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Meet Jack: 13 and Living with Diabetes

By Karrie Hawbaker

Public Relations Manager

Posted:  2/21/2013 4:00 PM

Tags:

Regardless of age, the decision to use an insulin pump to help manage diabetes is a huge decision for both the person of diabetes and their loved ones. We recently sat down with 13-year-old Jack to talk about his decision to go on the pump and how it’s affected his day-to-day diabetes management. To hear even more from Jack, be sure to check out his video on WebMD.

Q: Jack, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
 
A: I'm thirteen years old and I have had diabetes for seven years and I got diagnosed in kindergarten. Aside from dealing with type 1 diabetes I have to manage an autoimmune disease called Addison's Disease. It is a big challenge for me every day but know that I really don’t have a choice so I just work hard to keep feeling good. 

Q: What was it like to develop diabetes at such a young age?
A: Diabetes was a large impact in my life and was a bit difficult to completely understand at the time, but with help from my family, who was amazingly supportive we all learned how to manage my diabetes.

Q: After a routine of multiple daily injections, what made you interested in an insulin pump?
A: I had been giving injection after injection for four years and it was sometimes uncomfortable for me especially at school when I was with my friends who, at the time, didn't completely understand why I had to do injections. I just wanted to hang out with my friends and not constantly check my blood sugars and stop to take insulin before I eat. There were some days that I had to give as many as ten injections a day, so when my mom heard about the pump she and I were willing to give it a try. We got a Medtronic pump and learned how it works.

Q: Once you and your family decided to try an insulin pump, how did you handle that transition in your life?
A: Using the pump instead of injections was a big transition for my family and me, and I will admit that at first I really didn't like it at all. I had gotten so used to managing my diabetes with injections and this was a big change for me, but I soon warmed up to using the pump. Anyone who is diabetic can tell you that you get very comfortable with the daily schedules of checking blood sugars and giving shots. After a while I couldn't even remember what it was like to not be diabetic. Learning to use the pump was hard for me at first just because it was so different, but after a few weeks I knew that I would never go back to the old way. It was so much easier! 

Q: How has your daily diabetes routine changed since you started using your pump?
A: My daily diabetes routine has changed because every time I just want to have a little bit of food, instead of having to get the bottle of insulin get the syringe and draw it up, all I have to do is pull the pump out of my pocket push a few buttons and eat!

Q:  What’s your favorite thing about your pump?
A: My favorite thing about the pump is that it does the complicated diabetes math to tell you how to change the amount of insulin it’s giving you depending on if your blood sugar is high or low, or if you have given insulin recently to make sure you don't go low. It goes with me everywhere and I can so easily just pull it out and give insulin in front of my friends when I want to eat.

Q: Let’s talk a little bit about school. What’s it like for you managing your diabetes with your pump while in school? Do you communicate with your mom at all throughout the day or do you have a good support system at school with your teachers, school nurse, and friends?
A: School is better with the pump because I don't need to pull out syringes and drawing up insulin in class or at the lunch benches with all my friends staring at me asking what I'm doing. All I do is pull out my pump for about 10 seconds to give insulin. So I'm just like every other kid at school which makes it a lot better. Most days I don’t have to talk to my mom during school days. My teachers have been so helpful in letting me do what I need to do to take care of my diabetes. There is also a school nurse who can help me any time I need help. 

Q: What do your friends think about your pump?
A: My friends think my pump is really cool and sometimes we mess around and they say, "Jack quit using your phone at school." Most of my friends have been my friends for a long time and saw the old way I used to have to give insulin with shots, so they can see how much easier it is to just use the pump every day.

Q: I’m sure as a young guy you love to get outside and just be a kid. How do you manage being active and playing sports?
A: I love to play with my friends and play sports and it is very easy to be active with the pump because all you have to do is clip it to your pants or slip it in your pocket. If I am playing anything that needs me to not have my pump on, like swimming or going to the beach, I can just disconnect and unclip it, and then just clip it back on when I am done or if I need a little more insulin. It's sooo easy! 

Q:  What is your diet like now that you are on the pump? 
A: Like before, I still count my carbs and try to eat as healthy as I can, but the biggest difference is that now I have more freedom when I want to eat and give my insulin. I really don't feel like I have to cheat when I eat anymore (because we all know we have!) because it is so easy to give insulin for anything I eat.

Q: Jack, thank you again for taking the time to talk with us today. Before we let you go, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about trying an insulin pump to manage their diabetes?
A: I would tell anyone who hasn't tried it to give it a "shot" because it will change your life and the way you live with diabetes because I feel that I am more independent with the pump and I almost manage my diabetes entirely by myself.

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. 

Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment. 
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.

For more, please visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation.
 

Comments

Carole Barnhard

Posted on Fri Feb 22 17:24:17 GMT 2013

I started out as a TEEN(16) WITH DIABETES and now 61 years later i AM AN older adult with diabet
es and with a Medtronic Insulin Pump living a HEALTHY life!

Bob Baker

Posted on Sat Mar 02 02:48:58 GMT 2013

Jack,

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sure you will be an inspiration to other kids who have Type 1 diabetes and have to deal with all of the same stuff you do every day. Even some of us "old-timers" can learn from you and your upbeat attitude. Every day is an opportunity to help others!

Bob

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