Help. Pod or Tubes? Please comment

Hello. I am posting this in both the pod forums and the Animas forums.

This is a lengthy post. What I am looking for our people, or parents of kids, who have switched from one system to another and what their views are. I have done plenty of reading, so I really want to get opinions from people who have had both and the arguments for each.

My son was diagnosed 1 week after his 10th birthday. He’s an intelligent child who has taken the whole diabetes thing in stride. Probably better than I have. We are far ahead of schedule in his understanding of how all the gears click with this thing. The moment he realized in the hospital that he was going to be giving himself shots forever, he wouldn’t let anyone else touch him. We never got the chance to give a pillow or an orange a shot. I was the first person to give him a shot other than the medical staff. He “got it” right then and there and that was it. The hospital staff had to convince him that he wasn’t leaving until Mom gave him a shot. He finally conceded on the last day.

So here we are, 2 months later. We’ve met our deductible for the year. Our Endo, who once said we wouldn’t be pumping until summer has green lighted us and told Nick he would be pumping by Christmas. We need to make a decision now to get everything in before end of year to get the pump covered 100%.

We went online and did our research. Mom, Nick and I had pretty much settled on the Pod. Then came the pump class. The other guys put enough doubt in our heads to start questioning the decision to go with the Pod. Then, after the class, we went in and met with the Rep. She wasn’t sales. She was filling in. She knew she had the “coolest gadget” at the class and didn’t really sell it. The first pod she tried to demo for us error-ed out. Oops! She gave us a few demos to take home.

Day one. On the play ground, he knocks the pod off of his stomach. Something to do with monkey bars… etc. The school nurse tried to tape it back on but to no avail. :slight_smile: Anyway, we put the second pod on him . Next day was swim practice. 20 minutes into his class, the pod starts beeping! After we take off the water filled demo and a few phone calls later, we are told that there must have been a mix up at the factory. Mix up? If this is a real pod, then why is it filled with water? Rejected Pod that got mixed in with the demo pods is the answer we get.

2 days, 2 pods, no luck.

The Animas rep comes a few days later and gets him all set up with the pump and tubes. That’s a lot of stuff. Grandma has come over today to see how things go. When it’s all said and done, she’s shaking her head. The phrase, “that’s a lot of stuff” is heard a few times during the setup. I cringe at what seems to be an archaic way to insert the cannula. ■■■■ and load, FIRE! So he’s now hooked. Connected. Tubed. I have promised to keep an open mind.

When breakfast rolls around, the expected complaints of rolling over on it come up. Ok, it’s what I expected, but both units probably have some of the same problems at bedtime. He went to swim class that day and I convinced my wife to disconnect the system and leave the pump in the locker. Yes, I know, it is water proof, but really? He’s 10, swimming with a group of peers. Does he need to be hooked up for this? After class he reconnects the system. There were a few instances through out the day where he walked away with the pump on the counter and other silly mishaps. And so the experiments continue.

Our Omnipod rep lives in CO. We do not have a local rep in UT. So when we initially called about the 2 failures, we had to set up an appointment to meet with her when she was here in town. It just so happened to be one day after the Animas pump was “installed” on Nick. He was happy to get rid of the pump but had some lingering feelings for the camouflage cover and the bright lights of the Animas Unit.

After some brief introductions, we got going. Now THIS is a sales Rep. We get an earful and I am suddenly confident that despite the problems of the past, this is the way to go. We decide that Nick needed to feel what it’s like to “activate” the pod while it’s attached. Full working pod sans the insulin. We pick the back of the arm. After much anticipation and the assurance that he wont feel a thing, the pod injects him. After about 3 seconds, you could see tears in his eyes. Something had gone wrong. We ask him if he wants to take it out and he shakes his head no. This is the one he wants. He is being brave. After 15 seconds, it was obvious, something was wrong. He was trying so hard not to cry and was not very successful. He was in pain. Even with her pinching his arm, I can only assume that she got muscle. When we removed the pod, there was some bleeding from the spot.

Wow. We are suddenly going backwards in the decision making.

