Keeping Track: Logging Your Data

I’m a Type 2 insulin-dependent diabetic. As such, it’s important to keep track of my blood glucose levels (BGL). It’s not quite as critical as it is for someone with Type 1, but it’s still important.

Florin Uscatu has come up with a simple-to-use diabetes logging app that can improve our lives with diabetes.



Some of the app’s features are:

  • The ability to browse your data online and offline
  • New entries are synced automagically to the cloud
  • Simple-to-understand stats and graphs that make your progress noticeable (like the one above).
  • There’s an option to share your data with your health care team. Send your data in CSV format so your physician can filter and sort the data any way she pleases.
  • Finally, it integrates with the Apple Health app.

Best of all? It’s free! I’ve been using it since the end of December, and it’s the best app of its kind that I’ve yet to find.

Diabetes Is A Confusing Disease

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Ever since I started on insulin last March, I’d been thinking that it also marked my “graduation” from Type 1 to Type 2 Diabetes. Last week I discovered I was wrong.

True Type 1 is when the pancreas never made insulin to begin with

According to Medical News Today, “It is not possible for type 2 diabetes to turn into type 1 diabetes. However, a person who originally receives a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes may still get a separate diagnosis of type 1 at a later date. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, so a doctor might initially suspect that an adult with diabetes has type 2.”

So I apologize for any inconvenience I’ve caused. I guess I’d better put a disclaimer on my site: “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on the internet.”

That would go right above the next disclaimer:

“I’m not a gynecologist, but I’d be happy to take a look.”

Regardless, I stand by the post at the top of the page. I believe that ideally, insulin should be free. Failing that, it should be sold at cost. In fact, any medicine that is necessary to sustain life should be free. Hell, Jeff Bezos could probably finance the whole thing with just the interest he gets on an hour’s earnings alone.

It’s almost the end of October. It was 39° yesterday morning when I got up at 7:30. Today, counties to the east of my home in Rochester, NY, are preparing for a rather nasty Nor’easter. Half of California looks as if it’s about to slide into the ocean, and Oregon and Washington are preparing for heavy storms. And just the other day, my local library put up a sign saying,


And yet evangelicals around the world are still worried about what other people—whose business is of no concern to anyone but themselves—do with their genitals.

Catching Up, And A Couple Of Apps

“If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
Attributed to Eubie Blake, Mickey Mantle, Mae West, and others.

A bad case of Dupuytren’s Contraction has left me unable to use just two fingers and the thumbs on both hands. I’m awaiting a call from the orthopedic surgeon to schedule my treatment, all of which explains why I haven’t been keeping up with this blog.

Oh, right: and my computer crashed and I had to restore and reinstall everything.

Here’s a new app I recently discovered on Apple’s App Store: “Glycemic Index,” by Kubilay Erdogan. Simply type in the name of a food and voilá!

glycemic index

I can’t fit the entire list, as there are over 22 entries just for bananas! All values are referenced from the University of Sydney’s glycemic index tables, so you know they’re accurate. And for an explanation of the glycemic index and why it matters, see this entry.

That’s about all my fingers are capable of right now, so I’ll sign off for today.

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A New Sweetener


We all know the complaints. God knows we’ve heard enough of them! Artificial sweeteners don’t taste like sugar. They’re too sweet. They’re not sweet enough.

Today, I’d like to tell you of my experiences with two of the “big-name” products: Splenda, and Truvia.

I made the switch from sugar to Splenda some 10 years ago, when I was diagnosed with Type 2 (aka “non-insulin dependent”) diabetes. I even carried packets in my purse for when I was eating out. Later I switched to little pills for my tea or coffee.

This year, when I ended up in the hospital with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) and was subsequently diagnosed with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes, I wondered if there might not be a better alternative.

NOTE: What follows is one woman’s opinion. I have no financial interest in any products mentioned here, nor am I a medical professional. And even though I’m not a gynecologist, I’d be happy to take a look….

Both Splenda and Truvia claim that one packet of their product is equal to two teaspoons of sugar in terms of sweetness. However, I’ve found this not to be true. With both products I found that two packets result in the same sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar.

This is where Splenda let me down: it always tasted artificial, and left me with an aftertaste. When I tried Truvia, I found this wasn’t the case. It tasted just like sugar!

