To Pump or Not To Pump?

Ginger Vieira Health Guide
  • The first time I saw an Insulin Pump, I fell in love. It was only three months since my diagnoses when I was 13 years old, and I was spending one long week of my summer at the Clara Barton Camp for Girls with Diabetes.

    My counselor had a pump and the first thing I said to my mother when she came to pick me up was, “I WANT AN INSULIN PUMP!!!”

    My Endocrinologist warned me that it would be frustrating at first. Setting it up, priming the cannula, learning how to bolus, and figuring out the right basal rates for my body was going to take patience and persistence.

    And guess what? I started crying the first time I tried to put it all together (the insulin, the cannula, the syringe, the infusion set). I started crying and told my mom I couldn’t do it. Can you believe that? I gave up, just like that. And of course, doing what mom’s do best, she reminded me of what my Endocrinologist said about patience and persistence, she told me to take a deep breath and try again.
    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:

    I think everyone should give the Insulin Pump a try—if you can afford it. I was absolutely head-over-heels in love with mine for the first four years I’d had it. I had a MiniMed 507. I later upgraded to a MiniMed 507C, and my last pump was a MiniMed 508.

    I didn’t mind having it on me all the time. Yes, the clip wore a hole in the pockets of most of jeans, I couldn’t wear dresses without some finagling, and people were constantly asking me why a fifteen year old needed a “pager”…but I it was worth it. No syringes, no long-acting insulin, etc. etc. etc. My blood sugars were doing great!

    But after four years I started to have a few complaints, and my main complaint was actually getting in the way of attaining healthy blood sugars.

    My skin was not cooperating well with the infusions sets. I was finding that cannulas clogged with blood or bent and unable to deliver the insulin correctly. I was getting frustrated after every yoga class when I would find that the sweat and bendy positions were causing my infusion sets to actually come out of my skin.

    And my sites were also not healing well after removing the infusion sets. I tried most of the various infusion sets: Sof-set, Quick-Set, and Silouhette, but nothing fixed my problem. So, I decided to take a little vacation from my insulin pump, and for the past four years I’ve doing the ol’ bottles and syringes thing. And it definitely isn’t as easy to maintain constant and consistent control, but if the insulin was having trouble getting into my body in the first place with the pump cannulas, at least this way I know my body is getting the insulin I give it.

    For now, I don’t think I’d like to go back on an insulin pump, but I know it’s working well for practically everyone else I know who uses the pump. I guess the moral of the story is not to be afraid of trying the pump, and if it doesn’t work for you, join me with those bottles and syringes.
Published On: February 16, 2007