So we try a second pod. Nick was still visually distraught over the the pain from the last pod. He reluctantly lets us do a second pod. This time, we chose the stomach. Our walking skeleton has a bit of chub there and we are crossing our fingers that this will work. The second pod goes in with much less discomfort. We are on our way. As we are messing around with the hand-held device, she informs us that she will not be leaving it with us. What? We bolused and calculated carbs with our 1 day Animas test. Nope, not happening. Sorry. Another step backwards.

So, there’s been lot’s of discussion about the systems. We are “on the clock” and need to figure out what we are doing. Nick has done a complete 180 on the pod and would rather have the tube system. Grandma pointed out the fact that the pod was so much easier. He stated pretty bluntly, “I don’t need easy. I need something that doesn’t hurt.” He says that whenever he bumps the pod, it hurts. He can’t sleep. Etc. How much of this is from the one bad experience?

Up until now, he has made all of the major decisions about his diabetes himself. We have a lancet from a different company than the tester is. His choice. He conducted his own tests in the hospital about which meter was the most accurate with the blood draws the nurses were doing. He has been incredibly independent about the decision making when it come to diabetes. He is 80% set on the tube pump and I am 100% set on the pod system. I don’t want to force him to do something he doesn’t want to.

I need advice. Pro’s and Con’s. If you’ve made it this far, thanks. I needed to blow off some steam. Haven’t really had the chance since we’ve gotten home from the hospital.

First of all, Nick sounds a lot like me at that age. I was diagnosed at 10 and wouldn’t let anyone give me shots either. I’ve always made all my own decisions about it. And I get just as confused every time a warranty ends and I have to choose a new pump. I’ve been on Minimed pumps, a Cozmo, and both generations of the Omnipod (which I’m on now). And twice, I almost went with an Animas.

I was on a tubed pump for 9 years before switching to the pod six months ago. I’ve never thought that either hurt, but occasionally, you will hit something and it will be uncomfortable or you’ll get a gusher. It sounds like Nick may be really lean and have trouble with infusion in general. :frowning: But I will also say that the arm is not the optimal place for everyone. Some podders swear by arms. I have used my arms only once and my legs just twice in 6 months. I prefer the small of my back, my upper abdomen, or my butt actually.

As far as the tube being a lot of crap to deal with, I can promise you that the Animas infusion sets are (in my opinion) the easiest to insert, sleekest to carry (you need only one piece, as compared to Minimed and Cozmo sets, etc), and not very painful. I preferred their sets when I wore a Cozmo pump. If you go that route, being a former tube user, I think he’ll be fine. I know a middle school aged boy who really likes his Animas (he got it last year as a sixth grader). Then again, I know kids who love their pods. And I certainly like being an Omnipodder now. But no system is for every person.

After reading your post here, I think it sounds like Nick would be more comfortable with the Animas but that you and your family feel like the Omnipod is a great system and is the way that pump technology is headed. I agree with all of you and appreciate both perspectives.

Pod beats Animas: no tube, no disconnect or questions about where to clip something while swimming/bathing, more discreet (nothing clipped to clothing), bright color screen on remote (Animas has color screen only on pump portion, not remote)

Animas beats Pod: still has a remote (Ping) but you don’t have pods falling off or priming failures so less insulin wasted, still discreet (tubing can be hidden)

Same: both offer great control, great customer service, both are reliable, both can be used with CGMS devices, both have integrated meters (Animas=one touch, Omnipod=freestyle), both are waterproof

Either way you go, you will be choosing a great product. But if Nick had a bad experience, even once, he’s going to start with a lot of fears, I think.

My 9 year old started podding this year. We were also choosing between Animas and Omnipod. We LOVE Omnipod, and if you want more details I’m happy to talk - BUT,

I think the fact that we let my son pick, after trying both systems, was really important to him. He has more than once pointed out that we don’t know what it’s like, and the fact that we let him make the decision made him excited about pumping, and eager to learn how to do it. He’s never looked back, and even said a couple of days ago, “Now that I have the Omnipod, diabetes isn’t really that bad.” Of course that’s not how he feels every day, but it has made so many things so much easier. He had the opposite experience - really painful Animas insertion followed by amazing Omnipod insertion. I had made up my mind before he tried them to let him pick though, so we went through with it. It’s his disease and he has to wear the thing. We did make sure to let him know that every insertion wouldn’t feel the same. I was worried his first “real” Omnipod insertion would hurt terribly and then we would be back to hating all pumps - but fortunately it took a couple of weeks for a bad one, and now he claims they hardly ever hurt.

