Meet Mitch & Alicia!
Nothing can slow Mitch down…
Whether he’s playing Aussie rules or training for his next cricket match, Mitch loves all sports! When he’s not throwing the ball around, Mitch is a school captain and a brother to three siblings. He has also lived with type 1 diabetes (T1D) since he was just 15 months old.
Recently, we spoke to Mitch, and his mum Alicia, about Mitch’s experience with T1D; discussing how he manages his glucose levels with Dexcom G6 and the t:slim X2™ insulin pump with Basal-IQ technology when at home or away, and what support networks they have in place to assist their families journey with T1D.
Q: Alicia, from your perspective, how has Mitch’s diabetes management been going?
Alicia: Mitch has been on the t:slim X2 insulin pump and Dexcom G6 for about a year now and we can say that this technology has been fantastic for us. It has given Mitch independence and freedom. He practically does everything on his own. Before using the t:slim X2 insulin pump, Mitch always hated inserting the site changes himself, however, he is happy to do them on his own now.
He can’t believe how easy Dexcom G6 is and how he doesn’t feel it on his stomach – it has never come off during sport, even during a tackle! We love how we can get 10 days out of the Dexcom G6 sensor and how we don’t have to calibrate.
Having this technology has helped our family get more sleep and as his mother, I can go to sleep less-stressed knowing the alarms will wake us up to assist him with his diabetes. Having the alarms and the Basal-IQ feature of predictive low-glucose suspend has given us even more peace of mind to let Mitch go to his mate’s house and have a sleepover.
With this technology, he goes off to school less anxious as he knows the teachers and his parents are keeping an eye on him too. Before these devices, Mitch was having at least 3-4 hypos at school. This has since decreased dramatically and has made T1D a part of his life, NOT his life.
Q: And Mitch, how does your diabetes management plan change when you’re away from mum and dad?
Mitch: Whether I am at school, a sleepover, my grandparents’ house or a sporting event, I tend to keep in touch with my parents via text as they use Dexcom Follow. Whenever they are not available, I generally treat it like I was at home but with a bit more caution – I listen to my body more. Nevertheless, I never get worried because I have amazing friends and family who know that I know how to manage my diabetes.
Having the Basal-IQ technology on my pump has given me more confidence to continue with sports as I know the pump will cut off (insulin delivery) and not let me go low as often as I used to.
Overall, I definitely feel more at ease and confident managing my diabetes. Dexcom G6 and the t:slim X2 insulin pump has made me more independent and more stress-free. Having so many lows before I was using the t:slim X2 insulin pump, it was becoming so frustrating as it affected my sports – as I would have to stop playing and treat a low.
I don’t have to worry about any of that as much, as my lows have decreased since using the t:slim X2 insulin pump with Basal-IQ technology. Having this technology has given me more freedom to play all the sports I love.
Q. Alicia, what other support systems does Mitch have and how important do you think this support is for your family?
Alicia: We are very fortunate that we have a lot of family support. Mitch has both sets of grandparents that have learnt, and are willing to learn more about the latest technologies available to assist him if and whenever he needs it. They particularly love Dexcom G6 as they follow him (via Dexcom Share) and this lets them feel at ease having him over for sleepovers. They would do anything for Mitch and are super proud of him with how he has approached his life with T1D and the willingness to take everything head-on and deal with whatever comes to him.
Mitch also has an amazing group of friends, two, in particular, his best mates Sam and Rhys who have grown up with him since kindergarten. They know Mitch has to watch what he eats, when he eats, when to play sport and when they have to tell him to stop playing and treat his hypos etc. They have helped him at school to treat his hypos on many occasions.
Sam and Rhys’ parents have also been a big part of Mitch’s journey with diabetes, as they have learnt and followed him (via Dexcom Share) when he has a sleepover. They do the 3 am checks, get the right foods and look after him as if he is their own son. We can’t thank them enough for what they do for him and for us.
