Why My Insulin Pump is a Blessing AND a Curse!

July 16, 2014By 5 Comments

untitled12I have been on the pump for a little over a decade now.  So much has changed with technology and all the intricacies of the pump have gotten smarter, smaller and supposedly are making our lives easier.  This is not always the case, there are many pro’s and con’s to pump wearing.  After having worked for a pump company for five years, with the sole purpose of talking anyone and everyone into wearing a pump, I discovered the pumping is just not for everyone and it is an extremely personal decision with a lot of things to consider before getting tied down, pun intended. 

I personally have found great benefit with using an insulin pump, for many reasons.  I have however taken ‘pump vacations’ and gone back on shots periodically over the last 12 years.  I haven’t taken a pump vacation in about three years though.  I have seriously thought about it recently, but then decided that not only would syringes/pen needles be a pretty dumb idea to have lying around the house with a busy toddler, but that my pump at least reminds me that I have diabetes in the first place.  These days, I need the reminder!

Here are some reasons why lately, especially pertaining to being a mother with diabetes and having a young child, having a pump SUCKS:

  1. Some nights…just when I have her in that cozy spot all snuggled up in the nook of my neck and I’m humming her a lullaby… the clip on my pump is also snug right under her foot, and it is digging into my hip at the most awkward angle and hurting like hell…but I can’t move for fear it will rustle her.
  2. Some nights… just when she is ready to be put in the crib and is sucking her thumb away to dream land… my low threshold alarm goes off from my sensor… and the descending sequence of beeps startles her and I silently curse this machine!
  3. Some nights… when I am tip toeing out of her room, the out-of-place pump dangling from my pajama bottoms hits the side of the door frame with a bang that vibrates through her room.  Ugh!!!
  4. Don’t even get me started on how many times her foot has gotten caught in the tubing or how many times she has yanked at it for no reason.
  5. I have left the house in such a rush to get her to daycare some mornings that I have officially forgotten to put my pump back on after showering twice in the last two months.  That’s a record for me.

Reasons why having a pump makes me a better controlled diabetic which equals way more capable and happier mom:

  1. That low threshold that is super annoying as stated above?  Well that is beyond helpful when I am going back and forth to soothe her on a fussy night, don’t even realize I’m low, and I’m home alone because my husband is away.  Thank you sensor!
  2. That sharp jab sticking me in the side reminding me that my pump is uncomfortable?  It also allows me to quickly punch in a temp basal if I’m low, so that I can take a few extra moments to get her to bed before needing to go get juice.  Can’t do that with long acting insulin!
  3. For the many many moments when I am no where near my meter and just need to bolus because I have either decided to eat the banana that she just threw at me because she didn’t want it, or because I remember that I didn’t bolus for breakfast… my pump allows me to savor any fun I am having with my little girl and stay in that moment.  (note: obviously it is recommended to check your blood sugar before bolusing blindly…even if we all do it from time to time.)
  4. For the teachable moments… The other day she pointed to my infusion site on my side and said “boo boo” and kissed it.  “Mommy’s medicine” I tell her.  She will know more about diabetes by the age of five then most adults do!
  5. Because my A1c is fantastic and I owe it all to the convenience, accuracy and life altering ‘living in the moment’ I am able to do and couldn’t do if I were on shots.

Please know that this is just MY personal experience with the pump, every single person with diabetes has a very different approach to their disease management and no two people are alike in how they choose to or have to manage their disease. 

 

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Comments (5)

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  1. Your blog keeps me informed about ideas and situations I was unaware of. Thank you. Loved ones in my life have Diabetes and I try to stay informed. What mixed opinions do you have about a young child, toddler using a pump? I worry about a child in the place I work (Child care) because his parents let me eat absolutely what ever he so desires since they put him on the pump. That really has me concerned. Such a sweet child who has never objected to taking his levels before, but of course did occasionally object to shots. -Very brave kid for only being 4 yrs old. I worry very much about his habits and his health because of knowing some of the risks and some of the ways a diet should be handled.
    Any advice?

