One Skydiver's Recount of his First 30 Days on CGM
Today, I’m excited to share with you our first guest blog from action sports enthusiast and professional skydiver, Michael Craig. You may remember him from his interview with The LOOP back in June. Michael is definitely an inspirational guy, always going for it, and not letting life circumstances prevent him from following his dreams and doing what he loves; something that anyone can admire. Today, Michael shares some of his history with us, as well as his experiences after 30 days using CGM.
If you have CGM stories you’d like to share, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Prior to being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the not-uncommon age of 9, I was, let’s just say an active and possibly a precocious child. I was a soccer player, a skier, a swimmer and a sailor and then when I got bored with those things I would do something like run barefoot through the woods or sled off the roof. I wasn’t really into the word “no,” and none of that changed after my diagnosis, which probably has something to do with how I ended up in my current occupation as a tandem skydive instructor.
When I was 18, with much urging from my parents and doctors, I made the switch to insulin pump therapy. For me, this was a revelation. So many things that I wanted to do but didn’t quite have the control over my diabetes to accomplish, were suddenly at my fingertips.
Over the next 10 years, I was able to take part in and experience some really wonderful things. I swam competitively in college and later became the captain of our college rugby team. I spent time in Costa Rica and Alaska; the latter as a hand on a commercial fishing boat, which put me miles away from medical help or supplies for a 5-month stretch. Today, I am a runner, surfer, rock climber, and a full time skydiver.
However, the one thing that continued to frustrate me was that I constantly felt like I was playing a game of tortoise and hare. I could charge ahead of the “pack” in each endeavor I pursued (literally and metaphorically), but would suddenly have to pull up short for a glucose check or snack while the pack crept up behind me. It didn’t seem to matter how well I planned or treated my disease, I still felt like it was holding me back from performing at my peak.
Recently, and 10 years after starting on pump therapy, I was given the opportunity to begin using a Medtronic Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system. What a leap forward. Having a constant sense of what my blood sugar is doing is fantastic. Remember when I said that no matter how much I planned I just couldn’t keep up? Well, the CGM is changing that, because now, coupled with proper planning, I have the ability to anticipate.
I still never make a decision about treatment based solely on the sensor numbers, but the trending keeps me in such better contact with the direction I’m headed in and how and when I should plan a fingerstick that it almost feels like cheating. I have the ability for the first time to see how different foods affect my glucose levels in meaningful increments over a short time span. I feel like I have learned more about my diabetes in the past 2 months than I had in the last 19 years. My A1C has dropped a full point in the last three months because I no longer feel the need to let myself run high to avoid going low at a critical moment.
Today, my daily routine involves taking novice skydivers out of an airplane at 120mph, sometimes up to 12 times in a day. This means that I am responsible in 8 minute intervals all day long for not only my own safety but that of another person. I don’t have the dubious luxury of a mid day low. And although I have always been vigilant about monitoring my blood sugar throughout the day, with the help of the CGM I have a new piece of mind and a new level of control that is allowing me to perform just that much better 24 hours a day.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.
Please visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation for complete safety information.