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A Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis: One Year Later

A Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis One Year Later

After working for Medtronic over 10 years (8 years in Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management Clinical and 2 years in Global IT Clinical Support), Philip became a diabetes customer and patient. Just before Thanksgiving 2013, he came down with a cold that seemed to never subside. Having been a generally healthy person, Philip was shocked when his lab results came back with an elevated blood glucose (BG) over 360 mg/dL and a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Please welcome Philip as he shares his past years’ experiences after diagnosis.

It wasn’t too long after my diagnosis that I was holding an insulin pen and picking a spot on my abdomen to deliver my first dose of insulin. I disliked needles, but even more distressing was that I was the one holding the needle, which made the moment somewhat surreal. But over time, as I followed the insulin regimen, I began to feel better and accepted the fact that this was my new reality. I have type 1 diabetes.

Education and Adaption

Knowing very little about diabetes, I met with a Diabetes Educator and we developed my diabetes management plan. Using multiple daily injections (MDI) of short and long acting insulin and testing my blood glucose (BG) levels before and after meals, I noted that I was jabbing myself with sharp objects up to 12 times a day. I logged my numbers into an app on my mobile phone, and established a routine to manage my diabetes, which eventually became a habit and no longer required reminders or tip sheets. I felt very comfortable with this routine, and because I felt better, I understood this became a necessary inconvenience. It was life altering and I was OK with that.

Endocrinologist – Initial Appointment

Early in my diagnosis, my endocrinologist asked if I had considered using an insulin pump, as his patients on insulin pump therapy had better overall health, compared to his patients who were on MDI. At the time, I knew a couple people who were on a Medtronic insulin pump, but had very limited knowledge on the functionality. He explained an insulin pump slowly delivers fast acting insulin throughout the day, more closely replicating the functionality of a healthy pancreas, so it’s a more normalized approached to managing diabetes than MDI. For me, the decision wasn’t difficult. I ordered the MiniMed 530G with Enlite, which had recently been approved for sale in the US. However, I still had a lot of concerns and questions.

Concerns and Questions

Here were a few of my questions and concerns, and how I experienced them.

1. Do you wear the pump 24/7?

Yes, the insulin pump is with you day and night, though not during water activities, such as showering or swimming, but it is your companion 24/7. You can take breaks, ‘a pump vacation’, but I haven’t done that this past year. I prefer to wear it clipped to my belt using either the standard plastic clip, or a more formal looking black case, but this is a matter of individual preference. How one decides to wear, conceal, or display their pump is at their own discretion.

2. Do you sleep with the pump?

Yes. Again, it is with you 24/7. Initially, I was very concerned about how this could even be remotely comfortable. But, like everything else I’ve explained, you just adapt. Truthfully, I’ve never had a problem sleeping with the pump, and have never found it or the infusion set (tubing and point of entry at insertion site) to be a problem either. I simply clip the pump to my sleeping boxers and forget about it. The pump may beep or buzz during the night for a variety of reasons, but I’ve found that careful management of my glucose before going to bed helps stabilize my levels, thus, minimizing alerts while I’m asleep.

3. Do you shower with the pump?

No. The pump is not waterproof, but it is simple to disconnect the infusion set. Before I shower, I disconnect from my pump and set it on my dresser while I shower. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider regarding the duration of your disconnect. Also, be careful where you put the pump when you are disconnected. Pumps are not indestructible, and any fall onto a hard surface could potentially damage the pump.

4. Does it hurt when you connect the pump’s infusion set?

This is more of a personal opinion, but I say ‘no’. It’s a very efficient process, and I rarely feel any pain beyond the initial insertion. During my pump training, after I inserted the infusion set for the first time, I asked, “Was that it?” Again, this is something you adapt to. Most people I’ve spoken with like their pump and wish they started pumping a long time ago.

Viewing Current Glucose Levels

Simply put, if there is anything, and I mean anything, which has improved my quality of life, it’s the ability to view my current sensor glucose levels without constantly pricking my finger. The Enlite sensor has given me this ability. My continuous glucose monitor (CGM) shows me my glucose numbers and trends, helping me make simple diabetes management decisions. Do I need to have a snack before I head off to my next meeting? What are my trends during the day or night? What are my glucose levels during the weekends compared to the weekdays?

Going about Business

One busy afternoon, I forgot my insulin kit bag, which includes an insulin pen, test trips, BG meter, lancet, extra infusion sets, sensors, and reservoirs at home, realizing this after I was too far to turn around. I wasn’t going to be away very long, but longer than usual, and it’s uncommon for me to be without my kit bag. But, because I was wearing the Enlite sensor and had established my trends, and I knew my numbers were accurate, I was well prepared to deal with this situation safely and with great confidence. Life is certainly different having type 1 diabetes. It can be challenging and frustrating, but along the way in my brief journey, it’s also been rewarding. Here’s to more rewards!

Important Safety Information

Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems. MiniMed 530G with Enlite is intended for the delivery of insulin and continuous glucose monitoring for the management of diabetes mellitus by persons 16 years of age or older who require insulin.

Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day. Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to making adjustments to diabetes therapy. MiniMed 530G with Enlite is not intended to be used directly for preventing or treating hypoglycemia but to suspend insulin delivery when the user is unable to respond to the Threshold Suspend alarm and take measures to prevent or treat hypoglycemia themselves.

Sensors and infusion sets may cause irritation at site of insertion.

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