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Getting Back to Adventure without Diabetes in the Way

Today we’re thrilled to share an inspiring guest post from Joel, a successful writer, advertising expert and adventure-lover who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 39 years. His story of overcoming some fears – fears that are likely all too familiar for many of you – is one you won’t want to miss.

Back in my pre-pump life, I almost drowned when I went low while swimming near Waikiki Beach. The 4-hour difference between Chicago and Honolulu had messed up the usual timing of my shots and meals without my realizing it. If it hadn’t been for a watchful lifeguard hauling me up on his board and paddling me back to shore, I would’ve died. After I recovered, I was both frightened and embarrassed.

I had another close call a couple of years later, when I had a severe low while stalking mule deer in deep snow on a Wyoming mountainside in the Shoshone National Forest. I love the outdoors, but Mother Nature sneakily kept trying to use my diabetes to kill me. After that, I limited my exposure to that kind of risk, which also unfortunately meant I limited the kinds of fun I could have.

How things have changed. Recently, I went swimming and snorkeling off two different beaches and several reefs near Isla Mujeres, Mexico—cruising the coral for colorful fish, lobsters, eels and octopus without any problem. The difference? This time my MiniMed 670G system was constantly checking my glucose levels and making adjustments. It’s waterproof at snorkeling depths, so wearing it while I was swimming was a no-brainer.

Honestly, this wasn’t something I’d really thought about when I was considering upgrading to the MiniMed 670G system. I’d been more excited about how it might improve my daily numbers, and whether it would bring down my A1C—my regular exercise levels aren’t usually demanding enough to cause problems. But, swimming in the ocean, especially in a strong current, can really bring your sugar down FAST—even when you take in extra carbs beforehand. As you follow fish along the reef, it’s very easy to lose track of how long you’ve been out, and it was very reassuring to know the pump was there to alert me and automatically suspend my basal before I got into trouble. My glucose never got below 90 while I was in the water.

Now that I’ve proven to myself how well the system works to protect against lows, I’m considering getting back to other outdoor activities I’ve avoided or limited due to worries about going low. Think snowshoes in the winter, and Canadian fly-in fishing camps in the summer. A big ‘thank-you’ to the Medtronic folks who made it possible!

Important Safety Information

The Medtronic MiniMed™ 670G system is intended for continuous delivery of basal insulin (at user selectable rates) and administration of insulin boluses (in user selectable amounts) for the management of type 1 diabetes mellitus in persons, seven years of age and older, requiring insulin as well as for the continuous monitoring and trending of glucose levels in the fluid under the skin. The MiniMed™ 670G system includes SmartGuard™ technology, which can be programmed to automatically adjust the delivery of basal insulin based on Continuous Glucose Monitor sensor glucose values,and can suspend delivery of insulin when the sensor glucose value falls below or is predicted to fall below predefined threshold values. The system requires a prescription. The Guardian™ Sensor (3) glucose values are not intended to be used directly for making therapy adjustments, but rather to provide an indication of when a fingerstick may be required.

A confirmatory finger stick test via the CONTOUR®NEXT LINK 2.4 blood glucose meter is required prior to making adjustments to diabetes therapy. All therapy adjustments should be based on measurements obtained using the CONTOUR®NEXT LINK 2.4 blood glucose meter and not on values provided by the Guardian Sensor (3).  Always check the pump display to ensure the glucose result shown agrees with the glucose results shown on the CONTOUR®NEXT LINK 2.4 blood glucose meter. Do not calibrate your CGM device or calculate a bolus using a blood glucose meter result taken from an Alternative Site (palm) or from a control solution test. It is also not recommended to calibrate your CGM device when sensor or blood glucose values are changing rapidly, e.g., following a meal or physical exercise.  If a control solution test is out of range, please note that the result may be transmitted to your pump when in the “Always” send mode.

Pump therapy is not recommended for people whose vision or hearing does not allow recognition of pump signals and alarms. Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to maintain contact with their healthcare professional. The safety of the MiniMed™ 670G system has not been studied in pregnant women. For complete details of the system, including product and important safety information such as indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions associated with system and its components, please consult and the appropriate user guide at

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