AMSL Diabetes All-Star, 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 recently about her personal journey with diabetes and her recent experience with Dexcom G6 CGM.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about you?
My name is Emily Vuong, I am 24 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 23 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. What were your initial thoughts of Dexcom G6?
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.
Q. How did you find the process of transitioning from Dexcom G5 Mobile to Dexcom G6?
It was so easy and intuitive. I felt confident in using it straight away!
Q. Having used Dexcom G6 for a while now, what is the most important Dexcom G6 feature for you in managing your diabetes?
The Dexcom alerts! They 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.
For example, a couple of weeks ago, I went for a run and started out with a stable glucose level. However, after about 10 minutes, my glucose level started to drop and before I knew it, I was given an ‘urgent low soon’ alarm. Dexcom G6 told me that I would be 3.1mmol within 20 minutes. That meant I knew that I would have to finish my run quickly so I could catch the low before it got to that ‘urgent low’ point.
The 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, so I can turn on temporary basal to compensate.
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 have helped me here to find patterns and modify my diabetes management to suit.
Q. Do you also use Dexcom Share? If so, who follows your data?
I do use Dexcom Share. My mum, dad, boyfriend 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 couple of weeks 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. Why did you choose Dexcom CGM?
I chose Dexcom because I’ve found it to be accurate and reliable. As soon as I trialled Dexcom, I knew it would change the way I managed my diabetes! Because I loved Dexcom so much, I also chose the t:slim X2 insulin pump for compatibility.
Q. How would you sum up Dexcom G6?
For me, it’s a tool to relieve the mental burden of T1D.
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.
* 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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“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.”
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