From shots to pumps

Hi guys,

Apologies if this has already been posted as a discussion previously, however I wanted to ask members who moved from giving themselves insulin shots to using using pumps - if they found it difficult to convince their doctor or endo to change? Also do you have any issues with using the pumps?

Changing to a pump doesn’t appear to be an option thats even come up with any of my health carers… however now that I’m 34 and recently struggling to keep good control (a lot more highs than lows), I really want to do something about it… however having a stressful job inhibits me from getting the results I want through manual monitoring and injecting.

Most blogs I’ve read give me the feeling that some countries appear to be more advanced and open to use of pumps, whereas here in Australia it only seems to be an option for older / more severe cases. Any one else have any views / opinions on this?

Hi Billy,
I’ve been on shots about 10 years. I have my pump from two mounths and i love it. I had also bad control before the pump and this was the main reason to get it. Here in Bulgaria most of the doctors do not support the whole pump idea but i am sure this is because they do not know much about the pumps. A couple of moutns ago my HbA1C was about 10.7, when i atarted with the pump it was 8.5 and now after only two mounts it is 6.9. It’s not perfect yet but i am sure that it will be soon. I have tried very hard while i was on shots to get this good control but undortunately it was just a dream. I am happy i had the change to get this pump because it has changed my life for good. Since i have it i have realized that you will pay as much as it needs just to be healty ( on our case to have good control of the BG). The main problem is whether your healthcase service covers the expences for the pump, if it does do not hesitate to get it right now. I don’t know what kind of pump you want to have but mine is Minimed Paradigm 722 with an option for connection a Minilink Transmitter which checks 288 times your BG in 24h. This is my opinion if you have any other questions i will be happy to answer them.

Hi Billy, I started pumping about 5 years ago, and would never want to go back to shots. I’m 41 now, and pretty active (training for my first half marathon right now). It allows me to be more active and spontaneous because I can adjust my basal rates for exercise, easily take insulin for snacks, etc. I test more since I started pumping than before, but that is becuase with the pump I can DO SOMETHING to correct my blood sugars easier than taking shots. Not sure how it works in Australia, but here either a rep from one of the pump company’s or a certified diabetes educator can give you lots of good info on the pros and cons of pumping. Your doc may be able to provide you with the appropriate contacts. My favorite saying about pumping is that someone will have to pry my cold, dead hands off to get it away from me! Good luck with your evaluation of pumping vs. shots.

Hey Billy,
I honestly think someone can only handle shots for so long. I was about 16 when I went on my pump and I had to ask the doctor some questions and show that i really wanted one and could handle it. My A1C at the time were between 8-9. I am so happy that i have one now my A1c are back in the 6 range and I feel a lot better. I am on the minimed 522 model which figures out my correction ratio and the amount of food I am eating together tells me how much insulin I need. I also have a glucose sensor which is the size of a quarter and tells my pump what my blood sugar is at all the time. I think you really just need to ask and get information on it.

Hi Billy,

Personally, I am a former insulin pumper by choice, and do not regret my decision to return to shots, or my decision to try pumping either. I look at my experience with pumping as a great learning experience which helped me to return to shots with more experience and maintain great numbers. But I think the key is whether your basal (need for long-acting insulin) varies much throughout the day. If it does not change much, then a pump will probably not do much for you. However, its almost impossible to determine that on injections, so unfortunately, its a learning experience that cannot be obtained from much other than trial and error. But you may have some clues. For example, try going someday without a meal so that there is a long period of time between your last injection. Does the number remain stable, go up or down? If its stable, then a pump will probably not deliver much in terms of glycemic control (although some people find it convenient, I found it more of a hassle). But if it moves much between injections, then a pump may be the tool you were looking for!

Hi Billy - I have been on a pump for 4 years and deciding to go on it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It just makes life so much easier (and it allows for so much flexibility). I never had an issue with not having support from my doctors - they encouraged it 100% - but that may be a difference between the U.S. and Australia. In fact, I think the encourage most of their patients to go on a pump. Good luck with your decision!

We are in the US. My son, Reed, age 5, just switched to the pump July 11th. We love it! His BS levels are soooooooo much better and he doesn’t have to get all those shots (Just change the site 1X every 3 days)! Our endo suggested the pump and had been 6 months prior to our getting it. He was on shots for about 1 year and a 1/2 before we switched. I say, if you can switch, DO!!

I had gotten a lot of people really pushing me to consider the pump more seriously. I switched endos within the practice that I had been going to (more so I could get appointments when I needed it than because I didn’t like my other endo). She seemed kind of surprised that I wanted to switch up front and kind of prodded around about why I wanted to switch as my A1c had come down a lot just then and I think she wasn’t quite sure why I wanted to switch (6.0 from 7.5). My A1c has been even better on the pump (5.8, 5.7) and I’m pretty happy with it. It gives me a lot more flexibility and freedom to do what I need to do when I’m on the go.
Pump use definitely depends on the country you are in and the health care system you are dealing with. I waited until I got married and was on my husband’s insurance to make the switch - they cover Durable Medical Equipment at 50% before deductible and 90% after with a $400 deductible. In the UK, pumps really aren’t covered from what I’ve been hearing. Australia is probably different as well. It’s really surprising how health care for diabetes changes from country to country. I did a short presentation for a class on comparative global health care and there are different tests, different rates of diagnosis, etc. Good luck with your decision - I think a pump will help you a lot with your control as a lot of the mechanics are really streamlined and fine-tuned with pump use.

