Kerri Sparling Gets Pumped about the New Tandem Mobi

Kerri Sparling with Tandem Mobi Insulin Pump

Writer, speaker, author, and diabetes advocate Kerri Sparling has been a Tandem t:slim X2 insulin pump user for years, and she recently switched to the new Tandem Mobi insulin pump. Kerri shares her thoughts and experiences using the slimmed-down Mobi.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your diabetes journey. If you are comfortable, touch on who you are, what you do for a living/a glimpse into your life, and how long you have lived with diabetes.

Hi! My name is Kerri Sparling and I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for 37 years. Diagnosed at the beginning of second grade, I’ve brought diabetes on a lot of adventures over the last four decades. I’ve worked as a writer in the diabetes space for about 20 years and have been lucky to have been part of the diabetes online community when blogging first caught fire. I wrote my diabetes blog, “Six Until Me,” from 2005-2019, and I currently maintain a Substack newsletter at LifeWithType1Diabetes.com.

I live in Rhode Island with my husband, our two children, a few cats, a rogue hamster, and a growing library of creative works. I’ve just finished my first novel and am looking forward to sending that out into the world.

Before starting on the Tandem Mobi system, how were you managing your diabetes?

Prior to starting on Tandem Mobi, I used the Tandem t:slim X2 insulin pump, working through all the different iterations, from Basal-IQ technology to Control-IQ technology. I’ve used Dexcom CGMs since 2006, and I’m currently working through my stash of G6 supplies.

How long have you been using Tandem Mobi?

I started on Tandem Mobi three weeks ago! It’s awesome — easily the teeniest little pump I’ve ever worn. It’s so small.

One of the key features of Tandem Mobi is that you can wear it in so many ways. So, to start, how do you wear your Tandem Mobi?

I switched to Tandem Mobi from the Tandem t:slim X2 pump with Control-IQ technology, and I have been using the long tubing (43-inch) since I was pregnant with my now 7-year-old. Currently, I’m wearing the Tandem Mobi with that same long tubing, which I dig because I can use my t:slim X2 pump infusion sets (AutoSoft 90) interchangeably with the Tandem Mobi. I hate wasting supplies, so I like being able to continue with what’s on hand.

What was the biggest difference you noticed in the first few days on Tandem Mobi? (Either how was it different from what you used before, or just what you discovered that felt unique).

This pump is ridiculously small, and I didn’t think I’d care about that so much because I’m very comfortable with my diabetes devices being visible. But I was surprised at how small, discreet, and easy to conceal Tandem Mobi is. I can stash it in a pocket, or in my bra, or clip it to whatever I’m wearing. It even fits in that weird pocket on my jeans that previously had no real purpose. I think that pocket was waiting for Tandem Mobi.

What has surprised you in your experience of Tandem Mobi so far?

I honestly thought I’d be hung up on the fact that the Tandem Mobi doesn’t have a screen. For the first few days, I had to adjust my expectations – like when I looked at the pump, there wasn’t any CGM or other diabetes data looking back at me from a screen – the hub of information lived on the Tandem Mobi mobile app on my phone. This weirded me out at first, but it only took a few days for my brain to adjust fully. Now, after three weeks of constant use, I expect the pump to hold insulin and the phone app to hold the info.

What has been your favorite aspect/feature/part of your Tandem Mobi experience so far?

SIZE. It’s small. Have I mentioned it’s small? The thing is very small.

Can you provide a specific anecdote, situation, or example that reflects that aspect/feature/experience?

My son is seven years old, and for his whole life, he’s seen me with the Tandem t:slim X2 insulin pump. When he saw the Tandem Mobi, he immediately proclaimed it was “cute” and that the hamster could wear it if it had to wear an insulin pump.

For me, I noticed immediately that the (lack of) size and weight of the Tandem Mobi made it unintrusive when it came to sticking it in a pocket. Normally, if I’m wearing a dress with pockets and I’d put the t:slim X2 pump in the pocket, the weight of the pump would adjust the hemline of the dress (aka tilt it a bit). But the Tandem Mobi doesn’t. This is an excellent feature that makes the pump so wearable.

I don’t notice it. What an unexpected feature for a diabetes device – I don’t notice it.

What is something about Tandem Mobi that has been different than you expected?

I will admit that, even though I love the teeny size, it did freak me out a little bit. I thought I would lose it … and then I remembered it’s physically tethered to me, and that calmed me down.

Tandem Mobi is the first pump in the U.S. that is fully controlled by using a personal, compatible iPhone.* (For readers’ benefit, Tandem Mobi is compatible with iPhone only.) Can you describe your experience of fully controlling your pump on your iPhone? What has that been like?

