Type one diabetes is a desease that likes to keep us on our toes, always changing the rules and making sure we are paying attention !!! Keeping things balanced is always the priority to ensure day to day life and type one diabetes can co- exsit without complications. But every now and again something crops up that throws things into disarray!!
Recently I was reminded of just how lucky I am to have access to the BEST medical technology in my MiniMed 640G with CGM and also how lucky I am to have access to a wonderful team of support from Medtronic Diabetes, the worlds best diabetic educator Liz, my Endocoeinologist, GP and the team that helps with my T1D everyday my partner Brendon and son Lachlan.
What started out as a fun swim in a hotel swimming pool with Lachlan, turned out to be a mini nightmare (I say mini but my reaction at the time was in no way mini, as my Diabetic Educator can testify).
I had gone to the side of the pool too test my BSL when all of a sudden my pump started screaming at me in a way I had never heard before (the 640G has a different alert sound for each of its alarms which over time, you know just from the sound what it’s telling you – another of its cool features I love), unfortunately what my pump was saying ” Critical Error”, I got out the pool dried it off and inspected the pump to find a large crack though the back of it – Now I’m no expert but a crack in the back and the pump being in a swimming pool for an hour is proberly not good for it!!!!
I will admit panic set in, I had injured my best friend beyond repair as it was now screaming louder with a white screen and an odd sound coming from it. Instantly my mind when to our emergency back up plan – I knew I had my MiniMed Veo on standby ready for such an emergency but for the first time in over a year I would be without my life support (sounds drastic but that was my feelings at the time). The team at Medtronic’s 1800 number where awesome and quickly had a new 640G on its way, even asking if I would like a different colour!! Their support made me feel better about the short time I would spend without my 640G. Having the Veo as my back up pump I always make sure that I update the settings so they match the 640G, meaning all I had to do was put a battery in it and fill it with insulin ……. how hard could that be right? This was the pump I started my pump journey with, I have done 100’s of set changes on it!!!! Well I was a blank (and looking at it crying wasn’t helping either). I was clueless as to what got it going and what information it should be giving me.
Liz Board super educator to the rescue …… Liz talked me though the set up and and it started to come back to me on what to do, but compared to the 640G the Veo seemed cumbersome too use ( I liken it to changing from a Motarolla Flip mobile phone to a iPhone) but in this case I had gone back to the old flip phone which of course works just fine, but it’s not as user friendly, doesn’t give me as much information and takes promting to get the information I normally have at my finger tips. But the biggest difference …. using CGM with it, I lost count of how many times the Veo told me it wasn’t close enough to the transmitter and of course the Veo doesn’t have SmartGuard which was the biggest issue for me with a run coming up.
I’m lucky enough to have access to CGM all the time and I know the 640G will think for me and suspend before low to avoid a hypo. The Veo suspends on low which means more pump checking while running and waking up with a hypo rather than the pump dealing with it before it happens.
In the middle of all this I had a 10km fun run and I have to admit I felt a little unsafe without the 640G watching over my BSL but I wasn’t the only one effected by this. My running partner Paul has never asked me during a run “are you ok?” “What’s the pump doing?” as he knows with the 640G at the sound of a pump alarm I’m dealing with it before we run into trouble. My son Lach will normally push the home button on the 640G and can see what mums sugars are but not with the VEO as it requires more button pushing so both of them where asking “Are you ok?” !!!!
My blood sugars stayed within range which is credit to having an up to date emergency plan in place. My new 640G arrived ready to power me onto my next lot of crazy adventures. So with the backing of my amazing team we got though a testing time without issue.
This instance bought to mind, not only those that don’t have access to a 640G but those with type one diabetes who don’t have access to basic items such as insulin or test strips!!! We complain that CGM isn’t funded for all type ones in Australia but not that far from our own shores, people being diagnosed with type one diabetes and are being handed a death sentence because of the lack of basic diabetic needs. An unbelievable 50% of the worlds population who have diabetes cannot afford or access insulin to servive. In fact in many counties around the world the cost of insulin is more than many actually earn.
As those of us effected by diabetes know, everyday is a balancing act, food, family life, sport, work, diet, insulin requirements etc etc. If we cannot find balance and maintain it we become trapped in a seasaw between low and high blood sugars and this later results in secondary complications.
I’m lucky to have the best of everything available allowing me to live with type one diabetes and have balance as a result in all aspects of my life, I can continue to run because of my 640G and live a full and happy life, unlike so many others around the world who just want to survive and have access to essential supplies required to live with type one diabetes !!!!
This World Diabetes Day I will be sending excess insulin and test strips to Insuin for Life, who collect unopened and in date insulin for countries like Australia and sends it to those who don’t stand a chance in the developing world. Let’s not only create awareness about diabetes on World Diabetes Day but less make a difference and give all people with diabetes a chance to live a balanced healthy life.