Superhero, or Something Like It
It is not uncommon to walk through the halls during work at the diabetes business unit of Medtronic and recognize insulin pump tubing coming out of someone’s pocket. Today, I want you to meet Cheryl, a person with diabetes for 26 years and Medtronic employee for the last six years. She is also a busy wife and mom of two kids who finds passion in encouraging women with type 1 diabetes during pregnancy and motherhood. Read her inspiring journey and her thoughts on people with diabetes as superheroes and their super teams! (Cheryl, you are definitely a superhero!)
This year for Halloween my children were superheroes. There is a large culture around these superhero figures these days and I love the idea that through a few “super powers” they are able to conquer whatever obstacle is placed in front of them. And they don’t always do it alone- often there is a team of them, banning together to perform a real take down.
I would not call myself a superhero, but when I really take a step back at the heart of super-heroism, perhaps that’s not actually the case. I could easily identify with Ironman and his external mechanical organ that keeps him alive, and like Spiderman I have some awesome tubing that might just be seen hanging from my body, but I can’t say that I would always give myself credit for being super. The fact of the matter is we all are super and for those of us with diabetes, we can all relate to our superhero “team.”
Chances are this team has changed throughout the years as we needed new members for the next challenge and we retire the old when they no longer have a skill we need. At 5 ½ my team definitely consisted of my parents, who identified that something was going on with their thirsty, lethargic daughter; my meter that took 2 minutes to check my blood glucose level, and an arsenal of injections that kept me active and healthy for many years. This team gave me an excellent childhood! It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I was introduced to a new squad and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I wanted nothing to do with them. I did great with the injection team and this insulin pump squad seemed really complicated and very bulky. For me, that Spiderman tubing (which I described as “wires coming out of me all over”) did not interest me in the least. I had good control; I was healthy, happy and overall diabetes wasn’t too hard to manage. It wasn’t until my doctor really explained all the ways that having even better control was going to prolong my health that I really grasped the idea of a pump. Growing into my 20’s was starting to shift my concerns about secondary complications and the fact that I would one day want a family. I took the leap and was so happy I did. My misconceptions were quickly tossed out the window and sure enough, she was right, my A1c’s improved and I could see the benefits. My super squad had a new member.
A few years later I thought I would take my career into healthcare and it didn’t take me long to know where I wanted to apply. In 2005 I started at Medtronic as a Diabetes Therapy Associate, where I loved nothing more than talking to patients about pump therapy. And it wasn’t just talking about the benefits, it was helping to work through those similar fears that I had when I was starting the pump, and showing them just how easy wearing a pump was. Since then I have happily grown in various avenues of the company, but the fulfillment remains the same; showing patients that we MUST update that superhero team. We need new super powers to be able to be victorious.
Now, the most important members of my super crew are my husband and our two boys. In 2008 and 2011 I put my team to the test and together my pump, continuous glucose monitor, and I tackled our biggest challenge and together we (with some help from my husband) gave birth to two healthy and handsome boys. So although I have never scaled buildings, don’t wear a cape, and my car is certainly not the bat mobile, I tackle my career, family and health every day and I think that is pretty SUPER!
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/about/safety.html for complete safety information.