My first two weeks as a 'Podder

As I am sitting here at 6 something AM on this Labor day holiday (though it is sure to be more like 7 by the time I get done writing), miserable from being woken up by a BG of 260 and small ketones, I figured I would pass the time by writing about my pump experience as an insulin pump newbie.

I was very firm on my stance against pumping for many years. Besides being a little bit of a rebel in general, the main reasoning behind this was the negative attitudes of pumpers and doctors towards me for being on MDIs. This made me EVEN more resistant to the idea! Besides the cost of the pump, I also didn't want to be dependent on a damn piece of technology that could fail on me at any time. Stories of DKA from pump failures scared the ■■■■ out of me and I wanted to wait until the technology improved. When I was about 19, I finally gave in and decided I would try the pump because of the flexibility it could offer me in college. Over a two year span, I was told by two different endocrinologist MULTIPLE TIMES that I wouldn't qualify for a pump unless I could get my A1c's under 8, which I now know isn't even a real requirement. I FINALLY started pumping two weeks ago, right after my 12 year diabetes anniversary.

Since starting the Omnipod, I have had nearly all of my worst technology related pumping fears come true:

Random occulation? Check.

Luckily, this didn't happen when I was out anywhere but it did happen just as I was about to eat, which was really annoying. I really have no idea why this happened, except that maybe my friend's dog bumped it when he was sitting in my lap.

Pod not beeping after filling the reservoir at the most inconvenient times? Double Check!

This happened to me the first time I changed my pod (which just had to happen in a restaurant bathroom) and again this morning when I was trying to fill a new pod when my bg was sky high.

MY BIGGEST FEAR OF ALL: Insulin delivery failure in the middle of the night? Check!!!

This just happened to me a little while ago right in the middle of my horrific DP. Luckily, I woke up before it got too high but I already had small ketones. I have no idea why this happened. There was no alarm and no insulin that leaked onto my skin and it didn't seem like there was a bent cannula. However, there is no other explanation for my ketones. Scary!

The Good:

Pumping has not been all bad. I've been able to get my insulin out of all of the pods and haven't had any serious issues. My DP has disappeared and I have been able to adjust my afternoon basal to the much lower rate that I need rather than feeding my daily lows from Lantus. My basal rate has decreased a ton and it is great to be able to set a temp basal rate if I want to exercise. I haven't gained any weight either, which is great. The best thing is that the lack of injections seems to give me this sense of normalcy that I have never had on MDIs, which I didn't really expect to happen at all.

Pumping hasn't changed my pre-teen aged diabetes, though. My insulin to carb ratio is still 1 u per 5 carbs and little things still throw me out of whack easily. On Saturday I was running high nearly all day and thought my insulin went bad until I suddenly starting running normal again and had a perfectly normal day Sunday. On Friday I went from 90 to 240 to 55 within an hour. I still do the exact same thing for days and will have completely different results each time. The second I see a pattern, I have three days where everything dispels that pattern. What I have realized is that the pump is really just another tool to deal with all of this crap and can provide a little bit more precision than my insulin pens could provide. However, it is not perfect and I will have to deal with the downfalls of this technology if I want to be a successful long term pumper. Overall, I am very happy with my decision and hope that it can continue to be a great new tool for me.

Update: My bg is now 79! Yay! Maybe it's time for a little breakfast and then a nap =).

Hey Pamaloo, Congrats on making the jump to the pump (I didn’t plan that rhyme, really) and on your 79 BG. Reading your story reminded me of my experience - it was very similiar. I was diagnosed at age 28 and went on MDI’s and refused to make the switch to the pump for 12 yrs. I had good mgmt, good A1c’s and couldn’t imagine having a thing attached to me all the time - yuck. I finally got the nerve to convert to pump mgmt about 2 yrs ago. I still hate the stupid thing being attached to me all the time (it’s a real bitch when you want to wear a dress) but I can’t deny that it is a better way to manage my D.

I am so glad to finally read that someone had a ridiculous insulin to carb ratio like mine! I thought I was the only freak! (just kidding). I am a 1:4 ratio and my endo always shakes his head when he’s going over my chart because, he says, it’s weird since I’m skinny, exercise, etc. What can I say, I’m not text book anything. :wink:

Anyway, I wish you good stuff with your pump and despite the occasional fashion hassles it presents, it really is quite effective. Best of luck!

Freakin Loved your Blog! Only a T1 for 16 mo’s and afraid of my Ping. Getting a lot of pressure to pump–from everywhere it seems. Thank you sooooo much for sharing such a well-written blog. Printing it and filing it in my appropriate file (since I can’t freakin “like it”).
Jessica: freakin loved and appreciated your response too! (also printing)

Thanks for responding! I didn’t see these responses until today, which reminds me that I should probably check my email more often…

GinaY- Thanks so much, I’m glad you got some good info out of my ramblings! Pumping seemed so terrifying to me but was so much less daunting once I actually got started with it and embraced the technology.

Jessica- Oh my gosh someone else with a crazy I:C ratio also exists! I am also rather petite so it shocks everyone. Anyways, it definitely does take some time getting used to having a thing attached to me all the time and dealing with clothes to wear and all of that, but not having horrible DP makes it worth it!

I wish I could get over my avoidance of the pump to even consider it. I’ve been D 32 years and I guess I’m reluctant to change, and the idea of having to wear an external device 24/7 seems stressful to me. I guess old habits die hard.