Attacking Diabetes, Untethered

Lantus and Medtronic

There are so many things in the world that I would love to experience. I want to feel a rush of adrenaline when I go skydiving and a wave of excitement when my soccer team wins the championship. I want to enjoy life, and feel free of everything. Including my pump.

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was a big sports guy, and still am to this day. I played everything: football, baseball, basketball, and soccer. I ran track, I wrestled with my friends, and I went swimming and did everything that a normal kid would do.My decision to get a pump was greatly influenced by my doctor and my sister. I could see how much easier my sister’s life was with a pump, so I wanted to try it. I was able to get my first pump at 10 years old, within several months of being diagnosed.

When I got my first pump however, some of those activities became harder to manage. At first, I wore my pump during my sports activities. I ran into a problem rather quickly, which was my pump was getting hit; it hurt, and got in the way. During football, we tackled and ran and shoved and did everything that football kids were taught to do. Except my pump kept getting hit. During baseball, my pump would get in the way of swinging the bat and fielding and throwing the baseball. During track, my pump would flop around on my waist as I tried to run for a mile. I tried to take it off when I went to sports or my friend’s house to swim, but afterwards, my blood sugar always ended up in the 300s/400s. The list went on, and finally, I had had enough of it.

My parents took me to the doctor to seek a solution to the problem. My doctor recommended an untethered approach. We had never heard of it. Basically, the untethered system means you are not reliant on your pump at all times. You do not use your pump for a basal rate, only for boluses for carb intake and correcting a high blood sugar. Instead of using the basal rate on your pump, you take a shot of Lantus, once a day, as your long-acting insulin.

This method works great for athletes and adventurists, as it allows them to participate in their sporting or extracurricular activities without worrying about their pump breaking or flopping around on them.The ability to take my pump off makes it so much easier to participate and do the things I enjoy. It takes off added weight from my pump as well, although it isn’t all that much, it’s still noticeable. I never have my pump on unless I need it for corrections or boluses, and because of that, I set my basal rates to zero. The one downfall is the potential human error of forgetfulness. The shot must be taken daily, usually at the same time each day. If it’s forgotten, your blood sugars would run high the rest of the day and it would be a tough struggle to keep your numbers in check. The untethered approach is a routine. My shot is part of a daily schedule, and after a while, I remembered to do it every day. The experience of forgetting to do the shot is a learning experience. It ensures that I never forget again.

The pump is an extraordinary device. With the untethered approach, I am also able to manage my large appetite for food very well! All it takes is a quick hooking up of the pump, a bolus, and I’m done. It allows me to work quickly and always be on the move like I love. I recommend talking to a doctor about this unique way of attacking diabetes to anyone that loves the on-the-go, athletic lifestyle. Although this method may not work for everyone, it has greatly helped my diabetes management while being able to maintain my athletic lifestyle.

Ben Mains–GluBen

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