So that wasn’t very helpful probably - but it’s just my 2 cents.

I’ve had the discussion with my wife that I’m sure, with the way he is, that whatever he decides, he’ll plug away at it and just deal with it. As a parent, we think we know whats right. Alas, I don’t have diabetes. He’s only said it once since we’ve been home but the phrase “diabetes sucks” puts it all into perspective coming from him.

Other than to say that I am happy with my Pod, I have nothing to add… just want to comment on how impressed I am with these kids! Wow. Good luck to you.

Like Melissa, I am a former tubed pumper (albeit with Medtronic MiniMed for 20 years) and I’m now an OmniPodder as of earlier this year. I was diagnosed in high school, and I started insulin pump therapy within 24 hours of diagnosis, largely because my dad had been (and still is) pumping insulin successfully.

First, I think you have narrowed your choices down to the two best pump options out there (i.e., Animas and OmniPod), so you have accomplished a good bit already. (I will be happy to explain my substantial issues with Medtronic, but I’ll save you my speech unless you want it.)

Second, although I love tubeless pumping with my OmniPod and would never go back to a tubed pump, I can understand how the OmniPod could be difficult for a nine year old kid. Maybe when he’s older he can revisit tubeless pumping, which might be more attractive when the half-sized OmniPods hit the market.

Third, it sounds like you have a very smart kid who not only gets it, but is also explaining his insulin pump preferences quite accurately and clearly. He’s the one who has to live with a pump 24/7, so why not let him decide? Having been tubed and tubeless, I assure you there are unique acclimation issues with either type of system, but both types of systems will infuse insulin safely and successfully, which is ultimately the most important thing.

Fourth (although related to the point immediately above), there’s an important psychological reason for letting your son pick the pump he wants to use. I cannot control the fact I have diabetes, but I can control diabetes. Part of that involves staying up to date on the latest technology and making decisions about how I treat myself. Letting your son be in the driver’s seat is important, and not a problem since he seems smart.

I always tell parents this, but it’s worth repeating to a new parent on this board. You deserve a round of applause for being so involved in your son’s diabetes care. With you helping him, your son has a normal, healthy life to look forward to. Your concern and hard work will pay off for many years to come. Without my dad helping me along, I would not be where I am today.

Good luck.


My 4 year old was diagnosed just over 1 year ago. We, too, quickly grasped the concepts and our endo also let us start pumping quickly. Within 3 months of diagnosis, we had already started using the OmniPod. I will start by saying that the OmniPod is the only pump that we have used for our son. My sister, 25, has been Type 1 for 8 years and currently uses an older model Minimed with tube. After seeing my sons OmniPod over the last year, she REALLY cannot wait until she can get started using the Pod.

We had some difficulties at first. After one week, we were sure that we had made the wrong decision. We stuck with it and now we are Greatful to have theOmniPod and would never switch to a tubed system. Our OmniPod rep told us that next year, they will be introducing a Pod that not only has a cannula, but also a CGM cannula that deploy at the same time.

Here are some of the problems that we had, and were aable to get through:

  1. Static electricity building up in the winter time and discharging onto the patient wearing the pod can cause pod failure. Omnipod will replace these free of charge, but does require a new pod be filled, primed, and activated.

  2. Occaisionally, Austin, being an active 4 year old, will pull a pdo off of his skin.

  3. We have had one priming error, where the pod doesnt prime fully, and errors out before putting on. Again, they will replace it free of charge.

Other than a few bumps early on, we love the system and has allowed us to get great results after visiting the Endo recently. He wakes up between 100 and 120 and it feels good.

Our Rep was specific about the fact that they were no where near a double insertion pod. To close to the injection site for insulin to be specific enough. She did say that the handheld will sync with the dexcomm sensors this summer.

