Deciding to Switch To An Insulin Pump

Diabetes has never felt more difficult to manage in these past couple of months. Quite frankly, insulin injections are just feeling like a lot of hard work.

The best results seem to come if I eat similar foods, consume a similar number of carbs and do the same level of activity every day. I can remember my diabetes educator telling me that most people have around 10 to 15 meals they have in rotation. Theoretically, once I knew the correct insulin doses for all of those meals, managing my diabetes should be a piece of cake.

However, that’s not always practical when you’re a human being.

Sometimes I feel hungrier than normal. Sometimes I don’t feel like eating. Other times I go out and I want to eat more than normal. I don’t always eat the same foods together on my dinner plate. Sometimes I’ll indulge if there’s leftover desert in the fridge. Above all, I don’t enjoy eating exactly the same thing each day.

I’d like to think I have a really good understanding of the effects that different foods have on my body. Some foods need a delayed bolus, some need a pre bolus and others need a bolus when I eat them. I have a good idea of the carb content in most of my foods, but I don’t rigorously count or weigh my foods. So, my insulin doses are generally a good old guesstimate.

Usually, guesstimates work well for me. However, I still like to test 2 hours after a meal in case I need to correct a high reading, or to stop a low in its tracks. If I eat something with a higher fat content later in the day, I can expect a spike after bedtime. If I’m eating something that’s digested really slowly, like pasta, ditto. Then there are the Lantus Adjustment Struggles. Will my Lantus dose will be enough, or not enough to match the food I’ve eaten in one day?

I cannot remember the last time that I did not have to endure the Nightly 1am Glucose Checks. I don’t enjoy them, but they are necessary. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt confident that my glucose levels will remain stable through the night. I absolutely hate waking up high. The thought of a blood sugar out of range for the 8 hours I’ve been asleep puts me in a really bad mood. I don’t like starting my day on that note. Night time testing helps a great deal. More often than not I do wake up in range, which makes it all worthwhile.

Which brings me to a big decision. To Pump, or Not to Pump?


After much deliberation, I’ve decided that I’m going to give the insulin pump a go.

I’m hoping that with the pump’s ability to continuously deliver insulin, some of that work to regulate my levels in the background might be made a little easier. My hba1c level has fluctuated over the years, so I’m hoping that the pump might help me to achieve a little more stability.

Sure, it’s going to be a big learning curve. Sure, the pump is only as smart as the person operating it. Sure, I’m still going to have diabetes after it all…

But I really have nothing to lose. My Private Health Insurance will cover the cost. I’ll have as much support as I need from my diabetes clinic. And I can always go back to injections if I don’t end up liking it.

I’m thinking about the Animas Vibe pump, because of it’s compatibility with the Dexcom CGM which everyone raves about. I’m not really interested in a CGM at the moment, but it’s always nice to have that option for the future. My other options here in Australia are Medtronic and Roche. Opinions anyone?

It was a big decision for me to make, and I’m glad I took the time to think it through. I can’t thank you all enough for your friendly words of advice and support over these last few months.

I’m off to see my diabetes educator next week, and hopefully I can get this looooonnnng process started. Wish me luck!

Wishing one of my readers, C, the best of luck for her pump day today. 

The Severity of My Illness

I am constantly reminded of the severity of diabetes in the media.

In the past, I haven’t often worried about my diabetes and it’s impact on my long term health. I am finding, however, that as my diabetes is getting older and I am taking more of an interest in my health (cue this blog), things are changing. During restless nights on the couch or in bed, I do find myself thinking about how my body is handling unpleasant blood sugar swings. Can it handle them? And for how much longer?

I’m sure I’m scaring myself silly. But as I’m reading through some confronting statistics in Diabetes Australia’s Insulin Pump Therapy in Australia: The Case for Actionthe severity of the very disease that I live with hits home.

The incidence of type 1 diabetes in Australia has grown at a rate of 30% in the past decade, and there are over 3,000 new cases of type 1 diabetes every year.

High average hba1c levels are a strong indicator of the risk of developing long term diabetes complications.

The annual cost of type 1 diabetes to the Australian health system is $570 million, and the average cost per person is $4,669.

Finally, some people with type 1 diabetes cannot achieve optimal blood glucose control without the use of diabetes technology.

Sure, those haunting statistics aren’t intentionally targeted at me. Diabetes is rather an invisible condition. A lot of the people around us don’t see, or realise what we go through day by day in order to stay alive. As one of my readers, Maria, pointed out last week, sometimes we have to get serious in order to get our point across to those people who matter (politicians anyone?).

Yet, in spite of all of these factors, there are still so many barriers in Australia that prohibit us from doing what we are told to do.

The NDSS only subsidises around 5 test strips per day.

Potentially life changing Continuous Glucose Monitors are out of reach for many, as they are costly and not currently subsidised by the Australian government.

There are so many barriers to insulin pumping in Australia. Cost. Location. Income. Ability to afford private health insurance. Availability of health care professionals.

I also feel that more could be done to encourage diabetes technology, social media and other innovations in d-management. If you are a part of the Diabetes Online Community on Twitter, you’ll find a lot of enthusiastic insulin pumpers and CGM users. You’ll find a lot of engaged, passionate people who are always willing to provide helpful advice and friendly support. You’d be hard pressed not to be inspired and motivated by such an amazing community of people.

But thinking about my own journey prior to finding the diabetes community, the sad reality is that DOC is probably not representative of the entire diabetes population.

That, in my opinion, is the severity of this illness.

Finally, please wish Rodger Federer best of luck in tonight’s Australian Open Semi Final!