When were you diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes?
I was diagnosed at the age of 5 in February 1982. Since I was diagnosed at such a young age I don’t remember not being diabetic, as far as I am concerned I have always had it.
Why did you choose an Animas insulin pump?
I chose the Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump & Dexcom G4® PLATINUM CGM System for the ease of use and integrated Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) function. Different sports put different loads on the body and CGM helps map out the peaks and troughs that come with different types of exercise. When you combine different exercises things change again, having that visibility is key to maintaining that hard earned control.
I had been interested in CGM for a number of years and once the Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump was released it was a no brainer.
How did your Animas insulin pump change your life?
Many years ago I moved from two injections a day to multiple daily injections (MDI) using a pen. The added flexibility was wonderful as meals could be more spontaneous and carb intake could be higher or lower without any real worries. I was offered a pump a couple of times before I finally decided to move. I was injecting in the region of six or seven times a day and had had enough, figuring that the pump would be the less intrusive option. Moving from MDI to a pump was like that again but for everything else.
I have the control to go on a spur of the moment bike ride or run without having to pre-plan the day before.
Initially I didn’t like having the pump attached to me, it made my diabetes prominent in my own mind again. The feeling didn’t last for long and now having access to insulin ‘on tap’ is really helpful.
The Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump didn’t enable me to do things I couldn’t do before but it just made managing my insulin levels easier.
What sport do you practice, and how has the Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump had an impact on exercise for you?
I enjoy running and cycling and the endorphins that come with a good workout. The added bonus from the diabetes side is that the more active I am the better my control is and the better my control is the better I feel. Sport makes me happy, fit, and feel better. What’s not to like?
The challenge with exercising for me is the feeling of uncertainty. A few hours into a run or ride, am I just tired (like a non-diabetic would be) or am I hypo or hyper? Always second guessing, even if you know how you usually react it is just that, a usual reaction, and some days it can be different. After exercise hypos are the major challenge as not all sports have the same after exercise effects. For me a 10k run doesn’t seem to have any odd effects on blood glucose measurements but a good bike ride will cause my levels to plummet about five or six hours afterwards. Having a pump and CGM allows you to have near real time control over what happens.
Being able to control the basal profile is a huge benefit for me, previously I would’ve had to take on lots of carbs to ‘override’ the long acting insulin, now I can just turn the insulin delivery down.
What are your main day-to-day challenges with living with Type 1 diabetes and how do you cope with them?
Always second guessing whether every feeling is diabetes related or just normal. Having a pump and CGM allows you to have near real time control over what happens.
What would you say to someone who has heard your story, also lives with Type 1 diabetes and now wants a challenge of their own?
Go for it! Diabetes makes things harder but it shouldn’t stop you doing anything.
What advice would you give someone who has just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes?
Educate yourself; diabetes should not stop you doing anything.