Meet Nora’s CGM
There are a wide array of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), with varying capabilities. The one that we have found works best for us is the Dexcom G6.
The CGM is a device that is the size of about 1/2 an index finger. It is inserted on Nora’s belly or arm (more often) every 10 days (yep - it’s waterproof so it goes in the pool and shower).
So you may be asking, what does this do?
It connects via bluetooth to her pump and a phone, sending new BG readings every 5 minutes. (Yes, my young daughter has a phone. No, it’s not a toy. It is purely a medical device!) Bonus, we have very few instances where she needs a finger poke with a glucometer!
So why all this tech?
Because it eliminates the need to guess what her BG is doing. It is precisely because of this overwhelming amount of information, we can make informed choices with regards to everything she does. In short, it gives us so much more freedom.
It also sends that information to any phone you choose, so I can help Nora while she is busy studying at school.
And then her insulin pump…
As with the CGMs, there are several very good choices for insulin pumps, and she has had a few. Currently, she is using the Tandem t:Slim X2 insulin pump.
A pump delivers insulin continuously, in very small increments. There are essentially 2 types of delivery methods.
Basal - in order to maintain BG stability, basal insulin runs in the background 24 hours a day
Bolus - to cover food eaten or to correct for a high, boluses are given throughout the day manually
The pump is connected to Nora’s stomach or lower back through a small tube called a cannula. In order to avoid infections and to preserve the insulin potency, her infusion sets must be changed every 3 days. She wears her pump on a belt day and night - only to come off in water. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem, since it’s protected by a rainbow shark case and decorated with fun stickers and medical tape.
Now for the exciting bit! …
The reason we changed to this pump, as Nora likes to say, the pump and CGM are able to talk to each other, though a program called Control IQ. The pump is able to read her BG levels from the CGM and will automatically shut off basal insulin when the algorithm predicts that her BG will go too low, and will increase basal and deliver correction boluses!
But wait! There’s more!
Nora can deliver boluses over her phone with a new remote bolus feature. It just keeps getting better!
As a mom who travels the world, one of my favorite features is the ability to update software. We don't have to get new hardware every time a new feature is released. So when this forward thinking company updates their technology, we can upgrade without waiting 4 years for the pump’s insurance warranty to expire. All we need is access to an online account, and a doctors prescription. Once the online training is complete…boom! Nora has the latest tech again.
With our crazy international life, this a huge bonus!