As I opened my eyes and got out of bed, I found it hard to navigate the room. The sun had not risen yet and my mind was a bit foggy waking up much earlier than normal. But it was no normal day waking up for work. On this special day, my wife and I were going snowboarding. We hadn’t been in a few years (you know how life can get hectic), and this would be my first time ever snowboarding with an insulin pump!1
While I was very excited to get back into nature and experience the wonder of snow-covered mountains, there was still a part of me that was a little nervous.
Let’s get back to waking up. In my pump's active Personal Profile I've programmed a higher basal rate a few hours before I wake up (this is different for everyone, consult your medical team to find what works best for you). This elevated basal rate takes care of my “dawn phenomenon” and allows me to wake up with perfect blood sugars almost every day, something that I never was able to master when I was on multiple daily injections. This effectively handled my dawn phenomenon and any additional adrenaline from preparing for the trip. I bolused for my breakfast in the car and had perfect blood sugars with the sun rising to the east, peaking over the grass covered hills.
We arrived at the mountain and it was time to gear up for snowboarding. Since the parking lot was already full when we arrived, we had to park in the overflow lot. This meant we had to haul all our gear half of a mile to get to the slopes. Basal-IQ® technology to the rescue! We started walking and I started slowly dropping, but the feature suspended insulin and kept me steady between 80 and 100! We hopped on the ski lift and took our first run.
Being the adrenaline seeking adventurer that I am, I wondered if going off jumps or grinding on rails would be hard on my infusion set. But, I was committed to going snowboarding, and decided I’d take it easy on the first few runs down the mountain to build up my confidence.
I am happy to report that I had full range of motion and my pump site was comfortable.
I gave it a good test too. I was trying to show off in front of my wife and I crashed hard trying to do a trick. (I hadn’t been snowboarding in a few years, I was rusty, ok?) But, guess what...Still good! One run down and I knew I could jump right back in. We were off to a great start!
I had my pump in my pocket close to my skin and under layers. I kept my alarms and alerts on for safety and was mindful about how I was feeling. I made a decision for the day, and that decision was to enjoy every moment by trusting in my wearable diabetes technology. Even after bolusing for a big lunch I was able to jump right back out and tear up the freestyle park without having the fear of low blood sugars ruin a perfect day. It had just snowed a ridiculous amount and both my wife and I were in awe at what a wonderful day it had been in a winter wonderland. On our last run of the day, we took a moment to appreciate the snow covered forest, the sounds of nature, and the fresh air that had allowed us to escape the hecticness of life.
I never dropped below 83 mg/dl.2 At the end of the day when I was looking at my CGM graph, I can say that without the Basal-IQ feature, I would have seen some lows with all of the exercise from snowboarding.
Diabetes never stops, and because of Basal-IQ technology, my adventure doesn't have to stop either.
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.
1 Avoid exposure of your pump to temperatures below 40°F (5°C) or above 99°F (37°C). Insulin can freeze at low temperatures or degrade at high temperatures. Insulin that has been exposed to conditions outside of the manufacturer’s recommended ranges can affect the safety and performance of the pump.
2 Basal-IQ Technology does not prevent hypoglycemia in all scenarios.
Matt Vande Vegte is a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and person living with diabetes 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!
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. However, please note individual symptoms, situations, circumstances and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information linked below before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.