Roughroad 100 – the ‘betes won this one

Roughroad 100 – the ‘betes won this one!

Earlier this year I switched insulin pump brand from a T-Slim/Dexcom combination back to my tried and true Medtronic brand.  This latest version of the Medtronic brand shuts off insulin delivery if it anticipates you are going below a certain pre-set blood sugar.  I was not very happy with the T-Slim but have always loved and got good results from the Dexcom – continuous blood glucose monitoring system whereas I didn’t have the same good results from the Medtronic equivalent.  On the T-Slim which I was only on for about 6 months  my A1C (3month BG average) was 8.3 well above the acceptable range and I had always floated in the 7’s.  Still not ideal but better.  After only a few months of being on Medtronic I was already back down to the 7’s.  It may have been a coincidence but I will take the good results.

With the sensor the pump requires 2 calibrations a day (finger pricks).  I will admit I have been known to ignore or snooze the calibration alarm if it happens during the night.   The night before roughroad this happened.  I looked at my blood sugar before the calibration requirement and it looked good so I didn’t feel the need to get up and test (instead I awoke every hour on the hour to snooze the alarm).  Makes perfect sense right?!

I look forward to the roughroad it is a great little 100K early season gravel race perfect for dirty kanza training and there is usually a bunch of VQ’ers out doing it.  With the weather finally getting better it meant a nice cold beer with the crew after!  Roughroad 100 .

My alarm went off at 5am the day of the race. It was an 8am start and it was roughly an hour and a half drive.  I had to leave at 6am at latest. I went about getting ready and I will admit I hadn’t tested until I was in the car on the way there despite not feeling well! Duh!

So I tested in the car and I was about 340’s and I tried to calibrate.  It didn’t work because I was too high.  Not wanting to have to much insulin on board at the time of race start I gave myself a small dose of insulin.  I tried to recalibrate again and it was rejected because I was 404, I didn’t know that being too high and doing two bad calibrations in a row rendered the sensor expired.  Great, so no CGM for the race.

I typically muddle my way through high blood sugars although technically I should not have even considered starting the race at such a high level.  I figured once I got there it would be down a little.  I kept driving. I am not sure how long it was after that the pump went crazy with a high pitch alarm.  I quickly pressed the sequence of buttons to clear the pump.  Then I got a no battery power error with no warning.  So I assumed that something went wrong with the pump and all I needed to do was replace the battery.  So I dug out the spares and tried several different batteries but none worked.  The no battery power error continued.  As I was driving West along 55 I decided I should stop and buy new batteries.. may the Kirkland brand batteries were no good.  So I finally got off at Cermak the Midway airport exit.  I figured it would be my best bet to find a Walgreens or something.  I drove for a bit not finding anything.  I pulled into a gas station but no double AA’s!  At this point I was cutting it close to timing on the race (still thinking of course that I was going  to race).  After driving about 10-15 minutes in an unfamiliar area I finally found a 7-11.  I stopped and bought new fancy lithium Energizer batteries.  It worked!  With some reset some of the settings and took another hit of insulin.  BG was still high with a non-functioning pump.  I looked at my WAZE app and it told me my arrival time was 8:05.  I was so ticked. I could have still gone and started late but I didn’t want to risk driving all that way and not race because of the pump/high blood sugars or being late.  I was bummed because it was the only cycling race I had every “placed” in and the last two years I had come in third!  My old coach Mike Peters and my gravel grinding crew were going.  It hurt to write the text of shame saying I couldn’t make it because my pump broke…like anyone would understand.

So with the car packed with all my bike stuff and a change of clothes on a beautiful day I let the ‘betes win.  I have a pretty good track record so I guess I can’t complain too much.  I drove home and got back into bed and slept for 2 hours.  Later I called Medtronic and they said they’d ship me a new pump and to use my back up plan i.e. long acting insulin and insulin shots.  Of course I was totally unprepared for that so used the broken pump which seemed to be working until the new one arrived.

I definitely don’t make the best decisions when it comes to managing my diabetes (i.e. not calibrating on time, not having a back plan) I need to get better and planning and devote more time to it.  Always lessons to learn!



About Gillian

I am a type 1 diabetic diagnosed at the age of 30. I run marathons, participate in bike races , ironman triathlons and everything in between.
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