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.