Why do you love your pump? We asked listeners to give us short reviews of the systems they use. This is sort of a companion piece to our last episode – when we went through how to choose a pump (click here to listen). That was more about process. We talked about how you can’t make a bad or wrong choice, and this episode really bears that out.
Spoiler – every pump has big fans.
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Stacey Simms 0:00
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This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:28
Welcome to a bonus episode of Diabetes Connections. We’re going to talk about why we love the insulin pumps we use, or really you use. I asked listeners to give me short reviews of the systems they love. And I cannot thank you enough for sending these in. This is sort of a companion piece to our last episode, we went through in detail best practices of choosing a pump, right not which pump but that was really more about process. You know you really cannot make a wrong choice here. This episode really bears that out and might be a disappointment to some of you I’m sorry to say but spoiler alert here. Every pump has big fans.
I asked in our Diabetes Connections Facebook group who loves their systems, what do you love about it? Then I had one adult with type one and one parent of a child with type one to chime in on each pump system. So these are pump systems that are available in the United States. There are only three pump companies right now, Medtronic, Tandem and Insulet making pumps that are available in the United States. I decided no DIY for this because people who use DIY systems generally know enough and educate themselves enough about their options. And their options are different, right? So these are the commercially available pump systems and they’re actually for all of them. the very latest, which I didn’t expect and didn’t ask for, but it turns out everybody who chimed in, is using the up to the minute latest system as we are recording here in the middle of July of 2020.
If it sounds like these folks are reading, they probably are. These aren’t actors, as they say they’re real people. They weren’t actually interviews. I just asked them to send me the audio. I gave them a little bit of a prompt, and then said, just send me some short stuff. Some people are a little shorter. Some people are a little longer, but I think you’re going to get the idea pretty quickly.
Let’s start with Medtronic. And both of these folks are using the 670G system.
Hello, I’m Shelby from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. My daughter Caroline was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes on Thanksgiving Day. 2017. And she’s now 10 and a half years old and thriving with a Medtronic 670G insulin pump. We got this pump shortly after her diagnosis in January 2018. I love the automated feature that adjusts the basal rates either up or down based on how Her blood glucose is trending. The pump is waterproof, which is great, since we do a lot of swimming in the summer. And if we’re going to have extra activity, we can tell the pump to set a temp target which helps keep her from going low. The CGMs the continuous glucose monitor that works with the pump does not have a share or follow feature at this time. But we found a do it yourself workaround called Nightscout, which in my opinion is superior to the typical share follow function on other CGMs systems. I’m definitely excited about the new upgrades that Medtronic is coming out with, but for right now we’re very happy with the overall control that she has with her blood glucose with very little need for micromanaging on my part or her part. So that is my thoughts on the 670G
Hi, I’m Phyllis. I’m from the greater Boston area and Massachusetts. I’ve been living with diabetes for over 40 years and have been using the Medtronic Minimed 670G system for about three and a half years. Originally, I really was interested in the 670G because of auto mode. Although to be honest, I wasn’t sure that the system could do better than I could with managing my diabetes. But I was pleasantly surprised. One of the areas that I was really looking forward to with some help is around exercise and the systems built in temp target of 150 really took the guesswork out of my workouts. So now three and a half years later, my time and range is generally about 85% with minimal effort when I put a little bit more time and pay attention to what I’m doing and eating that easily bumps up to 90% and that equals average A1C of about 6.2, 6.3 for the last three and a half years. I feel better about everything. I physically feel better and really excited about this system.
Stacey Simms 5:06
Next up is Tandem. And both of these listeners, just like with Medtronic are using the latest model. They’re using a tslim X2 with Control IQ.
Chris Wilson 5:16
Hi, this is Chris from San Diego, California. I’ve had type one for almost 23 years and I’ve used a pump for five of those years. I use a Tandem tslim X2 with control IQ. I started with the original tslim upgraded to the X2 when it was released. And I’ve been through three major pump software updates in that time. The thing I like most about the pump is Control IQ, which is Tandem’s advanced hybrid closed loop software. I was initially drawn to the tslim by the touchscreen user interface and the rechargeable battery. The only thing I’d improve is the cartridge fill process which is a little complicated but gets easier with practice.