After 30+ years on injections, I got my first pump this year. I can’t believe I waited so long. I love it. The convenience is absolutely great. I can pretty much eat what I want (within reason), when I want it, and I simply push a couple buttons to bolus for the right level of carbs. The control is superior (MDI A1C of 7.0 and my first pump A1C was 6.2). It allows my life to be more spontaneous. I don’t have to worry about a last minute decision to take a long hike or bike ride because I’ve already given myself a basal injection shot, since I can instantly lower the basal on the pump and do the extra exercise without having to stuff myself with extra carbs.

My initial reason to get mine was because I wanted superior control during distance running (hoping to run my first half marathon next Spring). But the advantages have far surpassed my expectations.

I’ve also added the CGM, and I’m able to keep my post meal “spikes” under 140 (often 120) almost all the time.

From what I’ve read, Doctors in many countries have been slower at adopting the technology than in the US. This is partly because of some bad experiences with early pumps in the 80’s. But the Doctors in other countries are starting to warm up to the idea. I’d suggest that you raise the issue, even present some research papers that show the benefits to your Doctor.

Hi Billy,
I’ve changed to the pump 2 months ago, but it took me TEN months to convince my health team (I live in the Netherlands) that I really needed to change. I was in a similar situation as you, I had stress in my life and didn’t help my already high and lots of times low bg’s.

The doctors here, as I understood later basically perceive the pump as a treatment in very severe cases and not as an upgrading in treatment, more stable bg’s and easier life for the patient. Threfore, they made me undergo all kinds of tests and changes in my insulin pens routine and doses in order to see if there was somethng else that were causing my troubles with diabetes.

As you can guess they didn’t find anything and one day I was so mad with all of them that I just said that I’m going on the pump anyway whether they want to help me with it or not (I had the pump already at that time at home). So they didn’t have any other choice but to help me with the transition.

I never knew life better with diabetes. The pump did miracles to my bg’s and I can’t imagine my life without it anymore. The transition itself was rather smooth and I don’t have any troubles with the pump at all. I feel so much better and so much more comfortable. So I would definitely recommend to try it out and to be stubborn with doctors if they aren’t cooperative. It’s your health and you’re the only one who really cares. If you have any more questions, I’d be happy to help.

I used an insulin pen for a few months before growing tired of it & wanting a pump. I asked my doctor and he said they don’t work as well as they said they would & wouldn’t help me get one.
I researched all the ones I could find online & decided on the minimed. I called them to ask for help & they gave me a few names of doctors who were pro-pump. The one I chose to call is still my doctor after 7 years and uses a pump himself. I have visited with my other doctor since then & told him how great the pump is but he’s just not too interested.
The pump is amazing. I’m on my second one & still love it! Everytime you get out your shots think how nice it would be to just push a button & be done. Or better yet when you do the long acting kind, mine was humalin, imagine if you could instead give yourself just a drop or 2 every few minutes all day, how much more accurate that would be. Or when you eat something like pizza knowing you could give yourself a steady stream of insulin over the next 2 hours with a few button presses. Its amazing!

Hi Billy, I’m in the same space as you at the moment but luckily my consultant backs me going on to a pump but I need funding from the NHS to do that; so I’m learning as much as possible and challenge anyone that say’s its not possible. My consultant and specialist nurse are very supportive so I hope to find out soon. I’ll be watching this blog to find how everyone gets/got on. Steve

Hi Billy,
I made the decision to switch from MDI to the pump after a series of severe hypos, one of which required several EMT’s, firemen and police officers in my bedroom. I know most women would enjoy that, but I was unconcious…
Over the next week my husband was able to treat my second, third and fourth severe hypos with glucagon. My endo had already said I was ‘brittle’ but this was getting too difficult to manage. He recommended the Minimed pump and after a couple of days of research I decided to go ahead, even though none of the cost would be covered on my insurance.
About $7000 and 2 days later, I had my pump and began training 2 days after that. I think the whole process took less than a week, from decision to using!

My first few days pumping were scary but I eventually got the hang of it and now they will have to pry it from my cold dead body! I love my pump and can’t imagine life without it anymore.
I do hate the quantity of things that I have to carry around with me, and sometimes I don’t like being tethered to the pump 24 hours a day but the frustrating times are worth it when I remember my struggles to get my A1c down. For years, my A1c was over 10, and the lowest I could ever get was 8.3 (right before starting on the pump - probably lower due to the severe hypos!) After 3 months on the pump I was at 6.7!!!
Totally worth every penny.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Oh, I too have a stressful job and the pump is so much easier to manage. I too often missed taking my shots, or missed meals completely - very bad on MDI but not as horrible with the pump.
Good luck with your decision!

I got my pump 20 years ago and no my dr was not a problem at that time or since. I was pregnate with my 1st daughter and could NOT get my bs under control went to a local hospital here and my dr couldn’t do anything for me after 3 weeks so he told me he was gonna send me to the man who had taught him about D and the rest as they say is history.

Thanks to every one in this post who helped me to push on with finally getting my Minimed pump…

after a few months wait, I finally got hooked up to a pump today! I’m sure I will be singing it’s praises like everyone else in the next few days.

The next step is to find out how long I have to wait before Australia covers the Real Time BGM device, as I can’t afford it just yet paying out of my own pocket!