I'm new to the Omnipod and have questions about cannula pain and problems when insulin in reservoir gets low

After waiting a year and a half, I finally have my Omnipod, and after a week and a half, I am questioning the consistency. I have had two separate pods, with blood sugars suddenly soaring. The only correlation to the two days is that the insulin left in pod was under 20 units. Is is common to have problems when the pod becomes low on insulin?

My other question is regarding the cannula. Should it hurt when you touch the pod? Each pod I have used has been fine the first day, and by the second, the pain begins. There isn’t blood in the cannula, but you can see blood around the cannula, as if the cannula has been stuck into a mosquito bite. Is this normal? I do pinch up, and I really think I am in the fat.

I was excited to start the pod for the convenience of not having to remember whether or not I took my morning Lantus, as well as covering my “dawning” in AM. My A1C’s have always been between 5.5 and 6.7, and I was hoping for better with the pod. I am already wondering though. I don’t want to throw in the towel too early, but I want to be realistic. I am hoping you expert podders will be able to help!

I am not a very big person, and yes, my belly is the best place for fat; but I am trying desperately NOT to use that site. Give it a break after years of looking like a pin cushion, plus, my 4 and 6 year olds love to climb on me and my lap…

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice!

Welcome to the pods!

I usually only have issues when I’m below 5 units in the pod. Apparently many insulin pumps struggle to get numbers exactly right. I also struggle when I first put a new pod on, it seems to take 2-6 units before I really get any insulin. At 20 units though, it should be working ok if you made sure to get all the air bubbles out to begin with.

As for hurting when it is touched my answer there is sometimes. If I have the pod in a place that 1) is not used to it and 2) where it often gets bumped or moved then it often is somewhat painful by the end of the second day. I have found that as I’ve been on the pod for longer and gotten better at choosing sites the pain happens MUCH less frequently.

With the two symptoms combined I’d say the problem you’re probably running into is bumping the pod so much that the cannula has actually become dislodged from the body by the end. You could tell this by either visual observation, the adhesive around the pod getting damp when bolusing, or the scent of insulin suddenly becoming apparent.

I’ve been on it for a year (well, 2 weeks shy of a year) and am still figuring out some of the details so there’s a lot to learn. With that said I’d never go back. Hopefully others will give you their opinions too but my feeling is to keep practicing and as you get more comfortable with it it’ll probably start to work better.

Welcome to the Omnipod!

Thanks, I really think I got all the air bubbles out on the second one it happened to, maybe I just really need to keep a close eye on it when I get to 20 left.

The cannula is never dislodged from my arm, it is just red at the insertion. Today, the pod was on my arm and when I went skipping down the sidewalk with my 4 year old, it hurt from the bounce.

My arm sites hurt forever until I finally figured out that it really does need to be on the back (as opposed to the side!) of the arm. Pretty much if you lift your arm at a 90 degree angle from your body it should be practically facing the floor! That placement has made my arms sites much more comfortable. They used to be my most painful sites and now they’re some of my favorites. I also love using my back.

I have had some that hurt but that rarely happens now. Like Rebecca said the back of the arms are best. You don’t want to get near the bicep area. I placed one to high on my abdomen and it hurt so bad that I had to take it off. And yes, sometimes I get really red around the cannula sometimes. It’s usualally very tender after I remove a pod in those spots but they heal up quickly for me.
Are you lying on the pods at night? That might push the cannula deeper and into muscle. I know that has caused occlusions for me last year. So now I do not place them where I might roll over and be lying on them.

Welcome to the world of the OmniPod…On your PDM you can set the ‘alarms’ to let you know if you are getting below a certain amount of units left in the pod. When I started on the pod a year ago, my CDE had me set mine at 50 units because I was using more insulin then than I am now. Don’t give up, it is worth the effort to figure out the glitches.

I have had the exact same situation…the site becomes sore and red, my numbers rise, and I am left with a, small lump or scabby mark when I remove the pod. I think it is a absorption issue…the site becomes inflammed, either as others have said from being bumped or just sensitive for whatever reason. Changing the pod resolves the problem, and it doesn’t happen frequently. It is an annoying waste, but part of the process, I figure. I suspect that those of you who have been injecting insulin for years and those of us prone to sensitive skin probably have spots that are more likely to cause problems. There has been lots of discussion concerning successful pod placement so you might find more clues there. Good luck…keep us posted.

Don’t throw in the towel yet! When I first started last April, I had some cannula pain (had never pumped before) but have determined what sites on my body to use to avoid this. I actually had to remove a few in the beginning b/c the pain was unbearable–it was frustrating to say the least. Also, my numbers do tend to go up a little when the reservoir gets low, so I always put a little more in, to make up for this. I think it’s just a thing…that said, I totally LOVE my omnipod, and the days I don’t, I think I’m just hating diabetes! I’ve recently started to get things under tighter control with it. Stick with it a bit, learn the kinks, and I hope you too will love it someday soon :slight_smile:

Hmmm, this is the first that I have heard of #'s going up as the pod get low. Mine stay stabel all the way until I run out.

