Breaking New Ground

Hi everyone!
I am having a really great, inspiring couple of days. First there was “The Other Side of Diabetes” earlier this week, and the NRH Type 1 Diabetes Forum yesterday afternoon. I met an entirely new group of type 1 diabetics my age. Most of them are using the pens. One woman there was 29, and using the bottles and syringes. She stood out because she is a hairdresser, and she had this really cool wavy black hair with chunks of neon red and green in it. She’s had diabetes for more than twenty years, and she struggles to deal with it as much as I do. And she was super, super nice. It was really great to meet these people. It’s ridiculous how encouraging they are, and how they didn’t criticize me when I told them how bad I’ve been. They believe in me when I can’t. But strangely, I do anyway. And that’s new.

I spoke very briefly to my diabetic nurse, and both she and the rep from Medtronic gave me every hope that I can qualify as a candidate for an insulin pump. They both think that it is in my best interest, especially as my fiancee and I plan to get pregnant next year. All I need to do right now is get extended medical or find a sponsor to fund my pump. I can happily say that the supplies for my pump, including insulin, would cost half as much (or less) as I’m paying now. It’s something I’m really pushing for.

This (the Medtronic “Pink" Paradigm Pump) is likely the model of pump I would be getting. It fits into a pocket or onto a belt. It’s actually not a needle, it’s a plastic shunt that is fitted into a patch that rests on your stomach or back. There are newer ones out there that are really breaking ground, like this one:

The Flex Pump sticks to your skin like a prosthetic leech. It connects wirelessly to a PDA-like device that controls its functions. It can also be paired with the Blood Glucose Tattoo, which utilizes nanotechnology to turn the tattoo from pink to yellow if the molecules latch onto glucose on the skin and in the bloodstream. There are some really cool advances in this technology, and I’m really interested to find out more about them.

Unfortunately, an insulin pump is $6800 and only good for four years. After that, it needs to be replaced. That would be a payment plan of $130 a month. I could lease a car for that. It’s insane. But it’s also my life. Since the pumps allow such precision control of your blood sugar, there are so many upsides to having one (less insulin, no finger-pricking or buying strips, periodic drip instead of a bolus...); The pros are overwhelming.

And I’ve also heard that Lantus contributes to weight gain. Many patients have opted to take Levemir instead, as it neither stings or causes weight gain. I’m truly, truly excited. I feel like I have a better mind about all of this, now. And that in and of itself is an amazing thing.

By the way, no idea if this is useful yet, but check out this site I found: Diabetes Advocacy. It may be helpful to people who need help with funding, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to run to your bank, or credit union (where you hold an account) and talk to a financial advisor. They may have some advice or resources for you in terms of filing taxes and returns, etc.

My current goal: My A1C. It’s terrible. I won’t even share it. However, it is my current goal to bring it down. I noticed that diabetics are really open about their A1C’s and equally as curious. Mine is simply embarrassing, but I’ve had diabetics today tell me theirs has been quite a bit higher. Regardless, I want it down by half.


2 minor things - the pump is only warrantied for 4 years. after the 4 years are up, most insurance plans will approve a user for a new pump, but that doesn’t mean that you need to get a new one - i know people that have worn the same pump for 6-8 years.

The other thing is your comment about “no finger-pricking or buying strips” - you always need to check your blood glucose, especially while on a pump - otherwise, there is no way to know what your blood sugar is, and how much insulin to take. Even if you get a CGM system, you still need to take at least 2 daily fingersticks to calibrate the machine (and you aren’t supposed to dose insulin for high BGs based on the CGM - it just isn’t accurate enough.)

Ooooh. Okay. I’m on pens. Someone was talking to me about them, and his kept a constant monitor of his blood glucose. It would make sense to do it separately though, to make sure your CGM system is working properly. Thanks for the clarification.