A Four Year Decision

Over the past couple of months, the expiration on my pump’s warranty has been weighing heavily on my mind. As much as I loved my t:slim, was I ready to commit to it for another four years?

I think what made this decision so difficult was that I don’t intend on updating my pump to Dexcom G6 and Basal IQ in the foreseeable future. I use a rebatteried Dexcom G5 transmitter, and that won’t be an option with G6. It really frustrates me that despite a clear message from the 3,000 strong Diabatteries Down Under community, this technology is still going to be out of reach for many. I digress…

I weighed up all of my options. I read blogs. I searched through Facebook groups. I scoured the internet. I think it’s fantastic that we have choices in diabetes technology, and I know that each of the different systems out there meet the different needs of different people.

The only other real option that interested me was looping. After trying it out over the Summer, I conceded that it wasn’t for me. Additionally, Dexcom G5 is unlikely to be around forever, which puts a time limit on looping for me. But that’s the subject for another post.

I can’t say that I would have jumped at the opportunity to buy another Animas pump, but choosing a new t:slim was a relatively easy decision. I’ve been really happy with it, and wasn’t particularly inclined to switch to something different. It’s modern, it’s small and it doesn’t fatigue me like my Animas did. It meets my needs perfectly. Dexcom G5 has been a fantastic addition to that system, even if that’s as far as I’ll be able to take it for the time being.

I wanted to upgrade my pump now, for a number of reasons. For starters, at the moment my health insurance covers me for a pump on an affordable bronze policy. I didn’t particularly want to be on an out of warranty pump right now if I could avoid it. Finally, I really wanted to get a new t:slim now, while they are still shipping with G5 integration.

In terms of the future, I believe that the Tandem/Dexcom pairing definitely looks to be the most user friendly. Of all the systems on the market and their promised updates, I believe that this is the one that we will see here in Australia the soonest. That will always be an option down the road, should my circumstances change.

To give distributor AMSL Diabetes some credit, their customer support has been fantastic and they’ve helped me out on more than one occasion over the last four years. They definitely have that ‘family’ feel to them, and I always look forward to catching up with the reps (even if I do occasionally like to push their buttons). I’m sure I must be their favourite customer by now.

So, while sticking with the same pump might not feel like the biggest decision, it was definitely was.

#TslimForFrank!

11 Comments

  1. I’m less than a year in to my TSlim but I agree with your assessment — there doesn’t seem to be a better option on the market. After having lived with Medtronic’s crummy sensors for two years I certainly wouldn’t go back to Medtronic — Dexcom is like an entirely differently evolved species of sensor; most of the time it just works. I’m also sad about the inevitable discontinuation of the G5 — it is such a fantastic sensor and you can extend it for so long.

    Dexcom obviously knows this, because they’ve put zero impediments in the way of the user choosing to extend their sensor.

    It’s understandable that Tandem wouldn’t want to do ControlIQ based on extended sensors, but it just pushes the cost up for Dexcom G5 users SO much — I wonder how many people simply won’t be able to afford G6 at the ‘official’ rate of sensor replacement.

    • Thanks, Dan! I’ve never used a Medtronic system, but 670G just looks like a lot of work. I’ll be interested to see how many non-NDSS users upgrade to G6 and Basal IQ when available. If the US is any indication, we will hopefully have G5 for at least another two years.

  2. I’m afraid of getting the pump, I’m too clumsy, lately my Doctor has been pushing it. Is it painful? Thanks for writing this blog by the way, it’s nice knowing I’m not alone in the type 1 diabetic aspect.

    • There’s no right answer. I know lots of people who manage really well on injections too. A pump was like starting all over again. There’s a lot of work in setting up your basal rates, carb ratios, doing set changes every three days etc. For me, that’s worth it for the flexibility in being able to better match my insulin to the time of day and convenience of being able manage my diabetes on the go.
      I wrote this post a year ago, which goes into a bit more detail: https://www.type1writes.com/2019/05/16/the-first-three-years-on-an-insulin-pump/

    • I’m the clumsiest person ever, I’m pretty sure you’re not clumsier than me. The pump has been fine from that perspective. The Tslim is very sturdy – aluminium frame rather than plastic, and despite it falling out of my pocket onto the toilet floor many times it hasn’t smashed the screen yet. I did have many replacements of my medtronic pump – they weren’t built as sturdily.

      Pump is not painful — the initial insertion of the site every 2-3 days is about the same feeling as giving yourself an injection.

      It’s MASSIVELY more convenient than MDI… the flexibility to eat food whenever you want and not have to hitch up your shirt and inject is great.

  3. Sharon

    I have been on pumps for over 20 years. Minimed 508, Deltec Cozmo, Animas Ping, Medtronic Paradigm Revel, Medtronic 530G. Now I’m on Tandem t:slim x2 for over 2 years. I have been on the Dexcom G6 for 4 months and use it with Control IQ. Here in the US all G5 users are being upgraded to G6. They are no longer making G5’s. Users are on Facebook complaining they had no choice. I have no issues with the G6. Works fine. I have always had a full 10 days with each sensor. I’m anxiously waiting for the G7. All the new Tandem pumps are already predesigned for the G6. It’s a good match. I’m sure you’ll make a confident decision and everything will work out. Stay well.
    Tandem T Slim x2. May 2018 –

    • They -are- continuing to make the G5… they’ve just ceased supplying it in the US (presumably to push people to G6). Good to hear that you always get the full 10 days out of a G6 sensor. It’ll be good when G7 comes out with 14-15 day wear… I hope they don’t increase the cost commensurately. Out of interest, is G6 the same price as G5?

    • Ahhh. Just found this with a google… “Box of sensors: $349 (same as G5, though you get three sensors lasting 10 days, vs. four sensors lasting 7+ each)” — so they’re trying to maintain their “price per day” metric. So, presumably G7s will only come with two sensors in the box for the same price (or more, considering they won’t be getting revenue from selling transmitters any more.)

  4. Michele dN

    Maybe cause I am old I have only ever used Medtronic for the past 10 years, but I am use to the operating system and I’ve always had good service with them, although I take your point about the sensors. I’m diverging here a bit too, but I am stuck on Apple; got my son to build me a hackintosh, it was fantastic until it started to frequently crash. He said “that’s what you get for wanting the best of both worlds”! So this old woman is just gonna stay with what I am familiar with and serves my requirements.Fantastic to have so many choices available now, but certainly a case of “different horses for different courses”.

  5. Trish Greer

    Hey Frank, congrats on deciding to stick with Tandem’s T: Slim X2 pump. I, too am on my 2nd one and most likely will get a new one this November when my current 4 year warranty expires. I happen to have 5 Dexcom G5 sensors and an unused transmitter that I’d love to mail you, if you’d like these. Just let me know if you want them and message me your address on Facebook Messenger. Since the US is no longer making these it is hard to give them away here. Most everyone has switched to Dexcom G6. I currently am using the G6 sensors with the Basal IQ and love both of them. I have really good BG control with an average A1C of 6.0-6.2, so am hesitant to download the Control IQ software. I like having more control of my pump:)

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