I’m Pumped About My New T-Slim Pump

Four years ago, I got my first insulin pump, the Medtronic 530G.

After four years, your pump goes out of warranty. At that time, you’re able to upgrade through insurance. So, back in July, I began the process of getting my new pump even though I wasn’t out of warranty until December. (Of course, the Tandem rep laughed at me in July because it was way too early to even start paperwork or anything).

After 3 weeks involving 37 phone calls (no joke!), I finally have my new insulin pump in hand: the Tandem T-Slim X2.

I’m so obsessed with this pump. It’s rechargeable so I don’t have to worry about always having spare AAA batteries on me. It syncs right with my Dexcom G5 so if my phone dies or gets misplaced, I can still monitor my blood sugar. It’s touch screen and doesn’t look like a damn pink pager.

After 2 days, here’s my impression so far:

The T-Slim’s more precise boluses are great, and although there are more steps for the bolus screens on the T-Slim and some people may find that irritating, I feel like it’s a good safeguard against accidental incorrect boluses

Medtronic’s menus are way more complicated and hard to navigate than the T-Slim’s are

T-Slim’s screen is bright and easy to read

The T-Slim primes so much slower than my old Medtronic pump did

Filling the reservoir/cartridge on the T-Slim feels more archaic than the Medtronic (since it uses a 2 piece syringe separate from the cartridge rather than Medtronic’s simple clip-it-on-the-vial setup)

Even with everything on vibrate, the T-Slim still audibly alarms when you’re starting a new cartridge, you’re below 55 mg/dL, and when you plug it in to charge (not so great when I’m at work in my quiet office) However the Medtronic also audibly alarms when you’re starting a new cartridge and also all the time when the battery is low, which happens after like 2 weeks and then you can run on a low battery for another 3 weeks-ish, so Tandem gets the point on this one

Tandem doesn’t have a Quickset equivalent so I have to use their Mio equivalent. I’m not a fan of Mios but I will get used to it eventually

The T-Slim’s case (and specifically the metal belt clip) feels so much more secure and heavy-duty than Medtronic’s flimsy plastic belt clip did. We will see how it holds up

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under CGM, Fashion, Insurance

008. My first 10K!

Last Saturday, I drove 3 hours to Chicago where I boarded a plane for a 4.5 hour flight to San Francisco to spend a week with my friends, sans husband.

After landing at 10pm local time (add 3 hours for my native time) and struggling to get a shuttle to the hotel, I crashed for a restless 5 hours of sleep before waking up to run my first ever 10K!

Elizabeth and I have been friends for basically forever. Well, roughly half our lives at this point, so close enough. She’s ran countless races including many half marathons, and has been wanting to do a race with me for years. So the week before I boarded the plane, she signed us both up for the 10K, knowing full well that 1) I’d never gone that distance before and 2) that I’m super duper slow. She was willing to take one for the team and run with me, and I “trained” by running with my friends Michael and Chris to prepare for the race.

We were almost late because of construction. And by “almost late,” I mean Elizabeth had to jog to the starting line and reached me right as they told us all to GO so I don’t think she got to stretch at all, and I maybe got 3 minutes of stretching in. I definitely felt that later on in the race!

The half marathon that was happening as well had started about 30 minutes before the 10K did, and the courses were largely the same. The half broke off from the course somewhere around the 2 mile mark and went for a large loop before meeting back up with the 10K course only a short ways further ahead, so when we were in mile 2, the half was at mile 9 or so. Of course, I had to get a funny picture.

The course was very flat and Alameda looks largely like something out of a Michael Bay film. I kept thinking I’d see explosions or people jumping out of the buildings or something because of how unique they looked. It was cool and so different from the scenery I’m used to here in Michigan.

Mile 2 was, as always, my biggest struggle! I wanted to quit. I was tired, sore, and irritated that we were getting passed by the 1:30 pacer for the half marathon, and the group that was with him were all super ripped and looked like it was nothing whereas I felt like I was about to die. But I pushed and got through it, with plenty of walking breaks.

I didn’t push my body to run, I was patient and listened to it, and allowed myself to focus on the distance and not on the time. Of course, there were a few race volunteers who were “trying to be helpful” by “encouraging” us to run. Please, if you see me out there, don’t encourage me to run or I will cut you. I am pushing my un-athletic body to do something unnatural for it, and telling me “you can do it! Don’t walk, run!” is not only annoying but also ignorant of what I’m actually achieving out there.

