Pros and Cons of the Pump?

I have been told by my high risk OB drs that i should probably be on the pump. To be completely honest, I have a mixed bag of emotions regarding getting one. I have done some research and generally hear that it gives the diabetic much more freedom.
I guess I am skeptical if thats really the case. It seems like it would be more difficult wearing a contraption almost 24 hours a day, and learning the equipment and calculations or lugging the techy stuff with you that does the calculations for you. And the part of me that is girly and vain wonders how my clothes will fit, does the tubing show, etc. I also have concerns about infection. Altho I have never tested positive for MRSA I have had staph/cellulitis several times in the past few years resulting in extensive hospital stays.
I am interested in hearing the pros AND cons. Most stuff i seem to find net wise is slanted toward the positive. But on the flip side, the doubting Thomas in me always wonders how much is pure hype by Drs and the pharmacutical community.

My opinion may also be biased towards the positive for pumps but I will share anyway. After having type 1 diabetes for many years and taking 6-8 shots per day, transitioning to a pump was great when all of a sudden it was only one injection every three days when changing my site instead of up to 24 injections in the same time period.
When I first started wearing the pump, I felt like it was three times as big as it really is and stuck out screaming to everyone “look at me!!!” Then I was just a little disappointed when no one even noticed it. (So many people wear a number of things on thier belts or waistbands). I wear mine on my waistband or when wearing a dress I slip it into my pantyhose and it stays nicely hidden in place. some of my friends wear thiers in thier pocket, in a small pouch around thier ankle (she wears pants alot) or tucked into thier bra. There are many ways to hide the pump if you don’t want it out there for all to see.
The pump does all of the calculations for you so you really aren’t carrying around extra things. It was very convenient for me because I no longer forgot to have my insulin with me if we spontaneously decided to eat out when we were running around doing other things.
Infection may be a concern for you but making sure your site is well cleaned prior to starting the site, keeping it clean and changing the site every two to three days should go a long way in preventing infection.
For cons, lately I have had problems with my infusion sets because I am thin and kept kinking the canula and wasn’t getting the insulin I needed and had high blood sugars with ketones. The company let me try other sets and I have found one that works well for me. Some people have trouble with the tape not sticking well enough or being sensitive to the tape. That isn’t a problem for me. Some also get “pump bumps” red, slightly swollen areas at the site when it is removed that last 2-3 days. Using a different infusion set may be the solution to this problem.
For me the pros far outweigh the cons but everyone is different. Hope you get it figured out. Some companies will allow you to do a trial with saline in the pump to give you a better idea what it is like to actually wear a pump. You may ask about that too.

thanks…I appreciate the info. I just get the sensation of becoming Borg from Star Trek :stuck_out_tongue:

I lean towards the positive, but here are my two cents:

-The biggest pro for me has been quality of life. Compare 24 shots (between Lantus and NovoLog) in a three-day period vs. 1 change of infusing set in the same amount of time. To me that was a big plus: I am no fan of needles!
-I have WAY more flexibility than I had before, while on the pump. If I am stuck in a meeting or know I won’t be able to eat for a while, I can dial my rate down so I minimize the chances of a low. While on Lantus, that was not an option: the long acting insulin was in my system and there was nothing I could do to change that.
-My numbers overall have gotten better. Just today I got my my most recent A1C @ 6.4. My previous one was 6.2. My highest one since I have been on the pump was 6.8 but prior to it I was over 7.

-Because of how reliable it is (I have had only two failures in 3 years), you depend on it TOO MUCH. Because of this, the first time I got a “fatal” error (leading to the pump being replaced by them -I should say, in NO time, almost), I was not ready to go back to shots. It had been almost two years since I last took shots, so I had literally forgotten how… Please note I am a LADA, not diagnosed as a child, so I have only being on insulin since 2003.
-Sometimes you just feel like “unplugging”… it can be annoying to carry that dongle on you at all times (you get used to it, don’t get me wrong -it just can be annoying!)
-You run the risk of relaxing a bit in terms of your eating because it really gives you much more flexibility in terms of what you can eat. For example, the dual wave bolus feature on my pump is a godsend for times when I feel like having pizza or Chinese food… which can be impossible to deal with through shot-based therapy alone.

Hope this helps.

Believe it or not you get used to having the pump attached pretty fast. I was used to it within 72 hours. Now I forget I have it on and will walk off when it isn’t clipped to my pants and will end up getting hit with it, kind of like the sling shot effect.
I do have much better control and my insulin usage went from over 300 units a day to under 100. Some days I can get 4-5 days out of one resevoir.
Fewer shots.
Better A1C
Able to do different basals for different times of day.

Being attached to a pump all the time.
Constant reminder you have diabetes.
Pump failure.
Possible skin infections if not taken care of properly.

