Review: Myabetic ‘Banting’ Diabetes Wallet

I’m feeling a bit unsure about the new Myabetic bag that I received for Christmas.

After years of having to decide what to bring with me every time I left the house and walking around with bulky pockets and slipping pants, travelling with a pencil case to house my diabetes gear was a huge relief.

Everything fits in there quite nicely. Meter, test strips, lancing device, spare lancets, spare batteries, insulin, spare needles, an infusion site, spare insulin cartridge, spare pump cap, spare battery cap and my Animas coin to open up my pump. Plus, it looks nice and roomy in there if I need to reach in and grab something.

I carried my pencil case with me everywhere. My only desire was to find something a bit more compact and impact resistant. Which brought me to Myabetic.

When I first opened the parcel containing my new ‘Banting’ Diabetes Wallet, named after the creator of insulin himself, my initial impression was that it looked a lot bigger in real life than it did on the website.

As I began trying to squeeze all of the gear from my pencil case into the little zips, pockets and compartments of the Myabetic, I immediately felt very restricted with what I could carry.

The large velcro envelope housed my meter and test strips. The loop adjacent to the meter pouch was intended for test strip tubes, however the wider oval shape of my Accu Chek guide test strips rendered it unusable. I did manage to squeeze my glucose tabs there, but not without a great deal of effort.

There were two loops equipped to carry insulin pens, and I opted to use the spare loop to carry my lancing device.

There was a removable waste pouch which cleverly housed used test strips and needles. I opted to use it to house my spare (unpackaged) pump site and infusion set. The final mesh pouch was just enough to fit spare needles, lancets and batteries.

I genuinely did like that compared to my pencil case, the Myabetic was a lot more compact and easier to carry around. Not to mention impact resistant. But unfortunately, it was also just a bit too flashy for my liking, even when I carried it with me to a wedding earlier this month. Perhaps in this regard it would be more suited to the girls.

Having to open all of the little zippers and compartments to get to my stuff also felt like a lot of effort when I already have a needy chronic condition to manage. I’m also carrying pump gear on me, so perhaps things would be simpler if I were just on Multiple Daily Injections.

I’ve no doubt that the Myabetic is a clever creation and has won itself legions of fans all over the world. For the time being, though, I think I’ll just keep mine in the spare drawer until a special occasion calls.

The Myabetic collection of diabetes bags can be found here. For those of you in Australia, they are also distributed through Rockadex and One and 2.

Live Beyond.

After sharing my own diagnosis story during Australian National Diabetes Week last year, I agreed to be the face of a new diabetes awareness initiative run by Beyond Type 1.

Targeted at young adults, posters and tri fold leaflets were produced and distributed to colleges in the US who had shown interest (and yes, it’s a big compliment to still be considered ‘college’ age…)

Unfortunately it didn’t progress into a fully blown campaign for the time being, as Beyond Type 1 continue to focus their awareness efforts on paediatrics.

I did get some pretty cool posters to keep, though! Special thanks to Carolyn for sending them all the way from the States.

And now I can’t get that fictional voice out of my head (hey you, yes you, learn the warning signs of type 1 diabetes…)

Summer Daze.

After the mad rush of December, frantically attempting to beat the clock in order tie up loose ends for the year, shopping around for Christmas gifts and meeting social obligations of the festive season, January arrives.

The world simply seems to go to sleep in January.

School’s on holidays, some of the lucky ones get to take extended leave from work, and the seemingly endless stretch of sunny 30 degree days just seems to support this quiet, lazy notion in the world.

I’m sitting here at my desk, with a bunch of fresh ideas in my head and seemingly endless time in front of me, plodding along at this slow leisurely pace.

Which might be great for me, but not so great for my diabetes which has decided to hop on my back for the ride.

I don’t exactly have the energy or the enthusiasm at the moment to be pre-bolusing for my peanut butter on toast. I can’t bring myself to correct dropping blood sugars with glucose tabs, when there’s a tin of Shortbread on my bookshelf or chocolates in the fridge. Guesstimates are trumping maths in my insulin dosing more often than not.

It’s harder to get outdoors when it’s hot, and the Australian Open is proving to be a pretty good excuse to crash in front of the TV at 4pm. 

When my FreeStyle Libre is on, I’m motivated to keep those graphs looking pretty. But when it comes off, I can’t see what my blood sugars are doing all the time and I’m not so motivated to keep them between the lines.

I find it harder to accommodate diabetes devices in the warm weather. I’ve briefly contemplated another pump break, but I think my month-long vacation in November was enough to get me over my rut for the time being.

The one symptom that warm weather doesn’t produce for me is hypos. Sure, physical activity without carbs or basal adjustments sends me low. But a hypo just because it’s hot? It simply doesn’t happen.

I’m very much looking forward to this sleepy Summer daze coming to an end, and hopefully finding my diabetes mojo again soon.