My blood sugar actually cooperated for the race! I was in shock, and it was literally the only time my blood sugar cooperated for my ENTIRE trip to California. I had set a temp basal of 1/4 my normal basal rate for 1 hour and that seemed to do the trick! I had 3 glucose gels with me just in case and luckily, I didn’t need them.

My official chip time was 1:37:11 and I am happy with a 15:40 average pace because I did 6.2 miles when earlier this year I could barely do 1.0. It’s a start and now I have a time to improve upon!

3 Comments

Filed under Running, vacation

oo7. Virtual run, real miles

I’m a HUGE Detroit Red Wings hockey fan. I only discovered hockey in 2013 when Allen took me to a game for my birthday, but I was immediately hooked.

Of course, this year the Red Wings are finally getting out of the ghetto Joe Louis and will be playing in their poorly-named new arena, Little Caesars Arena. Last year, the organization held their first annual Hockeytown 5K, to celebrate the final year at the Joe. My friend Morgan did the race and it looked like fun. So when I saw it advertised this year, I decided to sign up.

Unfortunately for me, I misread the dates, so I thought I wouldn’t be able to actually run it in Detroit, so I signed up for the virtual 5K. Turns out I totally could have made it work to do it for real, but it was too late by then.

The actual race was held on a Sunday, but I ran my virtual miles a few days later. My friend Elizabeth signed me up for a 10K the weekend after the Hockeytown race with only 5 days to train, (more on that in a future post), so I linked up with a couple friends to pound out some miles. My friend Michael and I ran 2.3 miles on Tuesday, and my friend Chris and I ran my “Hockeytown 5K” plus a few more on Thursday.

I definitely earned my shirt and medal! We had only planned on doing 4 miles but sometimes life has other plans and next thing I knew, we had done over 5 miles. It was awesome and I felt super prepped for my 10K!

The interesting thing is that I did the runs “blind” – meaning I wasn’t wearing my Dexcom. THAT was weird and kind of nerve wracking. At one point while we were running, Chris mentioned something about diabetes and how you can’t understand it truly unless you have it, and I said “Yep, you’d never know I’ve been spending the last half mile trying to feel what my blood sugar is, since I don’t have the numbers handy right now.” Luckily I tested frequently both during and after the runs and all was good, but that was insightful for him, and also gave me the confidence that I can survive running “blind” since I had never even tried it before then.

Leave a comment

Filed under fitness, Running

My Non-Diabetic Husband Wore My Continuous Glucose Monitor for 2 Weeks and This is What Happened

I recently upgraded my Dexcom system to the G5, which has allowed me to ditch the G4 receiver. However, I still had some juice left in my G4 transmitter, so I asked Allen if he would be willing to wear it for a week – Just for a fun comparison of his blood sugars versus mine.

If you know my husband AT ALL, then you know he’s completely squeamish when it’s his own blood, but mostly fine when it’s someone else’s. He inserts my sensors without fuss, and goes with me to my quarterly blood draws, but when he had to get his blood drawn for a physical at his work, he passed out. So I figured he would say no to my proposal, but I was thrilled when he agreed to be my pincushion for a week. He agreed knowing full well that he was committing to the initial insertion plus calibrations.

When he was finally ready to do the insertion, we got comfy on the bed, with a bucket in case he puked, and we got to work.

I don’t usually insert Dexcom sensors, but I know most of how it works, so I stuck it on, and prepped him for the actual insertion. Luckily he didn’t flinch, and I quickly pulled the inserter off. There was a little blood but not too bad. He let me know that it didn’t hurt and he was doing okay.

But then I had to insert the transmitter piece. There’s a little plastic arm on the sensor base that makes inserting the transmitter easier. However, that piece had fallen off as it sometimes does, which makes the transmitter insertion harder. So when I tried to insert the transmitter, I had to push really hard.

Allen freaked out. He laid down to try not to pass out, and ended up sitting back up and vomiting. I started crying because I felt so bad for what I felt was “making him do this.”

Thankfully, a few minutes later, he and I both calmed down. He pulled up a YouTube video to distract himself and I quickly jimmied the transmitter into the sensor base without any more fuss.

So the experience began!

