The Savvy Diabetic

Blog

Shop for Research

Buy the book, organizer or some apparel and a portion goes to finding the cure

LOOPing POSTS

Get The Latest Information on LOOPing

Learn what it is, if it's for you, and more...

LOOPing POSTS
ADVOCATE POSTS

Find an Advocate

ADVOCATE: n. [ad-vuh-kit, -keyt]: a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.

It’s really not very hard … and it’s really important. After all, who’s more important to your own life than you? It is survival.

ADVOCATE POSTS

21th Annual Shooting Stars JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes Sunday, October 23, 2016 in Newport Beach, CA at The Waffle House

For a contribution of $50 (or MORE!), walkers will receive a VERY COOL Shooting Stars Team T-Shirt while supplies last. Contact Joanne if you are interested in attending the event. joanne@TheSavvyDiabetic.com. To donate on-line, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/z5c2x8e.

Savvy Sweet Fun: SUGAR

I just read a fun and comprehensive blog post on the FIFTY SIX (56) names for sugar, thanks to Nicole Pajer on ASweetLife.com.

Sugar is everyone and in so many of the foods we eat.  According to the article, added sugar is in (hiding or not obvious) in 74% of packaged food! 

“A sugar or carb, no matter what the source, with increase your blood sugar,” says Danielle Carlesimo, a registered dietitian at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Michigan. Carlesimo is quick to add, however, that just because “natural” sweeteners like honey have some nutritional value, they will still cause blood glucose to spike and should therefore be avoided.

 

The list is long and detailed and fascinating! 

Here’s the list … but definitely read all about each sugar: You Should Know These 56 Names for Sugar
Agave nectar, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Blackstrap molasses, Brown rice syrup,  Brown sugar, Buttered sugar, Cane juice crystals, Cane sugar, Carmel, Carob syrup, Caster sugar, Coconut sugar, Confectioner’s sugar, Corn syrup, Crystalline fructose, Date sugar, Demerara sugar, Dextrin, Dextrose, Diastatic malt, Ethyl maltol, Evaporated cane juice, Florida crystals, Fructose, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrates, Galactose, Glucose, Golden sugar, Golden syrup, Grape sugar, High-fructose corn syrup, Honey, Icing sugar, Invert sugar, Lactose, Malt syrup, Maltodextrin, Maple syrup. Molasses syrup, Muscovado sugar, Oat syrup, Panela, Panocha, Raw sugar, Refiner’s syrup, Rice bran syrup, Sorghum syrup, Sucanet, Sucrose, Syrup, Treacle, Tapioca syrup, Turbinado sugar, Yellow sugar

CGM under Medicare: Liberty Medical Takes Order and Ships!!!

Here’s an update from Frank, one of my readers:

“Liberty” phoned me Tuesday and said Medicare had OK’d the new billing codes and they could start filling claims. They emphasized that if Medicare denies the claim & any appeals, I will be responsible, which is okay with me since I’m currently paying cash anyway. This morning I got a email from Liberty saying that my G5 starter kit was shipped. The UPS tracking says I’ll receive it on the 16th.

Congratulations Frank and thank you, Liberty!  Looks like there is progress on the Medicare/CGM front.  Billing codes are in place.  Now, as soon as Medicare publishes their coverage criteria, we can all feel more confident that our Dexcom CGM supplies will indeed be covered by Medicare!  And I’m sure that is coming.

Maybe even Dexcom will allow us to order directly from them, unless this is a stipulation by Medicare.  And watch for the Medicare requirements for each order.  Still looks like you can’t only order sensors and not sure about the meter and strips they are sending along with each kit.

Savvy Updates 3.5.2017: Fasting, Finns, Funding

As always, lots happening in the diabetes world of technology, research and more!

Fasting Diet Regenerates Beta Cells in Mice was featured on InsulinNation.com, 24 February 2017.  The subtitle: The cyclical diet also restored insulin sensitivity.
Researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of California have published findings in the journal Cell that suggest that a fasting-mimicking diet induced the bodies of diabetes-model mice to grow new beta cells and restore insulin sensitivity.
They added (PLEASE READ THIS): Multiple news stories reporting on these findings contain a “do not try this at home” disclaimer paragraph, and with good reason. These findings should not be considered a license to stop insulin therapy. Also, no one with diabetes should consider undertaking a major shift in diet without discussing it with their medical team. Finally, it’s important to remember that what works in mice may not work the same way with humans; the mouse pancreas is more simple in structure than the human pancreas, and there have been many mouse “cures” for diabetes that do not provide nearly the same results for humans.
However, this study joins a growing body of research that suggests that carefully regulated, scientifically-approved fasting may induce short-term and long-term changes in the body, and that some of those changes could be found to provide health benefits for people with chronic conditions or who are undergoing chemotherapy.
Remember, we are NOT mice!
Read more:

