To All Pumpers - How/Why did you get your pump?

I’m curious what prompted so many of you to start pumping. Also, what kinds of hurdles did you have to go through with either insurance or doctors. I’ve heard some say they had to have certain requirements like having no c-peptide, others had to be on shots at least a year and similar stories.Everyone seems to love their pump, and while I’m still a newbie and far from pump worthy status, I’m now thinking about my future with diabetes and where I’m headed. Hope ya’ll can help.

I have been on a pump for about a year now. I was pretty intimidated by it at first, but I really like it now. My dr was the one who pushed it actually. I was on what she called a poor mans pump, or Lantus + Humalog. After the honeymoon year was over, they did a few blood tests for insurance and then sent off a letter to them to see if I was cleared.

I think alot of it is how the Dr’s office puts it to the insurance company. We justified it by showing that I was not producing any insulin on my own at all, and the anti-bodys were present in my blood. I know the educator there sent my insurance a multipage letter on why I needed it, but it was pretty much a form letter. I ended up getting 80% of the pump paid for and the company I am going through (pumps-it out of houston) has been great. I was able to do payments for the 20%, and I get 3 months of supplys in like clockwork. I would recomend them to anyone.

Hi! I went to the insulin pump for better control of my Diabetes… With shots my A1C was over 10.0… When I started the pump in Nov. 2000, I was so excited and could hardly wait… I had some problems with the other pump and I’m not going to tell you why… long story… But I love my insulin pump that I have now and wouldn’t live without it… Now my A1C is 7.0… I know you have to have the C-Peptide test but that’s easy and some insurance will cover the insulin with a dr’s script. Talk to your Endo first and do some research on the insulin pumps, there’s lots of them and pick out whick one will be best for you! Good Luck!

Chloe, I decided to go on the pump because I hated taking insulin injections, I wanted freedom to eat when and what I want, and now I continue to use the pump because I love the bolus wizard calculator which takes the math out of diabetes! It’s great!

You can get the pump if you’re a newbie. It’s not like there is a time requirement. You just have to be comfortable with carb counting and all that. Mostly that comes from your doctor, so if your doctor is cool with it, the pump company isn’t going to stop you.

As far the C-peptide thing, if you were diagnosed as a type 1, you don’t have C-peptide. C-peptide comes from making insulin, so our C-peptide level would be at zero, or at least negligible.

Soon after dxd I flew down to the NIH to learn about a clinical trial (which we never did). But the doctors there where very pro-pump and explained how beneficial it was – especially for kids who needed small doses. Our Endo first wanted us to move from NPH to Lantus and then after a month or two move to the pump. We met with all the pump companies, pick one and they took care of the insurance.

I started pumping because long acting insulin became my worst enemy. My long acting was spiking with no rhyme or reason. Despite reductions in my dose, I was going hypo too often. I developed hypo-unawareness and was found unconscious because of lows several times. The last straw was when I had to drive somewhere, tested at 160 before I left and was found crashed and unconscious (from the low) not 30 minutes later. The pump was my lifesaver, literally. My doctor was the one that recommended it and my insurance approved it no problem.

I went on the pump about 4 years ago primarily for better control and so that I could have more flexibility in my diet. It was the best decision! I’ve never had to pay anything for my pump or my pump supplies - it’s all been covered 100% by my health insurance (and I’ve had my health insurance with several different companies since I got my pump). I’m in the process of getting a new pump so we’ll see if the same holds true for the next one. Good luck making your decision!

I got mine when I was pregnate with my 1st daughter. I got mine before the insurance would even talk about covering it (at least in Tn) so I had to pay for it myself.

Thanks to everyone so far for answering. As far as the c-peptide goes, while I’m type 1, I’m still have some residual insulin production. I’m not so sure it’s a good thing, because it’s unpredictable and occasionally gives me false hope. I think that fact alone currently excludes me from the pump, but I’ve finally come to grips that this is my future.

Is there really a requirement to have no insulin of your own before you can get a pump? I have LADA and still have C-Peptide. I’m hoping that by having good control I will be able to protect my own insulin production for longer. If a pump would help me get better control, and reduce the risk of complications, wouldn’t it make sense for the insurance companies to OK it? After all, they don’t tell me that I can’t inject insulin even though I make some of my own.

I consider myself fortunate that I have been able to reach what I consider good control with MDI’s of Novolog and Lantus. Over the past 2.5 years my A1c’s have been between 6.5-7.1 with an avg of 6.8. I got over the fear of injections a long time ago being a veteran of almost 30 yrs now.
Before I read about the Omnipod at Amy’s Diabetesmine blog, I wouldn’t really consider a pump because the tube, wearability, etc. But Omnipod did open my mind to the possibility.
How good is good control with a pump? If you’re already in good control at a level like this, can a pump help you get even better?

