Most people never see the results of KayLynn Steg's work. She rocks her job by jumping into the tank every day — fuel tank, that is.
KayLynn is a licensed petroleum installer and the first female construction worker her company has hired in its 50-year history. She’s part of a team that digs deep to place the underground infrastructure for gas stations. They hide their hard work beneath thick concrete, making it nearly unnoticeable.
KayLynn experiences the highs, lows, and daily maintenance necessities of type one diabetes management while she's working. Her team plays a crucial role in making sure KayLynn has what she needs.
“I feel like my crew is more concerned about [my diabetes] than I am," said KayLynn.
They often jump in with offers to help KayLynn change her infusion set, get a snack, or drive the truck, before KayLynn has the chance to assure them that she's tougher than her diabetes.
Long before she was digging holes, KayLynn was already emotionally digging deep. At age 14, her emerging diabetes became apparent through shocking weight and hair loss. KayLynn endured bullying due to the physical reminders of her waning health. Her mom brought her to the doctor, who immediately declared KayLynn's health to be in a state of emergency.
“Within five minutes, they came running into the room," said KayLynn. "They said, ‘If you don’t take her to the hospital right now, we’re going to call Flight for Life.'"
T1D wasn't new to her family, however. Her older sister, Amisa, had been diagnosed at 18 months old and was eager to provide support and coaching for KayLynn.
“She wasn’t excited that I got diabetes, but she was excited to have someone there with her who had it,” said KayLynn. “She got to teach me how to take care of it. She would help me count my carbs, so I think it helped her, too, with her diabetes.”
KayLynn soon felt much better. Now, she relies on her t:slim X2 insulin pump with Control-IQ technology to notify her when her blood sugars are too high or too low.
“I have four alarms just in case there's a lot of loud noise on the construction site,” said KayLynn, noting how loud construction sites can be. “Then by that fourth alarm, I'm like, ‘Oh, hey, hold on. Something's wrong.’”
Those alarms have made a huge difference in KayLynn's workday. Before she was using her pump, her blood sugars were dropping far too low, far too often. Her endocrinologist suggested that she start using the Tandem pump to help keep her blood sugars on track during her hectic construction site days.
“I wouldn't feel lows until I was at 32 or 29,” said KayLynn. “But now, when it goes below 70, [my pump] starts vibrating and making the noise. And I'm like, ‘OK, hold on, guys, something’s wrong. I need to go get a drink. I need to go sit down and eat something.’ So, it's helping me catch my blood sugars when they're dropping, while it's still manageable and I don't have to freak out about it.”
Years of diabetes management have taught KayLynn to be resilient and vigilant.
It does not matter how busy you are... Take care of your diabetes.
- KayLynn Steg
She's adamant that both hyper- and hypoglycemia must be acknowledged and corrected immediately. Any fluctuations in blood sugar can affect acuity and work ethic, which are crucial for KayLynn's work.
"With your blood sugars, if you're not feeling good, your work ethic is not going to be good,” said KayLynn.
KayLynn is confident that her pump helps keep her working, even when there isn’t time for a lunch break.
“It actually helps with my job a lot because, if I am eating the during the day, I can just take my pump out, put the carbs in, and it just does it,” KayLynn said. “I put it back in my pocket and get back to work right away.”
Stay fueled and thanks for being a part of the Tandem Family, KayLynn!
Photos courtesy of KayLynn Steg.
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.
Important Safety Information: RX ONLY. The t:slim X2 pump and Control-IQ technology are intended for single patient use. The t:slim X2 pump and Control-IQ technology are indicated for use with NovoLog or Humalog U-100 insulin. t:slim X2 insulin pump: The t:slim X2 insulin pump with interoperable technology is intended for the subcutaneous delivery of insulin, at set and variable rates, for the management of diabetes mellitus in people requiring insulin. The pump is able to reliably and securely communicate with compatible, digitally connected devices, including automated insulin dosing software, to receive, execute, and confirm commands from these devices. The pump is indicated for use in individuals 6 years of age and greater. Control-IQ technology: Control-IQ technology is intended for use with compatible integrated continuous glucose monitors (iCGM, sold separately) and alternate controller enabled (ACE) pumps to automatically increase, decrease, and suspend delivery of basal insulin based on iCGM readings and predicted glucose values. It can also deliver correction boluses when the glucose value is predicted to exceed a predefined threshold. Control-IQ technology is intended for the management of Type 1 diabetes mellitus in persons 6 years of age and greater.
WARNING: Control-IQ technology should not be used by anyone under the age of 6 years old. It should also not be used in patients who require less than 10 units of insulin per day or who weigh less than 55 pounds.
Control-IQ technology is not indicated for use in pregnant women, people on dialysis, or critically ill patients. Do not use Control-IQ technology if using hydroxyurea. Users of the t:slim X2 pump and Control-IQ technology must: use the insulin pump, CGM, and all other system components in accordance with their respective instructions for use; test blood glucose levels as recommended by their healthcare provider; demonstrate adequate carb-counting skills; maintain sufficient diabetes self-care skills; see healthcare provider(s) regularly; and have adequate vision and/or hearing to recognize all functions of the pump, including alerts, alarms, and reminders. The t:slim X2 pump must be removed before MRI, CT, or diathermy treatment. Visit tandemdiabetes.com/safetyinfo for additional important safety information.