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Insullin Pumps Pros & Cons
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mulberry204 posted:
Can anyone give me some of the pros and cons of a pump? They are so expensive, I want to make sure one would be a good fit for me. I am a type 2 - insulin dependent. Sugars usually in pretty good shape, but occasional spikes to the 270's.
Thanks for any help.
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mrscora01 responded:
Hi there. I pumped for 5 years before my pancreas transplant. I didn't want to really (hated the thought of being connected to something) but wanted the best control possible for my kidney transplant.

First off, I will warn you that pumping is a LOT of work. You really do need to test 8 - 10 times per day. At least most of the time. But the freedom and flexibility is awesome. While many get better control, it's not a guarantee.

The pros: For me, the microdosing was fantastic. I was very insulin sensitive. Also, you can fine tune your basal rates to various times of day to combat varying insulin sensitivities and the dawn phenomenon. Most pumps allow about 15 or more different basal rates. You can turn off/dial down your pump for exercise. Sleeping in and not worrying about a morning shot is great. Adding a dessert or snack and simply adding a bit of a bolus without an extra shot is excellent. I went from 4 - 5 shots per day to one every 3 days (insertion). You can skip meals and not have to "feed" any insulin.

Is wearing it a bother? Not any worse than wearing glasses. It takes no time at all to get used to it.

I didn't find any cons. Yes, it is expensive, but the freedom is wonderful. Some folks feel embarrassed wearing it, but I didn't care. I always found a way to incorporate it into my wardrobe and if it was clipped to my belt, most thought it was an electronic device. You do need to rotate sites.

One other downer is that if you have a problem with a site or become disconnected you can go into dka pretty quickly. That's part of why frequent testing is so important. Pump problems are rare though.

Feel free to ask me any more questions. I know I'll think of more reasons why I liked it.

Cora
T1 1966, Dialysis 2001, kidney transplant and pump 2002, pancreas transplant 2008
 
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mulberry204 replied to mrscora01's response:
I am so sorry to hear about your transplant, but I hope it is successful for you. I hope you don't mind a question about it, Is your diabetes cured? Sorry I don't know too much about transplants.


Thank you very much for replying. It looks like it is all positive. I don't have a problem with wearing it, if it is helpful. My sugars are not crazy out of control ( morning 90-170's - usually 130's; later occasionally higher) A1C a 7.5, but I have been very stressed out with my husband's health and death in Dec. It has already gone down a .1. Did you start when your A1C's were higher? Did A1C's really improve? My last doctor recommended I NOT get a pump, this new one suggested it herself. I did not care for the old doctor, who NEVER checked my feet, or heart, in fact she was into sitting across the room and commenting ($300.00 a visit). I did not stay with her very long. Do you think it helps with vision?


Once again, thanks a million.
 
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mrscora01 replied to mulberry204's response:
Hi Mulberry. I don't mind questions at all. First, I have to tell you that transplants are not a cure. They are (always) another form of treatment. Eventually they fail. But in the meantime, I have been insulin free since April 27, 2008. For the month prior to that, all I was taking was about 6 units of lantus per day. That was basically to rest the new organ. Since then, my highest a1c has been 5.4% and my blood sugars are incredibly stable. It's fantastic!

So, on to your questions. My a1c did drop from mid 7s to mid 6s. I was happy with that. I could have gotten it lower, but it would have taken a level of obsession that I wasn't willing to put in. Granted, you do have to put the work in. Basal testing takes some time, and also some deprivation. Skipping meals and also on some nights, getting up every hour or so to check your blood sugars. I would highly recommend the book "Pumping Insulin". It's a terrific guide and you might even be able to take it out of your local library or buy a used copy on Amazon.

As for helping with vision, any betterment of control will help. Just don't do it too fast because your eyes don't like that.

Also, don't expect instant results. It takes some time to figure out all your basals and once those are set, you then need to figure out your insulin to carb ratios, as those can be different at different times of day too. I found that my control improved significantly and I was happy/comfortable with my pump by about the 4 - 6 week mark. Not a long time in the big scheme of things.

Keep those questions coming. And buy the book.

Cora
T1 1966, Dialysis 2001, kidney transplant and pump 2002, pancreas transplant 2008
 
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caddiecat11 replied to mrscora01's response:
Hi there,

I am a Type 1, 5 injections a day, A1C 6.3. For the past 4 months I my BG is up/down like a yoyo. I exercise everyday and do weights 3 x a week. My numbers will shoot up for no apparent reason. I am struggling to get them on a even course. I have considered the pump in the past but am wondering if it is too much of a 'learning curve." I am 65 years old, and am 6 years into the diabetic journey. I get frustrated because my numbers are 'crazy' now. I would like to have more even control with my numbers, am very concerned that with the highs/lows I am causing long term damage to my body. Any suggestions ! Thanks !
 
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mrscora01 replied to caddiecat11's response:
Hi caddiecat. While it takes a while (a month or so) to get your settings right, learning to actually use the pump is a no brainer. If you can use a bank machine, you can use a pump. In the meantime, a small investment in some books might help you. "Think Like a Pancreas" is great and so is "Using Insulin". If you do decide to pump, the book "Pumping Insulin" is also a big help.

If you don't mind my asking, what are your numbers running? Everyone's concept of "shooting up" is different. Especially if you read a lot of posts from type 2s (no offense folks). Some I have seen get hysterical if they go over 140. To a type 1 on insulin, you can't expect that sort of control.

And yes, no matter what age you are, you want the best control possible in order to live your life to the fullest. Best of luck and feel free to ask me questions.

Cora
T1 1966, Dialysis 2001, kidney transplant and pump 2002, pancreas transplant 2008
 
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caddiecat11 replied to mrscora01's response:
I keep a food journal so I know my carbs per meal and the units of insulin I give. It seems that consistently for the past several months my numbers are 'up', you could say between 200-250 on the average. My numbers normally have been around 150-180, my fasting numbers have been higher. My problem is that seems regardless of what I eat my numbers go up. I calculate my I:C ratio based on what my Endo gave me and it seems to not be working. I can do a correction unit if I need to. My carbs average between 32-45 per meal, sometimes lower, I do not eat much at all. My routine is I count my carbs and do my injection and eat, then one hour later after I am finished I do my exercise, normally after supper I walk 40 minutes each day, sometimes I will walk in the morning if my numbers are up. I have "Think like a Pancreas" and several other books and information about Pumping and I have searched on the Internet (the trusted sites) about that as well. And I do want better control for sure.


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