Hi, I’m Beth and I live near Denver, Colorado. Our six year old has had Type One Diabetes for three and a half years. She started on an insulin pump six weeks after diagnosis And has been on a Tandem tslim for approximately a year. She’s been on Tandem tslim with Control IQ for seven months. We love that it communicates with her Dexcom CGM and gives her more or less insulin as needed. The exercise mode is great for bike riding and swim practice and the touchscreen is simple enough for her to operate herself. She loves that her blood sugar and trend arrows are visible directly on the pump. With Control IQ. My husband and I have had the most uninterrupted sleep since before our daughter’s diagnosis. We couldn’t be happier for this technology. This pump is the best choice for our family.
Stacey Simms 6:34
And finally, the people who are using the Omnipod dash system.
Hi my name is Lynette and I live in the Atlanta area. My son was diagnosed with type one two years ago yesterday and we have been on a pump since October of last year. We started on Omnipod the biggest reason he chose Omnipod was because he did not want a tail as he said, or tubing. We went with the tubeless pump we love that it’s waterproof we love that he can shower in it believe that he we can do smaller amounts than you can with pens because he tends to need smaller amounts than half units. We love just everything about it. To be really honest, our only major complaint is that it tends to come off on pool days and we’ve tried lots of different options for keeping it stuck and so far we haven’t found something that works. But other than that we’re super happy with our Omnipod dash system.
Thanks. Hi, this is Sondra and I live in Tacoma, Washington. I was diagnosed with type one in 2006 when I was 57 years old. I did MDI for a year got the Dexcom in 2007 and still struggled with random overnight low lows in 2008. I started using the Insulet Omnipod. I chose tubeless as I had struggled with sleep since menopause, being able to have a very low basal rate overnight has helped me so much with my nighttime lows dialing in basal rate It says made managing my type one much simpler. I love being able to do watersports and not worry about being unplugged from basal insulin. I’m looking forward to the Omnipod five which will create a closed loop with my Dexcom six. I’m hoping the FDA approval for the Omnipod five and Tidepool Loop come soon.
Your listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 8:29
Thank you so much for sending those in. Isn’t it interesting that it’s pretty easy to find people who love whatever system that they’re using? I didn’t have to hunt high and low I put an ask in the Facebook group and found a whole bunch of people. In fact, I had to cut off the comments. We had so many people who wanted to say how much they loved the system that they use!
Of course, there are personal factors and preferences that come into play. So just like we said in the previous episode, you got to see these systems you got to hold them in your hand. And I do think you need to know also as you listen and you we’ve assumed this but just in case, all six of those folks are using a system, not just a pump, so they’re using a continuous glucose monitor.
In the case of Tandems tslim, they’re using the Dexcom. Same thing with Insulet Omnipod, they’re using the Dexcom. With the Medtronic 670G, they’re using the Guardian sensor three, which is a Medtronic sensor. It’s actually the only one with the same company. The other two are separate companies with working agreements.
You can use an insulin pump without a CGM. We did it for almost seven years. Between the ages of two and nine. My son Benny did not use a continuous glucose monitor but he did get an insulin pump six months into it, at age two and a half. He just used a pump and certainly you can use it that way as well. We now use, as you likely know, if you listen, we use the Tandem system we have the X2 with the Control IQ software. We’ve had that since January. Benny wears a Dexcom CGM and we love it. I think it’s a fabulous system. There are aspects about it that he really enjoys and prefers that you know, friends of his don’t feel the same way about.
I’ll lay it out here, I’ve said it before. What he likes about the tslim is that he doesn’t have to have an external controller. There’s no PDM for it as there is with the Omnipod. He likes that it’s flatter on the body. And he absolutely loves the Control IQ software, which has not only lowered his A1C significantly, it’s done it with less work from him and less nagging from me, although he still argues that I may like him too much. I mean, come on, man. But he’s 15. I guess that’s his job.
