Medtronic Transmitter on Charger plus extra Charger

Redundancy Achieved: Adding a Spare Transmitter to My Diabetes Tech Arsenal

Hello, fellow insulin pump enthusiasts and other curious readers 😃

If you’ve been following my journey, you know I use the Medtronic Minimed 780G Insulin Pump, a sophisticated hybrid closed-loop (HCL) system. Today, I want to emphasize the importance of the transmitter in this setup and why I decided to invest in a backup.

The Role of the Transmitter

The transmitter is the cornerstone of the 780G’s functionality, linking the Guardian 4 continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensor with the pump. This connection is crucial for the automated delivery of insulin based on real-time glucose readings. Without a reliable transmitter, the system cannot function effectively, and the insulin pump switches into “manual mode”… which means that insulin delivery continues based on programmed settings, but there’s no adjustment, which increases risk of both low and high blood sugar, and frequent blood glucose tests are needed.

No Transmitter = No CGM. 😢

Experiencing Transmitter Failure

Having suffered from a transmitter failure when using the 670G in the past, I understand the disruption it causes. The peace of mind lost during these times pushed me to secure an extra transmitter. Let me share how transformative the SmartGuard mode of the 780G has been for me.

Life-Changing Benefits of SmartGuard Mode

The SmartGuard technology automates much of my diabetes management, allowing me to lead a relatively carefree life. Active nearly 100% of the time, it adjusts insulin delivery on its own. My only manual inputs are mealtime boluses and switching to exercise mode for physical activities. The confidence of having over 97% time in range without frequent highs and lows underscores the system’s value.

The Consequences of Going Manual

When a transmitter died unexpectedly, I was forced back into manual mode—a stark contrast to the autonomy SmartGuard offers. Frequent glucose checks and constant insulin calculations reintroduced anxiety and tedium into my daily life. This experience highlighted the necessity of a functioning transmitter and sensor.

Investment in Redundancy

Acknowledging the critical role and limited lifespan of transmitters, I invested $325 in an extra unit. Although costly, the redundancy it provides is invaluable, ensuring that I am never without this essential component of my diabetes management system.

The transmitter contains a rechargeable battery. All rechargeable batteries have a limited lifespan. So it’s not a question of IF the transmitter will fail, but WHEN. It is guaranteed for a year, so it should last at least one year. Will it last longer? Maybe.

Reflecting on the Costs

The financial burden of diabetes technology is undeniable. It can feel as though one is purchasing a luxury car rather than medical equipment. However, for those of us who can manage it, the investment significantly enhances quality of life, liberating us from the constant demands of diabetes management.

I know the cost puts this advanced technology out of reach for many. I don’t mean to come across as bragging, as I wish all people with diabetes had access to affordable insulin pumps and supplies. But for my circumstances, the investment in a backup transmitter gives me what I’ve been missing – true redundancy in the most critical part of my loop system. With that extra transmitter, I can live my life to the fullest with this automated insulin pump technology, which is the entire goal of my site – helping people experience that freedom despite diabetes.

Sensor Placement and System Reliability

I’ve had a surprise change in my routine. I recently switched to my OUTER THIGH for my Guardian 4 sensors, which has worked even better than the back of my arm, which I was using previously. I’ve been able to re-start my sensors often as well, which extends their life.

Closing Thoughts

While I recognize that the costs associated with such technology can be prohibitive, it’s my hope that advancements will eventually reduce prices, making these life-enhancing tools accessible to more people. Until then, I am committed to sharing insights and support through Insulin Pump Life, helping others navigate their lives with diabetes as freely as possible.

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Do you have experiences with insulin pump technology you’d like to share? How do you manage the challenges of maintaining your equipment? Join the conversation below, and let’s support each other in our journeys.

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Lin May

About the Author

Lin May has a decade of experience living with LADA diabetes and is the author of Success with LADA Diabetes: Achieving Optimal Health with Diet, Exercise, and Insulin. She is dedicated to helping others learn about diabetes.

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