Too Young to Burnout at 30

Kristen Yoga

Today we’d like to introduce Kristen Call, another Medtronic employee living with diabetes, who initially started her career in the diabetes business unit while on MDI. Now working with Medtronic Navigation in the operating room, Kristen opens up to The LOOP about her personal challenges with treating her diabetes, and how turning 30 motivated her when she needed it most.

I first started working with Medtronic in the diabetes business unit in April of 2007 as an Insulin Pump Specialist. At the time, I was managing my diabetes with multiple daily injections. I know, pretty ironic that I took a position selling insulin pumps when I hadn’t even started using one myself. In all honesty, even after I started with the company, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to go on the pump at all. Even though I saw all of the benefits of it, I just wasn’t sure it was for me.

By the time I completed my training, I decided to give the pump a try, and by that time, was very excited! Even though I had concerns about sleeping, working out and participating in other physical activities while connected, I was anxious to give it a chance. While pump therapy has made a tremendous change in my life, I’ve certainly had my ups and downs.

I’ve experienced what all of you have or will experience at some point – burnout. In the nearly four years I have had the pump, I have disconnected and quit using it for long periods of time on more than one occasion. Like many of you, I get angry at my diabetes and will sometimes go days where I test only once or twice and just guess how much insulin to take. Sometimes, it can just be too much, and I want…no, NEED a break. It was just recently that I made myself stop to take a moment and look at where I was.

I turned the big 3-0 in December, which also marks the 15th anniversary of my diagnosis with type 1, and for several months leading up to that day, I started reflecting on everything in my life. Am I happy with where I am? Is this where I thought I would be at this age? What can I do to turn things around? I also took the time to look at my health. At 29, I started experiencing health issues that I was not prepared for, many of them being directly related to my diabetes. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a scare to realize you need to get back on track with your health to prevent further complications.

A little over two years ago, I transferred to the navigation unit of Medtronic. My current position as a Computer Assisted Surgery Specialist tends to be full of long road-trips and long, varying hours. I spend most of my time in the operating room with surgeons to be there for assistance and troubleshooting with our equipment. These are critical times to be on top of my game and fully alert.

Working in the hospital environment has had a sobering effect on me in many ways, especially when it comes to dealing with people who suffer from a terminal illness. While I will have type 1 diabetes for the rest of my life, it is something I can treat, whereas someone with an inoperable tumor or other terminal disease does not have that choice. I can at least minimize my complications by tightening my control and managing my diabetes to the best of my ability. On top of my birthday, my not-so-happy anniversary, and my job, I knew it was time to step-up to the plate and take control.

I am happy to say that a little over a month ago, I took charge and I reconnected to my insulin pump. While I still struggle a bit and even get a little irritated at times, I know that pump therapy is the best way for me personally to manage my diabetes. Turning 30 has certainly changed my views on many aspects of my life. While I know I will continue to have good days and bad, I have made a commitment to myself: to do everything I can to live a long happy and healthy life. And, when I am feeling a little down or a burnt out, I know it’s time to stop and reflect.

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 MedtronicDiabetes.com/isi for complete safety information.

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