I will say though, in all fairness and knowing what I know about the diabetes community and the technology that’s out there, a lot of people feel very differently, right? There are a lot of people who prefer the flexibility of sticking an Omnipod anywhere they want on their body. They don’t care about schlepping a PDM. They like that. It’s waterproof. They like that they can remote bolus their kid. That’s a big deal. We talked about that last week.
And for Medtronic, people, there’s a lot of people who like that it’s all in one (note: I mean that it’s all one company. There is no “all in one” CGM/Pump device). They like that. They don’t have to go to different companies, and they like that their doctor may be more familiar with it.
Is there a downside to every system? Sure, I went through a couple of pros and cons there. But it does come down to personal preference, I am going to link up a lot more information about these systems and what’s coming. Unless something really bonkers happens. And you know, the delays from COVID, or something really goes wrong. They’re all on track to be controlled by phone, if not by the middle of next year, then in the next couple of years. And once that happens, and you get true remote bolusing for all of these systems, then it’s really going to be personal preference. I mean, once that happens, it’s going to be absolutely amazing. But you cannot buy today on promises of tomorrow.
You know that it is of course worth noting that podcast listeners are more educated and have more money than the population overall, not just in diabetes, not just for this show. That’s really just podcasting. So it’s not really a big surprise to me that we easily found six people using the latest and greatest. Of course, there is so much to talk about in the diabetes community when it comes to access and affordability and insurance and affording the insulin that needs to go into these pumps. So I don’t gloss over that. We’ve talked about that many, many times before and will continue to do so. But this particular episode, I hope is helpful in seeing what people think about the technology that is out there right now. There really is no one answer.
I’m going to tell you one quick story before I let you go here. And I’m sorry, I apologize in advance to all of my rep friends, the reps for all of these companies are just like everybody else. There’s wonderful ones, and there’s people in it for the money. And you have to be careful about claims. And I’m not singling anybody out. I’m not singling any company out. This happens here, there and everywhere. But I was at a conference years ago, and I went over to one of the booths just to check out and see when I go to all the booths see what’s going on. And the rep for this pump company said to me, if you switch to our pump, I guarantee your son’s A1C will come down half a point I asked him about that. And he gave me some cockamamie answer. If I tell you more about it, you’ll know the pump company. So I don’t want to go into it. But I mean, it was really a stretch. But if I had been a newer diagnosed family, I think I would have been very much influenced by that. I asked him if he had any literature and studies to back up his claims, and he did not. But he said he would email me something, I gave him all of my information. Of course, I never heard from him again, the idea that switching technology can lower your a one c by a certain point, and that’s why you should switch. That’s a tough one. I just said that control IQ dropped my son’s A1C significantly, right. But you know what? It’s the whole story of him. It’s not just that pump system. If we were new to pumping, if we didn’t have the settings right, if he didn’t know how to, you know, do certain things if he was going through a phase or something where he didn’t want to do anything. If he wasn’t having success with the CGM if he was getting a rash if it wasn’t working For him, if it was falling off, if the pump wasn’t comfortable, if it wasn’t the pump he chose, and he didn’t want to use it, there’s a lot of things that can happen there.
Pumps are not a panacea. And anybody who tells you that they are.. I want to be careful what I say here. But let’s just say they may not have your best interest at heart. So my good guy reps, and there are so many of them. And we have one who is amazing, and I love and is one of our heroes in the diabetes community. I’m sorry for that. But I think it’s really important that people understand it’s just like the endocrinologist who says, I’m only going to learn this system. So you can’t have a separate pump, because I don’t want to learn another system. Right, man, we got to fight for so much in this community.
I hope this helped. If you have any more reviews or questions about pumps jump into Diabetes Connections, the group will have an ongoing discussion there. And I kind of hope this helps you think a little bit more critically when you see these discussions in other Facebook groups, but let me know what you think. And I will link up in this episode a whole bunch of guides from different And organizations who’ve done really good work comparing the technology that’s out there pro and con, and please go back and listen to the previous episode about how to choose a pump if you haven’t already. thank you as always to my editor John Bukenas from audio editing solutions and thank you for listening. I’m Stacey Simms. I’ll see you back here next week. Until then, be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms Media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged