I’ve now been looping now for a couple of months. During that time, I’ve come to understand that I know far less about diabetes – my diabetes – than I actually realised. I’ve come to realise that diabetes is far more complex and difficult than I ever thought. I’ve come to see that the tools we have been using are so incapable of managing with the constant changes of diabetes. And I’ve come to realise that using tech off label is the only way to go anyway towards overcoming these challenges.

After my first couple of weeks of looping, I honestly thought that the whole thing was somehow tricking me. What was this ridiculousness of waking every single morning with numbers firmly between 5mmol/l and 5.5mmol/l? I’d look at my Loop app suspiciously, switching to my Dex app only to have the number confirmed, and a straight and steady glucose trace showing that I’d been there all night. How did THAT happen? I’d ask myself every. The Loop app had all the answers.

The automation is where the magic is. Prior to looping, I had about fourteen different basal rates sets for a 24-hour period. I had gone through times of extreme basal checking to try to tighten up those rates as much as possible, tweaking them here and there, and I thought that I had it pretty right. And insofar as basal rate settings on a pump, I suppose I did have it right.

But loop has taught me that while the overall shape of my basal rates was pretty spot on, there is only so much a pump can do with set, static rates programmed into a pump. There is nothing my pump could do to respond in real time if I needed more basal insulin unless I manually inserted a temporary basal rate.

On an average night for me now, my basal rates are automatically being adjusted dozens and dozens of times. Remember, this is during the night, when there is no need to contend with food or most other factors that affect glucose levels.

You know those mornings where you wake up, see a number in the double figures and wonder if it is at all possible that you sleep walked to the kitchen, sleep baked a pavlova and then sleep-ate the whole thing? Loop’s automation addresses that.

One morning I woke up to see that my basal rates over night had been more than double the set rate for three hours. I’d gone to sleep with a glucose level of 5mmol/l, but for some reason at about 1am, I had started climbing. Instead of waking high, the significant increase in basal insulin took care of it and I woke up in range.

Is looping the solution to all diabetes problems? Of course not and I’d be naïve to think that there was a silver bullet. But it is certainly a useful tool in my diabetes treatment arsenal, especially when combined with eating mostly lower carb. And thanks to the automation, it certainly does lift some of the burden. It also helps beautifully when I am ovulating or my period is about to start, when all bets are off and I just resigned myself to a couple of days of mayhem.

Undoubtedly it is not THE solution – in fact, if anything, it has made me despair more about what we are lacking in diabetes technology, because the increased understanding of diabetes that has come with using Loop makes me more desperate and impatient for tools that actually can manage more and more of the complexity of diabetes. I have a new found respect for that complexity.

Real time; Loop and iPhone app.

Loop info is all here including how to get started.