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Celebrating a Pumpaversary

By Karen Graffeo

Guest Blogger

Posted:  5/3/2012 4:15 PM

Tags:

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my fourth “pumpaversary”.  And I really did celebrate the milestone of being on an insulin pump for four years, because my road to get here was a long one.

I spent about 28 years doing multiple daily injections and the many needle jabs didn’t bother me.  But in 2003 I began seeing a different endocrinologist, and for the first time in my life we had set an A1C goal.  When I couldn’t get to the range we were shooting for, my new doctor recommended trying pump therapy as a tool to reach my goal.  I was resistant.  And by resistant, I mean I inherited a huge stubborn streak from both of my grandmothers and I was dead set against the idea of an insulin pump.  I could never quite make my endo understand my reservations, but they were something like this:

  • Fear of the unknown – I had done injections for 28 years and I saw no reason to change.
  • Being tethered to a pump – The whole idea of having a piece of medical equipment attached to me all the time freaked me out.
  • Something could go wrong – For some reason I was under the impression that my pump could break without me knowing and that within minutes I’d be so sick I’d need to be hospitalized.
  • People would see my pump - I wasn’t sure I wanted strangers - or friends and family, for that matter - to always see diabetes (meaning, my pump) clipped to my waist-band.

To his credit, my endocrinologist never tried to force me to pump.  He simply said “Okay, but when you are ready to give it a try, you just let me know”.  We worked together to try everything we could think of to get me to my A1C goal.  As I tried harder and harder without results, my frustrations grew.  I began to search the web for information about pumping and found a whole slew of diabetes bloggers who had the same reservations I was feeling, yet were brave enough to try pumping and ended up loving it.  Slowly, with a mix of desperation over my A1C and confidence gained from reading the stories others posted, I came around to the idea of trying an insulin pump.

I clearly remember that night four years ago, on the eve of my pump training, when I looked at my husband and said “This is the last night I get to sleep without anything attached to me.”  But the next day, an amazing thing happened.  I was hooked up to my new pump, but I barely even knew it was there.  The only time it is a bit awkward is when I’m wearing a dress with no waistband to clip it to.  And in four years, I’ve never had a pump problem that required hospitalization.  And strangers, family and friends barely notice it clipped to me unless I pull it out from under my shirt’s edge.  But best of all, for four years, my A1C has been solidly in the range I’ve been aiming for.

Happy Pumpaversary to Me!

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps

- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

 

Comments

Janet Frank

Posted on Thu May 03 16:53:59 GMT 2012

Congratluations on your 4th pumpaversary! I just got on one and started on insulin on it Oct 27 2011. I really love it too, and went from a 9.0 in March 2011 to 7.1 a1c in Oct 2011before going on the pump, to maintaining the 7.1 the first 3 months (it took some time to get the settings right for overnight highs). I just did another a1c today so I am anxious to see if it is in the sixes!! I am pretty sure it will be! I'll always remember the date that I started on my pump too, and the date I went to the endocrynologist to get started preparing for it, Aug 5 2011.

Patt

Posted on Thu May 03 17:10:03 GMT 2012

The pump is a miracle for me because of the number of daily injections I was taking. Being an extremely "brittle" diabetic I know that I would have much better control if I had the CGM. My insurance considers that experimental and will not cover it; however it would help me from dropping to the 40's and going into the high 300's, and save me from many periods of being so sick. How can something like this be addressed? Anyone have the CGM? My present pump is set up for it.

Irmina Mastellone

Posted on Thu May 03 18:06:39 GMT 2012

This was me. But another reason I was "so not going to try the pump" was infection. I was always so scared that I would get an infection. But alas I tried so I too could get my A1C's down. I've been on my pump for a year and 2 months. I have been a type1 diabetic for 24 years and I must say switching to the pump was my best diabetes decision that I have made. I am so glad and thankful I did. In fact I can not believe that I haven't started it so much sooner and wish I had now.

Karen Graffeo

Posted on Fri May 04 01:25:29 GMT 2012

Irmina - yes, I was afraid of infections too!!! I had completely forgotten that until I read your comment! Now four years later, I've had a few minor irritations, but never an infection. Like you, I wish I had started much sooner, but I guess I needed the time to be really ready for it.

