Thinking about using a pump for the first time

I been diabetic for 16 years and I’m just now thinking in using a pump I’m kinda scare cause It will be totally new for me, my main reason why I think it may be better for me is because If I’m at work or to busy I will sometimes forget to take my shots.
I’m very used to the shots since its the only thing I have take for 16 years however I do think my body will feel good whith a break for a while :slight_smile:

My question is this what are the goods and the bads of a pump? What are the best pump brands?

The "goods" are an entire change in your lifetyle, habits and mostly GREAT CONTROL. You have more ability to choose (thought out) food choices. You are young, so any tool that helps maintain better control is fantastic and will help you live a long, productive life. I fought the pump, after 40 years of T1, decided to take the plunge, acquiesced, and the pump (with a CGM)has changed my life.

No "bads" in my thinking.

There is lots for you to consider, but this is 2012--go with the technology. It can change everything!

I agree w/ T1Forever. I have had really good experience with the pump. It’s helped me be more active, healthier and do less work to get BG/A1C results that seem decent. The main objections seem to be the “unit”, whether tubed or a “bump” and the potential for failure. I’ve had 3 “issues” in 4 years, one pullout led to a 280 when I woke up, not my goal but it was easy to fix. Another time, I got repeated “no delivery” messages while bolusing for a huge breakfast I’d just ordered and I had to bolus about 10x to get the whole load delivered, no other problem than that. The pump itself failed last July 2, Saturday of a long weekend. The MM rep diagnosed the problem immediately and assured me they’d get me a new pump (on Tuesday, given the weekend…) And, after freaking out initially, it worked out ok and I had a great weekend anyway. Some people have issues w/ the sticky stuff too but, while they occasionally itch, I haven’t had those issues too much

Hi Koryandria,

I agree with the other posters here, that the pump will give you more choices and freedoms that MDI, if things are working properly. While I cannot speak for others experiences, I have received far better control, more constant blood sugars and most of all, lower A1-c measurements after beginning to use an insulin pump. After a brief adjustment period (about a day) I barely know it is there, except when it needs to be serviced. I can't think of one reason not to use a pump.

As far as pump types, there are two. One type is a little box similar in size to a cell phone with a reservoir of insulin, that is connected to your body with an infusion set. The infusion set consists of a little tube between the pump and a canula that is inserted into your abdomen. It is usually changed about every two to three days. the pump is controlled by a small memory chip in the pump body that tells it to give you a certain amount of insulin each hour, (basel insulin) or through a few button pushes, you can give yourself the insulin you need to cover a meal, (bolus insulin(. Some pumps are can also be controlled by its accompanying blood glucose meter. The other type of pump is a tubeless type that consists of an administering device and reservoir that is connected directly to your body, and told what to do through a PDM. again, a small canula introduces the insulin.

I have a Tubed pump. Due to my employment situation, I thought that style would be best for me. I chose the Animas Ping because I liked its colour screen, fail-safe features of its bolus and programming controls, waterproof to 12 feet, its easy ability to be controlled through the BG meter and its recording and reporting software. Medtronics Mini-Med makes a nice tubed pump as well. Omni-Pod makes the tubeless style. It would be a good idea to read up on each pump, and check with your CDE to look at, feel, and try out each pump before you choose. Once you decide, you just need to fill out the paperwork for your insurance and send it in to the company you choose, The Company will handle the rest. Your CDE can take care of the doctor authorization.

All the best to you in making your choice. We are here if you have questions. Somebody will answer.

Be well.

Brian Wittman

Hi koryandrea, don't be scared to try a pump. I just started a pump after 25 years of MDI so if a 50 year old lady can do it, so can you! :)

I chose to go with OmniPod mainly because it's tubeless and I just love it. I find the tubing and insertion sets of the tubed pumps intimidating (that's just me, though). I also liked that with OmniPod, the insertion process is automated so I just stick it on and push a button and I'm good to go. Thus far, with OmniPod, I have found only pros and no cons. I really wish I had gone this route years ago.

