First Time Pumper

I was diagnosed Type 1 three years ago and have been on the pen, but after my A1C has been sneaking up every appointment my doctor wanted me to think about a pump. I bit the bullet and decided on the Tandem Tslim: X2. Saying I’m excited would be an understatement. I would not only have better control of my insulin needs but having a pump, and eventually a CGM combo would relieve (to a point) this chronic stress in my life. (i.e. The CGM is an updated version of the T Slim: G4. The soft Dexcom CGM, not including the sensor and transmitter, is a download that will arrive in my mailbox. This update will allow it to connect with my smartphone. Unfortunately I have to wait almost 6 months as the upload doesn’t come out until sometime next year.) But the point is I want to hear from the pumping type 1 community. What advice and/or tips would you give to a first timer? What do you wish you could tell yourself when you first started pumping? Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

I suggest the sooner you can get the CGM, the better !

There are various types of infusion sets, so if possible, see if you can get samples of them, or demos of how each one is inserted. Sometimes it is trial and error to get the type that works best for you.

You may be able to find user manuals online for Tslim, and get started with your learning. There is also an app that can be downloaded if you have iphone/ipod, and ‘simulate’ the menus/button pressing that you will do on the tslim.

There are also a couple good books on insulin pumping, one by Gary Scheiner, another by John Walsh. Gary Scheiner also has a lot of good information on his website, Integrated Diabetes. From these sources, you can learn the terminology for basal and bolus insulin, how to calculate/adjust to what works for you, how to adapt for exercise, etc.

Good luck !!

What I would tell someone considering switching to an insulin pump:

  1. Get a Dexcom CGM before getting a pump. (But it’s never too late to get a Dexcom.)

  2. Learning to use a pump effectively will involve a lot more work, trial and error, and continuing education than you likely thought it would. A pump will not automatically improve your BG control; this requires a great deal of effort and diligence. The initial learning curve is precipitously steep! But it is worth it for many PWD.

  3. Insulin pumps all do essentially the same thing: deliver rapid-acting insulin to cover basal and bolus needs. Different brands of insulin pumps work differently for different people. So do your homework and compare features and pros and cons (all of them) before making this expensive decision.

  4. Pumps are not for everyone. You have to try one to be sure whether pumping will work for you.


If you can get a cgm, I would. It makes it easier to know what your bg is doing rather than guessing and testing a zillion times. I started my pump on my own, ahead of schedule, and I only had the balls to do so because I also got a cgm. Understand how the insulin you intend to use works and how it works for YOUR body. Read the books Think like a pancreas, and Pumping insulin. Whatever you expect to happen, anticipate the opposite. I thought I would ride higher with my bg and it turns out I nailed my settings calculations and actually have been low the past couple of days. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Good luck and congrats. :slight_smile: SD

A pump doesn’t automatically mean better control. It’s a tool that when used in combination with other diabetes management activities can help you achieve better control.

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I’ll echo others: a pump doesn’t automatically mean better control. A pump is actually more complicated than shots. But, if you are willing to put in the extra work and use the pump all the features on the pump to their full potential (most do not), it’s possible to achieve tighter control than is possible with shots for many of us. It can take a while to get all the pump settings set correctly, too, and of course they will change with time as well. Don’t get too frustrated if the first week or month are a bit rocky.

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Have you seen the t-slim app? You can practice using the interface and getting used to it. Maybe not the same thing as actually pumping, but it means less confusion when you get the real pump.

Agreed. I had much better control as a kid back in the day with NPH & R, and then with MDI. Granted, I was in college when I went on the pump first and the new-found freedom during college days and then when I first started working did not help my control. I preferred to feel like a normal human, so I went with that for a number of years (I didn’t disregard the diabetes altogether, but my A1C was consistent in the 7-8% range for a number of years).

I found the trick with good control with the pump - for me - is having a good CGM that I wear consistently. Good luck with the adjustment and learning curve!

YDMV. For me, I have better bg readings and less of a roller coaster using a pump to deliver my insulin. I :heart_eyes: it!

I have to check out those books. Thanks! I have downloaded the interface app and have met with a consultant. So I know how it all works. I will be getting a free CGM download sometime next year. This download will even connect to my phone. Can’t wait!

Thank you so much! T slim will be sending me the CGM in a download format next year. So unfortunately I have to wait.

Thank you! I have been wanting to read Think Like a Pancreas.

Thank you! Yes, I am more than willing to work to get a tighter control. I will have to put my perfectionism in the back seat huh?

Yes I have and even met with a consultant for the t slim.

Thank you! I agree that having a CGM will be best for me too.

I’m hoping I love it too! I am so excited for something new to help my diabetes.

I love using my insulin pump. I’ve worn one for many years. The pump is just a fancy syringe but with a better memory. Focus on your training, reading, and learning about how insulin works. Without good software a computer is just a pile of parts. Your knowledge and wisdom software are crucial to your success.

Enjoy your new tool!

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Yes, perfectionism and diabetes are not a good combination. I’m a perfectionist, and for the longest time high and low blood sugars were so frustrating for me because I was so used to putting in 100% effort and getting out 100% results. Diabetes doesn’t work that way, even with the best technology (though with a pump and CGM, I can get closer than I’ve ever gotten before!). Perfectionism also caused serious diabetes burnout at one point, so ever since then I’ve tried not to think in those terms when it comes to diabetes (or life, really, because it has negative impacts on more than just diabetes…).


Bridget, I don’t understand this one.

First, gratz on your transition! With hard work and dedication, like anything else, you’ll eventually be able to dial in those numbers.

Regarding the CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor), you do know it’s an actual device that has to be affixed to your skin, just like the Pump, correct? It has it’s own parts and such…so I was just a bit confused when you said they’re sending you this in a download format?

Dexcom G5 CGM Information

I’m guessing that what Bridget means is that the X2 Tslim delivered now is not capable of direct communication with Dexcom G5, but will be available (w/update) in future. Once that is done, she will need to purchase Dexcom G5 transmitter and sensors. (But could optionally also do that now, and use iphone (or ipod) as receiver) (edit - Or Dexcom G5 Mobile Receiver, there still are some of us that don’t have iphones !)

Additional details in this link