My primary reason for going on the pump was better control of my diabetes. I had a frustrating dawn phenomenon with Lantus and would wake up at 11+ (200+) most mornings even though I was normal at bedtime and 3AM. Lantus also wasn’t lasting 24 hours for me so I had to do a split dose in order to not go high as the one dose wore off. I didn’t have to do any kind of blood tests, my endo just filled out a form for my insurance that said I was type 1, had a dawn phenomenon and extreme swings in blood sugar, had a variable schedule, and my A1c was over 7 and the insurance covered it 100%. There was a huge mess with the pump company doing things wrong and therefore making the insurance stuff take way longer than it should have (it didn’t get fully covered till I’d been using the pump for four months already), but otherwise it was pretty straightforward.

Ditto on the insurance coverage working for multiple companies, with 1 exception: some of my plans have covered the IV prep wipes, some haven’t, which cracks me up… As expensive as it all is, refusing to pay for $13 of alcohol swabs?

I went on the pump about 4 years after being diagnosed as T2 (and then T1). I was taking about 4 - 6 needles a day and I noticed that besides having the out of control BGs, I was heading into a deep depression. Certain things I didn’t care about anymore and I was afraid that my diabetes was falling into that category. One day at my PCP, one of the nurses told me about “The Pump” and I really didn’t pay any attention. One day I was surfing online and I decided to Google “Insulin Pumps”. A bunch of links came up and I signed up for the companies to send me their propaganda.

Some sent me letters, some sent folders, and some even sent VHS tapes and the like. After coming to the realization that I could take 1 “shot” every 2 or 3 days as opposed to 4 shots every day, I was pretty much sold on the idea.

After filling out the paperwork and getting my PCP to sign off on things. It took a total of about 6 days to get the pump and 6 months of supplies delivered. Fortunately, the pump and supplies were/are covered 100%. The only things that weren’t covered were the $14 Quick-Serter and batteries.

The other cool thing about going on the pump was the Pump Training. It was a one-on-one with a certified pump trainer.

All in all, making the transition was easy, almost a no-brainer. 5 years later, it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.

I wanted to go on the pump because I was using very precise doses of insulin and taking 10-13 injections a day to get the control I wanted. Basically, it was like pumping but without a pump. I thought pumping would actually be less work for me, and it was.

My insurance originally adhered to the outdated Medicare requirements - must be on insulin six months, must have low enough c-peptide, must demonstrate need, etc. etc. That all went away when I moved back to Washington state because the law here says they have to cover it.

Unfortunately, the biggest snag I ran into was with my pump training. Almost all training here is handled by a Famous Diabetes Clinic. I had already read Pumping Insulin and read about many pump users, so I can’t say I learned anything in the pump training that I didn’t know before. FDC didn’t seem to allow for the fact that I have LADA and was still making insulin, so they told me 1. my insulin needs would decrease 25% on the pump and 2. my basal/bolus ratio had to be 50/50 and there could be no deviations. They were wrong about both (especially because my insulin production is declining!), but it took three weeks for me to convince my endo to let me dump the training and do it on my own. The second I did, everything starting going really well.

I started receiving insulin through the pump last January. I did b/c I saw kids at the diabetes camp I worked at rocking the pump and I knew it would help change my life. Insurance, well they paid for it by 80% and I pay 50 bucks a month till I pay off the rest. My doctor completely supported me with getting on the pump. I think my pump has actually saved my life many times, what I mean is if I forgot to give myself insulin it would still give me a regualr basal rate (works like long acting insulin) and I managed to be fine ( not that’d I recommend missing a shot of insulin). Plus my pumps purple (you get to choose a color) and I have these specially made stickers that go around my pump site so it looks like a tatoo (pretty sweet huh?). Anyways let me know if this actually helped Chloe. Much love Ash~

Hi Jennifer,
I had a similar experience with Lantus and also with Levemir and my endo had me do split doses. I’d have other strange problems with extreme lows in the afternoon and evening and we discovered that I’m fairly insulin resistant in the morning but extremely insulin sensitive in the afternoon/evening. I’m Type 1.5 (changed dx a year after Type 2 dx) and after 6 years on MDI was only able to get my A1c down as low as 8.3 After 3 months on the pump I was down to 6.7!

Unlike your experience, my insurance didn’t cover any of the pump cost even with my endo’s letter. (LADA, dawn phenomenon, variable schedule, high A1c, etc - same as yours) We appealed but still got shot down. They were covering 100% of supplies but I decided to quit that job to work closer to home. Now, instead of a 4 hour daily commute, it’s 10 minutes each way. The downside is no benefits… It gets expensive! I test 10-14 times a day and it sure adds up.

Nice to see another Canadian by the way!