I was having a small conversation with fellow blogger Leah and was reminded a few things about being a type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump. I thought I would share a little of my experiences with this awesome little piece of equipment, a.k.a my mechanical pancreas.
I acquired my pump in the beginning of October 2008, just a few days before my wedding (Half of the pump’s cost was a wedding gift from my father, too!). I have a paradigm 522 from medtronic which I have customized with neat looking covers sold by the company. At first, it was nerve racking. I wanted to experience the simplicity of not having to count my insulin needs for meals, for corrections, etc… I wanted to experience eating whenever I wanted, whatever I wanted, I wanted to feel what it was like to be “normal” again. When the nurse came to my house (Because you need a small class about how to use it and the nurse will set the pump to your needs as well) I was really happy, but also overwhelmed with the amount of supplies she brought with her! Let me give you a small list to make it simple:
Supplies with injection pens:
- Insulin vials
Supplies for an insulin pump:
- Insulin vials
- Infusion sets
- CGM (Continuous Glucose Reading) set
- Insertion sets
- Extras such as Pump clips, customizations…
She came in with so many boxes I got scared and was already reluctant of having to go through that kind of change, but I welcomed her into my kitchen and we got started… We calculated my insulin needs and my husband tagged along, wanting to learn it as well even if he isn’t diabetic. It’s always nice to know what your partner goes through and understand what it takes and how everything works! So the nurse had me enter a bunch of informations in the pump for it to be set to my needs. She then explained to me how to insert the catheter, how to fill up the reservoir, how to rewind the pump and all the neat things about my new style of life. Needless to say I felt overwhelmed once again with the amount of tasks I needed to overcome just to have this pump set and attached to me!
I was shaky at first when I inserted the infusion set because she wouldn’t let me use the insertion tool. She said it would be best If I learned how to insert it myself in case the insertion tool would break, and it was a good idea because I had to do it manually often. Not because it broke, but because I forgot it at home when I was away!
When this was done, she moved unto the CGM set. Biggest. Needle. Ever. But hardly felt anything when it went in! As I got used to the CGM over the days, I realized though that it wasn’t for me. First because my insurance company wouldn’t cover it and second, well, it’s a second injection site, more scars (my skin is VERY sensible!) and I preferred just testing my blood glucose manually than having my pump tell me. The CGM has a lot of benefits though because you can prevent a lot of hypos and hypers with it!
I re-discovered sleeping in over the next days, eating at the times I wanted, learnt how to cope with having something attached to me 24/7 (Unless I was underwater, shower, etc…) but overall I was really impressed on the impact it had made on my life! The only negative thing I found early in development is that since I could eat whenever I wanted, I gained weight fast… but that’s called self-control and is a whole other topic!
Would I recommend the pump? Definitely! Would I go back to my pens? Not one single bit! It made my pregnancy go smoothly and my A1C go as low as 5.4 with little to no hypos!
What’s YOUR story? Pen? Pump? Tried both? Which one did you prefer?