Good luck to you with whatever you decide; it's a very personal choice so it's different for everyone. You can set up a trial with your CDE/ Endo to wear one and see how it works for you before you decide which type you'd like to go with. The best one is the one that you're most comfortable with.

Im totally new to the pump as well. I just started with a Ping about two weeks ago and I'm scared too. If you decide to get a pump, we can be scared together. I feel kind of stupid being I do appreciate the company.


Like the others so far, pumping changed my diabetic life for the better. It allowed me to better embrace being a diabetic AND live a much more "normal" life at the same time.

To me, it just allows me a lot more flexibility. Since my life doesn't fit very well into doing the exact same thing every day, the pump just "fits" better.

I know a number of folks do extremely well on MDI - kudos to them. It just never worked well for me. I always felt like a diabetic first and a person second. Now, I am a person who just happens to also have diabetes.

Pumping is NOT perfect by a long shot, but once you get the basal rate(s) dialed in, there will be no going back I am sure.


Greetings koryandrea
I started pumping back in 2000. The very best thing I ever did for treating my T1 D. Better control, looser meal plans-somewhat, freedom from MDI and much more. If the DELTA's were to be mentioned, I would state a couple, but the benefits by far out weigh them. Expense, pump melfunction (Never had one yet!!) Loosing a site because of tubing getting caught. My pump has become a part of me, and I never look at it as a problem. Can't imagine life, while a T1D without it. Only delt with Medtronic, and they have been great! CGM helps me as well.
Good luck!!
Make today another great day.

Go for it! The best thing about pumps is that they are not permanent. So, if you don't like it, you can just go back to shots (I think they will even refund you within 30 days). You'll be out some money for supplies, but that's it.

It can be a bit of a process to get started on a pump, so make sure you have the time. There are multiple endo appointments, meeting with a dietician, and meeting with the pump trainer. Yes, they will make you do all this even though, after 16 years with D, you probably know more about it than the professionals. BUT, once that's done with, it is just a matter of figuring out basal rates and really learning how to work the device.

The Good - You can sleep in, you can adjust your basal rates on the fly and exercise and eat more freely. The pump also records EVERYTHING (provided you use the wireless meter it comes with), and for me this was a LIFESAVER because I am a horrible logger (I mean, who the heck has time to write down every little thing they do?? NOT ME!) You can achieve tigher control because you're only working with fast-acting insulin and can create multiple basal rate patterns. I really love the "patterns" option because there are certain times of the month when I need more insulin. During these times, I simply use a different pattern that I've preset. Ability to dose insulin in small doses is a HUGE benefit because it means you can correct small highs, thus achieving better control. If you have dawn phenomenon, you can get rid of it.

The Bad - Infusion sites that fail, you have something hanging off you 24/7, you have to think about it when you buy clothes (although not that much because the pumps are pretty small now), you can develop scar tissue, you have to really watch out for DKA, you have to test a lot, figuring out basal rates can be frustrating, there's a learning curve. The pump costs more - even with excellent insurance, I have quite a bit more out-of-pocket expenses for pump supplies.

Get the book Pumping Insulin and READ IT. Twice. This will give you a good overview of how the pump works. If you're interested, see your endo and begin the process. Depending on your situation or insurance, it can anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months to get approved. Even once you receive the pump, you have to jump through hoops to meet with a trainer and such. It's a bit of a hassle, but the benefits are great once it's all done.

As for pump brands - there are three in the US right now: Omnipod, Minimed Revel, and Animas Ping. The Ping and Revel are both with tubes, and the Omnipod is wireless. I use the Revel and love it. When I was looking to go back on the pump, my endo told me flat out that she will not work with the Omnipod. I know some folks who have the Omnipod absolutely love it, but they have quite a few more issues compared to the tubed pumps. If you're prone to DKA, I would advise staying away from the Omnipod.

Comparing the Revel and Ping, they both have similar features. The Ping has a brighter screen, but requires more button pushing to bolus. The Revel has an integrated CGM that you can get; I don't currently use the CGM with my Revel, but I do use one on occasion to see how things look and I love the integration. Having to carry around one less device is a HUGE help. Just from what I've read online, the Ping seems a tad more delicate than the Revel. Minimed has been making pumps for like 20 years, and the Revel is a really durable little machine.