    • Diabetes says:

      Hi Marjory… I am so glad that you find my blog insightful. It is a very difficult topic, advising parents of a young child with type 1 diabetes. The parents are stuck in an enormously emotional situation where they want to do best medically by their child but also want to allow their child to still be a child. Often times they have immersed themselves in advice from either the internet, books and other medical professionals and they will rarely allow any real world advice from others who have either lived with the disease for years or from other parents of children with T1D because they just need to experience it for themselves. It is a sticky situation. The parents made a huge decision to put their young son on a pump, and while letting him eat anything and everything he wants is not the healthiest approach for either his diabetes or his body in general, it may help them feel less guilty about his diagnosis in general. I agree with you, and the consensus among many of us who have lived with T1D for decades, and were taught the healthy balanced way of the exchange system and not just the ‘eat and bolus’ mentality of today’s pumpers know that it is a big problem in today’s newer pumpers. It will all come full circle, I promise. Your support of the parents and not just the child is of utmost importance in this sensitive situation, and it sounds like you are already doing a great job!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Another insightful post. As always, thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations. As you alluded to, medical advancements can be a belssing and a curse. Good for you to be determined to land on the “finding the silver lining” or, “glass half full” side of life. Can’t imagine it’s always easy.

  3. Jordan says:

    Hi Regina,

    My name is Jordan and I’m a 27 year old-type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed this time last July when I went into diabetic ketoacidosis. I came across you blog the other night while on Pinterest and have not even able to stop going through the archives and reading so many of your posts. One of your posts that really hit home for me is about how the pump enables us to eat things more freely in terms of choice, but there are often times when I find myself doing what you describe–I eat something with a high carb content (pancakes, usually some sort of sweet or dessert) and then I put in a lot of carbs into my pump, but I get that feeling of then I’m hungry again, etc. Similar to that vicious cycle you described. Any advice about this?

    Lastly, my husband and I are thinking of starting to try for a family next summer so I know this is the time to start planning and getting my body in the best health it can be in. Could you give me some key tips as to what you started doing the year prior to your husband and you began trying?

    I’m sorry to be bombarding you like this but I’m so excited because I feel like I haven’t been able to meet another type 1 diabetic that was close in age with me-they’re either children or older adults. Thank you so much for your blog-Look forward to hearing from you if possible!

    Jordan

    • Diabetes says:

      Hi Jordan,
      Thank you for writing and for finding such value in my blog… That is my goal, to be a resource to others living with this disease!
      As for the cycle if eating, bolusing, and never ending hunger, keep the following things in mind: insulin is actually a growth hormone so anytime you are eating a large amount, or frequently eating dense complex carbs and needing to take large amounts of insulin to cover it, in a sense, your cells can sort of get used to the uptake of all those carbs and t
      He insulin coming in to regulate the blood sugar. It’s impossible for those of us with diabetes to know if the amount of insulin we are taking could in fact be too much and in turn making our cells more hungry for more carbs. While the insulin may be sufficient to keep your blood sugars under control, it’s still insulin.

      I have never been a fan of the low carb dieting, as I believe that we should consume more healthy whole grains which offer fullness and have much less of an impact on spiking blood sugars. Pancakes, pizza, bagels, and pastries are the WORST culprits for high blood sugars and usually need the largest amounts of insulin. Take a look at one of my older blogs, 25 in 25, where I talk about the positive effect of fiber in people with diabetes and how to consume more of it.

      As for planning for a family a year in advance, there is so much advice for that and I hope to be publishing something soon that will share advice and resources on that very topic. So stay tuned! In the mean time, work on getting your A1c in a healthy range without risking too much hypoglycemia. Work with and find a diabetes and pregnancy endo and program that can guide you through the process.

      Good luck!

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