Out From Under Water

Imagine how tiring it would be if most of your conversations had to take place under water, six feet away from your friend. That’s what the last fifteen-plus years have felt like for me, and I’ve only just realized it.

To say that my new insulin pump system, the Guardian 670g** (a continuous glucose monitor-CGM and pump combo) has been a real game changer would be an understatement.

I have been using the system for about a month now. The CGM reads my sugar levels through my skin and shares that number with the pump every three minutes. Before the 670g, I knew where my sugars were about six times a day, with no idea how much jumping around my sugars were doing in between those checks. Now, I know where they are every single minute.

After three weeks using the 670g on Manual Mode, I switched over to Auto Mode (AM). To paraphrase, when a T1 diabetic puts this device in AM, they’re saying  “Jesus, Technology, take the wheel”. It is a scary relinquishing of responsibility. For twenty years I have been in charge of what happens, how much insulin goes into my body and when. Now, I am leaving it up to science to take over that for me. The CGM tells the pump where my sugars are and the pump makes “micro-adjustments” to keep me in a healthy range.

Y’all, it’s basically a BIONIC pancreas.

In an effort to be succinct and not technical, I will tell you how different I feel now, just in the past week since I have put my pump on AM and activated my bionic pancreas;

I already have more energy. I never truly realized before how much my diabetes drained me. How even having conversations was work for me. The opening paragraph to this entry touches on this. I used to wonder if I was lazy, or uninterested. But now, I truly think it was because I felt like garbage most of the time.

Despite my best efforts (and I’ve always been a “healthy” diabetic) my sugars would rise and fall a lot throughout the day. These peaks and drops drain me, but since feeling like this was my “normal” for so long, I learned to “mind-over-matter” it. I would really have to focus to get my words out because it was tiring to talk.

Yesterday for lunch, I had a two spring rolls; cold shrimp and veggies wrapped in a rice paper. It’s very little carb. Before this new system, I would have had to eat again before the late afternoon photo shoot I had on campus to have the “juice” to make it through. Either that, or treat a severe sugar drop* which would invariably happen in the middle of the shoot. Part-way through covering the reception in the afternoon I thought Huh, I should be having a severe low by now. But no. No low. Just a perfect number on my pump thanks to modern technology!

Now if only getting coverage for this device wasn’t so confusing!

*If you wonder what a sugar drop feels like, imagine the weakness that the flu gives you minus the nausea, and add in some irritability and disorientation. That’s a sugar drop. And it’s hella fun!

** No I am not getting a “kick-back” for mentioning the name.



One Reply to “Out From Under Water”

  1. You did a really good job of describing what it feels like to be a T1 Diabetic. It was exhausting just to “read it” let alone to “live it”!

    You have been a real trooper all these years…from the time I saw you in the Ohio hospital when you were first diagnosed…to a few days ago watching “Wrinkle in Time” and dinner after.

    It makes me more happy than I can say to know that you have found…and I repeat that YOU HAVE FOUND a way to make your life more viable. It is so you…the one who researches, asks questions and keeps it up until you have an acceptable solution!

    I am so proud of you!



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