has a bigger body, he can handle a little bigger bag without being too clumsy. I wasn’t looking for a new bag; I just happened upon this. It’s by the make maker of the smaller one, and I figured it was worth a shot.

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PDM Carrying Case | CMC Urban PackHe carries about the same stuff in it. He uses his iPod to keep me updated throughout the day, and this case has ample room for that. He typically carries his DexCom receiver with his Tallygear cover in a pocket, but there’s enough room to stash it in this bag if he’s going to active and doesn’t want to carry it.

An unplanned advantage of this new bag is that it holds his new Nightscout rig perfectly in a separate, safe compartment!

More on our CGM in the Cloud experience coming next. (Click here)

OmniPod® Insulin Management System UST400 | User Review

OmniPod® UST400Please see our comprehensive review of the OmniPod UST200 system which still applies to the UST400 system.

Executive summary of our review of the UST400 system: lighter, more discreet, better performance, improved range, minor annoyances of new ID screen and multiple confirm screens. Negligible failure rate.

Digging Deeper:

The smaller Pod is the most noticeable change for us, as users for over six years. Caleb’s reaction was immediate and dramatic. It is lighter and more comfortable. For days he continued to comment about it – less noticeable under his clothes, could barely feel it, and it’s so light. Caleb never ever complained about the former Pod. He doesn’t complain about much when it comes to diabetes, and he’s also not easily impressed by diabetes developments. So for him to go on and on about how awesome the new Pod is, is noteworthy.

Other improvements I like:

  • The range. It is nothing like the increased range that the Dexcom G4 provides, but it is improved. I have found that at times I can be in the hallway while Caleb is in his room sleeping and change a basal rate. In a vehicle, I can deliver a bolus without having to reach back or pass the PDM. Little things like that are a nice plus. It’s not completely reliable though. Particularly if the Pod is on Caleb’s back and he’s facing me thereby creating a barrier between Pod and PDM, connection can be difficult.
  • IOB on the home screen. Easy peasy, always at the ready. I no longer need to continuously do math to figure out what’s left of delivered bolus’. Caleb is also much more aware of IOB since it’s in his face all the time.

That’s pretty much it. Other than that it’s business as usual for us.

Other Observations:

  • I was really looking forward to the new IOB calculation. I thought this would be a significant improvement for us. It’s not. After so many years of dealing with IOB, we’re so aware of it, that the calculation is nothing more than a verification for us.
  • Although the improvements from our perspective are few, the smaller Pod size is a substantial enhancement – much more than I expected. Not only does Caleb find it more comfortable, but we’re getting improved insulin delivery. Caleb is back to changing his Pods every three days rather than every other day. His blood sugars have also been much more consistent – this may or may not be to the new Pod. He’s on a new schedule at school which may have something to do with it, but I think the Pod is a contributing factor.
  • As far as error rate, for several months this was not an issue for us. Over about five months we maybe had two errors.This has changed since the temperature dropped and coats went back on. We seem to be having a static issue. We had this during the first winter of using Omnipod, but not since. After years of going into school for maybe one Pod error a year, I’ve been into school several times in just the past few weeks to change an errored Pod. It seems to be coincident with putting on or taking off a coat. I hope Insulet will figure this out soon like they did with the older Pods.
  • The ID screen is fun – I can change the name to something funny like “Foxy” after Caleb spent a week singing, “What Does The Fox Say”, to give him a chuckle the next time he turns it on. He can do the same – leave me little messages to make me smile. It’s also annoying – especially for night checks. I suppose the increased range increases the risk that the wrong person can get bolused when there are multiple Podders is the room. Since there are none in our proximity, it would be nice to turn it off.
  • The extra confirm screens are also a minor nuisance and even less so than the ID screen, so it’s really not even worth mentioning.

We are very happy with the system. We’ve spoken to Caleb about trying out other pumps. He is not interested. He values the tubelessness of OmniPod over anything else that is available for insulin pumpers today.