Karrie

Posted on Fri May 04 01:25:54 GMT 2012

Thanks for the comments! We know diabetes is hard and, even with an insulin pump, it requires a lot of management. It’s great to hear you’re doing so well.

@Patt – We have a team of people here who specialize in processing the paperwork for insurance reimbursement. I forwarded your email to the appropriate people and someone will be in touch shortly to see if we can help.

Mike Hoskins

Posted on Fri May 04 12:10:07 GMT 2012

Karen, happy 4th pumpaversary!!! You mentioned many of the things that were on my mind when I went about pondering pump treatment (about 11 years ago). I, too, was concerned about being connected to something all the time and that it might "break." But interestingly, I never really cared about what others might see or think about it. That could also be a guy thing. Now, many years after the fact (and probably due to being involved in D-meetups), the pump is like a beacon for fellow PWDs or Type 3s to see and allows us to connect! It's like a PWD magnet!

Janet Frank

Posted on Fri May 04 12:46:39 GMT 2012

I have been on the CGM since I've been on my pump. Have BCBS and they did cover it. It has been a source of frustration, but even so I love it when it works right! BTW, my a1C yesterday was 6.3!!! I am smiling ear to ear! And I have to thank the pump, and a personal trainer who keeps me motivated to do 2 hours of strength training and 1 1/2 hours of running per week.

I also put off going on the pump, and wish I had done it years ago, when my general physician recommended that I see an endocrynologist. But even at 53, I am very active during the summer and we have a pair of jetskis, and I was worried I would have to give up anything doing with water. This summer will be my first summer with the pump so we'll see how that goes!

Gary Taylor

Posted on Fri May 04 22:05:43 GMT 2012

I don't remember the exact day I was diagnosed with diabetes or the day I started on the pump, but I do remember the month and year of each. I was diagnosed with T1D in early February, like the first Monday or Tuesday, in 1976. I started on my pump in late December 2006. I also started using my Glucose Sensor in January 2008. The pump and the sensor were the best diabetes related decisions I have ever made.

Karrie

Posted on Fri May 04 22:43:00 GMT 2012

Thanks for sharing, Janet! It’s great to hear how active you are.

StephenS

Posted on Sat May 05 01:24:06 GMT 2012

Karen, happy pumpaversary... (first time I've used that word for sure). I also began with the pump in April, two years after you. Didn't take long to realize that I can do everything with the pump that I could do without it. And that means that anything is possible. Hope you have many more great pumpaversaries!

Lynn

Posted on Sat May 05 15:24:56 GMT 2012

Karen, Congrats on your pumpaversary! I began my pump therapy about 8 years ago and I can't amagine goin 28 years on injections! To me that sounds crazy!!! I hope you have more pumpaversaries without having anything bad happening!

Karrie

Posted on Sat May 05 19:08:00 GMT 2012

Thank you for sharing, Gary. Glad to hear you are doing well!

Melissa Roelli

Posted on Tue May 08 01:32:37 GMT 2012

Isn't it funny how we are fine with giving 6-10 shots a day, but don't want to have to wear something 24/7 and how people might see it and know we are diabetic? (As opposed to people seeing me give shots all the time...) I was the same way, but finally decided to try it. Within a day I was exclaiming "why in the world did I think giving so many shots a day was fine when there is an alternative?!" :-)

Carole

Posted on Tue May 08 12:23:50 GMT 2012

After 57 years of multiple injections (4x a day) I celebrate my 3 yr Pumpsiversity. 60 yrs and doing well. Am part of 50 yr study at Joslin study and my DNA will help future diabetics live a longer healthy life.

Karrie

Posted on Tue May 08 15:57:00 GMT 2012

Congratulations Carole! Cheers to 60 years and counting!

kelly kunik

Posted on Thu May 10 00:06:13 GMT 2012

Happy Pumpaversary & you go gurl!
It's so funny how we were so scared of change regarding wearing the pump, until we actually get "plugged in!" It's a game changer!

kelly kunik

Posted on Thu May 10 00:07:34 GMT 2012

PS: Carole - ROCK ON!

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