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Andy Lavender

Insulin pump user

Andy explains why, when the time came to change his insulin pump, he chose an updatable pump and how its ground-breaking technology has changed his life.

After 53 years living with type 1 diabetes, Andy Lavender says: “A tiny little box has changed my life.”

Andy was diagnosed aged two. “As a child I remember screaming as dad held me down while mum injected my insulin with a needle that felt like a six-inch nail. I ate specific food at set times, even if that meant leaving my school classroom.”

“If I had been told that by now a small device could manage my basal levels continuously, I’d have said you’d been watching too much Star Trek!”

Andy, now an information portal coordinator for the NHS, progressed from measuring his blood glucose by pricking his finger up to 12 times daily to using a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system linked to an insulin pump, meaning no more finger prick testing. When the time came for a new pump, Andy chose the t:slim X2™insulin pump.

“I chose it because it could communicate with the type of CGM sensors I already used, but it turned out to be the biggest change in my life with diabetes to date,” says Andy. “It’s an advanced hybrid closed loop system, so the CGM shares information with the pump, meaning my pump can automatically adjust for diet, or even the weather – a hot day can change your blood sugar levels, so it makes managing diabetes much easier.”

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Life-changing technology without needing a new pump

Andy says: “My insulin pump allows you to remotely update features via a computer download, the first pump of its kind available in the UK. Now I don’t have to wait the four years required by the NHS to get a new pump with updated features – I can access enhanced technology as and when it becomes available.”

If I had been told that by now a small device could manage my basal levels continuously, I’d have said you’d been watching too much Star Trek.

The most recent update was the Control-IQ™ technology algorithm, designed to help increase users’ time within their optimum blood glucose range.

“It’s been life-changing” says Andy. “Before, my 14-day average time in range was mostly acceptable but that took a lot of input from me, with Control-IQ technology my time in range is well in excess of 72% every single day – and for one week I averaged 100%! My dietician had told me this was almost impossible.”

Andy can also monitor his glucose levels in real time and the algorithm predicts future levels and alters insulin doses to suit.

“I still go motorcycling and take the dogs walking by the river so its life as normal, but now I have this pump everything feels easier and safer. There was always that concern about a sudden unexpected hypo, for both me and my wife Sue, but the technology makes life with diabetes easier.”

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