Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Does the insulin pump hurt at all?

If you are considering an insulin pump you have either recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, or you have already had it for some time  (Hello, Mr. Obvious.)

If you are newly diagnosed, read on, it really isn't that bad.  If you have been a diabetic for quite a while you obviously know about injections and the pain you get from that.  You know that the subcutaneous injections are not really bad at all.  I would say that for 95% of my injections (before I started with my insulin pump) were hardly felt at all, when I used new needles (DO NOT FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE).  I used to inject in my arms, legs, backside, and stomach.  For you "new" diabetics, it really is don't really feel the injection at all.  The worst part, I found, was originally the expectation that it was going to hurt me.  In actual fact, the only time I felt pain was when I re-used my needles.  I used to use the same needle over and over again for insulin injections over the course of days.  I figured "the needle still looks sharp, so it must be okay."  It isn't.  Take a look at the following picture and you will see why that injection was hurting me as I used the needle more often.  Other reasons to dispose of needles after a single use are: multiple uses cannot guarantee sterility, the tip of a needle could break off inside your skin (ouch!), and the possibility of no longer receiving the exact dose of insulin you were trying to get.

When you are replacing the tubing and cannula (posts to come later explaining these), you are always using brand new needles (no way around it).  It feels absolutely no different than injecting with a regular NEW needle the "old" way.  I don't know why, but when I was first learning how to use my insulin pump I insisted on using a pull-loading device (much like your lancing device for drawing blood from your finger) that would "fire" the needle into my stomach.  I was warned against it, but still insisted on it.  I couldn't wrap my head around using the needle to insert that cannula manually.  Quite frankly that proved to be a STUPID move on my part.  Using the pull-loading device actually caused quite some pain in me (it may not in you, but I am only giving my experiences).

The only other time you feel a bit of pain is if your tubing gets caught on something and starts to try to pull out of your body (truly not as gruesome as I have made it sound).  The tubing is attached to your skin with a sticky pad (much like a band-aid).  The "pain" that you really feel is just the sticky pad pulling away from your insertion point.  Quite honestly it is more surprise than pain.

Finally, if you are concerned about pain with an insulin pump, don't be.  It really doesn't cause any pain.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Why would I use an insulin pump?


I was going to end my blog post there, but figure that there may be a little more explanation and reasoning needed for know, to convince you. 

I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1991 and lasted about 15 years with relatively good control...or so I thought.  I had not complications, as all my eye exams were always great, and still had full feeling in all my extremities.  Then my life had some changes where I was doing more and more and concentrating less and less on my diabetes and control of it.  I moved around often and never had to stick with a doctor long enough to endure all their "preachings" retrospect that attitude could have been very bad for me.  Then I had a doctor in Ottawa who made sure I went to an endocrinologist and they saw my HA1C tests up really the 12 or 13 range.  I was asked if I would consider an insulin pump, and my first reaction was "No, why do I need one?".  Simple answer was that my "control sucked" and I had to get it better controlled.

I had a couple reasons for not wanting it:
- vanity - I couldn't imagine having that thing attached to me all day
- tubing - I have young kids and could just imagine them pulling at the tubing
- saw it as an admission that I had somehow "failed" as a diabetic

My "reasons" (more like "excuses") were put to rest rather easily by the diabetic educator I was working with:
- vanity: insulin pumps are nowhere near as large as they used to be and can be easily concealed both by males and females (although I am not as intimately aware of how all that works!).  Quite honestly they could be mistaken for a cell phone (mine was) or some mp3 players.
- tubing: Many people my age apparently have the same concern and I was told that most kids do get the message that "this is medicine for Daddy, and you cannot touch it".  In practice, I was amazed at how well that actually did work.  There were questions at first, but I have never had my young ones pull at the tubing, not even once.
- "failing": What would be considered "failing" is me not taking care of myself and helping myself find better ways to control my diabetes (in turn, my health) so that I can be around for my family.

After the 12 % and 13% HA1C test results I had brought down my result down to 10% in the very next test.  It went down to 8% the next test.....within a matter of 6 months my chances for complications from  diabetes had reduced significantly.  I felt better physically, mentally, and knew that I took the right step forward in the control of my life.

The 8% reading is still not perfect, and I will later talk about getting that down even further.

Friday, 24 February 2012

My second attempt at this.....

So, my first attempt at blogging about my insulin pump failed rather miserably.  So why am I trying again?  I am doing it because this is a subject I truly believe requires attention and is something that others can really benefit from.  I can tell you that my insulin pump has saved my life.

For anyone who is looking at using an insulin pump to help control their diabetes, I hope this can help you decide if it is for you, or not.  Through regular blogs I will tell you about my ups, down, and accomplishments associated with my life with my insulin pump.

Talk to ya soon!