Steven Rubenstein has been around diabetes his whole life, growing up with a mother and father who have the condition. A young man admitted to the hospital for liver failure, Steven, then 20, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Although his diagnosis was a shock, he felt it was easier to deal with since he had grown up around it. Steven shares how diabetes management technology has changed throughout the past 20 years, from using multiple daily injections, to the new MiniMed 530G with Enlite.
Q. Can you tell me about how diabetes played a role in your household?
A. Diabetes has always played a role in my household, even before I was diagnosed. My mom, dad, sister, and two uncles have the disease. Growing up, it was just my mom and dad who had diabetes. My uncles and sister were diagnosed well after I was. My mom and dad always used to joke with me when it was time to test our blood sugar and take insulin, saying, “The family that shoots (insulin) together stays together”. My uncle was an endocrinologist, and my father worked for Bayer in their diabetes division for 29 years. When I was in the second or third grade, I took one of the very first glucometers for show and tell.
Q. What made you decide to go on an insulin pump?
A. It was at the urging of my doctor and diabetes educator. They believed my control would be much better with an insulin pump than multiple daily injections using two kinds of insulin. At first I had some reservations about having something connected to me all the time, but it was the best thing I have ever done.
Q. Tell us about your first experience using the Threshold Suspend feature.
A. I experienced the power of the new system the first day I used it. I put the sensor in the night I got it, and the next morning, Threshold Suspend kicked in. The system did exactly as it was supposed to – it suspended insulin delivery and woke me up with the alarm. This feature is great.
Q. How is this system different from the tools you’ve used to use your diabetes in the last 20 years?
A. When I first was diagnosed with diabetes and put on insulin, the tools were nowhere as advanced as they are now. I had to write my blood sugars in a book, and it took 30 seconds or more to get a blood sugar reading on the machines. Even since I went on my first pump at the end of 2004, things have changed. Now the pumps have many more options, such as being able to administer smaller amounts of insulin. Things really changed when I started using the first sensor in 2007. Today, I enjoy that the Enlite has a smaller needle and can stay in for six days. There are now websites with diabetes information, and applications available on your phone and tablet that help you keep track of your blood sugars and help count calories in virtually anything you want to eat. It used to be very hard to go out with friends or family to eat, having to guess how many carbs you were eating.
Q. What are your tips for managing your diabetes?
A. I make sure to check my blood sugar before every meal, and try to check it two hours after I eat as well. I make sure to bolus before every meal, and watch what I eat. I always make sure to have supplies, and carry extra while traveling.
Q. What advice would you give to someone who is considering using CGM with pump therapy?
A. The advice I would give is to talk it over with your doctor, and then if you do make the decision to try it, make sure you stick with it. Have an open mind about it. It is so nice to grab my meter kit, put it in my pocket, and then leave the house to do what I need to. Also, the best thing is that I do not have to take 10 shots a day.
Q. NASCAR is one of your big hobbies. Tell us about your involvement.
A. Well NASCAR is my favorite sport. I watch every race I possibly can, and I’ve attended at least one race every year since 2009. I want to give back to the diabetes community, so am considering volunteering for the Victory Junction camp for children with diabetes as a counselor for a week in summer 2014. I would like to become more involved with NASCAR and diabetes in some way. I believe that the sport is so big that we could get the message out about diabetes, whether it is type 1 or type 2. I am always thinking of ways to become more involved.
Tags: diabetes management
, diabetes technology
, MiniMed 530G
, multiple daily injections