Dexcom Warrior Emily, enjoys keeping active – whether that be going for a run or heading to the gym. She is passionate about living well with type 1 diabetes (T1D) as she advocates for promoting mental health within the diabetes community. We spoke to Emily about her personal journey with diabetes and her experience with her diabetes devices: the t:slim X2™ insulin pump and Dexcom G6 CGM.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about you?
My name is Emily Vuong, I am 25 years old and living in Perth, Western Australia. I love living a busy, active lifestyle; especially going to the gym, running, and socialising with friends. I have lived with T1D for almost 24 years and have a passion for diabetes advocacy, especially in the mental health sphere. I am currently using the t:slim X2 insulin pump and Dexcom G6 CGM to manage my diabetes.
Q. Did you always want to use an insulin pump as part of your diabetes management?
In the beginning, I was apprehensive about wearing an insulin pump but I got used to it very, very quickly. Now I don’t even really notice it attached to me – it’s like another limb!
Being on a pump gives me so much freedom and flexibility. I am able to be more spontaneous with my exercise because of temporary basal and it also makes enjoying things like eating pizza so much easier. I am able to do dual wave boluses to account for delayed fat/protein spikes without having to worry about doing a second injection.
Q. And why is it important for you to have a compatible CGM and insulin pump?
It makes life so much easier to have my CGM and insulin pump communicate with each other. I don’t have to enter my glucose levels in when I bolus, which just removes another step in the process. It’s also so convenient to be able to check my levels on my pump instead of my phone in meetings and at work!
Q. After trying Dexcom G6 on your insulin pump and display device*, what were your initial thoughts?
As soon as I tried Dexcom G6, I fell in love with it! The fact that you don’t have to calibrate at all was an absolute game-changer for me. For me, it removed so much of the mental burden of having to remember to do fingerpricks.# Another awesome feature is the fact that you can take paracetamol without interfering with the sensor accuracy.§ And Dexcom G6 is also so much slimmer and inconspicuous than the Dexcom G5 Mobile. For me, Dexcom G6 is a tool to relieve the mental burden of T1D.
Q. How do Dexcom alerts and alarms and the t:slim X2 insulin pump support your diabetes management?
The Dexcom alerts help me catch highs and lows before they get to a severe point. This is especially helpful when I’m busy at work or out with friends; when I am less likely to notice the symptoms of low or high glucose levels.
Whereas with running, it is a completely different ball game. So many factors go into determining if my glucose levels will stay stable or drop quickly. During the run, particularly if I have insulin on board, my glucose levels drop quite rapidly. Contrastingly, my levels tend to go higher after I finish a run and can stay high for a couple of hours after. It’s taken a lot of fine-tuning to get my glucose level right around running – especially when I ran my marathon in New York City! Dexcom alerts helped me find patterns and modify my diabetes management to suit.
Generally, Dexcom alerts and alarms also help me understand how my body reacts to different foods, stresses and types of exercise. For me, my glucose levels tend to stay pretty stable when I lift weights; but if I have done a really heavy session, my levels usually drop suddenly in the night. That’s when I find Dexcom really useful as it helps me catch nocturnal low glucose patterns.
And with the pump technology too, my diabetes management has been revolutionised – I have less fear around my levels going low^. I am so much more confident in my everyday life because I don’t have to worry as much about going low in the middle of doing important things like work or during presentations at university.
One of the most important times the pump technology has helped me was on my teaching prac earlier this year. I was really nervous about going low while in the middle of teaching, but my t:slim X2 pump kept my levels on track, so that my lessons weren’t disrupted.
Q. Do you also use Dexcom Share? If so, who follows your data?
I do use Dexcom Share. My mum, dad, fiancé and best friend all follow me on there. I find it gives them so much more reassurance when I go out exercising by myself, as well as when I go out all night socialising.
A few months ago, I went on a 12.5km hike along the Bibbulmun Track in WA with a group of 12 students and 1 other staff member. Without Dexcom, this would have been pretty daunting for me (as well as my loved ones, who may have worried about me in the middle of the bush all day). However, with Dexcom Share on, I knew someone external from the group would be alerted if anything happened to me diabetes-wise; and would be able to send help without me even having to communicate anything to them.
Q. And lastly, what general advice would you give to others living with T1D?
Speak up if you feel like diabetes is getting on top of you. There will always be people who can help, listen and relate. Don’t feel like you’re alone, because the whole type 1 community is with you.
Emily is an Australian Dexcom Warrior. For more information on the Dexcom Warrior Program, please click here.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. Read the warnings available on amsldiabetes.com.au/resources before purchasing. Consult your healthcare professional to see which product is right for you.
“Being on a pump gives me so much freedom and flexibility… It makes life so much easier to have my CGM and insulin pump communicate with each other.”
Lara lives with type 1 diabetes, but that doesn't slow her down! She plays basketball in the Australian Women’s National Basketball League whilst studying at university as well. We spoke to Lara about what tools she uses to manage her diabetes on and off the court.
Emily talks about staying motivated with her T1D care, all while balancing a busy and active lifestyle! She also reflects on some of her biggest challenges throughout her journey with diabetes and touches on some of the biggest lessons she's learnt over the years!
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