Lucy Walczak – Employee Spotlight
Hi there! I’m Lucy and I am the Professional Development Specialist at AMSL Diabetes.
In 2000, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) at the age of 11. Initially to manage my T1D, I started on a combination of fast-acting and intermediate-acting insulin before changing to multiple daily injections (MDI). During my schooling years, my sisters and I began rowing under an initiative called Project Oarsome. I have competed in multiple international rowing competitions and retired from rowing in 2013.
I am extremely competitive with my sisters, so my motivation to control my T1D stemmed from feeling fit enough to beat them at sport. My T1D has always been a part of my life and I have never considered myself any different from those around me, especially my twin sister. I now currently use the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump and Dexcom G5 Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System to manage my T1D.
How were you able to manage your T1D when you were rowing competitively?
When I was rowing competitively, I would train over 40 hours per week. This would often make it difficult to manage my T1D throughout the day with MDI and it became quite difficult to check my glucose levels, especially while I was in a rowing boat! I would also often experience overnight hypoglycaemia and it became almost difficult to manage. I then hit a turning point, when I was removed from the trials to represent Great Britain at the Rowing World Championships in 2007, on medical grounds that was related to my T1D. I knew then, I needed to find a more effective way to manage my T1D.
Starting on the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump was revolutionary for me. I was now able to use temp basal to reduce my insulin so I could finish every training session without having a hypo and without feeling sick from eating too much sugar to treat my hypo. I could also wear my insulin pump in the boat as it is waterproof!*.
The 0.025U basal option on my insulin pump meant that I was able to drop my basal to its lowest setting during the night so my glucose levels would not drop. I was then able to sleep throughout the night without needing to wake up to treat my hypo.
How does pumping and CGM help you with your active lifestyle and sporting activities?
Using the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump and Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System to manage my T1D helps tremendously with my active lifestyle. I can live my life with peace of mind and know that I have a premium diabetes tool kit to deal with whatever happens throughout the day.
Apart from rowing, I also play on a netball team. No one on my netball team has any idea I have T1D! I can play for the whole duration of the game with the confidence that I am in control of my T1D. I do not need to have the whole day pre-planned beforehand to ensure that my glucose levels stay in target. If I decide to go for an afternoon run, I have the confidence to go for it.
I can leave the house, wearing my Animas Vibe Insulin Pump and Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System and of course my mobile phone and that is all I need to get through a half marathon or a night out with friends. I no longer need to carry around a “diabetes backpack”.
What can you do now that you couldn’t do before using the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump and Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System?
The Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System allows me to be ahead of the game! I’m proactive with my diabetes management because I have a trend line and directional arrow. I no longer have to wait to have a hypo before I treat it and if my arrows have dropped and my number is below 5mmol/L, I can quickly eat something or use a temp basal on my pump. It’s absolutely fantastic.
Do you have any tips for others looking into pumping or CGM?
My top tip would be just to try – If you have not given it a go yet, you may have no idea what you’re missing out on^! The insulin pump and Dexcom CGM is a game changer for my T1D control, this gives me the confidence to pack as much as I can into life.
Looking into the future
I know with my Animas Vibe Insulin Pump and Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System, I am able to maintain control whilst my diabetes will continue to change on me since no day is ever the same and no week is predictable. I can play different sports and travel the world with my technology and not be restricted from the things I want to do because of my T1D.
Disclaimer: This video relates to an individual’s response to treatment with our products. The testimonial does not provide any indication, guide, warranty or guarantee as to the response other persons may have to the treatment. Responses to treatment with our products may differ. It is important to consider individual circumstances and consult your healthcare professional before considering any changes to your diabetes management.
*The Animas Vibe Insulin Pump is proven to be waterproof at 3.6 metres for up to 24 hours. Glucose values may not be displayed when in water.
^Use only as directed. Your healthcare professional will advise you whether the Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System is suitable for you/your condition.