Recently I went back and checked my notes to come up with a realisation: the 22nd of August 2017 was when I activated my first closed-loop insulin pump system. That means Thursday will be my 2nd looping anniversary!
Two years of feeling like my diabetes was under some sort of control, and not a speeding car I was just managing to nudge the controls of.
My medicos are no longer trying to fix issues they could see in my glucose data during my medical review appointments. Usually now I think they’re more trying to find issues that might need tweaking!
And as my friend Renza recently wrote, I probably have more time in my life than before. More time that I don’t have to repeatedly think about my diabetes, because my loop has my back and tweaks things when I don’t (like getting distracted by life and forgetting to bolus for a snack, which has been a long-standing issue!).
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t get to ignore my diabetes. I still have to plan and manage for it. But the loop is the butler in the background doing its best to keep everything in order. Including while I’m asleep.
Initially it was OpenAPS running on an Edison rig, controlling a borrowed Medtronic 522 pump. The CGM source was Libre sensors, interfaced via LibreAlarm with xDrip+ running on an Android phone. Over time the CGM was replaced by Dexcom G5 sensors (still running into xDrip+), and the pump became a Medtronic 554. The Edison rigs were housed in a variety of cases, starting with a green 3D-printed one and eventually a chunky yellow dust/waterproof housing with huge batteries and wireless charging for my 2018 Namibia expedition.
After my return from Namibia I replaced OpenAPS with AndroidAPS, controlling a new Accu-Chek Combo pump. I had been working on that for a while, but decided to stick with OpenAPS for the Namibia trip. The AndroidAPS setup has since travelled with me to Europe and to Uganda.
AndroidAPS uses the core algorithm of OpenAPS, so transitioning was straightforward. But things do keep changing. The software keeps improving, and my use of it (and knowledge about my own diabetes) keeps improving too.
Also the Android device that runs my loop has shrunk (which has optimised the pocket use!). The Galaxy A5 is now my backup device, but the one I’m usually using is this tiny Unihertz Atom.
Taking control of my diabetes and deciding to loop was the best health decision I could have made! I decided in early 2017, but it took me a while to get the pieces together.
Who knows what will have developed in the next year?