Mitch has another person who has been a massive part of his journey and that is Jodie who works at his school. She is his school mum! Jodie has been with Mitch since prep and looks after him from the moment he walks in the school gates. She has put her heart and soul into learning everything about type 1 diabetes and knows exactly what Mitch needs before he does, she is amazing!
Q: What are your favourite features from Dexcom G6 and the t:slim X2 insulin pump with Basal-IQ technology?
Mitch: I love the touchscreen as it’s like a phone and easy to use as it has less steps to take a bolus. The Basal-IQ technology stops me from having so many lows so I can enjoy playing my sports without thinking so much about my diabetes. For me, the pump site changes don’t hurt when I insert them and I can do them myself. Also, I love how light the pump is and how slim Dexcom G6 is – I don’t feel them hanging off me, they are just a part of me now.
With Dexcom G6, I like how people can follow my glucose readings, so it makes them feel at ease when I’m over at their house for a sleepover. I love the fact that my mum and dad let me do more on my own and let me play for longer at any sporting event because they also have peace of mind from the Dexcom Follow app, and they know that I am becoming more independent while using the t:slim X2 insulin pump and Dexcom G6.
Q: Can you tell us a little about Mitch’s journey with type 1 diabetes?
Alicia: Mitch is our second child of a family of four boys. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 15 months old, and he is now 12 years old. At the time, it was a huge shock to us as we had no family history and didn’t know much about diabetes however we worked out fast that we had to learn quickly! Since he has been diagnosed, technology has come a long way. Initially, Mitch was put on an insulin pump when he was 2 years old but as he was so young, we as his parents, had to do everything concerning his diabetes.
We remember feeding him honey as he couldn’t chew jellybeans quick enough when he was low and pricking his little toes in the middle of the night so we wouldn’t wake him. As Mitch grew, it was apparent from the start that diabetes wasn’t going to stop him. He loves his sport! He always has a ball in his hand is always wanting to do his best in every sport he plays.
Q: Mitch, what are your favourite sports? Do you have any hobbies off the field too?
Mitch: I adore all sport, but cricket and footy are among my favourite things to do! A couple of my other hobbies include writing, running, basketball and many more. I am also school captain at my primary school. I really love the opportunities it gives me as it gives me a chance to get ready for next year when I go to high school.
Q: Alicia, you must all be so proud of Mitch’s accomplishments so far!
Alicia: Absolutely, we are very proud of Mitch’s achievements! In 2019, he went to the state championships for 100m hurdles. He also plays under 12’s footy and trains with the under 14’s as well. Mitch has also received the Champion Player for under 13’s cricket 2020/21 season and has even been selected to be a part of this year’s Warrnambool & District Cricket Association Boys Junior Development Programs Academy. We are so proud!
Q: So, Mitch how do you navigate managing your glucose levels with such an active lifestyle?
Mitch: I was having heaps of lows at school and during my sport, so my mum had a meeting with my healthcare team, and they suggested the t:slim X2 insulin pump and Dexcom G6 CGM, knowing that it would help me manage my lows more and it might make me become more independent, as it’s really easy to use as well.
Q: Finally, what advice would you give to others living with T1D?
Alicia: Having a chaotic, fun and lovable family of four boys, we as parents of a son living with type 1 diabetes, can only embrace life and its challenges. Some days are tough. Just knowing that this chronic disease does not go away, it is with us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – can be overwhelming. However, we will never let it take over us.
We say diabetes is a part of our lives, it is NOT OUR LIVES. It doesn’t rule us. With technology like the t:slim X2 insulin pump and Dexcom G6 CGM, it has become a lot easier and we have more freedom to do what we want. Mitch has become an amazing young man and we cannot wait to see what he can achieve in his life. Nothing is going to stop our Mitch.
Mitch: I would say don’t let it rule your life. It sucks at times but don’t let it get to you, it’s not going to go away so live with it. Manage it the best you can and don’t let it stop you from being who you are.
*Dexcom G6 requires zero fingerpricks, however if your glucose alerts and readings from the G6 do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions
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”With technology like the t:slim X2 insulin pump and Dexcom G6 CGM, life has become a lot easier and we have more freedom to do what we want.”
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