The first day, Allen ran high for a non-diabetic, but I think the readings were not accurate. There was probably a bad initial calibration or something, and once we added a few more calibrations, it fell into range.

(Allen’s numbers are on the pink receiver, mine are the screenshots)

The most interesting part was how steady his lines usually were compared to mine. I expected that he’d hover in the 80-100 range all the time, but not that he’d stay so completely steady even when eating high carb meals.

Even his “dawn phenomenon” wasn’t actually that – he had eaten right before sending me this screenshot below.

I think the most amazing comparison was this one of a 24 hour time span near the end of our 2 week experiment:

A typical non-diabetic and a typical diabetic for 24 hours. The difference was amazing. I even found myself trying extra-hard to be in a “normal” range to compete with him. Of course, I failed miserably, but it was a great experience.

I am so thankful for my husband being willing to experience a snippet of my life for two weeks. Even through our anniversary, a trip to Wisconsin, and many days of work, he carried that pink receiver without fuss. He said the transmitter in his arm didn’t bother him much at all. His tegaderm looked WAY better at the end of two weeks than mine EVER does. And removal when he was done was a piece of cake. Overall, it was a great learning experience for us both! (And he’s said he’ll never do it again… but we’ll see.)

Leave a comment

Filed under CGM, Support system

oo6. Holy Rib Cramp!

Today I ran my third 5K of the year!

It was a small local town race, so it wasn't chip timed, but it was inexpensive and I didn't have any other plans for that day, so I signed up a couple weeks ago and have been running a bit here and there to prepare.

What I didn't prepare for was the awful rib cramp that would hit me at 0.5 miles and never relented.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Running

Pepto Bismol Pink

I’ve had my insulin pump for 3.5 years now. I got the Minimed 530G in December 2013 when it was still very new. The entire time, I’ve had one pump – my black one named Artemis. 


Unfortunately, over the Fourth of July weekend, I noticed a severe crack in Artemis, and was forced to call Medtronic for a replacement, since I’m still under warranty. Cracks can and do happen with pumps, especially since they’re worn 24/7/365 for 4+ years, and Medtronic customer service agreed to replace my pump without a fuss.  


The problem is, the only replacement pumps they had in stock were pink. Now, I like pink well enough, but this new pump is Pepto Bismol Pink. 



I hate it so much. However, it isn’t broken, so I guess I can deal with it until I upgrade, probably at the end of the year. So for now, I have an ugly pink pump. Good thing it stays in my pocket most of the time!

Leave a comment

Filed under insulin, Real life

oo5. More like Longest Course Ever

Today’s “Longest Day 5K” was absolutely brutal. 


I knew it would be. Any course going through a nature preserve is going to be tough. Yet somehow I was shocked when I rounded the first corner and started my way up a big hill. 

And somehow I was still shocked when I had to tackle puddles, mud, narrow trails, rickety wooden bridges, stairs, and insane heat. 

It didn’t help when the water station at mile 2.3 was handing out warm koolaid instead of water. Really? Ew. 

However, Allen kept watch on me through me sharing my location via iPhone and continually texted me updates as I ran, which showed on my Apple Watch and kept me motivated. 


I had bought an arm band designed for some obscure MP3 player to carry my Dexcom receiver in, to free up some room in my flipbelt. It did the job, but I hated it, so I’m not sure if I’ll use it again or not. When I got sweaty it started to slide around my arm, and when I tightened it, it pinched my skin. It was nice having my Dex right there though, so I didn’t have to keep trying to flip through Apple Watch screens to get to the Dexcom readings. I’d recommend it if you’re wanting something to wear on your arm for Dex. It’s a tight fit to get the receiver in and it sticks out on the end a little but it was very snug and secure. 


My blood sugar was a steady 115 most of the afternoon. An hour before race time, I did a temp basal rate of 60% insulin for an hour because I knew once I started running, I’d drop. I was drifting down so I had a roll of smarties about half an hour before race time. I started the race at 108 and peaked at 140 around the 2 mile mark. I finished the race back near 110. 

So did I beat my goal time for the race? No. I was almost 6 minutes slower than last week. However this course was ridiculously tough, and I still did pretty well. I was 93rd overall for women and 187th out of everyone, out of 244 people. 


