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Arden's Day Blog

Arden's Day is a type I diabetes care giver blog written by author Scott Benner. Scott has been a stay-at-home dad since 2000, he is the author of the award winning parenting memoir, 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal'. Arden's Day is an honest and transparent look at life with diabetes - since 2007.

type I diabetes, parent of type I child, diabetes Blog, OmniPod, DexCom, insulin pump, CGM, continuous glucose monitor, Arden, Arden's Day, Scott Benner, JDRF, diabetes, juvenile diabetes, daddy blog, blog, stay at home parent, DOC, twitter, Facebook, @ardensday, 504 plan, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, Dexcom SHARE, 生命是短暂的,洗衣是永恒的, Shēngmìng shì duǎnzàn de, xǐyī shì yǒnghéng de

My Freestyle test strip test

Scott Benner

Standard blog disclaimer... I’m not a doctor and listening to me when you make decisions about your or anyone else's diabetes is just plain not a good idea. That said, these new test strips work fine in your OmniPod PDM (at least the PDM we have - color PDM).


Like all of you, I was caught off guard when I opened a new box of test strips to find that they weren’t what I was expecting.  I immediately made some calls and found out that I would have to track down the old strips if I wanted them. Then I asked myself the following...


“Self”, I said. “Would Freestyle make test strips that wouldn’t work in my OmniPod PDM?” and myself answered, “not likely since they have a business relationship with Insulet”.


Then I asked myself, “what is the FDA doing with the strips to test them” and I answered myself by saying, “probably comparing them to the old strips and making sure that they work”.  


Then I took a few minutes to congratulate myself for being so smart and myself agreed.  I proceeded to do my own FDA style home testing over a two day period.  Here are my results:


11/22 - 9:48pm




11/23 - 7:30am




11/23 - 8:15am





11/23 - 7:35pm





11/24 - 8:00am





11/24 - 1:50pm





These numbers coupled with my astute deductions were more then enough for me to trust the new strips. I saved one vial of the old style ‘just in case’ and moved on to the new style around the 1st of December, 2010 and have not looked back.  Be sure to set the coding on your PDM to match the vial!


If you think back to when your child was diagnosed, the nurse at the hospital used a huge meter (about the size of a brick) to test your child’s BGs.  I’ll never forget the moment when the nurse took our first free meter from it’s box and had me test Arden. The nurse tested Arden with the ten-thousand dollar meter that the hospital uses and then I tested with the twenty dollar meter they gave us. The numbers were sixty points different, SIXTY!  I said, “which one is correct?” and the nurse told me that her’s was probably more accurate but not to worry because I couldn’t afford the one she had and it wasn’t portable anyway but “don’t worry because this is the meter that you’ll be using every day” - as if that made up for it not being accurate!


My point is this, we don’t really know what our kid’s BG is.  If ten meters tested Arden from the same drop of blood, we’d probably get 7 different readings and who is to say that the three that agreed would even be correct.  This entire thing is a crap shoot.


Arden was 69 the other day, it was hours after her last bolus and her DexCom line had been steady around 100 forever, (though it was drifting lower) but she felt fine.  Was she 69, 49, 89?   How the hell can I know?  She felt fine, she was steady, I dosed her last meal accurately, what am I going to do?


Final verdict: I say use the new strips. They require way less blood and in a day or so when nothing goes wrong, you’ll trust them just as you did the old style. In the end, this is all about trust. You’ll be a veteran of this by the time the FDA gets off their asses and gives the thumbs up.



The following are archived comments from this post. You can post new comments below.

Hey there - I read your blog, but not much of a commenter. We live in the same area, I'm in Philly. My gal, Grace, is 8 and dx'd two years ago. We are a Pod using family. I got these new strips from our refill at CVS and refused them, cause of the Insulet advice about them. Problem is I am on our last 4 vials of 'old' Freestyle. I will need to use the new Freestyle ZipWik strips soon as I cannot get the old ones. I spoke with Lorraine over at 'This is Caleb' and she is using them without problems too. So, along with your thoughts (and I know, you are not a doctor and don't play one on TV!) that I will just go ahead and use the new strips when we refill in a month.
Thanks for your thoughts about them and the test - appreciate it!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 07:25 PM

Even two readings with the SAME meter with the SAME drop of blood can be widely different.

I think the important thing is using the same meter and the same strips consistently.

We have also been using the new strips with no problems that we have noticed. 

When I spoke with Abbott when we got our first nine boxes of the new ones the rep happily sent me a FreeStyle meter to use until FDA approval (which I didn't want to use because isn't the whole point of the integrated meter that it's one less step). I had done a bit of an experiment using the old and new strips in the PDM and the new strips seemed to give a little lower number. The rep said that the new strips are more accurate and that could be why. Who knows.

The point being, we have been using the new strips for months. Months! We've gone through 900 of them and are on our next round of 900 (we fill 90 days at a time).

And I firmly believe that the only reason Q began testing her own blood sugar is because the new ones use so little blood and the little nub is an easy target to hit.

Thank you for stepping up and coming out and saying you use the new strips in the PDM. I appreciate it! (Because lots of people are FREAKing out about it.)
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 07:50 PM
Thank you!  We are new to Podding but not pumping or diabetes, and this whole strip thing is driving me nuts. I am not a doctor either but I do pretend to be a damn good endocrinologist and pancreas. I found that Abbott will trade in new strips for old strips at 500 a pop. I find comfort knowing that I can get a 100 or so to keep on hand if something seems funny, but I think we are going to go ahead with using the new style strips. As we are so new to podding, I haven't had the PDM for that long, but all my tests have been similar to yours, very close numbers, some even the same. Thank you for posting and will definitely become a regular reader after finding you today. 
Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 12:20 PM
So glad that you found us Leslie! Welcome and thank you for reading! Best of luck, I think you're going to be fine with those new strips. Let me know how it goes... If you every have any OmniPod question, drop me a line.
Friday, February 4, 2011 - 07:27 PM