It's official, I am now a Type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump and so far it is fantastic. I am only three days in and although it is a huge learning curve and has been frustrating at times, I already know that I have made the right decision.
Let me back up a week. Last Thursday I attended my diabetic clinic as eager as a kid on their first day of school. I had the big bag of supplies, manuals, workbooks as well as the pump itself in tow ready for my pre-pump class. There was one other man who would be doing the pump start with me and we hit it off right away. He has been diabetic for 40 years and had made the decision to start the pump to help him get better control. The nurse went over some basic diabetic stuff and then we got right into it. We made some dummy programs on our pumps and played with all the settings. We practiced loading the cartridge with saline and getting the pump ready to use. We used dummy stomachs to do our site insertions. The plan was for us both to leave the clinic by noon pumping saline solution. Before I knew it we were ready to insert our first sites. This was the moment I got a bit scared...okay like really scared. I have always had a fear of needles and although I had been injecting myself for over a year, the needle in the insertion set looked very daunting, long and sharp. I watched my fellow new pumper insert his with no problem and knew I had to just suck it up. I got the set ready against my tummy and placed my fingers on the trigger (for those who don't know it inserts itself automatically when you press the sides of the insertion set). The nurse gave me a big smile, counted to three and...nothing. I could not do it. She looked me in the eye and told me to just do it. So finally after counting to three another four times I took a big deep breath and pushed. Clunk. In it went and I hardly felt a thing! Just a little pinch. The nurse must have thought I was totally bonkers when I let out a big yahoo and kind of punched the air with my fist. Yeah, I did that. After inserting the sites we hooked up to our pumps and they shipped us off pumping saline with instructions to do everything with the pump on to get used to the feeling of having it attached. I left the clinic that day feeling totally elated. It felt strange to have this little beeper sized thing on my hip but I felt super excited about the whole thing (and inside slightly terrified).
For the next five days I had my insulin pump on me and practiced bolusing saline and using the remote meter (which is totally awesome by the way). Sleeping with it was easier than I expected, I just clipped it to the back of my undies and slept well. I went to spin class with it and tried out my Spibelt which worked a charm. I ran with it, went for a swim where I practiced hooking and unhooking it) and did my strength workouts with no issue with comfort. I did a site change on the Saturday - it took me a long time but I am sure it will be second nature soon.
On Tuesday morning (Oct. 30/12) I returned to the clinic with a vial of insulin and my supplies. I was ready to rock n' roll. A different nurse spent the morning with us and she was fantastic as she is a pumper herself. We spent the first hour putting all of our settings in with basal rates, insulin to carb ratios and sensitivity factors. The doctor had started me on a conservative basal rate to work from. They lent each of us a pump to play with and we practiced bolusing from the remote meter. We were ready to begin with insulin! The night before I had only taken half my dose of lantus in order that I would be ready to start. I changed my site, filled my cartridge, prepped the pump and hooked up. That was it, I was pumping insulin! I left the clinic with instructions to keep track of all my sugars, carbs eaten and amounts bolused. They warned me that I would experience some highs as my basal rate was very conservative and could expect to be frustrated. I was to call the clinic that afternoon and then twice a day for the next three or four days to report all of my data in order that we could get my rates adjusted. I left the clinic feeling very excited and extremely vulnerable.
My day with the pump felt so weird. It felt very strange not to i
In order to avoid this post getting to book length, I will post some more stories over the next few days with what has been happening since starting on insulin through the pump. I feel a bit like a science experiment! One thing I was shocked at was how emotional going "live" on insulin was. It brought back the memories of the day I was diagnosed and gave myself my first injection. It made me realize how far I have come in the last 13 months, how much I have learned and how I have managed so far. It also made me feel so sad and angry at the same time. Although I am very excited to have this opportunity to be on the insulin pump, it is just really blows that I have to do this. It really struck home for me that this disease is here to stay. The man who took the pump-start with me found it very emotional. He said that even 40 years in sometimes it just hits him how hard it is, how frustrating and at times how it all feels very unfair.