And when, like me, you drink multiple cups a day, that’s an important consideration.

So my new routine, when it comes to coffee, is to use Truvia as a sweetener. I also use sugar-free artificial creamers as well.

And for the rare times I eat out, or simply grab a cup of coffee or tea, I carry a few packets of Truvia in my purse.

My Apple Watch

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If you’re of my generation, do you remember when your family got your first microwave? And do you remember what a luxury it was? Now you probably think nothing of it. It’s no longer new and exciting. Indeed, most new houses come with one built right in the kitchen.

That’s what my Apple Watch was at first—a luxury. Yet here I am, less than two weeks since purchasing it, and it’s no longer the luxury it was two weeks ago. I won’t go so far as to claim it’s a necessity, but it comes close.

Here’s What I Use It For

  • Tracking my Blood Glucose Levels (BGL)
  • Monitoring my exercise: it reminds me every hour to get up and walk around for at least a minute
  • It reminds me 4 times a day  to just stop whatever I’m doing and simply breathe for a minute. I can change how often I want a reminder, as well as the length of time I breathe
  • It monitors my Blood Oxygen levels, as expressed by a percentage
  • It’s slow going, but if I need to, I can send texts

I like taking close-up pictures of flowers. I can put my iPhone on a tripod, set my focus and aperture and then, to keep the camera steady, I can use my Watch to trigger the shot remotely.

I’m still finding more uses for it every day.

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My Latest Tech Toy!

Well, I did it: I splurged on an Apple Watch.  Oh, not really splurged, since I bought it through my cell phone provider and will be paying for it for the next 2 years.

watch 1

I also bought several watch bands, and this is the one I like best:

Pride band

Hey! What can I say? I’m Queer, Transgender, and Bisexual, three out of the LGBTQ alphabet soup. Yes, and damned proud of it!

Coming Next

A more in-depth look at the Apple Watch, and why I like it so much.

Until then,

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Classic Case

8-inches long x 6-inches wide x 1.5 inches deep
20cm long x 14.5cm wide x 4cm deep

Plus Case

8-inches long x 6-inches wide x 3.5 inches
20cm long x 14.5cm wide x 9cm deep

I was a bit hesitant to order this when I saw it advertised on Facebook. I had already had bad luck with another company, in that their case wasn’t even long enough to fit even one of my pens inside. But after going to the Glucology Store online and reading the description, I decided to give it a try.

I opted for the Plus case; I wanted something that would hold all of my diabetes supplies, and the Plus’ dimensions seemed to fit the bill. So I decided to chance it.

It arrived today, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be. Without exception, all of my diabetes supplies–insulin pens, glucose meter, test strips, needles, etc.–fit inside without crowding.

I rarely travel, and so I have no need for a case with a carrying handle, although it would be rather, well, handy to have one. But if I do travel, I’ve got a backpack I can put it in.

The case was designed in Australia and like just about everything else these days, was made in China. It’s a hard-shell case with sturdy zippers throughout, and is of excellent construction.

I rarely review products, but I’m so impressed with this one that I just couldn’t resist. It’s an unsolicited review, and I have no affiliation with the company, so you can be sure that I’m not getting reimbursed for this review.

And you guys in Oz? If I’m ever down your way, I’ll let you buy me a cup of coffee or a Toohey’s–your choice!

Moving On (And Catching Up)

I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger lately, and this is the first chance I’ve had to update the blog. Summer has finally arrived in Rochester, and we’ve had several lovely days recently. And for some strange reason probably having to do with karma, mosquitoes have been biting me at night. I wake up with new bites in the most inaccessible places, such as between my shoulders, but too high to reach. Guess I’ll be buying a back scratcher post haste.

Time still marches on, and sometimes it marches by too quickly for me to check my Blood Glucose Levels (BGL) four times a day as prescribed. But help is on the way! Tomorrow I’m expecting delivery of my new Apple Watch, and I can set multiple alarms to remind me when it’s time to stick my finger. Ideally, I’d like to use a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) system, which would eliminate the finger sticks. The only problem with that? Finding one covered by Medicare, as well as one my Primary Care Physician (PCP) will accept.

But mostly it’s Medicare.

