Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Month Unconnected

At the end of March, I started a Pump Hiatus that was my first break from insulin pumping since I'd began it nine years earlier. This was a chance to help my war-torn body and infusion sites heal some. This in no way signalled any unhappiness with the concept of pumping, which was a life-changing experience in June 2001 and has allowed flexibility and better health in the near-decade since then.

Now, it's the end of April. I've been doing at least two shots a day in that time, sometimes as many as six depending on how many times I eat or correct in a day. I've written some in the first month, such as a post about my Raspberry Jammed Diabetes trending without a pump.

Overall, my verdict after a month: I miss my pump and all the benefits brought into my world. Life just hasn't been the same. My definition of "normal" has changed, and it's not a change I'm too enthused about on reflection.

The Minimed 722 (who we'll fondly refer to by the proper name of Bacon Gibbs!) has remained on the dividing wall near the stairs in my upstairs gameroom, sitting by itself and looking sad. There's a gleam of hope each time I approach, offering the possibility that the time has finally come to end that loneliness and reconnect. But alas, instead my hands grab a nearby syringe for my Humalog or even a Lantus Pen needle tip for that twice-a-day injection. Bacon Gibbs' goes glum, again, and sits in a funk until the next ray of sunshine comes near.

On a positive note, it has been nice not being continuously connected to a device. No infusion site to navigate around in sleeping, showering, getting dressed, or other moments where care is necessary. That frustration of having to switch and find new real estate has evaporated.

But the negatives so far have outweighed those gains, in my honest opinion.

Sure, you can live successfully and adapt quite nicely to Multiple Daily Injections (MDI). I was on injections for the first 17 years of my D-Life, and though I deviated from good control frequently, it wasn't because of impossibility - rather it was a question of motivation on my part. At times, my control was fine and proved that injections were

As my Endo, Dr. P, says: it's not about the pump most of the time. It's about the person. They have to want tight control.

I certainly want tight control, but decided after some boiling point moments earlier this year, that it was time to give the pump a rest temporarily.

Easier said than done, right.

After nine straight years of pumping, it's been tough to adjust to. My BG sugars are all over the place and I fear my already too-high A1C may be jumping even higher. The differences in how the insulin works in my system and food reaction times are all throwing monkey wrenches into my clogged system, and it's not making this control game any easier. Plus, it's always nice to have a record of carbs, corrections, BGs, and basals at your fingertips - something that's been an adjustment in having to more meticulously track these events in my memory banks.

One thing that this hiatus has truly taught me: it's how wonderful pumping really is, and how much you really do have to appreciate it. By knowing what you're missing, it's easier to hold an appreciation for a device that you can sometimes take for granted. This wasn't always the way, and technology can break - but when it works as a tool in your health management, what a wonderous experience it can provide. I'm thankful for that.

So, the time has come to think about reconnecting. Four Lantus Pens remain in my butter compartment. That means I'll likely get through May on the MDI and plan for June to get back into the pumping routine. By the time the summer routine gets underway, complete with a brief Orlando trip and weekling camping trip to Michigan, I'll be ready to once again be a Pumper.

Here's to June, when my D-Life goes back to "normal."

8 comments:

Khürt Williams said...

I guessI've never had the sort of challenges with BG control that some people have. I've been on MDI since I was diagnosed and my A1C always hovers between 5 and 6. I don't do anything special. I carb count and maybe I am lucky that I can always match the insulin dosage to the carb count. I don't eat in between meals, choosing instead to eat three low carb (anything between 30 and 50g) meals.

I discuss going on the pump with my endo. We both agreed that it would not do anything for my control but simply be a convenience device. It also introduced a new problem - the possibility of infection.

I guess we each must be disciplined to do whatever works for us to management our diabetes.

Erika Roe said...

Hello, reading what you did was also interesting. I did the same thing last month. I had all kinds of rashes from the Omnipod sites, the pods were giving me rashes and I was itchy all the time. My endo didn't want me to go on MDI because he didn't think it was bad enough but I needed some relief.
I went on MDI on a Monday when I finished my pod supply. After three days I couldn't take it anymore because I also have dawn phenomenon and got really sick in the morning with all the high blood sugars without the pump and the higher/varied rates in the wee morning hours. After three days I was able to get on a Minimed 712 pump I got online second hand. Meanwhile, I worked with minimed to get a new pump. About six weeks after being unconnected for three days I now have a Minimed 723 pump and am itch free, rash free, and my blood sugars have improved phenomenally.

Adriana said...

Every time I go on a pump vacation I'm grateful for being disconnected but I never feel right. My numbers always go up on MDI no matter how often I test. It is nice to give all the sites a rest. After 18 years of pumping I have a lot of scar tissue.

thisiscaleb said...

This is such a valuable perspective. There are so often the people in the pump camp and those in the MDI camp and here you are somewhere in between at the moment. Thanks for sharing this view and pointing out the pros and cons as you see them. :)

saucyredhead said...

Thanks for this perspective, I am also currently on a pump hiatus and I find pros and cons every day to both MDI and pumping. I have until July to make a decision and I still don't know which direction I will choose. Thanks for your opinion though...it's nice to read what other people feel on this issue.

Anonymous said...

I have been Type 1 for 43 years and have been pumping for the past 7 years and often think about taking a pump vacation, as I think the grass might be greener.....

Problem is in my 36 years of injections I never got use to shots. It was always a struggle.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that.

It's weird (and I have no idea what living with D is like. I'm a "spectator") that the the pump is a "love/hate" type of relationship. You're attached to it, and that can be a pita, but it gives you more freedom.

I think D is all about the person. I think sometimes we can focus so much about the D part, that we forget there is a person living with it, and they can just get tired of it all - on shots or the pump.

FatCatAnna said...

So, you're going back to the pump in June. I'm going to hang on until my next A1C in July - as I want to see if I can do MDI as well as some of my friends who have an A1C between 5-6%. If they can do it, so can I. I'm averaging about 8 shots a day - depending on eating / correcting - otherwise - with my pen needle loaded - a 31 gauge pen needle all set - I'm doing okay (tho' I do miss Salvador for his convinence of NOT forgetting to take basal insulin - done that twice already in 1 month - doah).