So I didn’t do amazing. But I didn’t quit, even when I really considered it at mile 0.75. I kept going even when i was completely by myself and thought I took a wrong turn at mile 2. Even when I thought I was going to puke at mile 3. 


The course was absolutely gorgeous, and that was awesome in itself. Also, this was my first chip timed course so that was a neat experience!


And I got a free beer at the finish, so that was cool too. 

Thanks Chris for somehow convincing me to do yet another 5k. I don’t know how many more you’re going to be able to talk me into, but so far, I’m having fun. 

Leave a comment

Filed under fitness, Running

oo4. Training? Who needs training?

This past weekend, I ran a 5k with zero training. In fact, I signed up for it only about two hours before the actual race began.

Crazy, right?

Diabetes limits my impulsivity (Is that a word? It is now, I guess) in so many ways. I don’t get to just grab a cupcake and eat it without a second thought. So much of my life for the past almost 5 years has been planning, provisioning, and preparation.

However, on Saturday when my friends Chris and Chad said they were running a 5K that night and asked if Allen and I were going to be there, I decided on the spot that I wanted to do it. I decided to be impulsive because, you know what, fuck diabetes!

18879887_1472400149492839_8124080553894046755_o

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under fitness, Running

Burnout and Patient Shaming

I slacked off in 2016, canceling my doctors appointments and not rescheduling them. 

Yes, I’m aware that’s terrible. 

Yes, I’m aware that’s dangerous. 

I’m also aware that I was still adamantly monitoring my A1C through my Dexcom, had no instances of DKA, was never hospitalized, and never ran out of supplies because my doctor kept approving the prescriptions. 

It isn’t an excuse to those in the healthcare field, but to those of us with chronic illnesses, we get it. We understand that the appointments are overwhelming. The tests are frustrating and annoying. The battle with insurance is never-ending. 

And sometimes, you just need a damn break. So that’s what I did. 

Now I’m getting back on the wagon. I saw my endo a couple weeks ago, and saw my eye doctor yesterday for the yearly diabetic eye exam. 


I passed. I still have 20/20 vision, and I have no signs of diabetic retinopathy. 

But I didn’t miss the judgement in the doctors voice, that I hadn’t been there since April 2015. That I didn’t have an up-to-date A1C number and the estimate of 7.2 from Dexcom Clarity “really should be closer to 6.0.”

I hear you judging me, but I also hear that your perfectly functioning pancreas keeps you going every day. You don’t face the battles I do. You don’t have to hope to God you’re going to be able to pay for your deductible because you meet it in January every year. You don’t have to stab yourself over and over and over again.  You’ve never dealt with burnout from this horrible condition that you didn’t cause or ask for. 


Shaming me for my actions isn’t a solution. If anything, it only makes me hate you more and not want to do better. It makes me feel like the things I have accomplished – like the fact that I received a promotion to middle management last year, played a sport and still managed to keep myself alive – mean absolutely nothing to you. It makes me feel like the fact that I’m still out here kicking ass doesn’t matter because my A1C isn’t a 6.0 (which, by the way, A1C isn’t a good marker for diabetes care anyway!) 

A little compassion goes a long way. Rather than chastising me for not coming in for an appointment for the last year, maybe try asking me what I have been up to in that time? When I indulge that I played softball, ask how that affected my blood sugar – was it difficult to deal with, did I tend to run low or high during games? If you act like I’m more than just an A1C number, I’ll be a lot more receptive to your advice and suggestions. 


So please, keep your judgment to yourself, healthcare professionals. I already know that I didn’t and don’t do things to your standards, and ultimately I am accountable for my actions. 

2 Comments

Filed under Accountability, Real life

It Took Three Years, But It Finally Happened

I came home early from work today because I’m sick (and I didn’t go in at all yesterday). I decided to take a bath, which I hardly ever do, to relax. First, I ran the water too hot and nearly scalded my entire body. After I got out, I realized my pump site in my leg was still hurting since after lunch, and it had a little blood in it, so I decided to swap it out for a new one. As I’m standing in my kitchen, completely naked, sniffling and sneezing, fighting moderate ketones, drawing up a new pump site, I go to throw away my empty insulin bottle. It bounces off the rim of the trash can, falls to the floor, and shatters into a zillion tiny glass pieces all over my kitchen and living room. 



Just another day in the life with type 1 diabetes. 

2 Comments

Filed under insulin