The very first thing Gwen emphasised to me last year was that using an insulin pump would not be any easier than Multiple Daily Injections. Boy, oh boy, was she right.
These past three months have been by far the most challenging I have faced since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes six years ago. I have gone through site failures, occlusions, ketones, frustrations and burnouts that have lasted for several days on end. It has required enormous patience, a commitment to learn, and it has seen me agonise over many a decision. I have been through it all. I have poured my heart onto these pages over the last three months.
There have been a lot of low points that I have talked about quite candidly over the past three months. There have been a few times where I’ve reached breaking point. Times where I have found myself pacing up and down my room, deliberating over whether to rip my pump out and take a break for a couple of days.
But every time I have contemplated removing my pump, I knew that I really didn’t want to say goodbye to that added level of precision. I have never truly felt ready to say that this wasn’t for me.
Stability during the night is miles better compared to injections. I felt that when I was using Lantus, I could never get the dose quite right. I felt that I needed to eat a similar number of carbohydrates each day in order to achieve that smooth coverage I needed during the night. I felt that if I ate more than normal, my basal wouldn’t be enough to keep me stable through the night. Then if I were to skip a meal the next night, my basal would likely send me plummeting at 4am.
For the first time in my life, I have confidence that my basal rate keeps me stable. When I give a correction at 1am, it actually works and sends me back into range by the time I wake in the morning. When I go low during the night, it’s only through my own fault.
I could never seem to get my breakfast insulin dose just quite right. In the months leading up to the pump, I noticed that I would end up frustratingly high after eating virtually the same thing for breakfast each morning. Now my pump delivers extra basal insulin to cover the extra glucose that my liver dumps when I wake up each morning, and my breakfast insulin dose actually does it’s job!
Highs are also so much easier to manage with the pump. I remember stubborn highs that were so resilient they needed multiple insulin corrections that didn’t make any sense. Now with the pump, I know that highs are a little less sensitive to insulin. When my levels soar into the 20s, I can set a temporary basal rate of +200% to get things moving a little more quickly. When i think about it, I don’t think my levels peak above 15mmol half as often as they used to. And when they do, they don’t stay there for too long at all.
On pump day, Gwen reminded me that I was the kind of person who wanted that extra level of precision. I knew that I wanted to be able to customise my insulin delivery to match the hour of the day or a specific activity. I feel that my insulin pump has given me that.
The pump has given me an added focus and drive with my diabetes. I am working my butt off with carbohydrate counting, pre-bolusing and watching my portion sizes (which I could easily do without the pump, too). I guess what I’m trying to say is that my diabetes goals seemed unattainable on injections. With the pump, they do. Hence, the drive to keep up the hard work rather than being lazy.
I’ll hopefully have an a1c result at the end of today. I have a good feeling that it will likely be around the same mark as it was in May, and I’m pretty content with that. Over the years my a1c results have been ridden with too many peaks and troughs, so I’m pretty pleased that those peaks are a little less peak-ey today.
As I reach the three month mark on an insulin pump today, I feel like I can finally focus on some of my other diabetes goals, which feel far more in reach than they ever did on injections.
Thanks for all of your support and encouragement over the last three months. I really couldn’t have done it without you all cheering me on.