Sunday, 9 September 2018

Carte Blanche Interview

I was lucky enough to be interviewed for a few minutes by Carte Blanche about the #WeAreNotWaiting movement. Read the blog post here: https://m-net.dstv.com/show/carte-blanche/news/taking-control-of-diabetes/news
and watch the story here:
https://youtu.be/tHewLMWewhM

Thursday, 31 May 2018

No more scanning your Libre, with the BluCon NightRider

Sadly the first BluCon NightRider device I ordered way back in January 2018 got "lost" at customs. The good news is that more expensive and reliable (DHL) options are now available and I received my goods with a new order within a week. The NightRider comes in a small blue box, with a one pager instruction manual and a pin that can be used to reset it.
How does it work? The BluCon device fits on top of a Libre sensor. It uses one CR2032 battery. A waterproof version is also now available. Every 5 minutes the BluCon device scans the Libre sensor and sends the data to your phone via bluetooth. There is an official phone application (LinkBluCon) from Ambrosia, but I prefer to use xDrip+ instead. With xDrip+ and with the official application, remote monitoring of the user is possible. You can scan the sensor with the standard Libre Reader without any interference from the BluCon device. In the photo you can see the Libre reader on the right and my phone running xDrip+ on the left.
Physically the BluCon is a bit bulky, and you need to find a way to keep it stuck to the sensor, otherwise it will fall off. I'm using the waterproof version, so I simply put a tegaderm plaster over it and it has been working like that for the whole 14 days of the sensor without any problems.

In the photo below you can see the Dexcom G5 transmitter (top left), G4 transmitter (top right), BluCon (bottom left) and Libre Sensor (bottom right).

Pro's of the BluCon:
  • It turns your Libre system into a real CGM system.
  • You can use it with xDrip+ which means remote monitoring, alerts, speech, etc.
  • Calibrating your Libre sensor is now possible. This is a great advantage over just scanning with the standard reader.
  • Backfilling data is great. If you are away from your phone and come back much later, data get's back filled and you don't loose any of your data.
  • Once off payment. Much cheaper than buying a Dexcom transmitter every few months.
  • Use it when you want to. You can remove it at anytime and continue using it at any time. Your Libre sensor will keep on working. No worries about expensive irremovable batteries.
Cons:
  • A bit bulky. It is bigger that the other known transmitters.
  • Battery not rechargeable and it seems you need to replaced it every time you replace your sensor.
  • It took a while to get the bluetooth to connect, I had to reset the BluCon several times. Once it worked, it worked well.
Update on my leg: I can walk with two legs, but every step hurts. It takes time for the body to get used to the steel and screws. Eagerly waiting for my 6 month x-ray next month, hoping that the bone grew back as it should. NB: Try to never break your femur, never ever ever.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Libre available in SA!!

The FreeStyle Libre is finally available in South-Africa. You can order yours from the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE). They have a pharmacy in Johannesburg (81 Central Street Houghton 2198 Johannesburg), where you can walk in and buy the sensors and reader. You can also call them on (011) 712 6000 and fill in the form, pay via EFT and get the sensors couriered to your door. The current price at the time of writing is R990 for a sensor and R990 for the reader. Much cheaper than Dexcom, and much simpler to use.
It doesn't include remote monitoring, but there are some options. The BluCon Nigthrider attaches to the Libre sensor and sends the data to your cellphone. I'm still waiting for mine, and will report on it as soon as I receive it.


I started the year off on a pretty bad note. I broke my femur in an accident. Very difficult to explain how and why, some of it remains a mystery. During my hospital stay, my Dexcom transmitter suddenly stopped working. As soon as I got home, I ordered Libre sensors and will never look back. Yes, I miss the real-time alarms and updates on my phone (Will get it again once my BluCon arrives), but the Libre is so much simpler to use and much less can go wrong. Insertion is quick and easy, the glue sticks like super glue. While Dexcom sensors contained less and less glue each time I put on a new sensor.... seriously Dexcom?? is it all about the money?? do you really worry that people will get a few more days from a sensor and then you will loose some money??

Below you can see my new Robocop gun holster in the making. I'm still recovering, walking on crutches, 2 more weeks to go non weight bearing. Nervous about all the screws going so far beyond my bone, but glad I still have my leg. Not sure when and if I will be able to run again. Maybe it is time to find a new activity. Happy to have the Libre stuck in my arm, wish I had it during my hospital stay.