This blog is a bit more personal than some of my previous posts, but I want to be real with y’all. Having diabetes is hard and comes with a lot of self-doubt and depression, but what I have found in my 20 years of experience of having type 1 is that the way think about this disease has a huge impact on how we care for ourselves. As a kid, I had a mom and a dad who are incredibly smart and would do everything for me relating to my diabetes which led me to having a mindset of not caring for my myself from 9 years old till I was about 25 years old. I have suffered some complications from my indifference including necro lipoidica diabeticorum and diabetic retinopathy, thankfully the retinopathy is not advanced. I had a wakeup call recently and I have to hand it to my online support group and my new Endocrinologist.
The whole time since my diagnosis I remember being called a “brittle diabetic”. It means (for those who are unfamiliar with the term) that you are hard to control or uncontrolled when it comes to your blood sugar readings. This term alone made me feel defeated before I had even tried, and it was used frequently around me. When I moved out of my parents’ house and had enjoyed a period of freedom from someone constantly asking did I check, if I took for that, or did I count carbs for the thing I just ate? When I realized that it was up to me to check up on myself I realized I wasn’t doing my due diligence. I needed help. So I asked questions to my online support group. What is the best pump and CGM? I had an overwhelming response that the Tandem T-slim X2 and the Dexcom G6 were the best pump and CGM combo on the market. So, I set out to get them both.
I had just got the Medtronic 670 G system in January of 2020 there was going to be a problem getting a new pump with insurance saying this pump was not out of warranty yet. I talked to my doctor and he totally agreed that Medtronic’s CGM system was severely underperforming the Decom G6 and in-fact quite annoying with how frequently it must be calibrated. We talked about doing a complete switch and he was totally on board with me trying the T-slim X2 and Dexcom G6. We had to pay about $1,000 out of pocket to get it before my Medtronic Pump was due for an upgrade and a pre-authorization from my doctor but it was so worth it! This is the most advanced system I have ever used. I finally feel like a grown-up person living with diabetes. No longer do I feel like I am a sick “Brittle Diabetic” I am Miranda who happens to be living with type on diabetes.
For the first time in my life my hemoglobin a1c went from an 8.2% to a 6.6% in three months! It says on the paperwork that a a1c reading of less than 7 is well controlled. I have never been well controlled in my life! I remember having a1c of 11 and once a 13 (double what it should be). It felt so helpless like all the fingersticks and correction injections were in vain for when you go to the doctor for them to look at you like you are not trying hard enough. However this time I felt empowered, I felt so emotional, and I hugged my doctor during the middle of a pandemic! I never have felt so proud of my hard work not even after graduating college. If you don’t have diabetes, it’s hard to imagine how life changing it is but when you constantly live in fear that this could happen or my eyesight could get worse or my or I could gen uropathy. There are so many what if’s with diabetes and it gets super scary. These moments are the best feeling in the world and if we look at our diagnosis and something that is unbeatable then it will beat us but if we look at our weakness as a source of our strength and realize if we are tough enough to still be here then we are tough enough to handle this disease because we won’t let diabetes beat-us!
By: Miranda Montgomery (Type 1 diabetic for 20+ years) Admin for Type 1 Diabetes Support Group on Facebook with 14 K members.