If you look under What’s Here (to the right) you’ll see that I included whatever else pops into my head. And what popped into my head is the fact that I turn 71 years old today.

When my grandmother died at the age of 95, I thought she had lived an incredible life. Imagine: She was born before the Wright Brothers flew, and she lived to see men set foot on the moon.

I wonder what I’ve done that compares with that. I was born before Sputnik, before the personal computer, before cell phones. We didn’t get our first color TV until I was 10 or 11. Our first microwave came when I was 18, as did our first automatic dishwasher.

When my dad’s job with the Air Force took us to Japan, it took us 10 days to cross the Pacific by boat. Years later, when he was on the Inspector General’s team, he flew the Concorde SST from New York to Paris—and it took longer to ride the taxi from downtown Manhattan to the airport, and then from Orly to downtown Paris than it did to fly from airport to airport.

I learned to type on a manual typewriter. Now I have three computers, and an iPhone and iPad on which to write. I’ve gone from a complete novice to spending almost 40 years working as a Systems Engineer on Apple, Windows, and Unix computers.

Probably the biggest social change I’ve lived through is making the switch from sneaking hits on a joint behind the Alamo to having my daughter complain that while her eldest son has no problem going into the (legal in Washington state) marijuana store, he makes her buy her own cigarettes. My own state—New York—has just legalized the recreational use of marijuana, but it will probably be another year or two until they figure out the logistics of distribution, pricing, etc. Until then, I’ll continue to buy from an ex-girlfriend.

Well, I guess I’m all talked out. Take care, and BE HAPPY!!!

As Promised, A Few Apps For Diabetics

As with most other things, technology has made life a lot easier for us diabetics, regardless of whether we’re Type I or Type II.

One app on my iPhone is one I use multiple times a day. Diabetes Log  says this about itself:

This is a simple to use Diabetes logging app that can improve your life with diabetes.
Unlike other apps that are burdened with options and unnecessary bloat, Diabetes Logs keeps it simple to use and understand.

Some of the features are:

* The ability to browse your data online and offline
* New entries will be synced automatically to the cloud in case you are not online
* Simple to understand stats and graphs that will make your progress noticeable
* The option to share your data with your health care team easily in a CSV format from which your physician can filter and sort the data any way they please
* Integrates with the Health app in order to save the blood sugar entries there as well, it also retrieves workout data from the Health app in order to display it next to the entries in the app.

I’ve tried several logging apps and this is the one I’ve settled on. Two words: quick, easy.

Calorie King  is a quick and easy way to check calories, carbs, and fat. It contains over 100,000 foods and includes 260 fast food chains and restaurants. Tapping on a specific food provides more detailed information, such as protein, fiber, etc.

100 Diabetic Food Recipes gave me the best advice I ever got from a cookbook: “READ THE RECIPE ALL THE WAY THROUGH BEFORE YOU START.”

If you only have one diabetic cookbook, this one would be an excellent choice.

That’s it for now, but I’m always on the lookout for newer apps.

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My Diagnosis Was A Complete Shock

Do you know what Diabetic Keto Acidosis (DKA) is? The Mayo Clinic describes it like this:

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.

The condition develops when your body can’t produce enough insulin. Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) — a major source of energy for your muscles and other tissues — enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as fuel. This process produces a buildup of acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated.

I had been diagnosed with Type II diabetes some 10 years previously and had been treating it with diet, medication, and exercise. But a misunderstanding with my Primary Care Physician (PCP) led me to stop checking my Blood Glucose Levels (BGL). So when I was admitted to hospital for an unrelated infection, we discovered that my blood sugars were all out of whack. This led to me remaining in hospital for about a week while we managed to get my BGL within normal limits.

The result was my diagnosis of Type I Insulin-Dependent Diabetes, and a drastic change to my life.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Here’s something I like when my BGL allows: a cup of dark-roast coffee (Green Mountain Dark Magic is my current favorite), a packet of Swiss Miss White Chocolate mix, and a splash of French Vanilla creamer. And if my BGL doesn’t allow? That’s just the thing: both the Swiss Miss and the creamer come in sugar-free versions, so my BGL always allows!

Stay tuned for my next post, where I recommend a couple of diabetes-related mobile phone apps. Until then, I’m