Fasting Diet Regenerates Beta Cells in Mice
Fasting-Mimicking Diet Reverses Diabetes in Mice
Cell Metabolism: A Periodic Diet

 

Finns Have a Higher Risk of Type 1 than Russians, as reported again in InsulinNation.com, 11 July 2016.
One in every 200 Finnish children under the age of 15 has Type 1 diabetes. In the neighboring region Karelia, […]

Medicare CGM Saga Continued

I am not trying to stir the pot of frustration about Medicare and Dexcom … but here goes.

As I mentioned, Dexcom absolutely CANNOT sell me any product, for cash, because my file shows that I am covered by Medicare.  Even if I just want to BUY a transmitter CASH, the answer is NO.  They are referring everyone over to Liberty Medical Supplies in Port St. Lucie, FL, only open from 8am-5pm EST. 

I finally was able to get to my desk early enough to call them today … and I sat on hold for 42 minutes.  I finally reached a lovely rep named Liana (they’ve all been very pleasant).

 

Here’s today’s scoop:

I first had to register as a new patient with Liberty … no problem, as, for some reason, I was already in their database?!
Then they will request a new prescription from my endocrinologist … also no problem, even though there is one on file with Dexcom.
Next, she emailed me the ABN (Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage) form.  AHA, there’s where I learned a lot!

Medicare will cover orders as follows:

Dexcom G5 Kit, a 90 day supply for $745.14, which may include

1 Transmitter
3 boxes of sensors
4 boxes of test strips, 2 meter batteries
1 blood glucose meter (brand unidentified), even if I don’t need one

Dexcom G5 Receiver, for $277

After I submit this form, on which I choose whether I want them to bill Medicare, not to bill Medicare or not to order supplies, I can then call and place my order.  Remember, today’s call lasted 62 minutes.

I was reminded that I would be fully responsible for $745.14 if I do not qualify under the Medicare criteria, which have not yet been published! 

In other words, I will place an […]

Savvy about Chia Seeds: Who Knew!?

I’ve just discovered chia seeds … and indeed, chia seed pudding!  Oh yum, oh easy to make, oh high protein, oh low carb, oh high fiber!

I read Adam Brown’s Adam’s Corner on diaTribe, about eating a well-managed breakfast (A Home Run Breakfast with Diabetes)

And I got curious when he raved about his Chia Seed Pudding … I had to try it!  MOST interesting, easy to make and so very healthy!  And best of all, allows for such variety and it’s delicious!

I followed his recipe first:

Mix

1/4 cup of Chia seeds,
1/2 cup of water
hearty amount of cinnamon
1 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract (zero sugar)
some combination of random toppings (usually frozen raspberries and nuts or sunflower seeds).

After about a minute of stirring with a spoon (I used a salad fork) and about a minute sitting, it turns into a pudding-like gel.

I added stevia, deluxe mixed nuts and a few craisins … it was fabulous and very filling.  My blood sugar barely rose. Just be aware that they can stick in your teeth like poppy seeds … so rinse and swoosh with water after enjoying!!!

Next time, I’ll try blueberries, mint and some of the other suggestions I’m finding in recipes online.  I don’t think I’d used coconut oil again … I’m waiting to hear back from Adam on why he uses that.  I’d rather use almond milk or coconut water. 

More Medicare Dexcom Purchase Madness!

As a follow up on my last post, it only gets worse!

Dexcom CAN NOT now sell me, via a cash purchase, the G5 transmitter, just because I have Medicare as my insurance!  I am forced to buy from Liberty Medical Supplies. 

Dexcom cash price: $599
Liberty cash price:  $759.20

IT COSTS ME $160.20 MORE to buy from Liberty Med, THE ONLY PLACE I CAN BUY THE TRANSMITTERS!

Something is VERY wrong here. 

My plan, I think, is to place my order with Liberty, in 2 weeks, as soon as they have the Medicare billing codes and just cross my fingers and hope that when they publish their criteria, I am covered. 

