And it Goes On, And On, And On

This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.

Ongoing story here, first I was frustrated to the point of anger, then I was hopeful again and even grateful. Now I’m just straight up depressed and deflated. If you haven’t already, please read It WAS Going so Well and The Awesome Is Back! before reading this one so you know what’s going on.

June 1st, 2018

I had a few days of perfect pump function, but then it all went to ■■■■ again. Same issues, with the loop traps being the biggest and most enraging. I cry now every time I see that my pump isn’t in Auto Mode and my BG is stubbornly high.

Basically after my pump started working great again the day came to change out my sensor. I was nervous because in the back of my mind I just knew this meant I’d probably have issues again. No real proof other than what I’d been going through, but since I didn’t know exactly what the root cause of these issues was any change was a scary one.

So I changed out my sensor.

2 hour warm up

First calibration went well

First BG for Auto Mode went smooth and Auto Mode started up fine.

Second calibration went well

Then…“Enter BG for Auto Mode”, followed by “Enter BG for Auto Mode”

I turned off Auto Mode and waited an hour

I turned Auto Mode back on. “Enter BG for Auto Mode” I entered.

“Calibration required for Auto Mode” ■■■■ you! You goddamned piece of ■■■■!!! I begin to cry. I wait 15 minutes then calibrate because I’m so ■■■■■■■ defeated.

I text my Medtronic rep and let him know what’s happening. He calls me and we talk it over. While we’re talking my pump BEEP BEEP BEEP! “Enter BG for Auto Mode”. Angel tells me to go ahead and do it and see what happens. I enter BG. BEEP BEEP BEEP! We all know what that ■■■■■■■ means.

“Turn off Auto Mode and your sensor for the night. Put in a new sensor tomorrow morning and see what happens. If it all happens again I highly suggest you call the help line and request a new transmitter.” Angel tells me. I agree to do this.

The next morning I put a new sensor in. This time, for the first time ever, I decide to try an arm placement because I’m so frustrated that I’m trying everything I can think of to make this work. The entire scenario above happened again. I’m texting with Angel the entire time, giving him the play-by-play. He tells me to call Medtronic and request a new transmitter.

I call Medtronic and get, as usual, a very kind person who is knowledgeable and tries very hard to resolve my issue. Since all I’m doing is requesting a new transmitter, he does very well to resolve my need. Of course I tell him my whole month long issues and he quickly (because he is required to) goes over the suggestions on what to do when loops happen. I listen quietly but am rolling my eyes and thinking “I know all this! I do all this!”. Then he orders the new transmitter and ships it overnight.

“Is there anything else I can help you with?” He asks.

“No, that’s all for now. Hopefully this new transmitter solves the issue.” I say.

June 2, 2018

Allow me to take a moment to explain a couple facts I’ve not, in previous posts, put much (or any) emphasis on. The 670g is still new technology and, as with any new tech, there are issues the company is working on fixing. The trouble with loop traps is well known and being worked on. I am not going to pretend I know anything about when Medtronic discovered the issue or how bad it can get, and I’m not going to pretend I know exactly how many 670g users have had as bad a time with it as I have. But I am going to say that Medtronic has been as helpful and supportive of me and these issues as I could ask of them. They truly want to learn from my experience and use it to improve the product. I could be as angry and blaming and cussing out of Medtronic as I was in my first post, but I’ve come to realize something I had forgotten at that time. No product is perfect, even medical products. I have had a ton of experience with medical products of all kinds, from finger prickers to pills to surgical tools and machines and so much more. And guess what, I can tell you (and I have) many stories of these tools malfunctioning to one extent or another. I’ve been lucky to date to not have been the tragic victim who lost her life to a medical equipment malfunction, but in the grand scheme of things deaths and maimings really don’t happen as often as fear mongers would lead you to believe.The point here is, nothing is perfect and we need to understand that and not let it keep us from using the awesome tools available that can make life so much better. And Medtronic is doing their part to improve this new tech. I used to be the kind of person who made sure to wait at least a couple years before getting new tech for this very reason. But the 670g was so promising and I had the opportunity to get it (fully paid for by insurance) so I did. And even with the terrible issues I’m going through right now I still don’t regret it because Auto Mode really has helped my BG control massively.

I will get past this issue. We will figure it out and fix it.

I’ve gotten numerous replies to my previous posts from people stating that these issues I’m having are exactly why they don’t use pump/CGM tech. That they don’t work well and they’re meant to make life easier and more convenient but they actually do the opposite. Obviously, I can totally understand where these people are coming from and have even thought this myself on occasion. But when I step back, breathe, think it over, and look at the whole picture and not just the tiny spot of bad I see that all the tech I’ve ever used has been overwhelmingly good and positive and helped in a huge way my health issues.

I will never give up tech. I may choose to take a little break from it here and there, but I will forever be grateful for all it has done for me and my health, especially the 670g.

I know it can be confusing to read this. But this issue, even with how super enraging it is right now, is not everything the 670g is. The loop traps is one very small (albeit maddening) part of a whole, wonderful, extremely helpful machine.

I am extremely frustrated and sad right now, don’t get me wrong, but I can look at this from three different perspectives, 1) Blame Medtronic and rage at them which will do nothing to actually help my problem. 2) Spread the blame out to both myself and Medtronic and even my 670g itself which would be more accurate but still not fix anything. Or 3) Stop blaming and just concentrate on figuring out and fixing the problem.

