Why would you want that??
Insulin pumps are a medical device, and what could be worse than being attached to a medical device 24/7? This machine is a permanent reminder that I have a serious life threatening medical condition, so why would I ask for one?
So many people have said to me ” but your control is really good, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it ”
Their point of view is a valid one, from an outsider. However I know how hard I am having to work to keep control of these numbers. Could I get the same, if not better, control using an insulin pump, you bet your life I can.
My control so far
I have had diabetes for over 2 years now. In that time I have managed my condition using multiple daily injections. My average blood sugars are down from 27 mmol/l upon diagnosis to a very respectable 6 mmol/l today. With this in mind why would I want to change all of this and go onto a totally new regime for my diabetes control?
How will a pump help
- It will enable me to control my fasting blood sugar levels. At present when I wake up my blood sugar will be anywhere between 8mmol/l and 14mmol/l. These numbers may not seem that high, but when you consider that if I average 6 hours sleep per night, that’s 25% of my life where my blood sugars are in the range where damage can occur. This cannot be controlled using MDI. If I increase my overnight background insulin then I always go too low during the night. On a pump this is so much easier to combat. This is what is refered to as the ➡ Dawn Phenomenon.
- Pumping insulin will help with the number of limiting hypos I am experiencing. The problem with a long acting background insulin, even Levemir, which I take twice a day, is how inflexible it is. If I take my standard morning dose and then my day turns into a very busy/active day, then I will go too low and have a hypo. To prevent this at present I am having to eat more carbs, even when I don’t want too!! This might seem like a little thing but when you have a hypo when you are really busy at work, it all of a sudden becomes a problem. This has been a real issue to me and has been effecting my quality of life.
- Even although my last HBA1C was 44 mmol/mol, which is considered very good control, this does not give the whole picture. This number is the average for the past 3 months. An average is very misleading, throw in lots of hypos and your average number will plummet. Although this looks good on paper it really is not an ideal situation. I am sure I will make the pump work for me and I will get my HBA1C number to 44mmol/mol without having all the hypos that I currently get.
- Being able to set a different background amount of insulin for non work days will really benefit me. It is more or less guaranteed that a Saturday will bring a hypo for me on MDI. Even with a lowered amount of insulin injected I always hypo on non work days, just the way my body rolls I guess.
- It will make me feel less like a pin cushion. At present I am taking a minimum of 7 injections per day to get the level of control I currently have. Compare that to just 1 set change every 3 days. Over the course of a year I will be sticking needles in me 2,548 times compared to just 121 set changes.
- The pump will enable me to get back into the gym. On injections it is very difficult to get the insulin to exercise set just right. At least on my pump I will be able to fine tune my insulin needs much easier to the activity levels in the gym.
- Being able to have different levels of background insulin at different times during the day. This is a big one for me. I need more insulin from 3am to 8am. Between 8am and 1pm I need a little bit less. During the afternoon I need much less background. Then during the evening I need a higher amount. Finally overnight I need the same amounts as I do between 8am and 1pm. Try and do that on twice daily Levemir. The resultant hypo is proof that long acting insulins are just not working for me.
So the insulin pump just does it all for you, right?
This is the one sentence I have heard about a million times so far, and I don’t start pumping until 9th November. People who do not have type 1 see a medical device attached and assume that it must just do it all for me.
If only this was the case. In all honesty I know that a pump will be very hard work. It is going to be like starting again for me on my diabetic journey. Many hours have been spent reading up on this and talking with lots of other pumpers. I have made some really good friends since getting involved in the Type 1 London Facebook group meetups, many of whom have taught me so much about going onto an insulin pump. Deep down I know I am as prepared as possible to start my pump, but must admit I am a little nervous. I have read a couple of great books which really help to make sense of everything, the links below
If you are thinking that an insulin pump might be the right choice for you, please do have a look at Input diabetes website, chocked full of great advice and information regarding insulin pumps.
Take care and pump everywhere
Keep an eye out for upcoming blogs on my pumping journey. I go live on the pump on Thursday 20th October at 3pm!!