Maybe I’m just impatient.  Maybe I’m just angry that it has taken Medicare 13 years to change their view of CGM and cost me a lot of money out of pocket for what is now considered the gold standard of Type 1 diabetes care. 

Let’s hope it smooths out SOON!

Savvy HUH? Medicare Approves CGM but Can’t Get One?!

The best news of 2017 thus far: Medicare has approved coverage for Dexcom G5 CGM!  After being denied up to my fourth level of appeal, I am thrilled that they finally understood how essential this technology is for our lives and well-being! 

After the news, I immediately called Dexcom to order!  So excited!  I was told that they were “caught by surprise” by the announcement and its wording … and to give them a week to figure out how to fulfill orders.  Okay then.  I had waiting for 4 years.  What’s another week?

A week later, I was told that it would be “some time” until they could ship but I could buy now from some of the distributors.  I was referred to Liberty Medical Supplies in Florida.  OK. 

 

Well, I spent days trying to reach them, sitting on terminal hold or just calling from the wrong time zone (they are closed by 2pm in my time zone, even though their website site says they are open later). 

 

I FINALLY reached a human being who told me that they have a “special” group handling Medicare and CGM.  I was told to leave my name and number and best time for them to reach me.  Well, I actually did get a call the next day, Saturday, even though they are closed on weekends.

Here’s the scoop!  I have 3 choices:

I can buy RIGHT NOW directly from Liberty at their cash price, which is actually $100 higher that Dexcom’s cash price.  Not a very good option
I can wait til March 6-15, when Medicare is expected to issue their billing codes.  At that time, Liberty could take my order and bill Medicare, with no guarantee that Medicare will actually cover my CGM […]

Savvy in Hollywood: I Was the T1 CoHost on the Bonnie Sher Show AGAIN!

Oh, what fun!  I was invited back onto the Bonnie Sher Show today to speak about LOOPing … running a closed loop hybrid insulin delivery system, using RileyLink.  I had about 20 minutes to explain about the closed loop system and my experiences over the past 6 weeks.  It was exciting and a blast!  In addition, the first 1/2 hour on the show featured Dr. Andrew Drexler, a super endocrinologist in Los Angeles whose been taking care of T1’s for over 40 years … wow, is he ever knowledgeable!

Here you go … or as they say in show business, Take It Away!!!

 

Savvy D Goes BACK to HOLLYWOOD!!!

Bonnie Sher Show, here I come, AGAIN!

I’ll be Bonnie’s T1 CoHost on her program on UBN radio/tv this Thursday, 2/23/17, to talk about my experiences with the hybrid RileyLink closed loop insulin delivery system that I’ve been trying for the past 3 weeks.  It’s been QUITE a learning experience … and I’m so excited about it that I just ordered a back-up system!

 

 

 

Details: 

Thursday, 2/23/2017

UBNRadio.com, Channel 2

#BSherRadio

OR CALL IN and SAY HELLO:  323.843.2826

Savvy Technology: All about Insulet/Omnipod

Omnipod is in the news this week!
Insulet Corporation S hareholder Broadcast reported that Insulet presented strong Omnipod Horizon Hybrid Closed-Loop study results on 16 February 2017 at the 10th International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD) in Paris, France.  The study demonstrated that the Omnipod automated glucose control algorithm performed well, was safe during the day and night for adults with type 1 diabetes, and was very effective at night with minimal hypoglycemia and excellent fasting glucose. 

Study participants included 24 adults with type 1 diabetes. The 36-hour study1 included a modified version of Insulet’s Omnipod, a Dexcom® continuous glucose sensor, and Insulet’s personalized model predictive control algorithm. Results showed use of the Company’s hybrid closed-loop system was associated with significantly less time spent in hypoglycemic blood glucose range compared to ranges prior to the study. Key findings included patients achieving and remaining in the target blood glucose control range 69% of the time over the course of the study and maintaining target blood glucose control 90% of the time during the overnight period.

“These very positive results, particularly in the overnight period, demonstrate the potential for the Omnipod Horizon System to improve clinical outcomes in patients with type 1 diabetes,” said Dr. Bruce Buckingham, Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at the Lucille Salter Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford University, and Principal Investigator of the study. “This is a safe system providing significant reductions in hypoglycemia both during the day and night, and the system made significant improvements in overnight glucose control, decreasing glucose variability and bringing fasting glucose values into range. These are very positive early findings and I think I speak for the entire team when I say I am excited to see […]