The revel comes in two sizes - one holds 180 units of insulin and the other holds 300 units. The Ping only comes in one size that holds 200 units of insulin. So, think about your total daily dose (TDD) of insulin when choosing a pump.

Don't feel bad. I start the pump in less than two weeks and I'm scared too. I can't recall how many times I've asked myself why on earth I am doing this. Then I remember I'm doing this for my health and I calm down a little. Hang in there change can be scary.

I had type one for 25 years before I changed over to the pump. I should have done it long ago! Do it, you won't regret it! :)

Hi Koryandrea:

I was diagnosed with type 1 16 years ago as well. I can't give you any insight on the pump itself because I've not started using it. But I will give you my two cents. Research the pumps available to you. Contact reps from each company to assist you selecting the right pump for you. I'm set to start with the pump soon and as the date gets closer I get a little bit more nervous. What is helping me is that I've researched and reviewed as much as I could to satisfy my curiosity and determined that at this point in my life this may be the best fit to assist me in diabetes management. Still, its a big step, at least it is for me, then again I'm a big chicken (the reason it's taken me so long to try the pump). Best of luck and do keep us posted.

Just curious, but what are you nervous about?

I use the medtronic minimed and love it. I am VERY active and have found a pump works way better with my random eating habits. I can't say I wasn't nervous about starting it also. It sat on my kitchen counter for 6 months before I called to have a trainer come show me how to use it. Now, I can't even imagine going back to shots! Not to mention my A1C went from 8to9 to 6to6.5. I don't love having this "thing" in my pocket all the time but, the benefits WAY out weigh the cons. It's like a game to me now, how tight can I control my numbers.

Really it’s a familiarity issue. I'm used to shots, for the most part I know what to expect (maybe not lol). I realize it’s not permanent, but then I get to thinking that if I don't like it then I've wasted a resource that someone else could use. Oh yeah; I'm afraid it's gonna hurt like the dickens.

It's doesn't hurt one bit. I assume you take multiple shot each day now? Well that goes down to 1 shot every 3 or 4 days.

I think I understand the nervousness because it took me 25 years to do it.

It's sort of like when I had my daughter...I remember looking at my beautiful baby girl in the hospital and thinking "Are these people crazy?? Are they really going to let me leave and bring this baby home when I don't know what the heck I'm doing???".

Well the closer I got to my pump training date, I had those same type thoughts..."they're connecting me to this thing full of insulin...and I don't know what the heck I'm doing???".

All I can say is that I wish I'd done this so much sooner. What I did, LadyD, to try to ease my fear as the training approached was to read and re-read the users guide and watch online tutorials so that I would feel as prepared as I could be going in. And, honestly, the OmniPod is so easy that I found there to be much less of a learning curve than I expected.

Hmm I might consider it too within this year...trying to get as much information as I can.

Yeah, I know how you feel. Diabetes management is so much about routine and familiarity. But keep in mind that you're using exactly the same insulin, just infusing it in over a slower period of time. For me, the bad part about shots was that if I screwed up with, say, my basal insulin dose, there wasn't a whole lot I could do once I injected. With a pump, however, you have greater control. You can bolus a small amount or make a small tweak in your basal rate, test, and then make another tiny decision. For me, that has been SO reassuring to have that fine level of control.

One thing that helped me was to watch videos of people operating their pumps on YouTube. Once I realized that an insulin pump really isn't that complex, it made me feel less nervous about the transition.

As for hurting -- the infusion sets have gotten so much better over the years. I use the Mios with my Minimed Revel and they only hurt a tad more than shots. Sometimes I'll hit a bad spot and it will bring tears to my eyes, but that's pretty rare. Most of the time, I barely feel it. Like shots, you get used to it. And you only change your site once every three days or so. With MDI, I was injecting upwards of 8-10 times per day to achieve some semblance of control!

Give it a try. You can always return the pump and unused supplies if you don't like it.

I agree with the game analogy! For me, MDI was more like a “slot machine” whereas the pump/ CGM is like a “flight simulator”