When I was 10, my mom and I were used to shots, we knew the perfect amount of insulin for everything, from a small piece of pizza and cake at a birthday party to simply cereal for breakfast. Yep, we had it all down to a science. Then came the big Fed-Ex Box. It had been sitting in my room for months. I was scared. I’m not into “change."
It was my first insulin pump. The thought of having something attached to me to replace all of the shots was overwhelming. No more [
10-15 (why did I write that before? I must have been so tired, I wrote how many time I test)] 4-6 shots a day…just a site change every 2-3 days. That sounds nice. But how does it work? Programming this thing was a mystery. Basal Rates? WHAT? What are basal rates? What is a BOLUS? Spell check still wants to say "blouse.” I could tell this was going to take a lot of getting used to.
We had been through “Pump Training” already and had programmed my new pump. At the time, we were doing a Video Diary series about what it’s like to live with Diabetes for ABC’s Good Morning America. During the first try of using the insulin pump, my blood sugar had dropped down to 19, and although I was dangerously low, I think the site went in ok. It either wasn’t a good memory or I was too low to remember, but I do recall it hurt too much to keep the site in and I had to go back to shots for a while.
A few months later, we tried the pump again. I didn’t give up. I knew this would help give me some freedom. I don’t know about you, but I remember exactly when I put my insulin infusion site in and successfully started using the pump. I was ten years old. It was January 1st, 2000 at 3:00 in the afternoon. My mom and I used the scary big blue inserter that to this day, creeps me out. Then, we took a picture (of course) and I joined my sister and friends at the Restaurant called, “Rubio’s” where my friends always ordered cheeros. (I’ve never had one so I’m not even sure if that is how you spell it, and I don’t know why I remember that.)
We all were SO happy that the pump finally worked!!!!!
Fast forward to now. 2011. I don’t think I have EVER taken my pump off and given my sites a break. So in eleven years, all of my favorite places to put my infusion sets are practically bruised forever. (I’m still trying to get the bruising to go away….Arnica Gel? Yes, pleeease!)
I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, please let me know if you do, but I can’t put my sites into my stomach. They hurt so much and are incredibly uncomfortable. So I don’t exactly have the whole switch site from the stomach, to the back, other side, back to the other side of my stomach, and start over. No way. Just my backside and sometimes the leg, but that is not my favorite spot either.
Any way, I need to stay focused here. What was I saying…?
Oh right! So in May, I went to my endocrinologist appointment, they synced my insulin pump and tested my HbA1c and went over my blood work. ((yaaaaayyy!))
I hate getting my A1c tested. (I wonder how many times I’ve said that?)
Fortunately, it had come down 0.7 points and my other blood work came back with really good results! Wooohooo!
Any way, my sister, Jackie, and I asked my doctor about the insulin pen. Again.
She thinks the pen is the coolest thing around by the way. haha. Why? They are still shots!
I agreed to “take a break from the pump” and go on the Insulin Pen for a few days to let my sites heal. Well, they needed more than a few days. More like a month, and even though the bruises still aren’t healed, they look a lot better…Suggestions anyone?
During this vacation from my pump, a new Minimed Paradigm Revel (mine is clear!) was approved and arrived in the mail! Going through the pump instructional book and programming the new pump with all of my settings was quite a process. The little beeping noises were getting annoying! Haha, but it’s all good. The new pump is really nice and it’s good to have an updated pump with a lot of new features! It’s cool how you can put in an event, such as exercise! I like that. :)
Any way, with the pens, at least from my experience, (I’m not a doctor and what I’m saying here is what helped me and whatever phrase is in quotes is from my Diabetic Educator, and in no way am I trying to tell you, the reader, what to do. With the insulin pens, I basically needed to learn how to use them, which sounds really weird, but I didn’t know you could split the doses, or there was a better time to take levemir, or that “since I’m lean, I don’t need to pinch my skin like I’m used to” to give myself a shot with the tiny tiny needles, or that when I get a bruise from a shot, it was because I needed to insert it in an area with enough fat, (for example, NOT the top of my thigh but the upper side). And for me, re-learning how to calculate my insulin to carb ratios and the blood sugar Correction Bolus Ratio, and eventually downloaded the “Insulin Calc” app for my iPhone. Best app ever!
After a month of Levemir (Basal) and Humolog Pens, I couldn’t take another shot. They hurt SO much. Shots are a pain. Literally.
I put the pump back in on Saturday and immediately got the tubing stuck on a door handle. Oops :-/
I know I sound like I don’t really know which is my favorite and it’s not the point in this post, but I just wanted to share with you my list of pros and cons for each! I realized during this pump vacation that I had forgotten how nice it was to wear a dress without my pump. To workout without my pump attached. To sleep on my stomach, comfortably. To take a shower without a pump site stuck in. But I really missed bolusing half units, turning down my basal rate, not NEEDING to EAT because there was always insulin on board, letting the Bolus Wizard figure everything out for me, remember exactly when I bolused and what I bolused (for some reason every time I would dial the pen and give myself the shot, I forgot how much I gave) and not having to pull up my shirt in public to give myself a shot every time I ate something or had to correct. (I know I could go to the restroom and give myself a shot, I did that too!) And the pain of the 4 to 6 shots each day, I don’t miss that. At all.
I still LOVE my pump [very very much] and I miss it when I’m on the insulin pen. If you asked me if I would ever stop using the pump, I would say it was one of the greatest things ever made and I can’t imagine living life without my insulin pump. But I will now welcome those little mini-pump-vacations each month when I give my poor sites a break for a few days. :)
Well thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about pumps vs. pens! :)