Abbott Freestyle and Freestyle Lite Strips Recall

Several weeks ago we went through this:

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This was after a few other lows – like 30s lows – that we didn’t verify. We just treated, only to see something like 300 pop up a couple hours later.

Three was not our lucky number for a few days.

Caleb has used Freestyle strips since he was diagnosed. We have never had an issue like this with false lows. There is the occasional, unusually high number that warrants a double check before infusing significant doses of insulin, which brings a different result. But we haven’t experienced this false low issue.

We stopped using that particular vial of strips, started testing strips with control solution and haven’t had an issue since. It seems like we might not have been the only ones experiencing this:

Important Urgent Product Recall FreeStyle® andFreeStyle Lite® Test Strips

Please click the above link for full details. Only certain meters are affected.

Lots being recalled are as follows:

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photoI checked all our strips this morning.

The release also states: “A test strip insert is included with every carton of test strips, and provides very important product information. Please read your test strip insert carefully to ensure that you are using the correct Blood Glucose Meter for your test strip type.” 

Freestyle Lite strips are technically not approved for use with the OmniPod controller.

Insulet Investor Call Q1 2013 | New OmniPod

Insulet released Q1 earnings today and held a related investor call. There were statements made that give me the impression there may be a light at the end of the waiting-for-the-new-system tunnel.

The explanation for the delay of deployment for new customers was provided by Duane DeSisto, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, beginning with the discussion of greater than anticipated interest from new customers resulting in greater demand than original expectations:

“With this significant uptick in demand we did make the decision to delay the transition of existing customers for approximately ninety days in order to build additional OmniPod supply. While the manufacturing process continues to improve we had an unexpected component issue that resulted in lower than planned production in the latter part of Q1. While this component issue was quickly identified and remedied…we determined it most prudent to build inventory to ensure that both manufacturing lines were operating efficiently before we commenced the transition of over 45,000 customers to the new OmniPod. At this point we expect that conversion to start in the next few weeks and we remain confident that nearly all customers will be transitioned by the end of the third quarter.”

Later on in the call when asked: “Do you have inventory levels today to support that transition, or do you think you will have that by the end of the month?” Answer was: “We will have inventory levels here in the next few weeks that we will start converting people.”

Other news:

Lilly Partnership to develop a new OmniPod targeted toward highly insulin resistant people with type 2 diabetes to deliver Humilin U500 insulin. 

As previously disclosed, Insulet has signed a development agreement with an unnamed CGM partner for the development of a sensor to be included in the OmniPod. Human trials are hoped to begin in early 2014. This would be make Insulet the only provider of a system with one product on the body and one handheld device for both insulin pump and CGM.

Listen to the entire call here.

Information is helpful. Thank you for sharing, Insulet. Keep it coming, please.

Read it here.

Six Years of Waiting | #OmniPod®

Caleb with his first Pod.

Caleb with his first Pod.

It was at this time of year six years ago when David attended an informational session for the OmniPod system, just a few weeks before Caleb started pumping. At that session – six years ago – the sales rep spoke about a new, smaller Pod that would be available “soon”.

Six. Years. Ago.

This past December, Insulet announced that FDA approval had been obtained for these new Pods. Wahoo! They were careful to set expectations clearly – they are not available yet, but distribution would begin at the end of February and when it’s time to reorder, you’ll get the new system. I thought that was great – be upfront with your customers and don’t over-promise.

It’s the end of March and there is no sign of us getting the new system. When we ask Insulet representatives, there is no clear response and we get some mumbo-jumbo about needing to set up training for the new system.

It’s been over three months since the announcement. When Insulet made the announcement, they stated they had planned for this transition for over a year. We’ve waited patiently since December. We are ready to reorder, which we were told was the basis for the transition and would be seamless. But we are now told we can only have the older generation Pods, and there is no clear expectation of when Caleb can begin using the new system.

