How to support someone with a new pump?

My partner just started his insulin in the new Medtronic pump. Since the moment this pump with put into him I have noticed a huge change. His sugars went from staying over 200 for fear of the lows. Now he is staying at 140 almost always. However with each passing day I see the fear and hate in his eyes , I can feel him giving up, he seems to hate life and won’t even go fishing (his main hobby, his life). So does anyone have and words of wisdom to help him through it. All I do right now is listen to him and don’t allow any diabetic police to interfere.

I'm sorry to hear he's having such a hard time! Any speculation as to why he's feeling so down? Is it because of the new pump? Or is it just a general depression about having diabetes? Or does he think that his pump is getting in the way of his favorite hobby?

Definitely keep listening to him. Sometimes we just need to talk about our frustrations with the illness.

Is your partner a member of this forum? I didn't join until recently, but it is SO helpful to know that there are other diabetics here who share my same issues and feelings about diabetes. Sometimes we just need to talk to someone who has experienced this as well.

Also, it can be helpful to seek counseling. If he's willing, it may help to talk to an objective 3rd person about his experience or why he is feeling down. For the first few years of having diabetes, I didn't need counseling. For the first time in my life, I am considering getting counseling because it's hard sometimes to keep up with it, and it makes me feel like a failure when something goes wrong, even if it's not my fault.

Keep at it! I hope he feels better. Please invite him to join us here at TuDiabetes!

Try to be emotionally supportive, and learn how to do the things he is doing for his BG management. Maybe go fishing with him until he is comfortable doing it alone. I think once he gets better BG management and gains some confidence with it, things should get better. Does he have a CGM (continuous glucose meter)? That helped me with anxieties.

Going here has been great for me, and also try to get him to read a few books like "Think Like a Pancreas" or "Using Insulin". I'm partial to Dr Bernstein's Diabetes Solution (not a quick read). I lean towards going low carb, but no where near the numbers he suggests, but the book is thorough with a lot of good information.

I sure wish I had the magic cure for feeling like life is the pits. I've gone through a LOT in the last 5-6 years and have often felt like giving up. It gets to me even now ... after all this time ... despite having "conquered" the beast time and again. I, too, am a Medtronic pump user and am, in fact, in the process of applying to my insurance, Medicare and Medicaid for a new one. It has given me a new hold on my life.

Some people tell me that they have been truly inspired (and even scared) by my blogs and discussions over the time I've been on TUD. I would invite you and your partner to go to my page and read all you want. I hope it can give him some hope that we all go through the pits and can make it out the other end. It's not easy but life isn't a fairy tale ending.

Hope this will help some.


Agree with Alycat that your partner might want to strongly consider counseling.

A counselor might ask the same questions you would, but because they are a 3rd party, the questions might be seen as helpful.

For example, some questions might be:

Are you afraid of lows?
Are there steps you could take to reduce those fears?
Why do you think you hate diabetes/lows/your treatment plan, etc?
Since diabetes is a chronic disease, what could you do to reduce your hatred to manage the disease better?
Do you think the pump has been helpful or hurtful?
Are there steps you could take to make the pump more helpful?

Keep listening and keep looking for opportunities to be supportive, but your partner has to do the heavy lifting.

We have another 2 weeks till we get the cgm, I think that is going to help ease his worries a little. He is checking his sugar literally every 45 mins right now, I know its the lows thats causing the fear. Thanks for your input, I’ll keep trying to get him on the water with me!!

Thanks I’ll start looking into counseling, 3rd party would be helpful.

I’m still trying to get him to join, having advice from someone who is living with these difficulties is wonderful.

He has been up and down with hating diabetes, but right now its different he looks at the pump as an enemy. I’m seeing something in him that’s scaring me.

How did you pull yourself out of the blues?

I’ll start reading the page get some info from that.
How have you been on the pump? Weight gain? Do you have a lot of lows, if so how severe?

I've been on the pump for about 5 years this time. It's hard to tell about weight gain because I've been battling it for most of my life. However, being in a nursing home for 3 years with a below-the-knee amputation served to help me really pack it on. No exercise to burn it off, you see. :o( One caution, though, watch out for over-carbing because you can always cover it with an additional bolus. If you're not careful, those calorie really sneak up on you! My lows seem to come in spurts but, thankfully, I can usually feel them.

I also agree with getting additional counseling. Maybe even talking with a certified diabetes educator who can combine info with understanding.


Thanks for the information. He can’t put weight on and I think if he could gain a little it would lift his spirit.

For me, one of the most useful parts of the pump is the way it keeps track of stuff for me. If I feel like i'm getting crazy, I will check the CareLink reports to see what's going on. I don't get fear and hate with the pump. For me it was like a light bulb went on and everything fell into place. I agree that it sounds like there are more problems than diabetes and seeing someone is a good idea. Hate is never a useful solution to anything.