I do not allow myself the option of giving up the 670g because, as I have stressed numerous times before, Auto Mode is the ONLY tool I have ever found that actually keeps my BGs in line the vast majority of the time. My regular readers will understand, but let me lay it out for you new guys. Of all the years I have been a type 1 (since 1988) I have NEVER had my BG under control. There were the years I rebelled and didn’t even try, then there were the years I tried and tried and tried so super enormously hard and my BGs just wouldn’t come down no matter what I tried. Come to find out I have multiple health issues that work against BG control (it’s not just the diabetes, yo).

My insulin needs fluctuate on many different scales so rapidly and frequently and randomly that it is impossible to keep my BG under any kind of control with MDI, finger pricks, diet, and exercise alone. And it is easier, but still impossible, to control them with a standard insulin pump (with micro units and basal presets, etc) and CGM combined with the other traditional tools. But with Auto Mode the algorithm constantly checks, constantly learns, sees my needs and changes where I can’t possibly ever know or predict. Auto Mode allows me a life without constant worry and frustration over stubborn highs and my health.

If I have to be frustrated, I’d much rather be upset over these fixable pump issues than still be heartbroken because my BGs won’t come down.

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My new transmitter arrived the day after I ordered it. I put it on the charger and waited until the following morning to put it on so I would have the whole day to deal with it before bed.

June 3, 2018

I paired my new transmitter then put it on with a new sensor.

Warm up went well, 2 hours.

First calibration went well

“Enter BG for Auto Mode” went well and Auto Mode started up fine.

All was great until about 3 P.M… I got the minimum delivery for too long msg so I was asked to enter BG to stay in Auto Mode.

I checked my BG and immediately noticed the sensor was reading 57 points lower than my actual BG.

I confirmed the BG.

“Enter BG for Auto Mode” FUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!

I began to sob. Why? Why is this happening? Why can’t I be allowed to have anything that helps me? Why am I destined to suffer so?

I cleared the msg and left it alone until it was time to calibrate again.

If it’s not the transmitter is it the machine itself? Do I need a new 670g, or will this just happen again? Is it my body? What is going on?!

When the calibrate msg came up I did.

15 minutes later it asked for BG for Auto Mode. I cleared the msg and ignored it because they say it’s not good to enter BG’s more than twice in one hour.

An hour passed and then I entered a new BG.

Auto Mode started up fine.

As of right now I am happy the loop trap was stopped so soon and without having to turn off Auto Mode at all. This gives me hope that things will be better (if not perfect) from now on.

I most certainly will keep you all informed.

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Oh sweetie. What a drag. But your perseverance is always an inspiration…I’m going to be away for a bit, but I’ll be thinking of you and I’ll check on you when I get back…xx000

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Last Wednesday, May 30th, was my day to change sensors. I spent 12.5 hours between when Auto Mode ended during the sensor warm-up and when I finally got the THIRD SENSOR of the day to calibrate successfully and allow Auto Mode to begin. It was a frustrating day that included roughly double my usual number of blood checks, and no shortage of curse words.

Like you, I found the Medtronic phone support staff very helpful; they shipped the 2 replacement sensors with no problem. But Wednesday sucked so much.

I feel your pain there, 100%. And, like you, my blood sugars run SO MUCH BETTER in auto mode that I really don’t want to give up the feature.

My pump trainer suggested in passing that I switch from abdomen to leg for the sensor, saying that’s where she wears her’s. I haven’t made that move yet, but I probably will try it. Just to see if it goes well. I haven’t used my legs for anything diabetes-related in 15 or 20 years, but insulin shots used to hurt so bad in my legs that I quit. So I’m nervous about trying sensors there. But I think my abdomen needs a break.

I really hope you can figure out what’s triggering these issues for you so you don’t have so much frustration.

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Yeah, my rep told me maybe to try an arm placement so I did and it made no difference at all. I got the new transmitter and that seems to have ended the loop traps that were hounding me. But the sensor I put in yesterday was 40 to 100 points off all day and night so I just changed it out.

Jeez! It’s tough to be understanding of “new tech” when living like this is so frustrating!

I just want my Auto Mode and CGM to work all the time and properly! Please?!

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I’m off auto-mode now but when I was using it the lore was that the cure for a loop trap is to just not do the calibration, give it about an hour, and then try again. Looks like you found your way to that answer on your own!

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Can you return this device? Or is it too late?

Does the Doc have a Dexcom that you could use, on loan, to safeguard yourself until this gets figured out? You might just need a functioning sensor in order to stand a fighting chance.

The pump and entire system are fully covered by insurance and has a 4 year warranty. I could easily request and get a replacement but I don’t want to because I have no idea if it’s the pump or some other part (transmitter, sensors, etc.) that’s the actual issue. The new transmitter, however, seems to have solved the biggest part of the issues.

I’m also frightened the next pump would just have the same issues.

I could ask and would be allowed a totally different pump from any other company but I don’t want to do that either because, as I’ve stated in my posts, I absolutely need Auto Mode to have any control at all over my BGs.

After I got the new transmitter I had issues with inaccuracies at first, but I am happy to report, as of about 7 PM last night everything is working beautifully. Let’s hope this lasts!

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