Diaversary: 9 years and counting…

The news fell exactly nine years ago: my body decided to relieve the pancreas from its sugar-regulating duties, and I saw “blood-glucose-management” being added to my full-time task list forever.

I don’t celebrate this event, but I think it is important to regularly assess my own “State Of Diabetes”. I started doing this last year, so what changed since?

  1. Freestyle Libre [again]:
    No more flying blind! I am still a very happy user of the Libre. Sometimes I have to go for a few days without, it is a big headache and an uncomfortable feeling of randomness. The ease of getting a measurement, and  having the full picture and the rate of change my new benchmark. Going back to test strips feels like getting snapshots instead of live videos.
  2. Tresiba:
    Such a nice, stable and forgiving basal insulin. Been using it for about a year, I didn’t have a single severe hypoglycaemia since (also partly thanks to using the libre). Best thing about it is that the annoying hypo symptoms are gone! No more panic, no more sweating and shaking! I feel the hypo coming, I deal with it. The profile is also quite flat and it never drops to dangerous levels. Novo Nordisk scared me with the decision of taking off the German market. Luckily they didn’t.
  3. Pre-Bolus:
    I now inject pre and post meals. Yes, two injections for one meal when necessary. It makes a difference: no peaks and no hypos after meals. Again, partly made possible by using the Libre and not changing the needle for every shot.
  4. Reusing needles:
    I never thought I’d do this, but here we are… I started using needles for more than one shot. Why? Because it’s convenient (read fast), doesn’t hurt that much and every other diabetic I know does it. One needle for every 3-4 bolus shots, but still one per basal shot.
  5. Embracing the unexplained:
    After a few weeks with the Libre I started micro managing my glucose. But it was simply impossible as the number of factors that influence blood glucose in unlimited. Many of them are invisible or un-trackable. Being obsessed with controlling something uncontrollable drove me crazy so I just gave up the obsession to understand every detail. Somedays the body does what it wants, and there is nothing I can do about it. Accepting it was key to my inner-peace of mind.
  6. Med Angel:
    Insulin Angel was the start, it is Med Angel is now. It is funny how scratching a “little” itch related to keeping my insulin cool became my full time job. I even moved to another country to develop it. Starting 2016 with a full team and a solid plan, and hoping to bring it to everyone who needs it as soon as possible.

Happy diabetes anniversary!

Exactly eight years ago, day by day, I was lying in a hospital bed receiving the Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Unlike the horror stories I heard from almost all diabetics I met later, I felt relieved. At the time I lost one quarter of my weight, my blood turned very dark red and quite acidic, I could barely move or talk. The doctor has told  me that I was lucky for arriving to the hospital then, because I was hours away from a deadly Ketoacidosis. I thought I had some nasty virus or something, not something as benign as diabetes.

Credits: http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/would-understand#14
Credits: http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/would-understand#14

The reason why diabetes did  not scare me is because we had it in the family for more than a decade already, my younger brother has it since he was three, and that is really tough. I was familiar with the injections, and the blood tests and the hypoglycaemic episodes, it was part of our lives, so it did not come as a shock.

Eight years passed by, and I never thought diabetes would have such an important part in my life. To make a long story short I will cite the highlights in bullet points below:

  1. The switch to Pens: When I moved to Germany I switched from syringes to pens. Less painful and much much more practical. A couple of weeks ago I had to use a syringe because I ran out of pen needles and I remembered how painful it is! For six years I used only pens and got used to them. It’s amazing how we humans get used to change (especially more comfortable)!

    Credits: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/Blausen_0580_Insulin_Syringe%26Pen.png
    Credits: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/Blausen_0580_Insulin_Syringe%26Pen.png
  2. The other diabetics: The other major development was meeting other diabetics. Until I went to the first meetup of the Berlin Diabetes and digital Technology group, the only people in my “diabetes world” were myself, my family and my doctor. Then all of a sudden I found myself surrounded with people who are dealing with the same challenges and problems I deal with on a daily basis. This only got greater when I discovered the #dedoc community. I started talking about daily habits and exchanging experiences about the most obvious stuff (insulin and diet related stuff) and the less obvious stuff (lifestyle, psychological etc…). More importantly, most of the people active in the first group are tech savvy and working on some digital solution for a diabetes-related problem. Which leads me to the next point.

    Credits: Dmitri Kaatz
    Credits: Dmitri Kaatz
  3. InsulinAngel: This is taking a (scarily) considerable part in my life at the moment. It started when I got doubts about the effectiveness of my insulin in summer and in hot climates. I also once lost my entire stock of insulin because the fridge was not functioning properly. So I thought of a device that would measure my insulin’s temperature and warn me when it gets critical. And what started as a hobby project gained momentum especially thanks to the groups cited above , and is becoming my full time occupation. I learned A LOT about insulin and diabetics in the process. But (much) more on that in future posts.
  4. The FreeStyle Libre: This one is very fresh! I have it for a couple of days now (thank you my captain and #dedoc). It is my new favourite device and also the one causing me quite some trouble. It is some kind of pseudo-continuous glucose monitoring system. A sensor on the arm, tap it with the reader and get the blood glucose value instantly. From the 4-6 measurements/day I now scan it around 50-60 times/day and have my entire 24h overview. It’s amazing to see how my blood sugar evolves throughout the day and during my sleep! It’s like the difference between having a surveillance camera and a couple of snapshots! I feel like I was blind and guessing all the time before starting to use it. First insight: I don’t have full control over my blood glucose and I probably never will. It’s not a simple add sugar / add insulin formula. Learning about my glycaemic metabolic processes is still under way (it will probably be a constant work in progress throughout my life) and I’m really curious how this will affect my diabetes and diabetes management. For now I’m super excited and I can’t believe how I lived without this all this time! Stay tuned for my full review.FreeStyle Libre on arm