Six years, Insulet. Does that count for nothing? We have been loyal and supportive. We don’t expect a red carpet, but we don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect you to acknowledge your long-standing customers in some way. We’ve stood by you for six years. We haven’t complained. But now, I have to be honest, I’m irked.

I see new customers with their new systems. They have been loyal to other pump companies, even critical of OmniPod in some cases, but they are getting priority. This isn’t sitting well with me.

I get the business end of this – I do. But part of good business is setting reasonable expectations for your customers. In my mind, Insulet has over-promised and under-delivered.

We will remain loyal, Insulet. We believe in your product. I can’t say I don’t feel a little taken advantage of by being put at the end of the line after all this time, perhaps because you know we are so loyal.

It’s been six years.

Looking back over the years and some of Caleb’s activity with OmniPod:

Bloody Keys | Wordless Wednesday

TriCamp with Coach Cliff | TriRidgefield

Last summer, Colin had a very exciting and fun week at TriRidgefield’s Kids Camp. For about a year before, Colin had great interest in running and that extended to triathlon training the more and more he heard about it.

He had no hesitation about signing up again this year. When I asked Caleb if he wanted to go, he said. “No, that’s Colin’s thing. My thing is baseball.” I could not influence him to change his mind.

Then his school held a Rod Dickson Kids Marathon training event and Caleb got the bug. His interest did a 180 degree turn. He was in for Kids Camp 120%.

Colin cheering on brother Caleb

I was thrilled to see Caleb excited about this discipline, pleased to see him and his brother share an interest and tickled to know that he would be under the tutelage of Coach Cliff Scherb, Ironman.

Cliff and Caleb both have type 1 diabetes, use the OmniPod and DexCom Seven Plus systems. They both have rocking buzz cuts which enhance their speediness. :)

Caleb had a fantastic week. He had so much fun. I was worried it would be a little too intense for him. He said the workouts were exhausting, but only when I asked. His consistent reference to his days at camp were “That was fun. Camp is so much fun. I can’t wait to go back because it’s so fun. Fun, fun, fun!!”

Colin finishing the bike

Since last year’s camp experience, Colin got a new bike. It is just about the only thing he got for Christmas this year. He saved up every penny that came his way and asked anyone interested in getting him a gift to contribute to his bike. After the first day of camp he felt validated in this investment. I wouldn’t describe camp as uber competitive, but there are some serious kid athletes in attendance. Colin made a great improvement this year over last and finished second in his age group.

Caleb didn’t place, but he did fabulously. I was so proud of both of them.

photobomb by Grandma Grace

When I interviewed Cliff in 2010, I asked for advice on Colin’s behalf. He emphasized swimming for the younger crowd. I saw firsthand how important this part of the race is. Colin was not the fastest swimmer, but he came out pretty strong and made up some time in the bike and run. I could see how not having any prior swim experience other than goofing around in the pool impacted Caleb’s performance. He and Lila are now in weekly swim lessons! But I have to say that the improvement in his technique in just the one week of tricamp was astounding.

I cannot say enough about what nice, professional and encouraging people Evan (the camp director) and Coach Cliff are. The kids were great, the parents were great – it was a fabulous week all around.

It’s been said over and over what a terrific guy Cliff is, but you’ll have to tolerate me saying it yet again. He really is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. This was not a diabetes camp, but Caleb and Cliff had that connection. Just knowing that there was someone around him that understood was a great influence to Caleb, and the fact that it was Cliff, a humble, kind and skilled athlete, made the experience even sweeter.

I was lucky enough to contribute to an article in Diabetes Forecast that featured Cliff that I invite you to check out. He talks about being an Ironman and living with diabetes and balancing the two. It’s really no joke – this guy is an expert when is comes to endurance training and managing blood sugars. Every time I talk to him I get a new tip. I am so blessed to have had so much direct exposure to that brain trust. If training of this nature is at all an interest of yours, please read Cliff’s story. He is the founder and principal coach of TriStar Labs in Norwalk, CT. We’re looking forward to cheering him on this August when he races in the Ironman US Championship in New York City.

