Recently, there has been an amazing campaign – #showmeyourpump – launched on twitter by Miss Idaho, a type one diabetic who wasn’t afraid to wear her pump on live national television in a bikini. That takes courage and I forever admire her for that. In response to that campaign, I thought I’d write a blog post about my very recent experiences with my new insulin pump. Let me now show you my pump:
In May of this year, I went and saw my endocrinologist (a fancy word for my diabetes doctor) for a check-up and some anxiety-producing blood tests. I had been talking to my mom and dad beforehand and we had decided that we needed to start the discussion about an insulin pump. Previously, I had been taking MDI insulin shots five. Basically, I had been injecting myself five or six times a day and it was terrible…I’ll tell you one thing, though: needles don’t faze me anymore. But these injections were not cutting it for me. My average blood sugar was around 200 or 210 and my body was just tired. So, we went into this appointment with the mindset that something needed to change, and we thought the insulin pump might be the change I needed.
We walk in and greet a friendly Dr. Jones. Five minutes into the check-up, without my mother or I saying anything, he asks, “I think you should consider getting an insulin pump.” My mom and I looked at each other, all our thoughts confirmed, before I turned back and agreed with him wholeheartedly. Among a few others, he recommended Medtronic and told us about their new system that is what they call “the closest technology to an artificial pancreas” yet. He told us that it could take up to two months to get the pump (what the heck, insurance)…but I was going back to Utah in six weeks! He called the company and a Medtronic rep got in contact with me the very next day. My rep stayed after normal business hours just to help me expedite the process and, lo and behold, I received my pump in the mail within a week and a half. I couldn’t believe it – it was all happening so fast.
I couldn’t use the pump until I had been formally trained, which happened about two weeks later. I went in for the training and was trained alongside an older lady with Type 2 diabetes. I was terrified. Being diagnosed and having to start using those shots and having to check my blood sugar what seems like 123092831 times per day turned my entire world upside down. After my diagnosis, I struggled silently for months, and now I was going to have to change everything again. I was going to have to be attached to this machine at all times. I remember the moment when my educator turned to me and asked if I was ready to start using it. I reluctantly agreed.
Now, here I am, almost three months later, and I can tell you with no hesitation that the pump was the best decision I have ever made. It makes my diabetes not easy, per se, but it makes it more easily managed. Instead of a new needle five or six times a day, I use one every three days. Can I just tell you how glorious that really is? And I feel much healthier…like I’m actually kind of excited to get my blood work done in a couple of months because my A1c (my average blood sugar over the last three months) is going to be so much better, I know it already.
Along with my pump, I got the new Enlite sensors which is a fairly new technology. It is another site that I have to insert into my abdomen (every six days) that roughly tracks my blood sugar and gives me a reading every five minutes. Though this doesn’t replace pricking my finger, it helps me to know what’s going on with my body at that moment and has helped me immensely. The only downside to these sensors are the first day that I put them in, it’s fairly inaccurate. It usually thinks I’m way lower than I really am for a couple of hours, which can be frustrating. Last time it did this, I was at work and it kept beeping it’s alarms at me, telling me my blood sugar was at 40 (very, very low) which I was a happy 110. After the first couple of hours, though, it works beautifully.