I want to mention first of all that I don’t discount how valuable my pump has been for me and how grateful I am for it. Through all the cursing and complaining, I owe so much to having access to this piece of equipment. It totally changed my life. The insulin pump helped me to become MORE focused on my diabetes. I helped me to understand more of the complicated aspects of D like insulin to carb ratios, insulin sensitivity, correction factors etc.
Let me first explain why I went to an insulin pump:
I wanted better control initially. I couldn’t afford a pump though. It’s hard in Canada to get insurance companies to cover insulin pumps and supplies especially if you are old enough to be off your parents plans (which I was). It's just not something the company's commonly cover. Ergo, every time I inquired I got denied and gave up. There was no way I could afford it. A year or so later the Ontario government Assisted Devices Programme announced they would be funding pumps for adults where they were already funding them for under 18. I called my endo that same day and within a couple months I had obtained a government funded pump.
Constantly being low every night, all night. It didn’t matter when I took my Lantus (long acting insulin). I experimented a lot at the direction of my doctors but to no avail (although they never suggested split Lantus doses). I was still going low all fucking night. Every.Single.Night. It eventually became the norm for me to go to bed with a jar of honey or table syrup beside my bed. I was going through entire bottles of honey in just a span of a couple weeks consuming it entirely to treat night lows (nypos!). Bethany takes credit for the nypo description but I can't find her post to link it to. This was driving me crazy and made me gag at the thought of honey for years after. The other problems I had were with exercise. I wasn’t good at figuring out a way to keep my BGs up without consuming mass quantities of sugar beforehand. Even lowering the Lantus dose that day wasn’t effective.
Going on the pump allowed me to customize my basal rates over the 24 hour period for my specific needs. Finally, I started sleeping through the night. I didn’t have to drink syrup before bed, this was genius to me! I could also set temporary basal rates before and during long sessions of exercise to help reduce the huge amount of carbs I have to take in.
Fast-forward to, uhm, right now and how’s it goin’?
Well I started where I remember leaving off. I started with one shot of Lantus in the morning at the same dose I used to take. This immediately caused all night lows. Ugh. So then I split the dose like I know a lot of people do. This left me low all night and high all day. THEN I went back to my regular morning shot and half of that at night and VOILA! Stable during the nights and stable during the days! It only took me two weeks of persistent and constant lows at night resulting in at least 2 hypos a night. Every night. I set an alarm on my phone twice a day so I actually remember to take it.
I feel like I am getting closer to my goal of “making it work on MDI”. I appreciate the pump and all it does but it really wears thin after multiple years of being attached.
Once my training ramps up a bit more when the weather gets nice I’m most certain that the pump will be back in my cleave.
There are a myriad of things this experiment has caused me to think about that I wasn’t expecting at all:
1. Perhaps the technology of insulin pumps complicates diabetes more than it needs to be
2. Without a pump I feel more like everybody else
3. Injections are easier and require less
4. I feel more empowered
5. I feel physically and mentally less burdened
I'm not done writing about this yet :)