So following my most recent check up with my physician, I realized that I have not been maintaining my Blood Glucose levels well. My A1C, which was below 7%, has increased to 8%. I partially attribute this to travelling internationally and not having been given any guidance from my Doctor, despite having told her prior to each trip.
So now, I have begun to think 1) maybe I should find new Dr. that is a bit more willing to spend a bit of extra time with me prior to overseas travel and 2) maybe I should think about switching to an insulin pump.
A little background is that I was diagnosed “Type-1” right before Thanksgiving during my final semester of college, at the age of 22. I got lucky, my then Doctor had decided to run my blood work prior to putting me back on some medicine that I’d already been previously. He noticed what he thought was abnormally high blood glucose results and had a nurse call me to see if I’d eaten just prior to my afternoon appointment….I hadn’t, in fact I hadn’t eaten anything since dinner the evening before. My Doctor then sent me the next day to have the official testing performed and then straight to an Endocrinologist, Dietician, and Nutritionist.
I’m now 28 with a full time profession which requires me to travel frequently and internationally. Would an insulin pump be a change for the better or should I just stick with my pens?
A lot of people like pumps and do get better control that way. I would change doctors if you think another will help you more. Mine says you should be 6 and under to hopefully avoid complications. Really in the 5's is best. There is a lot more you can do on mdi also I'm sure. Why is it more difficult when you travel? Do you tend to eat things you shouldn't or is it the stress of activities etc? I have been contemplating at least trying a pump myself even though I doubt I can tolerate a line inside me. If you can tolerate that you should be ok on one. You just have to be more vigilant about making sure it is functioning because if your insulin stops due to pump failure you can go quickly into dka.
I'd say it gets worse when I travel due to it being a large time difference (internationally) so I'm not hungry when I should be or I eat just because its time. Then there is the factor of unknown carbs in foods that I'm not familiar with and often a language barrier with those serving the food. I don't know if the stress gets me but I'm sure it all plays a part and typically when I travel even for work I find in European countries I tend to walk more.
I would try just going low carb when you travel, eliminate everything except meat/low carb veggies etc. and have berries and yogurt etc. I think there is a remedy for jet lag, but i've forgotten what it is. I hardly travel now and I used to get it really bad going to europe. Maybe it's charcoal?
I would say a pump helps mostly because you can set the time on the pump to whatever time it is in whatever part of the globe you are travelling. You have your background/basal insulin rate set to deliver insulin to keep your blood sugars level. You can set temporary basal rates for times of increased or decreased exercise or stress like when you are on a plane, or while you are walking around a city. You can bolus for meals but if you mess up the carb count you can always add a correction bolus to over ride the mistake. The problem I found with MDI is that once you take that basal insulin shot, you are stuck with it for the next 15-24 hours there is no turning it off. If you change your mind and decide to do a lot of exercise you have to eat to the insulin that is in your system.
I have an omnipod system which is a totally tubeless pump. It is controlled by a remote wireless device. I staunchly resisted getting a pump for 38 years but recently I started an exercise routine that was constantly being sabotaged by hypos from the lantus. I finally decided to try pumping and I am very happy I did. There is a steep learning curve but once I got in the groove my D became a much smaller part of my life.
First though, find an endo who works for you, not against you. Then maybe a CDE to walk you through the various types of pumps because each one has pros and cons. You need to get your hands on them and see how they feel.
travel or not id go to a pump
I agree with renka, ask yourself if you want a pump regardless of travel, although a pump adds great flexibility during travel to temporarily adjust your basal. You can dial up a bolus sitting in your airline seat (whereas on shots, I used to get up and use the bathroom). I've been pumping almost 8 months and I still love how I only have to reach for the insulin vial once every 3-4 days. I love how I still have the same juice container serving as my sharps disposal since starting on pump whereas on shots I was throwing out a jug full of syringes several times a month (8 shots a day).