Friday 23 November 2012
This afternoon while getting ready for my run it dawned on me how useful my sports bra is. Not only does it hold the girls in place, but it is like a mini suitcase for all my diabetic needs while running! Amazing what one can pack in there. Today I had my I-Phone (for music and in case of emergency), insulin pump, tube of 10 glucose tabs, meter and a little baggie with test strips. Works a charm!
Wednesday 14 November 2012
First of all, today is International Diabetes Day! I am so very thankful to my fellow Canadian Dr. Banting for founding insulin. Without this discovery I would not be here along with many others. I am going to celebrate my hitting the gym tonight wearing blue and working up a good sweat. To me this symbolizes what insulin enables me to do on a daily basis.
It has been two weeks since I starting pumping and I can sum it up in one short sentence. I LOVE IT! I really and truly love my pump and am so happy I made this decision. Don't get me wrong, it has been frustrating and I will be the first to admit that my numbers have been all over the place (not sure what my current A1C will look like)...but it is improving each day and I have learned so much in the last couple of weeks about how my body utilizes the insulin I give it, when it needs more, when it needs less and how all my different types of exercise and foods affect me. I had an idea when on needles, but a lot of the time you are just guessing how much insulin you have left in your system and things can go wrong quickly.
Some of the things I have learned. I have dawn phenomenon in a big way. I am working with my team to adjust my basal through the night and this is working. The first day I woke up with a 16.0 I nearly had a bird. Now my numbers are getting closer to what they should be after fasting all night. I need significantly more insulin during the night! My insulin to carb ratio's have also changed and this has helped with my post meal numbers. I need more insulin at breakfast, a bit less at lunch and then less again for supper. My team started me on a conservative basal rate during the day and that has increased as well.
Exercising has been most interesting to figure out. I have found that being able to see how much insulin I have on board (IOB) is invaluable. This has allowed me to adjust my plan according to what I will be doing. So far I have had a lot of success in setting a temp basal decrease of 50% an hour before activity and then cancelling it the minute I finish. This has prevented me, in the most part, from going low during my activity and then prevents the high afterwards. After really intense activity I have even had to bolus a small amount to counter going high. I have not run yet (due to some hip issues) and will be interested to see how I react next week when I resume running. Swimming has gone very well and I was delighted to confirm for myself that it is in fact waterproof! I was so nervous jumping in the pool for the first time, I was pretty convinced it was going to explode. But it did not and I was fine :)
Other things I love. Being able to dose my bolus's to my exact carbs. I have had less lows (although the ones I have had have been intense). I have lost 5 pounds in two weeks due to not having to eat my way out of lows. I like that. I love being able to see my IOB, helps me feel more confident when exercising or when going to bed at night. I really love not injecting myself all day long, it is wonderful. The infusions sets pinch when I insert them but it is not bad at all. I love that my pump has a clock on it and the date, instant watch! I have had quite a few strangers notice my pump and have asked me about it, particularly at the pool. I like having the chance to educate and explain. In fact I am working on a post that explains what an insulin pump does and is. I realize that not many people know and there are many misconceptions out there, number one being that the pump tests my sugars for me and automatically gives me insulin. This is not the case at all. In fact I have found myself testing a lot more.
All in all I am very pleased and looking forward to learning more and more.
Thursday 1 November 2012
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.