Caleb’s OmniPod® PDM & DexCom™ Carrying Cases

When Caleb is at school, he keeps him PDM with him wherever he goes. Over the years the way he transports it from place to placed has changed. When he was younger it was the sole responsibility of the teachers to make sure that it was with him at all times they carried it. During this past year that organically changed to him being responsible for it – not officially, but practically speaking, he’s the one with it. The exceptions are gym, recess or any other event that requires him to be active. The teacher is still responsible for it in these cases

When he was in preschool, we used a hard-drive case to keep his PDM and essentials safe. When he started elementary school, his regular OmniPod® case was carried around in a cinch sack. That was kind of big, although not bulky. His school nurse suggested one with an NYY symbol, so that made it “cool”.

Then last year when we were in Florida I found a little bag in the golf supply section of the ESPN store of Downtown Disney. I liked it because it seemed cool and a little more mature. It’s like a mini back-pack. The fact that it opened from the top instead of like a notebook seemed a little awkward. I kneeled in the store and assembled all of Caleb’s necessities in it to give it a test drive. It seemed do-able, so we gave it a shot.

It’s the only bag he’s used since and we currently have no intention of switching. It’s just the right size to hold everything he needs. It’s sporty and somewhat “hip”. We’re on our second iteration since the first was getting worn out.

So here’s what it looks like with his Dexcom™ receiver in his SPIBelt™:

DexCom in SPIbelt™ with Caleb’s OmniPod PDM carrying case

Here is everything that is kept inside the PDM case:

All the necessities that must be with Caleb at all times including his bg/dosing chart

View of the case from the top when it’s packed:

Caleb’s PDM case with main compartment open – chart, PDM, strips and poker at the ready

Separately I carry his insulin, extra Pods, glucagon and his EpiPen (peanut allergy), wipes, syringes in a different case. The school nurse also keeps a glucagon and EpiPen in her office. As Caleb has grown, he carries the Dexcom™ receiver in his pocket about as much as he uses the SPIbelt™.

The case is the CMC Mini Day Pack™ and it comes it lots of colors and also a few patterns.

#OmniSkinz for the #OmniPod – “Switch It Up!”

My friend Emily is an amazing photographer. I have always loved her work – check it out here.

Well it seems she has an equally amazing fiancé who has created OmniSkinz. The product kind of speaks for itself: 

You can see more photos of OmniSkinz here.
As an OmniPod user, would you like to be able to Switch out what your Pod looks like? Would you like to have a collection of covers that you can use to accessorize your Pod? To match your outfit? To better conceal it? To show your love of a sport, musician, color, whatever?
I mentioned to its creator, Scott, how Caleb would love to see a green (his favorite color) one or a NYY one and voila:
Is this fun or what?
Stickers have never really stuck for us. Decorating just never really seemed worth it other than for Christmas trees. But I really think it would be neat for Caleb to go to his valet tray and pick his OmniSkinz from day to day, or Pod change to Pod change. He’s always liked switching out his medical ID bracelets in this way. Plus, it sure would make it a little more fun when other kids notice it; even, dare I say it, cool.
So Scott is asking for your help in getting this product off the ground. You can read more about his story here, which has a link to the survey he is asking you to complete, or go to the survey directly here.
I’m looking forward to sharing this idea with Caleb especially because Scott talks about the evolution of his invention in his blog post and Caleb is going through this right now with his own invention for a school project. I just posted on Facebook this morning a statement Caleb made last night: “You know you’re an inventor when you see problems as opportunities.”
I think Scott and Emily have really taken advantage of a wonderful opportunity!

Abbott Strips Approved by FDA for use with OmniPod

It’s not yet mentioned on Insulet’s site, but according to this report, the strips are now approved. It’s nice to be hearing so much from the FDA in 2012. It’s like someone woke up!

FDA clears Abbott’s Freestyle for use with Insulet’s OmniPod