Monday, September 5, 2016 - 19:02
I often get asked about wearing a pump and a CGM. More specifically being attached 24/7.
I began pumping insulin in 2010 and that was the day I never looked back. When I first looked into pumping, I often worried about being attached to something. Would I notice? Would it become annoying? Would I rip it out in my sleep? Would it be a constant reminder of living with Type 1 Diabetes? After my first night with my insulin pump, I began to wonder why I was so concerned! I forgot I was even wearing a pump until I went to get out of bed and felt the infusion line tugging. Fast forward to being in high school and university, I saw my insulin pump as a visual aid of how far I had come in follow my dreams rather than a constant reminder of living with Type 1 Diabetes. When I’ve told people I have Type 1 Diabetes and use an insulin pump their first thought is always denial because they can’t see it.
There are some moments that I do sit down and hate the tubing and being physically attached to my diabetes but this is few and far between. To me the benefits of pumping far outweigh those moments. After 5 years of using an insulin pump, I forget I am wearing it most of the time. It’s become a part of me and is second nature. My insulin pump is a sense of security. I always say to anyone that is considering insulin pump therapy to just try it! Personally it has changed my life and I couldn’t imagine going back to 10 injections a day and getting the same tight control I get now. Medtronic do have a 30-day money back guarantee if you do determine that insulin pump therapy isn’t for you.
Using a continuous glucose monitor can also be a bit daunting. You’re able to see a snapshot of your glucose data at all times and have plenty of options of alarms and alerts. I often get asked if the alarms on the CGM cause burnout and does wearing another attachment bother me. The short answer is no to both. Working with my healthcare team, we determined appropriate settings for the alarms so when my pump does alarm, I know I need to take action. With the addition with SmartGuard® on the MiniMed®640G, I have added piece of mind knowing that if my pump and CGM can sense if I am going to have a low blood sugar, it will stop giving me insulin in order to try and avoid it. SmartGuard® has helped avoid a handful of 2am lows in my experience. That alone is worth it. Using a subscription, it comes down to around $8 a day to use CGM full time. That’s equivalent to around 2 cups of coffee or buying lunch every day. I know which one I would rather. My CGM is my sixth sense when it comes to diabetes.
On my pumping journey, I’ve learnt some tips and tricks to help me wearing my pump. I learnt very early on from the diabetes community that you can keep tubing out of sight with a trick. You just cut a little hole in the inside of your pockets and use this to route the tubing underneath clothing. I do this for when I am at my regular job as well as nursing placement so I don’t get my tubing caught on anything. Don’t have pockets? You can get pump belts that go around your waist which hold your pump and tubing together. This works really well for when you place infusion sites in your stomach. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also get skins and silicone cases for you pump and wear you pump anywhere using the clips. This is what I use day to day as it allows me to personalise my pump and makes it feel less like a medical device.
Pumping has provided me with the greatest flexibility and with the addition of CGM and SmartGuard, I now have total piece of mind that I am doing the very best to help manage my Type 1 Diabetes. Attachment for me isn’t an issue because I could see the benefits of using an insulin pump and CGM with my own eyes. I see them as useful tools rather than a reminder of Type 1 Diabetes.
The patient is a member of the Medtronic Patient Ambassador Program. This patient testimonial relates to an account of an individual’s response to treatment. The account is genuine, typical and documented. The response other persons have to treatment could be different. Please consult with your healthcare professional for information on whether the treatment is appropriate for you. For more information please speak to your healthcare professional. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual poster or author and not representative of Medtronic or of the third parties referenced.
by Brent Salzmann