Monday, August 12, 2013

Animas rep visit - insulin pump

A couple of bits of news:

  • met with the rep from Animas today and looked at the Animas Vibe insulin pump and the Dexcom CGM system.
  • an update on where we're at with the IVF: hooray! We have been able to switch to another doctor!

So, the exciting news first: I got to hold my first insulin pump today. Sounds silly I know, but I have seen so many pictures and heard so many people talking about them online that to actually get to hold and play with one was a big thing for me. It made it more real.

The rep was really helpful and met with my and Hubby just over lunchtime. She asked me how much I knew about basal and bolus insulin, just to get to know the level of my knowledge. Then, in the hospital cafeteria (I know! I would have preferred somewhere a little more private too!) she opened her kit of demo pumps and showed me how they work.

Since I am VERY interested in getting the CGM (continuous glucose monitor) too, I asked to see those as well. The Dexcom system looks great and I am very keen to try it out. In fact, I was offered a one-month trial to see if I like it. Just have to buy a box of four sensors ($125 p/sensor) and they lend me the transmitter and receiver. I want to do this and see if I like the Dexcom receiver enough to buy the standalone unit too.

The Animas Vibe insulin pump itself looks like a good option with many features that I like. It's waterproof, has small dosing increments, and a high-contrast colour screen. The screen is clear but it's not always immediately intuitive so I think that would just take some practice to get used to. The Vibe pump acts as the receiver to the Dexcom system, although it has slightly older algorithms compared to the Dexcom receiver.

Unfortunately, nothing about the Dexcom is funded, although the Animas rep suggested that "they" (govt, I presume) are looking at funding them in the future for a select group. When I asked if that select group was likely to be people already using the Dexcom CGM, she replied yes. So that is something positive to look forward to. The receiver and transmitter each cost just shy of NZ $1000 each, plus the monthly running cost for full time wear of about $500. Whew. Not cheap, but don't have to wear it all the time. At one sensor lasting 7 days, that's $17.90 per day. Ridiculously expensive, anyway you look at it. But I figure I want to have access to this level of sophisticated technology to better my health in the lead up to IVF.

My Diabetes Nurse Educator (DNE) stopped by and said she wants me to meet with the Medtronic rep also, which I think is a good idea before committing to something so major. I think that is next Monday???

I asked my DNE how long it would take before a prescription could be written for my pump, and even though I have an appointment to see my Endo towards the end of this month she said I shouldn't have to wait that long since I already have approval for funding. She is just interested to get a couple of people into pump training (2 x half days) at the same time for efficiency's sake. Fair enough. But so much waiting. I wanted to sign up for a dexcom trial right away! lol.

The IVF stuff. Right so we got a letter saying we have a Pre-IVF appointment and we needed to confirm said appointment. It didn't really say anything about what would be covered or even who it was with. So I rang them up and said, can I change it from a Wednesday to a Friday? Yes. What is it about and can we do it via Skype? No, there may be a ultrasound scan involved, and you will be doing the plan for IVF. Can we switch doctors? Umm, can I call you back?

We wanted to switch from Dr R (who has been nothing but bad news, I'm sure she's a nice person but treatment-wise, not my favourite person. I just don't have faith in her) to Dr S (who performed the successful sperm retrieval without Hubby feeling any dramatic emergency-room level pain!!!). The receptionist wanted to know why. I just said that we had had several poor experiences with Dr R, and a very good experience with Dr S. She said that Dr S was on leave at the time we needed out appointment, and the next one for him was about a whole month later.

She called back again, after working her magic where she had managed to scored us a Friday appointment with Dr S the week we needed it! Wahoo! I was just so happy!

So gotta go and have the spiel again from anther doctor, and I hope this transition will be permanent. Dr S gives us both a feeling of confidence and control that we weren't getting from Dr R.

Good things happening :)


  1. I've never commented on your blog - or even read it before, but I saw the title of this post on Mo's (of Will and Mo) blog, and had to click over. And then I saw that you got to hold an Animas Vibe - SO envious! I'm an endocrinologist in the US, and we've been waiting and waiting and waiting for it to come out here! Right now Dexcom is only available as a stand alone product.

    Medtronic makes a good pump, too, but their first generation CGM is inferior to Dexcom, in my opinion. In the US we don't have access to Medtronic's newest CGM except when used as part of the professional CGM that is used for diagnostic purposes, which I now use quite often. I've found it to be comparable to Dexcom as far as accuracy and consistency, though as I mentioned, I haven't seen it in action with the pump. The newer CGM is paired with the Medtronic pump that will suspend insulin delivery if your sugar drops low AND you don't push any buttons on your pump to acknowledge you are aware of the low (very cool!)

    CGM aside, both pumps work great, it really only matters which one you like better. But if the Medtronic pump isn't with their newest CGM, I think you'll be much happier with the Animas/Dexcom combination.

    Of course, you have no idea who I am, so feel free to take my words with a healthy grain of salt, but I just couldn't resist responding. :)

    1. Hi Shannon, that's for your advice! I actually now have to choose between two very good things: the Animas Vibe with Dexcom CGM or the Medtronic VEO with low glucose suspend + CGM. I think the VEO will be a bit out of my price range (the rep told me it was $12,000) but even with partial govt funding it is still a stretch too far. Both pumps seems like quality products, but I have been pretty sure I wanted the Animas Vibe for a while now. I like the fact that they are in involved in the artificial pancreas project. I guess each company will update their own technology periodically so I just have to start somewhere!

  2. Replies
    1. Sure is! Things are all happening at once - I don't know what to do with myself lol! :)