Hi Tammaney,
I don’t wear a pump…yet. The reason my doctor wants me to look at one was because he said if I had smoother control it would give me a better function for my heart and kidneys. These are big factors for me. And if you are pregnant now then I am sure you are after better function for all your major organ systems as well. These are really the biggest reasons I am seriously looking at a pump. I was worried about the tubing so we are trying to get a model from the OmniPod to work with for a few days and see if I like that one. I know you are working hard to take good care of yourself so I really think your interest in a pump is a very wise decision. My doc has reminded me that if we get a pump started and I find I really don’t like it or can’t handle it then we can always switch back to MDI’s And I am sure it will be that way for you too. Since you are looking at them then I will get me more seriously into this and look harder at all the pumps available. I did not realize I had been dragging my feet about this, but now there are two of us interested and I will be strong with you and do it. I just talked to Kristina about the OmniPod and now you, so I will not let you down. I would appreciate hearing anything you may be able to post about what you have found and I will do likewise for you. I am so glad you started this post and have made me think harder on this. Thank you. I will be watching to see what you find. Good luck.

Hi, I am about to get mine in about 2 months and I would like to get a feedback from someone who has it for a while, type 1 with children and staying at home mom like me… Thanks!!

20 years ago I asked my doctor about going on an insulin pump. He said I was not a good candidate. Eventually I changed doctors. Had a baby. I never brought the insulin pump issue up because of what the previous doctor had told me. When my daughter was 18 months I started looking into a pump again. My new doctor thought we should try it. I got one and started feeling so much better. I stopped having severe insulin reactions. It gave me so much freedom. I really wish that I would have had one during my pregnancy. My girl was healthy but weighed 9.5 lbs when she was born, one month early.

I wear an Animas pump and love it. I often have to search for it when I want to bolus. I check my pockets and waistband… I often hang mine from my bra under my arm. The extra tubing just gets tucked into my pants…no problem. And it is easier to use than a cellphone. Infections have not been an issue. Just take care to prepare your site correctly. I love that I can fine tune my basal rate to keep my sugars on track.

I keep thinking the Omnipod would be a problem since your belly is going to protrude but I really don’t know much about that pumping system.

Anyway, my recommendation would be to do as much as you can for the health of your baby. It’s all about the baby now and it doesn’t end with the birth. It goes on and we need to be at our best health so we can be the best parents. You will have your hands full and the freedom that the pump gives you may be a big help.

I would only trade my pump in for a pancreas!

Take care,
-Dena (type 1 38 years)

Hi Dena,
That was really insiteful and very helpful. I know you were talking to Tammaney but I thank you for this information too. Isn’t it unique how helping one helps all of us. I love our big family.

Oh girl! Let me tell you the truth. The pump can be such a blessing some days, and other days, I feel like getting out the hammer. The truth is that no matter how you look at any treatment for diabetes, you’re going to find at ton of pros with just as many cons.
I haven’t been on my pump long, but I can tell you, that if you’re used to carrying youre shots and stuff anyways, that extra luggage is not a problem. Some people will carry a billion things for the pump with them, but personally I just carry the extra essentials, and if I am going out somewhere and may have trouble, I pack another extra sack in my glove box. The best part is obviously the fact that you can eat not whatever but whenever you want and you only have to push a button and don’t have to pull out any shots. Now, I do carry an extra humalog pen with me, but I know of some people who don’t do this. I just do it, because I have a tendancy to forget when my resevoir is too low and rip my line more than once in one afternoon because I run into things; for this, I also carry extra band aids!
Really, everything depends on how you view life with the pump. If you believe that things will be okay and that it will be much better than it will, but if you don’t see it that way than it won’t happen that way.
It all comes down to personal preference, you don’t always have to follow every single little detail and guideline they give you with the pump. It also comes down to check and balances. If you stay on top of things, just like with your shots, then the pump will work perfectly.
Now I will tell you that hiding it under tight outfits isn’t the easiest thing to do, but there are still ways. For instance, when you’re wearing a tight waisted outfit but have more open breast room, stick it in your bra, or on the side, or sometimes if my entire outfit is tight I clip it to the back. Remember, though, if you ever have a day when you really just cannot wear it, you don’t have to. You still can unhook it. Although, I wouldn’t go more than a day without it. Even the beach is fine. I don’t really have a problem showing mine so I just clipped it to my bathing suit. I did have to watch out for sand damage, but that was just because of my tendency to join in tackle football games. I also had to try extra hard to remember to take it off before I got in the water. It becomes such a part of you, that you will at times forget it’s even there.
Like I said though, it is all about how you see it. Don’t always listen to what the doctor says about all the things that come with it. Also, don’t automatically assume that it is an embarrassment. If it makes your quality of life better, that is all that matters. Yes, sometimes people have a tendency to stare, but hey at least they’re looking :slight_smile:

