OK, this is a tad embarrassing, but it just goes to show you that technology needs to simplify our lives, or it isn't much use, is it?
What I'm talking about is the fact that I, aka Mz. Diabetes Technology Proponent, have not been using any of the software available for downloading and analyzing my glucose data on a regular basis — until very recently. On a personal level, I'm actually pretty low-tech for someone who can get so excited about the potential of technology. I don't want to use anything that further complicates my life. Period. So I've mostly admired logging programs from afar.
What changed? You got it: super-CDE Gary Scheiner got hold of me, and insisted that in order to help improve my BG control, he would need to see "inside the box."
I was forced to admit that I hadn't downloaded anything in ages, although in my defense, the OmniPod software was traditionally pretty useless. But now of course they have integration with Abbott's CoPilot software, and I am finally learning to navigate.
Since this program has been out on the market for a while, I'm probably not telling you anything completely new here, but I wanted to share my experience, and celebrate a bit too, over the happy results. (Community tip: you will need to download the extension to make it work.)
State of the Union: It's Time to Cure Diabetes
President launching new precision medicine initiative to better treat, cure diseases like diabetes.
'Robotic Pancreas' Appears On American Idol
Carlos Santana's nephew Adam Lasher shows off Dexcom G4 during live performance.
Metformin: A Great Lakes Disaster?
Wisconsin researchers find diabetes drug being discharged into Lake Michigan, affecting fish.
To be honest, I was looking for an instructional video to start, because: 1) I'm pretty much always swamped and pressed for time these days, and 2) who the heck wants to read through a User Guide in PDF format with chapters and everything? Nothing doing.
So I did what most of us do: I just plugged in the cable and started clicking on things. The homepage is pretty clear and user-friendly. However, it took a little while to figure out that with the OmniPod, you can't just click on the "Read Device" window, but rather: you need to select the "DataEntry" tab at top, and then select, "Read OmniPod PDM."
Note also that when the USB cable is connected, your PDM goes to "sleep," meaning no insulin delivery while downloading. So do it quick and don't forget to disconnect before you start playing with the data reports.
Sharing Your Data
My biggest priority was just getting the data over to my CDE, and I was amazed at how easy that part was. You select the "Host" tab at top, and click on "Invite to Share Data," and you'll find that CoPilot has a database full of hundreds of doctors and CDEs around the country who are already signed on to the program. You just pick them from the directory and send them an "invite." You can also send them an email invitation if they're not already on-board.
This worked flawlessly with Gary's office, as they accepted the invitation right away. My endo was in the list too, but somehow when I visited her office, she didn't seem to know a thing about being in the CoPilot system. Weird. Just goes to show you that CDEs are indeed the go-to folks if you really want to pour over BG data.
Lookin' at My Numbers
My eyes always kind of glaze over when I'm hit with too many complex-looking data charts. (Have I mentioned that I hate math? Especially diabetes math!) But slowly, I started to appreciate the value of all these tables and numbers.
For one thing, you can easily print out an OmniPod PDM Settings Report, which shows all your basal segments, IC ratio, correction factor, etc., etc. This beats the heck out of writing it all down. I am adding this printout to my D-travel pack, because that backup PDM won't be much use if I don't know the details of how to program it. D'oh!
Then, just have a look at these results. Below, the yellow is pre-meal, and the blue is post. I had a feeling that pre-dinner was the "witching hour" for me. But I'm pretty darn happy with the rest of it.
Just look at all that green in the pie charts below. Pre-breakfast is apparently my happy time! (before food enters the picture, right)
And now for the crowning glory. Below is a "histogram report" for my readings over the last two weeks. Do you see that giant green bar? Do you?!
What all this does is remind me that seeing your numbers graphed out can: 1) identify problem areas, and 2) be pretty encouraging, when things are going well.
btw, my numbers didn't look this good in the first weeks I started using CoPilot. It's only the many things that Gary has made me do that have gotten me here. Finally using a high-tech logging program was sort of like the final frontier for me. Thank you, Gary!
And to top it all off I just got my latest A1c results yesterday morning: 6.1, BABY!! Seems all of this counting and tracking and uploading has made a tangible difference in my control after all. Hard to describe how lovely that feels!