Category: Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes: Master the high-tech approach

Managing Type 1 Diabetes is an unrelenting, every-second-of-the-day experience where knowledge, skill and vital equipment has to hang together for positive results. We sailed into uncharted waters soon after diagnosis and set out to discover and learn the high-tech dynamic approach –  relying on pumps, CGMs and expert skills to make micro-adjustments that keep glucose levels as close to normal as possible.

 

Our endless journey of discovery

Our first Diabetes gadget was the Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitor 3 months after diagnosis. We accessed a free 2-week trial via our Diabetes clinic and having spent 3 months trying to guess her levels from a gazillion finger pricks a day, the knowledge suddenly at our fingertips blew us away. We stuck with the Libre for 2 months, but moved away from it for 2 reasons: (i)we couldn't calibrate it - if it was wrong, it was wrong and (ii) we had to scan to get data (so we stopped sleeping in order to catch night time hypoglycemia, taking turns to scans every 20-30 minutes). It was a cool tool, but utterly exhausting to use.

Four months after diagnosis, Cass switched to an insulin pump. It was awesome, but we quickly discovered that as she accessed her pump regularly, it needed to be accessible and just clipping it resulted in it constantly falling. So, we got a SPIbelt - brilliant for exercise as it has no bounce, then a Diabete-Ezy comfy belt - it really is comfy particularly for pyjama days at home or when traveling. She loves watersports and swimming, so we grabbed an Aquapac case on a belt for water-based days where unclipping for multiple hours just isn't really an option. Although her pump is waterproof, due to all those regular drops when the clip doesn't hold, we're uncomfortable with full submersion for long periods of time as there's bound to be microcracks at some point.

One month after getting her Medtronic Pump 640g, we invested in Medtronic's CGM. She has unpredictable, scary-for-us nighttime hypoglycemia regularly and one night after she tested 2.2mmol/L fifteen minutes post 15g of sugar, we were on the phone to Medtronic at 9 am the next day to get a CGM that came with a hypo-alarm.

It was another brilliant step forwards. The most annoying restriction was that the CGM data is only displayed on her pump screen - so if we wanted to check her levels, we had to access her pump. Enter Night Scout - an open source system that allows us to view her data remotely on anything from anywhere.

We haven't stopped looking for new things to do. We're always searching for better ways to manage her condition. Technology is progressing so quickly and we can't wait to see what the future holds.