I was thinking the same thing about the absorption issue. When I put my pod on my abdomen is the only time I experience the blood upon removal and extreme tenderness. I just tried my arms recently and have had way better numbers and no pain at all. My abdomen has two scar tissue areas (for lack of a better word) and those are the spots where I get high numbers and the pain and blood. I experienced the same thing at about the same frequency when I was on the Minimed pump. Don’t give up, it took me a couple weeks to settle in on it… Good Luck!!!

Mine, too, Robin. This was actually one of my complaints about my Minimed Paradigm. For four years, I swear I wasn’t getting consistent insulin with a reservoir below 20 units, though MM always claimed that couldn’t be the case. But I am happy to say I’ve never had that problem with the Omnipod.

I agree with Melissa and Robin

I’ve been on the OmniPod for over 4 years and run essentially every pod out. I don’t notice any difference in efficacy near the end. Sometimes in the very beginning the insulin won’t seem to be as effective, but I attribute that to the fact than no insulin has been absorbed yet. Sometime I will bolus a couple of units to overcome this. As far as pain goes, very rarely do I have any. I think it is all site specific. I do not pinch up as Insulet recommends. When I start a pod I actually push down on it and hold it tight into my skin. I think that helps have consistent good insertions (I’ve only had about 2 bad insertions out of close to 1000 pods). I also believe that the cannula is then positioned in a place where it doesn’t wiggle as much and cause pain. I tap the air out of the syringe and never worry about air during prime as the Omnipod purges air during autoprime. .

+1. I’ve never noticed a difference in numbers because of the amount of insulin in a pod. I also generally press down at insertion rather than pinching up. I use both side of my abdomen and both upper thighs as insertion sites. I sometimes get pain and a little redness and irritation at the insertion site. A few times it has been so bad that I changed pods. Genrally, I just suffer through it as it is not too severe. I hope you can make this system work for you. It is a life-changer for many.

Andy, you’re a resident expert on the pod, so you probably have heard this, but the Insulet clinical specialist I met with recently suggested timing pod changes with planned boluses to (a) avoid any post-insertion highs and (b) to prevent occlusions. Since I started doing that, I haven’t had a problem with either. (I’m careful to not leave more insulin in a pod than I know I’ll use up in 80 hours anyway.) I just pop a new pod on, take my pre-meal (or correction) bolus, and get things moving a little faster.

That’s interesting advice and I have heard it before. I actually find it works best for me the other way though. I’ll try to run out of insulin by slightly over-bolusing for a meal (or correction). This way while the new site is getting used to absorbing insulin I’ve got a little extra working in me. With that said, I’m terrible at timing and it takes me about 2.8 days to use the 200 units of insulin in the pod so often this doesn’t work out for me. But it’s what I try to do. :slight_smile:

I have been on the pod for a year now the best thing I have done for my self in a long time .
I use about 40 carbs a meal so my pods dont last 3 days .
On the 2nd day my pod will start hurting .when I sleep the most.
I have a few sweet spots on my left arm if I put it a inch to low or to far back it hurts .
You learn with time were it works the best.
Good luck .

I, too, have not had any problems with low reserves of insulin causing highs, and I many times will have the “under 10 units” warning I have set up in my PDM go off an hour or so before I am set to change a Pod. I have experienced highs after a Pod change (addressed earlier in this forum), and after talking to my endocrinologist, she suggested a bolus at Pod change time. I have tried to bolus before the Pod change, but if I wait too long, I find that the insulin actually seems to run out when I pull off the Pod. I take a 1.5 unit bolus (I’m really sensitive to insulin), and I think I will try the bolus tonight from the new Pod rather than from the old one.

Good luck with it. This is my first experience with pumps, but I would not give it up and I would not go to anything else.

I switched from Minimed to the Omnipod in August 2009. My main reason was simple. I am out in the cold during hunting season and had problems with the insulin in the tube being affected by the cold.

I have problems using my thigh areas. After about one day my numbers seem to stay up. I tied my back but I sleep on my back so that does not work for me. The back and sides of my arms are my best bet.

As far as hurting. It did on my thighs. They are on the thin side. I may have been in the muscle. I learned that very quick. I had the same pain with the Minimed also.

I would not change from the Omnipod. I have been sticking myself (with the help of Mom at the young age) since the age of 3 for 50 years before trying a pump in February 2008. I won’t go back.
T1 since 1958 and still going strong!!!

Thanks for all the responses. I will keep looking for good sites, my trainer had said not to reuse or place a site closer than one inch for 30 days. So, I am focused on trying to find 10 good sites. And, until I find the good ones, I guess I will live with my “mistakes” for 3 days. = )

I have tried to run the insulin down on my last 3 pods, and I have had problems with each - the first on with 25 units left, and I figured it was an air bubble. I know I did not insert ANY air bubbles in the next two, but ran into trouble with both, when one hit 14 units left, and the other 9. The next few pods, I am going to put in 15 units extra, so I don’t get that close. I hate to be wasteful, but I’ld rather throw out 15 units of insulin than have a pod issue 12 hours early. Then, once I am sure of my sites, I can start trying to run the insulin down more = ).

What I do is put the pod with the cannula up right and go thru my site rotations then I rotate the pod 180 degrees with the cannlua done.