Go to the discussion group for the CGM he is getting and read up on it. Learn the typical issues people have. For example, the Dexcom takes a day or two to have any sort of accuracy, but many users get 2-3 weeks out of it. The CGM should help a lot.

I agree! That’s my perspective of how he looks at it, it just appears to be his enemy right now. I didn’t know if someone had the same feelings when they first got it

I've had type 1 for 57 years and started a pump 6 years ago. I decided to use a pump because I was having issues with hypoglycemic unawareness and was experiencing lows that I could not feel. I could have a glucose of 35 and talk normally then instantly pass out. The pump initiation would allow me to run high for a while so my body could re-acclimate to feeling the lows again (it worked). But I was really unhappy about starting the pump, I only did it so my husband and son would not have to worry about me and I didn't want to die. I hated it the first year cause all of a sudden I had a little machine with a tube hanging off me all the time. I couldn't figure out at first how to dress with it, for men they can cut holes in pants pockets or hand it on their belt. We wear skirts, dresses etc and it can be a hassle. I love going to the beach and hated having to wear it on the beach, keep it out of the sun and not get it wet. But I verbalized my frustrations to my doctor and diabetes educator and over time have figured out ways to manage better and better. Give him time to get used to it. Talking to his doctor and educator if possible for him might be helpful. As I said, I was very angry at first, but now realize it was the best thing I could do for myself. Diabetes is a constant fight, there are good days and bad days. I have no idea what life without diabetes is like but I do know that it is so much easier to control now (and keep in mind that there is no such thing as perfect in the control arena.) Best of luck to you both.

I was diagnosed a little over a year ago (at 45 yrs old) and can completely relate to his state of mind. My job requires a lot of travel and I was most afraid of the possibility of night-time lows being stuck in a hotel by myself somewhere. The sweating, dizziness and actually a bit of slurred speech can be quite a scare. However, it WILL happen and eventually he will understand the changes. It also takes awhile to feel halfway normal at "normal" levels. I was diagnosed at 695 and would feel "low" when I got down under 100. Now that my average BG is around 120 I don't start feeling low until the low 60's. The insulin pump will certainly help, but I also recommend the CGM. If I had to give one of them up today, I would go back to shots and keep the CGM. So many things can have an impact on his BG level that the CGM can help in deciding to make small adjustments. Lately, I have had issues with my BG going down on planes, etc. I carry a squeeze bag of icing all of the time for small, quick corrections. I also agree with the counseling. One of the hardest parts for me is not knowing another Type 1 and the lack of control that I feel when things don't make sense. I love sites like this one, but talking to someone over the phone or face to face who understands what you are dealing with and can give reassurance, etc. means a lot. There will be changes - it is constant. I used to be a very quiet, infinitely patient person. I have noticed I am a bit less patient than before. Especially with my wife. She is very loving and supportive, but almost too much sometimes (e.g. If she doesn't know where I am at, she will yell across the house trying to find me when I just want to have a quiet bathroom break, lol). I also started having panic attacks a few months after diagnosis which was completely out of the blue. I have learned what they feel like when they are coming on and can usually relax enough to let it pass, but things like that can happen. I wish you the best of luck in dealing with it.

This was incredible information for me. He is a k9 officer and your experience is so close his. As far as you wife looking for you around the house when your away too long, I’m guilty of that also. ThNk you so much for the in site!

How do you deal with it on the beach. We spent 90% of our spring and summer on the water and we have not even thought of this yet.

My doctor and I discussed the best way for me to handle this. I take a shot of Lantus (we calculated together how much) and then I can be off my pump for about 3 hours without my blood sugars going up too much. I don't eat on the beach,but do have snacks and glucose tablets close by. As soon as I get back to the house and reattach and check my blood sugar and adjust as/if needed. One problem is that I can tend to run a little low after placing my pump back on because the lantus left over can run into my basal insulin. I have a male friend who has a pump and he just cuts a hole in his bathing suit pocket to slip the pump tubing through. For men placement is so much easier because they dress differently. Don't try the lantus thing I do unless he has cleared it with his doctor. This has worked well for me the last 3 years, but I do have to be a little more vigilant when I come in from the beach for possible lows related to the lantus and my basal merging together. It's amazing how much assistance a good endocrinologist and/or diabetes educator can be in helping diabetics solve some day to day problems that no one else has to think about.

I live near the beach/water as well. Look into "untethered regimen" pumping. You can have long acting insulin shots serve as a portion of your basal, and then detach the pump during activities. I'm doing MDI (multiple daily injections of shots) and that works for me.