We know change can seem scary, whether that be changing professions or changing your diabetes management. We had the pleasure of speaking with Tandem family member Ryan Reed and learning more about his experience in making some of the biggest transitions of his life.
Ryan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011 and quickly became passionate about raising awareness around the disease, as well as encouraging people with diabetes to live out their dreams. Ryan was able to live out his dream and race professionally in NASCAR for 6 seasons which included two victories at the famed Daytona International Speedway. Ryan is still actively involved in racing, working in driver development and business management for Jack Wood.
Ryan celebrating a win at Daytona International Speedway with a burnout
Through a Q&A conducted by our team, Ryan shares with us what it was like shifting out of the driver’s seat and switching to our t:slim X2™ pump.
Your diaversary is coming up! How do you plan to celebrate and why do you feel that it’s something important to recognize?
This will be my tenth diaversary! I will definitely be celebrating by eating whatever I want (followed by a big bolus). I think it’s so significant to celebrate one’s diaversary because of the daily challenges diabetes brings. Whether you’ve had diabetes for 6 months, 10 years, or 50 years, you never get a day off. I am so thankful for the technology available today that helps to make life a little easier.
How is your life different now, compared to when you were first diagnosed 10 years ago, with the changes in technology in diabetes management?
My diabetes management has changed so much over the last 10 years. I was so fortunate that I even had a CGM 10 years ago. Nevertheless, my life was still full of fingersticks and wondering if I knew what my diabetes was doing. Since joining the Tandem family, not only do I not have to prick my fingers anymore, but I also never have to think about needles, unless I am doing a site change.
What are some goals you have for 2021?
I never stop setting goals for myself, I think that’s the athlete in me. I have a lot of benchmarks professionally, whether it’s helping Jack get to the next level of racing or continuing to achieve better business practices. Personally, I am still very passionate about fitness. I started training for another triathlon. I can’t wait to compete in one, but this time with my secret weapon, my t:slim X2 pump.
Ryan at home after completing his virtual pump training
In what ways have you stayed involved in racing/motorsports?
I loved racing ever since I can remember. Although I am not sure when I will be behind the wheel again, I am still very involved in the sport. I'm currently doing business development for high performance header and exhaust company, Kooks Headers and Exhaust, and I still go to the track with Jack for all his races. I love the business side of racing, which I am currently very active in.
What aspects of pump therapy were appealing to you when you made the switch from MDI?
I think the sense of freedom. Being able to run to lunch and not worry about ‘Did I grab my pen?’ or my personal favorite, which has happened more than I care to admit, ‘I forgot a needle.’
What made you choose the t:slim X2 pump specifically?
I have always known that if I went on a pump, the t:slim X2 would be my first choice. After all the years I spent in the race car, I was always so nervous about making a major change. But my second chapter has been all about trying new things. I have been using a Dexcom CGM since I was diagnosed, and knowing the technologies were integrated so well was a huge draw. Also, the people! I talk to a lot of folks at Tandem, and they are the absolute best. They truly care about people with diabetes.
How was your experience onboarding and training remotely during the pandemic?
Honestly, I was so nervous. I was on injections for 9 years! It was such an amazing experience though. The folks at Tandem, and my doc, made it so seamless. I knew 10 minutes into my training I would never switch back.
How has your experience been with the t:slim X2 pump thus far?
Life changing. With how active my lifestyle is, the features on my t:slim X2 pump have changed not only the way I train, but also how I approach life. It’s like having a teammate managing my diabetes with me.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about switching?
Talk to your doc. I called Anne (my endo), and she was so helpful in understanding what this meant for me. There are definitely some things to get used to, but once you do, it is incredibly helpful every day.
In what ways does the pump help with your active lifestyle?
The accuracy. You’re able to be so precise in every way you manage your diabetes. The Exercise feature is another one of those things that helps me train and compete with so much more confidence.
No victory is complete without a celebration in Victory Lane with the team
You mentioned you recently lost your phone and found a hidden benefit your pump provided. Can you explain?
Okay, so I was in Mexico, on a beach, and didn’t realize my phone fell out of my pocket until it was too late. With my CGM pairing to my phone, there wasn’t a need to carry a receiver anymore. But, thanks to my pump, I was still connected to my Dexcom CGM!
What advice would you give to someone who has been newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
Take it one step at a time and don’t give up on anything. There is going to be so much coming at you, but you got this. I was able to race at the highest level of racing and win with Type 1. Also, lean on your team, your parents, friends, siblings, and most importantly, your doctor.
Anything else you want to say?
Just like my transition out of the driver’s seat, sometimes change can be so good. I love driving race cars, but I also love my life the way it is today. I am able to be a part of the sport I love but also see a new side of life. I see so many similarities between my transition out of the driver’s seat and my transition into the pump life. It was scary and took a lot of courage, but I am so glad I did it!
Ryan Reed has a compensation agreement with Tandem Diabetes Care.
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.
Important Safety Information
RX ONLY. The t:slim X2 insulin pump with interoperable technology is an alternate controller enabled (ACE) pump that 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 six years of age and greater. The pump is intended for single patient, home use and requires a prescription. The pump is indicated for use with NovoLog or Humalog U-100 insulin. Users of the pump must: be willing and able to use the insulin pump 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. The t:slim X2 pump, and the CGM transmitter and sensor must be removed before MRI, CT, or diathermy treatment. Visit tandemdiabetes.com/safetyinfo for additional important safety information.