Until then, I’ll be spending as much time as I can at the beach.

Implications of the Animas Exit For Australia

In October, Animas signalled their intention to cease the manufacture and sale of their insulin pumps. While this news was initially limited to the US and Canadian markets only, the view was to eventually exit the market globally.

Yesterday, the news we had all been expecting was finally confirmed, with news that Animas had exited the market globally.

So what does this mean for Australia?

In the US, Animas referred their customers to Medtronic for the supply of consumables for in warranty pumps. Medtronic will continue to supply Animas consumables until September 30, 2019, after which consumers will need to make the switch to another brand of pump. Medtronic, Insulet (makers of the Omnipod tubeless pump), and Tandem (makers of the t-slim pump) have all provided options for Animas customers to make the switch prior to September 2019. More details about the US transition can be found here.

Australian distributor AMSL Diabetes has stated this will not be the case down under. AMSL will continue to supply pump consumables, replace in warranty pumps and provide 24/7 customer service, with further announcements to come. If you are thinking about starting on an Animas pump, there is apparently still some limited stock available.

Most importantly, there’s no need to panic. For the time being, nothing will change and in warranty pumps will still be serviced.

However with the manufacture of Animas pumps now ceased worldwide and limited new stock available, one has to wonder just how equipped AMSL will be to replace an in warranty pump at fault.

With a timeframe of September 2019 to cease the supply of consumables (albeit in the US), one would also be thinking that in-warranty customers will eventually need to be serviced by another brand of pump.

Will we be referred to Medtronic? Are AMSL hoping to acquire a new pump to distribute here in Australia? Will the manufacture of Animas consumables continue beyond September 2019 to service Australia? Time will tell.

My feeling is that someone starting on an Animas insulin pump today won’t be able to get a full four year’s use from it.

(And I’m feeling a little excited at the prospect of not having to wait until May 2020 to get that new pump feeling again).

AMSL’s announcement is here, and indicates that there are more developments to come.

Overnight, Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) have announced their intention to exit the insulin pump market globally. This follows an announcement in October last year that it was withdrawing from the US and Canadian markets. JNJ’s decision to close down its operations has been made for commercial reasons.

AMSL Diabetes will continue to provide the same high level of support our customers currently receive and customers will still receive a replacement if their pump develops a fault while under warranty. Warranty and replacement pumps, as well as consumables, will not be affected by this announcement.

Animas has also announced that in select countries it is working with a partner to transfer customers to another pump brand. Each market is being approached differently and in Australia, AMSL Diabetes will continue to work with Animas directly.

AMSL Diabetes have been proud partners of Animas for 15 years since launching the IR1000. We will continue to offer our leading 24/7 Australian-based customer service, technical support, and offer our full range of Dexcom CGM, Lifescan blood glucose meters, HypoPak fast acting glucose and accessory products.

For more information on how this announcement may affect you, please contact AMSL Diabetes on 1300 851 056 or email diabetes@amsl.com.au.

We will have more updates and information on these latest developments soon. Make sure you follow us on our social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) to stay updated.

Rationality.

One of the pastimes I am often found guilty of is trawling the interwebs for diabetes gear.

Managing diabetes day in and day out, can feel downright monotonous at times. Anything that helps to make me feel more excited about checking my blood sugar, treating a low, or more effectively delivering my insulin doses are all winners in my book. Being a guy, I’m constantly trying to make things as compact and easy as possible to travel with when I’m on the go.

But I’m also a really sensible person. A practical one as well, while I’m at it. I don’t like spending money on things that I don’t have a use for. I constantly weigh up whether my hard earned dollars could be better spent on things like test strips, pump consumables, paying bills or meeting the financial goals I’m working towards. And damn, diabetes gear can be so bloody expensive.

I’m a terrible decision maker, too. I’ll often hover over an item for long enough to be laughed at by my family, deliberating over whether I like it enough and whether it’ll be useful enough for the price tag attached to it. I’ll bring things home, and have a change of heart soon after, thinking about what I could have better put that money towards. I’m not just talking about diabetes gear anymore, either…

Another item I’ve been mulling over during Christmas is a fully fledged CGM. I was actually asked the question just a few days ago, when my rationality began pouring from my mouth. The cost of the transmitters, that send blood glucose data from the sensor to my iPhone or receiver, would be enough to purchase a year’s worth of FreeStyle Libre sensors. That money could also be put towards other essential stuff like health insurance, doctor’s visits, test strips, pump consumables, hypo treatments, batteries and insulin. Ditto to the question of overseas travel.

Yeah, I might be a rational person in nature. Yet still, I believe that living with diabetes is definitely one of the reasons as to why I am so rational. No matter how great a country I live in, how comfortable I am or how secure the roof feels over my head, part of my brain is always thinking about that rainy day that I hope I don’t ever have to face.