So, when I look back what do I see? A lot of inconveniences, headaches, some quite stressful situations, but also many new friends, challenges and a very exciting project!

I guess that’s what they call seeing the glass half full, right?

Let’s blog again!

December comes to an end and it is that time of the year when we start thinking about new year’s resolutions. One of my top resolutions this year is to start blogging again (… yes again :))

Dusty typewriterCredits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackazphotography/

This blog has been abandoned for too long, and it’s really funny to see that my last post is my thoughts about why is blogging hard.

Some people write to get something out of their system, not really caring who reads it or why, and they don’t seek any kind of  interaction or engagement, others earn their money with it, they do it professionally and optimise content and code to drive traffic and engagement.

I personally write to share thoughts, experiments, experiences, rants, etc… And I care about who reads it. I made many life long friends (even life-shaping friendships) through sharing stuff on my blog. I started blogging before social media and social networks became the an important part of the internet landscape. So I decided to set up a little link to my social networks, hoping to increase reach and interactions: Every post I write is automatically shared on my social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).

I will also try my best to post at least once a week from now on.

It’s good to be back ;)

Who’s a blogger?

Note: I wrote this post almost a year ago, saved it to add links to some blogs, and didn’t manage to publish it.

I can not count how many times I decided to blog in a serious and sustained way the last two years. I tried to start over again and again, I gave the blog different new templates, I…

But it did not work for long time, do you know why?
Because blogging is HARD! There are a few bloggers I consider as idols, or examples to follow: Nadia, Zizou, Tarek, Pink Lemon, and recently the superengineer Jean Claude. I read (almost) every single post they publish, and although they blog in completely different “facons”, with completely different paces, and write about totally different things, I consider them all as bloggers. REAL BLOGGERs! So I decided to dig deeper into my thoughts and find out what makes them all such good bloggers, although they are so different.
It takes motivation, inspiration, time and a minimum of serious work to produce a good quality post. Each and every one of their posts bring some “added value”. These people sit down in front of their screens and they PRODUCE content, it could be a comment, or an opinion, or a new concept, or a meeting minute, or a review but it is always some new and exclusive content.
I have been there before, I asked myself why do I have a blog, is it to exist on the web? is it to share my life?….
So I think now I discovered who is a blogger: it is not someone who creates a blog, it is not someone who blogs three times a day, it is definitely not someone who copies and pastes some content from somewhere else.
A blogger produces genuine content. Period.

Amin Maalouf et #TnZoo

J’ai fini de lire “Le Premier Siècle après Béatrice” de mon auteur favori Amin Maalouf depuis quelques mois, mais je l’ai laisse trainer sur mon bureau. En le rangeant ce soir, j’ai remarque que j’avais marqué deux pages*. Un passage m’avait particulièrement marque et m’a fait réfléchir sur la situation actuelle en Tunisie:

Quand nous étions ensemble, dans son salon, a repenser le monde, il m’incitait toujours a écarter les idées ambiantes “comme on écarte les épluchures d’un fruit, délicatement par égard pour le fruit, mais sans aucun égard pour les épluchures

Et c’est exactement pourquoi je ne prête pas d’attention aux “faits divers” de la politique, économie et société tunisiennes; qu’un ministre dise des conneries, que le gouvernement veuille (pseudo-)régler le problème du transport en important 21000 tuktuks ou que le syndicat annule une grève générale sans qu’on sache les détails du comment et du pourquoi, ça m’est EGAL! Je ne peux pas me permettre de gaspiller mon temps et mon énergie a suivre ces détails. Il y a des gens qui le font, qui doivent le faire ou qui prennent plaisir a suivre les moindres points et virgules, et je ne pense pas que c’est faux. Je préfère simplement aller directement au “fruit”, et jeter les “épluchures”.

Je pense que les défis majeurs que la Tunisie doit aujourd’hui relever (indépendamment de la “révolution”) sont:

  • Un profond malaise social né d’une culture collectiviste oppressante.
  • Un système éducatif archaïque qui tue la créativité et l’espoir.
  • Une économie classique non-roductrice de vraie valeur.

Donc je pense qu’il vaut mieux investir le petit peu de temps qu’on a sur terre dans une/des solutions a un/plusieurs problèmes évoqués ci-dessus.

Je vais essayer de partager mes idées, opinions et projets tant que possible pour susciter de l’intérêt et motiver plus de gens a combattre ces fléaux.

Tunisie Upside down

*Je vais aborder le deuxième passage bientôt j’espère (hint: ça a un rapport avec la polygamie)