First, I’ll say that I can relate because I’m both a parent and someone who was diagnosed at a young age (14, in my case).
While I agree that empowering him with the decision is the “right” thing to do, I really sounds like, typical of a child) he has let the one painful experience tint his outlook and judgement. Early on in my podding life (I’ve been podding for more than 18 months), I had a VERY painful placement on my arm like the one you describe - had to remove the pod after less than 5 minutes. But it was just bad luck, hit a nerve or whatever; I use the backs of my arms very frequently now without any pain whatsoever. I had a similar incident on my lower back once, too; now I’ve learned to place it even lower, almost on the butt, where I have an "inch to pinch."
My point is that perhaps you should try a little more to encourage your son to choose the OmniPod - don’t force it on him, but get him to come to that decision. Let him be empowered by the decision, but encourage a particular choice. To that end, I know that my rep will mail out demo and replacement pods, so perhaps your rep can do that so you don’t have to wait for another meeting. Yes, it takes some getting used to the various placements, but I find the abdomen to be the most uncomfortable of all - I much prefer the backs of arms, inner thigh, and lower-back/butt. I would encourage your son to try each of these locations for at least a day or two each. I think he’ll be surprised by how he gets accostomed to it.

My son tried the Animas and, once we had them, an Omnipod on his abdomen, and couldn’t stand either one. The arm is the only place he will wear a pod so far. So maybe getting him to try one on his arm would be a start. Bribing works too! I think I heard one story of a kid getting something pretty major for wearing the Dexcom. : )

Our son was 9 when he was diagnosed. Now he is 18, and is on a Pod.

We had him on a Minimed pump within 3 months of his diagnosis. He didn’t like the idea. That is how the kids are - they don’t like changes. We somehow forced / convinced him. But he would only have it on the stomach, and nowhere else. I wanted him to try other places, but didn’t succeed. Didn’t want to force him either. So, for 9 years, it was left and right, but only on the stomach. Now that we have the OmniPod, believe it or not - his preferred site is his back which he flatly refused just a few months ago with the Minimed.

The point is, most kids get comfortable and don’t like a change. As a parent, sometimes we have to force / convince / bribe them, and when the issue is not that critical, leave them alone. Easier said, I guess!

I can see why you would feel torn. I relate to feeling very enthusiastic about Omnipod and then feeling great doubt. It is a familiar cycle to me every time I consider Omnipod. My eventual plan is to try it for the 45 day money back guarantee period and give myself full permission to return it if the failure or occlusion rate is excessive or whatever the reasons. Being lean, I wouldn’t expect to use any area except stomach for pod sites. If you are up against an insurance deductible, I guess a 45 day trial won’t help.

How your son feels about whichever pump is important. Either way he is a real trooper and pumping is way better for managing the ever-changing requirements of a growing person.

Just so you know - my son is very lean, and uses his arms exclusively. That’s one of the reasons he really likes the Omnipod. I have heard that even someone who is very lean has a little fat on the backs of their arms. We have found that true with him - my son won’t wear it on his stomach because it hurts too much. (according to him)

Thanks to everyone that replied.

A day after my son “definitely” decided on the Anima’s, we received our demo Solo pod. We hadn’t talked about or mentioned the Omnipod in about a week. Thats what he wanted. That one right there. The Solo. I explained that it wasn’t coming our for at least a year. He didn’t care, thats the one he wanted. He went so far as to state that he would continue to to take shots to wait for the Solo.

After pulling out the omnipod and showing him there wasnt a huge difference, he was pretty lax about the whole thing. I asked him if he wanted the omnipod because they were similar and we had only a few hours to make the change with insurance. I asked him if he wanted me to call and change it. “Yes” he said without any deference and walked away. I reiterated my question. “Are you sure the omnipod is what you want?”. A resounding YES came from the next room indicating the discussion was over.

It was painless. No more worrying on how to talk to him about it. I have Solo to thank for that.

We went to the training class for the pod tonight. After an hour of showing us everything, now was the moment of truth. After our last pod experience Nick was pretty worked up. We married them, put in on him in a fleshy part on the top of his butt and told it to load. We heard the small pop and collectively held our breaths.

When he started laughing, we weren’t sure why. I asked him if it hurt and he kept on laughing telling me no, he barely felt anything. So he’s pumping saline until monday and he’s a happy camper and excited to start the real thing.

Glad things are going smoothly so far…I hope they continue to do so. Keep us posted.

I am so happy for you - the Omnipod has literally changed my son’s life. He loves it. Not that it’s always perfect, but he hasn’t had a shot since August 20th, and we’ve had minimal problems so far. I hope things go well for you!