For many people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D), there is the constant juggle of how to best take care of your health – multiple daily injections, insulin pumps, blood sugar meters, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), and more all create the crowded set of options, each choice particular to each person with T1D.
At JDRF, we strongly advocate for everyone impacted by T1D to have freedom of choice in your care options, with the final decision coming down to what you need to best manage your health and achieve your personal goals.
Toward that end, we hope the following collection of community perspectives helps as you explore how T1D Tech like insulin pumps, CGMs, apps and more may be an option for you.
Below, we hear from six people living with T1D about their T1D Tech, the fears they had before using their various devices, and how these options have changed their life with T1D.
Kaila, age 32, lives in Atlanta, GA. Diagnosed at age 16, Kaila uses the Freestyle Libre continuous glucose monitor (CGM) with LibreLink app for blood glucose readings, along with an Omnipod insulin pump.
Before starting #T1DTech, Kaila was most scared of “having lows on the pump at night or when I am alone.”
#T1DTech has helped her life because “Freestyle has given me the ease of use to check my sugar and take insulin discreetly through my phone, without stopping what I’m doing.”
Austin, age 23, lives in Dallas, TX. Diagnosed at age 2, Austin uses a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and a Tandem t:slim X2 insulin pump
Because Austin grew up with #T1DTech, “I remember getting my first pump when i was in elementary school, and thinking “Wow, my life literally runs on batteries now”. That being said I was always a little unsettled with the fact that if this device failed, I would be in trouble. Having to always have a backup plan in mind, which as a young diabetic who only cared about playing with his friends, and trying to be “normal”, was the last thing I wanted to think about.”
#T1DTech has helped his life because “whether it was being able to quickly and discreetly give myself insulin at the tap of a button, or something as simple as being able to finally not go high from eating something extremely high carb (i.e. pizza) with the extended bolus feature, this quickly helped me maintain my blood sugars more independently than ever before. With my Dexcom CGM, from reducing the amount of times I had to prick my finger, to being able to share my blood sugars with my parents, not having to constantly hear “Austin, check your blood”. Even though i know it was all in love. Technology has made living with T1D less of a burden for both me and my loved ones, and with the research and incoming technology, I know it will only get better.”
Sarah, age 25, lives in New York, NY. Diagnosed at age 20, Sarah uses the Medtronic 670G closed loop system.
Before starting #T1DTech, Sarah was anxious because “I didn’t want to have a device attached to me. Being diagnosed with T1D as a college student and working multiple jobs, I didn’t feel like I had the time and mental energy it would take to learn a new device, after just adjusting to multiple daily injections and my brand new life with T1D.”
#T1DTech has helped her life because “my blood sugar control was really terrible before I got a pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM). I wasn’t paying enough attention to my body, or actively thinking about my insulin intake, physical activity and food at all. Now that I’m on the Medtronic 670G system, I still don’t actively think about those elements, but I know the system has my back. I know that it’s going to work to keep my blood sugar from going dangerously high, and it’s going to lower my insulin doses before I drop too low. My control is so much better, but I think about T1D so much less. I wish I could go back and tell myself not to wait to start on a pump and CGM!”
Maxim, age 13, lives in Honolulu, HI with his parents Sandra and Jermaine. Diagnosed at age 7, Maxim uses a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM) with the Dexcom Share App (so he can share his real-time blood glucose levels with 5 people) and a Tandem t:slim insulin pump.
Before starting #T1DTech, Maxim was scared because “it was new and I didn’t know what it was or how to use it. I was used to needles, so it was weird having to completely change everything.”
#T1DTech has helped Maxim and his family’s life because “it’s easier to check my blood sugar because I don’t need to poke my finger to see what my blood sugar is. Our family gets more sleep because we don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to check my blood sugar. My parents worry less when I’m in school or hanging out with my friends. I have more independence.”
Teri, age 57, lives in Baltimore, MD. Diagnosed at age 24 (with an 18 month old son at the time!), Terri uses the Medtronic 670G hybrid closed loop system.
Before starting #T1DTech, Teri “was most nervous to trust the pump to deliver my needs. I also was unsure of having something attached to me 24×7. Yet multiple daily injections (MDI)–which I used until 2001–was so unpredictable for my flexible lifestyle and behaviors that I was very willing to try the pump.”
#T1DTech has helped Teri’s life because “now I can have flexibility and adaptability in my life; the activities I enjoy and my favorable tendency for spontaneity are now more acceptable. When I moved to insulin pump therapy with Medtronic in 2001, it was so liberating to be free of guessing and hoping the insulin delivered by my needles would work as I expected. The pump gave me so much freedom, and it was the most metabolically normal I had felt in decades.
Now I use the MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop system, which responds to my spontaneous lifestyle almost perfectly every day and every hour. My A1c has always been very good, but now each measurement gets closer and closer to almost normal ranges which I had never expected of myself. The continuous feedback loop from my CGM to my pump and my percentage of time in normal blood glucose range gives me so much confidence to live a life almost free of diabetes.
Finally, the low blood sugars which had been such a frequent part of my life and constantly scared me and my family, are almost a thing if the past. This has probably been the biggest benefit for my family and me.”
Rayan, age 4, lives in Orange County, CA with his parents Sumarah and Ashraf. Diagnosed at age 2 and a half, Rayan uses a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an Omnipod insulin pump.
Before starting #T1DTech, Rayan’s fear “was the pain at insertion time. But we learned of ways (like holding his hand or counting down) and sites he prefers (arms and legs) that ease his anxiety during changes. Our fear as his parents was the reliability with Dexcom numbers and bolus calculations with his Omnipod. We constantly manually did his blood glucose checks in the beginning to confirm readings which helped us gain confidence in the technology as time passed.”
#T1DTech has helped Rayan and his family’s life because “Rayan gained his toddler freedom back after being diagnosed. In the beginning with multiple daily injections (MDI) and manual blood glucose (BG) checks we constantly had to pull him away or stop him from his activities, but once he made the switch over it helped us monitor him from a distance and allow us to manage his diabetes care in a way that was less stressful for both him and us. Now he loves both his Dexcom G6 and Omnipod and we all really couldn’t imagine managing his diabetes care without them.”
If you need more help finding the right diabetes device for you, visit diabeteswise.org.