Auto-Mode 2: Electric Boogaloo

Advancing to pump therapy and including Continuous Glucose Monitoring has been something of a rough journey for me over the past five years. All things being equal, the concept of Auto-Mode is a little bit scary. If your blood sugars start to rise, your pump will start trickling some extra insulin into your system. If you begin to drop, it will taper off your basal delivery (or suspend it, depending on how low you’re going). It demands a certain level of trust in an inanimate object that most humans won’t necessarily have. Myself included.

Artificial devices are the new way to go, since transplanting an actual pancreas is more complicated than it sounds, comes with its own batch of complications and has a pretty low success rate. Therefore, finding some other way to replicate or imitate the functions of a pancreas is the next logical step. Something akin to obtaining a prosthetic limb after an amputation. My new Medtronic pump, when including CGM and on Auto-mode, is about as close to what they refer to as a “closed-loop system” as you can get. The hardware and software basically work towards controlling your highs and lows on its own.

Sounds a bit like Skynet is taking over to me, but whatevs. Given my age and the fact I’m not getting any younger or stronger means I need to be open to new therapies and methods of controlling my Diabetes. The decision was ultimately taken away from me around mid-July, when constant issues with Auto-mode and multiple faulty sensor issues caused me to scrap the whole thing and simply use my new pump manually. I got some further coaching and guidance and have now been on CGM for well over two months, with minimal problems and/or difficulties.

That’s why, after being contacted by Medtronic to ask me “how Auto-mode is going,” I thought I should take another crack at it. With a fresh vial of insulin, fresh sensor set and a bit of patience, I activated Auto-mode and have been on it for about the past two weeks. Given that the pump has had two months to accumulate data for the purposes of Auto-Mode, I would have been pretty pissed off if it didn’t take. But I have to say, its been going much smoother and my blood sugar levels have been fantastic.

I’m still a bit leery and I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop because, well… this is me, we’re talking about. But besides my pump clip breaking last week (don’t even get me started on that one), I’ve had no issues except one infusion set failure, which was mostly due to scar tissue. Auto-mode certainly includes more alerts than I’m used to on manual mode, but I’m getting used to them. Skynet seems to be working just fine.

I guess it’s still better than having an internal artificial organ that I can’t see, or have any direct control over. And as long as it continues to do its job, I guess I’ll have one less aspect of Diabetes to bitch about. As with all new technologies, all it takes is a little patience and some getting used to. ☯

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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