On the plus side, I love how the Tandem Mobi mobile app works. It’s very similar to the t:connect mobile app, so learning how to navigate it was simple. I also appreciate that using the app encourages me to enter carbs and make calculations. On the still-adjusting side, I have explained to my kids that I’m using my phone at the dinner table because I need to dose my insulin. I hope they believe me, and not thinking I’m texting my pancreas (hat tip to Kim).

What else would you want a friend to know about Tandem Mobi?

Diabetes can be cumbersome and clunky, intrusive, and inconvenient. The Tandem Mobi system is streamlined and small, making the burden of diabetes feel literally and figuratively lighter.

 

Editor’s Note: Tandem Diabetes is a partner of Taking Control of Your Diabetes®. TCOYD® maintains control over editorial content. Please consult your healthcare team before making any changes to your diabetes care regimen.

Note: Individual symptoms, situations, circumstances, and results may vary.

* The mobile app requires a compatible iPhone model and operating system (sold separately). Only available to pump users who reside in the United States.

 

Additional Resources:

Tandem’s Mobi Insulin Pump Gets FDA Clearance

 

Important Safety Information
RX ONLY.

Indications for Use

Tandem Mobi system: The Tandem Mobi insulin pump with interoperable technology (the pump) is intended for the subcutaneous delivery of insulin, at set and variable rates, for the management of diabetes mellitus in persons requiring insulin. The pump is able to reliably and securely communicate with compatible, digitally connected devices, including automated insulin dosing software, to receive, execute, and confirm commands from these devices. The pump is intended for single patient, home use and requires a prescription. The pump is indicated for use in individuals 6 years of age and greater.

t:slim X2 insulin pump: The t:slim X2 insulin pump with interoperable technology is intended for the subcutaneous delivery of insulin, at set and variable rates, for the management of diabetes mellitus in people requiring insulin. The pump is able to reliably and securely communicate with compatible, digitally connected devices, including automated insulin dosing software, to receive, execute, and confirm commands from these devices. The pump is intended for single patient use. The pump is indicated for use with NovoLog or Humalog U-100 insulin. The pump is indicated for use in individuals 6 years of age and greater.

Control-IQ technology: Control-IQ technology is intended for use with compatible integrated continuous glucose monitors (iCGM, sold separately) and alternate controller enabled (ACE) pumps to automatically increase, decrease, and suspend delivery of basal insulin based on iCGM readings and predicted glucose values. It can also deliver correction boluses when the glucose value is predicted to exceed a predefined threshold. Control-IQ technology is intended for the management of Type 1 diabetes mellitus in persons 6 years of age and greater. Control-IQ technology is intended for single patient use. Control-IQ technology is indicated for use with NovoLog or Humalog U-100 insulin.

Control-IQ technology is not indicated for use in pregnant women, people on dialysis, or critically ill patients. Do not use Control-IQ technology if using hydroxyurea. Users of a Tandem insulin pump and Control-IQ technology must use the insulin pump, CGM, and all other system components in accordance with their respective instructions for use; test blood glucose levels as recommended by their healthcare provider; demonstrate adequate carb-counting skills; maintain sufficient diabetes self-care skills; see healthcare provider(s) regularly; and have adequate vision and/or hearing to recognize all functions of the pump, including alerts, alarms, and reminders. The Tandem pump and the CGM transmitter and sensor must be removed before MRI, CT, or diathermy treatment. Visit tandemdiabetes.com/safetyinfo for additional important safety information.

© 2024 Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc. All rights reserved. Tandem Diabetes Care, the Tandem logo, Control-IQ, Basal-IQ, AutoSoft, Tandem Mobi, and t:slim X2 are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Dexcom, Dexcom G6, and any related logos and design marks are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Dexcom, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. All third-party marks are the property of their respective owners.

 

4 Comments
  1. Avatar

    I don’t want to always be tethered to my phone. I appreciate being able to access my numbers on my pump. At times there also has been variation between my pump and iPhone which alerts me to using my glucometer. I don’t trust the information being just in one place. That’s what turns me off to getting the tandem mobi. Is there a way to get the info on the tandem mobi?

    • Avatar

      Understand your preference…for this particular pump you do need your phone for immediate access to pump data (insulin on board, etc.) If you want to review your data over time (at the doctor’s office, for example) that data is visible in Tandem Source and is uploaded automatically. The Tandem t:slim X2 is an excellent product as well though if you prefer to see your info directly on the pump screen. 🙂

  2. Avatar

    I’m not sold on this product. It’s like an awful version of an Omnipod where you are still stuck with tubing and a heavy pump hanging off your clothing. I own a tandem t:slim x2 IQ and Omnipod 5. The Omnipod is pure freedom!

    • Unless you’ve been able to see and hold one in person, I wouldn’t come to any premature conclusions. It does have short tubing but it is very light, and provides another option for people.

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