To Pump, Or Not To Pump?

A few weeks ago, I went to an insulin pump information evening. And I must say that I was quite keen on the idea after that night despite the politics of it all, which you can read about here. The promise of better control, long term health, insulin dose calculator, ease of insulin delivery and the statement that “very few people give these back to me and say that they don’t like it.”

But I’m not naive. I know that a pump is a big decision. I know that a pump is a big commitment. I don’t want to get a pump just for the sake of getting one, and then end up in no better of a situation with my diabetes management. I don’t want to get a pump with the mindset of being able to slack off and get lazy with diabetes. And it might not necessarily solve all of my problems. I’ve been talking about it at home, talking with friends in the Diabetes Online Community, and deliberating over the matter in my head for weeks.

My biggest struggle is achieving stable numbers consistently. There will be weeks where I seem to do it at ease. And then there are weeks where the numbers suffer, due to changes in my level of activity and the level of food that I eat. I seem to be adjusting my insulin doses every second day to get the balance right in the background. Lantus Adjustment Struggles are real. And they drive me crazy. There are times where my Lantus dose is more than enough, and other times where it’s just not enough. My hba1c level has been hovering around the borderline of “acceptable” for quite some time, but I’d really like to get it down further for the sake of my long term health.

In some ways, I feel that a pump could potentially offer that to me. I’ve heard nothing but good things about pumps from friends in the #DOC. But I also expect that the pump will be a big learning curve. It will be a lot of work. And I’m expecting a lot of frustrations in the beginning, at least. I’m concerned that a pump might make things more complicated. Potentially having control over more variables, such as basal insulin could do my head in. And, will a pump actually make my job as the operator of a broken pancreas easier? Or is it essentially a different way of doing the same thing?

At the moment, I do feel quite “free” with my Multiple Daily Injections. I take my insulin injections whenever I eat, and in the meantime my Lantus dose keeps me (relatively) stable for a whole 24 hours. I like the fact that if something were to happen and I couldn’t access my insulin, my blood glucose levels would be fine for a whole day.

I am a bit scared of being reliant on technology to keep me going. Relying on one, continuous source of insulin to keep me stable is scary. If that one source of insulin was suddenly cut off, or if my pump suddenly stopped working during the night, I could go into a state of diabetic ketoacidosis within hours. And I absolutely hate carrying junk in my pockets. An insulin pump would only add to that problem, as lame an excuse as it sounds!

A pump would certainly be more convenient, though. These 13 Truths About Insulin Injections would be no more. I would be able to administer my insulin at the touch of a button, rather than often waiting until the dinner table conversation has ended. The carb calculating function on the pumps look awesome. And, I wouldn’t necessarily be stuck with the pump. I could get it, learn how to use it, and then I would always have it as an option.

So, to bring this jumble of thoughts from my head to a close, I haven’t made up my mind about an insulin pump yet. I’m still thinking, I’m still researching, and I’m still talking about it.

Affected by diabetes? Join the Oz Diabetes Online Community for our weekly chat Tonight from 8.30pm AEDT (GMT+11) by following the #OzDOC hashtag on Twitter.

5 thoughts on “To Pump, Or Not To Pump?

  1. If your insurance covers it you should try it but IMHO it is just another form of insulin delivery. It does make diabetes easier but it is not a cure and I still struggle daily. True diabetes triumph is low carbs.

  2. There certainly are a lot of things to take into consideration before choosing a pump, and it’s a big decision to make. It took me some time to take the leap, and while it did take some time to get everything calibrated to my specific needs, I honestly would never go back to injections willingly. I always found adjusting Lantus doses to be difficult and I just didn’t like having to inject in public.

    Your remarks about the pump being just another form of insulin delivery made me think, and in the sense of long-term, I guess it could be true. My A1C levels did get better after being on the pump, but they only got significantly better after I started with the CGM. However, while it could be considered just another form of insulin delivery, I find it to be a much easier form than MDIs when it comes to decision-making and being active. Basal rates can be set accordingly depending on activity and insulin sensitivity throughout the day and you can Bolus in increments of as little as 0.05 units of insulin.

    Obviously, we all have different needs and preferences. I hope you figure out what you think would be the best choice for your own management. You’re definitely asking the right questions 🙂

  3. Hi Frank, interesting read on your thoughts for the pump. I agree that it is another way to deliver insulin. I have also noticed that a large percentage that do go on to pumping do struggle with gaining good BGL or struggle with injections and a good diet. Personally I do not like the pump I do not like the idea of a device delivering insulin, I like the control I have on needles. Injecting in public has never been an issue, in fact people actually ask what I am doing, this gives me an opportunity to explain about T1. If you are undecided though do what I did contact the pump company and ask for a trial one, see how you go on it and then go from there. At the end of the trial if you are still unsure, then the pump isn’t for you.

Leave a Reply