Susanne Thiemann started using mylife Loop over a year ago. She really likes that it is easy to use and the mylife YpsoPump is small and discreet. We talked to her about her experiences with mylife Loop and her personal diabetes blog.
Susanne, you blog for older people with diabetes type 1 diabetes. What is your experience with getting older and what moves your readers?
As you get older, your body changes. Some functions are no longer as good as in earlier years. Vision and hearing can deteriorate, and some people are no longer as dexterous in their motor skills. In addition, many people have a certain respect for change. I myself have been using insulin pumps and sensors for a long time, but many people my age have inhibitions about using pumps and starting pump therapy because they fear they won't be able to cope with the technology. Often their therapy is not going optimally and it would be better if they switched to pump therapy, but they are afraid to take that step. I would like to encourage them to get involved with the technique.
You use mylife Loop. How did you get started with it?
I'm lucky to have a very good diabetologist who follows all the innovations and I'm basically open-minded. For example, I was wearing the FreeStyle Libre sensor when it wasn't officially on the market yet. Later, I switched to Dexcom and then had a DIY loop (note: DIY stands for Do It Yourself), where you have to put the components together yourself. For a long time I was skeptical whether commercial systems could be as good, because previous loop solutions fell far short of the DIY loop. But then last year I was offered to test mylife Loop and it just absolutely convinced me.
What do you like about the mylife Loop solution?
In the first two to three weeks, you just have to let the algorithm run so it can learn on. I found that a bit difficult at first, because you can't see what's happening in the background – unlike DIY. I managed to keep my hands off it though. Overall, I have to say that I find mylife Loop very simple above all else and the insulin pump is nice and small and easy to use. As you get older it can get difficult from a motor and vision standpoint. The large display helps and the graphics are designed to be simple and unambiguous. You can see the icons, scroll through them and find your way around. You don't have to read a lot, as with other providers. And there is good assistance, for example, when refilling, you are reminded to disconnect beforehand. I need a lot of insulin and therefore had concerns whether the reservoir is not too small with the mylife YpsoPump. But I use the pre-filled ampoules and you can change them very quickly.
What would you say it was like before and after?
My long-term blood sugar has improved and my nights are relaxed. For example, I like to eat salad and meat. You don't have many carbohydrates then, but the blood sugar rises in the medium term from the proteins, which is difficult to estimate in the evening. But the algorithm just balances that out. In the past, I often couldn't get up in the morning and have breakfast because my sugar level was too high. That is no longer the case with mylife Loop.
How does mylife Loop support you in everyday life?
When I need to move more with my grandchildren, the easy-off function helps me. I used to adjust on a percentage basis, which wasn't so easy. If I make a mistake when calculating my meals, mylife Loop compensates for it. That's especially important when I'm on vacation or when I'm eating out, where it's sometimes hard to estimate carbohydrate amounts.
What is important to you in diabetes therapy as you get older?
It is very important to me that I can manage my therapy myself. It would be bad for me if the AID system were taken away from me. That sometimes happens in nursing homes, you are then dependent and the nursing staff is not always well trained for diabetes. The Companion function could be a good help in old age.
What advice do you have for older people with diabetes who are interested in mylife Loop?
Using mylife Loop is not rocket science and offers many improvements and benefits. Have the courage to try it out.
Susanne Thiemann is 61 years old, married, has two adult children and two grandchildren. For four years, she has been writing as "Diagranny" about her life with type 1 diabetes and addresses people aged 50+ with diabetes in her posts. Her blogger name stands for diabetes and grandmother.