Basal-IQ Technology - Regaining the Freedom to Explore

Feb 6, 2019, 16:57 PM

It was a crisp morning in the secluded mountains of Big Bear, California, as I sat down to read a new book and sipped on my coffee among the birds and the trees. I was on vacation with my wife for the first time all year, and we were enjoying a quiet morning at the cabin before heading out for the day. We had a full day of fun plans ahead of us, which included a peaceful bike ride along the lake path in the morning, going to the local farmers market to grab some food for lunch, and a quick hike up the mountain to take in the incredible view up top.

The bike ride reminded me why I need to get out of the city more often and explore nature. The farmers market was quaint, and it reminded me to slow down in life to enjoy the moment and have meaningful conversations with those around me. Lunch was delicious and taught me to savor the moment … and the meal. It had been an incredible day so far, but the day was about to become even more memorable and exciting when I took my phone out to check my blood sugar before our afternoon hike.

I took a peek at my Dexcom G6® Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System on my phone and also noticed that I had an email from Tandem. I called my wife over and excitedly asked aloud, “Is it finally time for my Basal-IQ technology update on my t:slim X2™ insulin pump?!” I opened the email and nearly yelled out of happiness. Smiling from ear to ear and feeling like a kid on Christmas morning, I ran to my laptop in the office. I remembered that we were supposed to leave on our afternoon hike shortly, but my wife knew how important this Basal-IQ technology update was to me and agreed to wait until I had it downloaded and set up.      

The process of downloading and watching the instructional videos was simple and easy, and before long, I had my shiny, new algorithm that could (and would) change the way I control my type 1 diabetes. Thrilled that I now had the opportunity to test the algorithm with our previously planned hike, we jumped to action and ran out the door towards the mountains.

The hike was short, but I knew it would be intense. I’ve done it in the past and knew what to expect, so I planned ahead and had my blood sugar sitting around 180 mg/dL to give me some wiggle room in case I dropped low. Climbing over rocks and pushing through the brush along the way, we powered our way up the mountain. I had my trusty backpack full of sugar just in case, but I wanted to test out the Basal-IQ update; the sugar was a safety cushion. As we neared the top I took a peek at my blood sugars. 140 mg/dL slanted down. The next reading would show an arrow down. I was a little nervous, but chose to enjoy the moment and let Basal-IQ technology work as it was meant to, and guess what? It had already shut off my basal insulin once the algorithm picked up on my quickly dropping blood sugars! It was helping my blood sugars in the background without even making a peep. We took our time taking in the 360-degree viewpoint of the forest, the mountains, and the lake. It was breathtaking.

Heading down the steep mountain was still strenuous, and my blood sugars let me know that. However, while they continued to drop, I noticed that they were slowing down. I put my phone away and enjoyed the rest of the hike back to the cabin before pulling out my stash of sugar. Back at the cabin, I was positive that I would need to have at least a few carbs to stop the drop from the hike, but I took a look at my sugars first. I was now slanted down (instead of arrow down which means that it was slowing down) at 103 mg/dL. I faced an important decision: Wait and see what happens with the Basal-IQ suspension, or respond like I normally would and prepare to treat a low blood sugar. I chose to trust the software and wait it out, which turned out to be a great decision because the next reading was a stable arrow at 106! I ended up stabilizing at 112 mg/dL and staying there until dinner.

I was blown away at how well Basal-IQ technology worked and at the whole new world of possibilities this opened up to me. Basal-IQ technology had allowed me the opportunity to take in the beauty of nature that surrounded me on that perfect day, without having to stop to eat any sugar.

Matt Vande Vegte is a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and type 1 diabetic whose biggest goal in life is to help people with diabetes around the world live their lives fearlessly. Looking for an online health coaching program to help you live your best life? Click the link below to learn more about his program for people living with diabetes, focused on helping you reach your goals while living a happier and healthier life. Join the Tribe today!

Responsible Use of Basal-IQ Technology

Systems like the t:slim X2 insulin pump with Basal-IQ technology are not substitutes for active diabetes management, as there are common scenarios in which automated systems cannot prevent hypoglycemia. The Basal-IQ feature relies on continuous CGM readings and will not be able to predict glucose levels and suspend insulin delivery if your CGM is not working properly or is unable to communicate with your pump. Be sure to always use your pump, cartridges, CGM, and infusion sets as instructed and check them regularly to make sure they are working properly. Always pay attention to your symptoms, actively monitor your glucose levels, and treat according to your healthcare provider’s recommendations.

Matt was compensated by Tandem Diabetes Care® for his contribution on this topic. However, he created the content, and it is based on his personal knowledge, experiences, and observations.

From time to time, we may pass along suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem insulin pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. Please note, however, individual symptoms, situations, circumstances, and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified healthcare provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product. www.tandemdiabetes.com/important-safety-information.