Tammaney and Saundra, I was vain before I got it too. I was worried about “naked-time” (intimacy with my husband) Boy, was I was stupid! He doesn’t even notice it. The problems I’ve had are when wearing a slim-line dress there is no place to clip it on the outside. In those rare and short times I’m that dresed up, I’ve taken the pump off. I’m not giving advice to anyone!, just letting you know how I handle the situation. I, like Cody, often forget I’ve even got it until it drops on my foot becuse I didn’t clip it on. (It hurts when you drop it on your foot!) In the very rare occurrance when someone notices it clipped to my waistband, they assume it’s a pager or cellphone unless I tell them otherwise. With the pump, my A1c went from 11 to 7.5. I don’t like the constant reminder that I’m diabetic…(My Mom has that taken care of.) I’m looking to change from the Medtronic Miniped now to the Omnipod in the near future, if I can get insurance companies to cooperate! But that’s another story. It was said before and I completely agree, I would only replace my pump for a new pancreas.

I think the most common issue a person who is considering getting a pump is that you are attached to it 24/7. Like anything that you first get it is so cool, new and interesting that you focus all of your energy on it. Once you have worn it, changed your set and realized that the needle isn’t really that big you forget that you are even wearing it. I sleep on top of my pump and don’t even realize I am laying on it or if I do I just reposition it without even thinking about it. I wear it on my pants pocket and I will see people look at it, some ask, is that and insulin pump or are you diabetic? I am glad to answer them because they are just curious. For me it is way of just being as normal as normal can be.

I suggest getting a pump I think you will be very happy and if you don’t like it at least you can say you tried it and you will have your own reasons for your decision.

Tammaney, I was diagnosed in Dec. 1971 and did not go on the pump til Feb 2007 I have had some ups and downs with Diabetes. Prase God I have no more complications than I have since I went for years and did not take care of myself. I got back on the wagon about 4 years ago and ende up in a ditch driving thank God I did not kill anyone or myself. that was when I walked into the Dr.s office and laid a pamplet down and said “I want one of these!” Has changed my life. I was taking about 125u of insulin on 6 to 8 shots a day now most days I take only 30 to 40u a day. I have lost 85 lbs and have more energy. I will say I lean to the Pro side of the coin. I now take an active part in controling my Diabetes as apposed to observing it.
Good luck on your choise. Hiding it has not been an issue for me. I use a pump case on my belt.

I had an A1C of 8.8 in May before going on the pump in June. Last week I had another A1C - it was down to 7.2.

Enough said.

I used inejctions for 61 years. I had good control and an A1c of 5.6 but I had too many highs and lows. A good A1c is great and the highs and lows can compensate for each other to keep that A1c low, however, the highs and lows can lead to long term complications no matter how good the overall average is. I wanted off that roller coaster ride and I wanted to experience the many freedoms that pumping provides. My doc tor said I had good control and pumping was not needed. I found an endo in another city who approved though and now I have pumped for 15 months. My A1c is about the same as before pumping but I have far fewer highs and lows. Now I stay between 70 and 120 about 80% of the time. Before pumping it was about 50% of the time. My highs rarely exceed 150 and my lows are rarely below 60. The roller coaster has been reduced to a few bumps in the road. I am very happy with pumping.

My biggest problem with pumping is with scar tissue. I had terrible highs in December and Janurary when using my upper abdomen. I had injected there so many years that I had developed scar tissue. Absorption is slow and uneven in scar tissue. I gave my upper abdomen a 7 month rest and tried again. It is still there. The scar tissue seems to be permanent. Now I use my lower abdomen and my upper legs. I rotate sites to keep scar tissue from forming. Everything is going very smoothly.

If you can get this kind of control with pumping before you become pregnant then you will be more likely to have a very healthy pregnancy. Good luck!

I got my first pump during my first pregnancy over 13 years ago. I stayed home with my children until they were both in school full time, then I went back to school!
What would you like to know?

I had the exact same feelings…being attached to something 24/7, borging out, and I also consider myself a fashonista and was concerned how to wear it with my clothes. But I finally bit the bullet and I’m so glad I did.

You get used to being attached and I’m so glad to be off shots…my skin is forever grateful and my lumpy painful injections sites have all but disappeared. I have found some handy accessories for wearing the pump even come up with some of my own, to make it work with various outfits. I’ve very thin and I often wear clothing that is form fitting, so it’s not easy to hide a pump, but I manage to do it, no one has ever noticed my pump.

The hardest part was wearing it with Lingere I just felt like it didn’t belong… But I’ve gotten over that, my husband is a sci-fi geek and thinks borgs are sexy :wink: haha.

I even wear it when teaching dance, which is my profession and none of my students have ever noticed it or said anything and let me tell you, a 5 yr old notices everything and has no qualms about tell you point blank. When teaching I’m usually wearing a leotard and yoga pants or leggings. In Yoga pants, I wear my pump on a leg strap just under my knee, where the pants begin to flare out. If I’m wearing tight leggings, I put it in my leotard top or wear a small sports bra under to hold the pump in place. I line the tubing up with the seams on my clothes and you can’t see it this way, and I’m talking about wear lycra/spandex here, so if I can pull this off…I think any outfit is possible :wink:

Well, I am 28 and was diagnosed at age 10. I didn’t start on a pump until I was 24 for the exact same reasons you have mentioned. It’s so natural to be concerned about the day-to-day stuff with a pump. I wear fitted tops and jeans, bikinis, and all that stuff that causes concern. In all honesty, it took me about 2 days to adjust to. I almost always wear my pump in my front pocket and tuck the tubing down into my pants. In my wedding dress or when I wear a dress, I wear a garter belt and clip it to it. Nobody notices. As far as supplies- I’m sure this isn’t smart, but unless I’m going away overnight or on vacation, I never take anything with me besides my meter. I always figure I’m close enough to get home if the need be.

I LOVE my pump!! I wish I would have gone on a pump earlier. My control, flexibility, quality of life, etc is so much better. I worry about my diabetes 100% less being on a pump because I have that much better control. I also have a 2-yr old daughter and can’t imagine what my pregnancy would have been like without my pump. I have crazy swings in my blood sugar, which are controlled well. I can tell you that when I bought the pump, I honestly didn’t think I would like it or continue to use it. My insurance paid 100%. I thought I had nothing to lose and figured I’d try it out and go back on shots.

For the cons- It’s always there. It can be expensive, though almost all insurances will cover the pump and supplies. I hate wearing it on vacation when I’m in a pool or the ocean all day. My daughter is very interested in it and is constantly trying to get to the buttons. All that aside, I would not go back to injections. It has truly changed everything for the better.

The pump is the only way to go. I would never go back to shots. I did for awhile just to see how it would be after being on the pump for 6 years. The pump gives you FREEDOM. And you know what? When you want a break, take it off and take shots for a day. Plus you can always go back to shots. That’s the first thing I asked before I got my pump.

I think people get stuck into the thinking they can never take the pump off. For me, wearing the pump is no different than carrying my cell phone everywhere I go.

I have been in the minimed paradigm but just switched to the Cozmo last week. Both are great.

My negatives would be whenever I have to deal with a clogged infusion set which results in high blood sugars. The type of infusion set you pick means everything. There are a lot out there to try and no reason to stay with a set you hate.

I hope you give it a try! Good luck!

Ive been pumping for only 1 week, and I feel much better already. My BG swings less, and I am using 25% less insulin than
I was only a week ago, replacing levemir/humalog with humalog entirely. I have always had difficulties metabolizing the long acting insulins (unpredictability and nocturnal hypo’s), and for this the pump is a blessing. My mood is better, and so far everything seems a bit easier to manage. Some have complained of the stings of the pump, but to me it is a subtle reminder of syringes and cold insulin, which were usually quite worse.
In terms of the hype, there is a good deal of that; in fact I noticed that the customer support from each company was very interested in me before I became a pumper, but once I received one, I had a more difficult time getting through to someone. Nothing bad resulted from this, nothing more than a 2 week nuisance I spent wondering when I would be trained. I actually received a free lunch and a free BG meter during meetings with the sales reps. The Animas Ping is easily concealable and remotely controllable, and was not hard to learn at all. For more customizable software features, the Cozmo is better, but seems a bit more bulky and uses standard batteries with a limited battery life, as opposed to the Ping which uses lithium.
If you live a flexible lifestyle my opinion is that the Ping excels, with its ezCarb, and ezBG calculators, while customizing meal reminders and site change reminders (which are features the Cozmo has) are a bit more oriented towards a different lifestyle. Also the .25 unit delivery rate is unique to the Ping. On looks the Ping is streamlined and savvy, whereas the Cozmo is cute. Then there are other Pumps of which I can’t say much, but the minimed has cool skins! CGMS, which unlike most, I think is not at all necessary, will be included in them all in the next several years.
No matter what, most of the hype is true, except something a salesperson told me, which I thought was ridiculous: that on a pump, I would be able to carry less around. In fact you need to carry more stuff, your pump supplies and syringes and backup insulin in case something happens. But that’s not a problem, it’s par for the course with any treatment method. Good luck to you in your decision.