A little more than a month ago, I started using an OmniPod insulin pump. Overall, the transition process (which is still ongoing as I make minor adjustments to my regimen) has been much different than I expected it to be. Prior to starting the pump, I was mentally preparing myself for all sorts of terrible scenarios. I was a reluctant and anxious about changing my diabetes care plan after relying on an injection method for 17-plus years, but I was motivated by a desire to obtain a better A1c result. So I took the plunge despite my concerns and let me tell you, I do not regret it whatsoever.
I realized that I made the right decision when I saw my endocrinologist for an appointment last week. While I waited for her to download data from my meter and CGM, I kept my fingers crossed in the hope that she would see genuine improvement in the short time I had the pump. As she re-entered the exam room with a smile on her face, I knew the news was good.
She completely gushed for a few solid minutes over how my progress was, in a word, incredible. When she first started seeing me about four or five years ago, my A1cs were not good. It was a struggle I dealt with in the first couple years of college as I straddled my diabetes with getting adjusted to being a more independent adult and successful student. Even during the last half of my college career, I still fought hard to improve my A1c, which scarcely budged. While I did not get the chance to get an updated A1c reading at this appointment, she informed me that she was confident that it would show at least a full-point drop: incredible, indeed.
Despite all this positive feedback, I still have to get more accustomed with the pump and its capabilities. Specifically, I’d like to see what kind of impact increasing and decreasing my basal rate for certain occasions will have. A few weeks ago, I wish I had played around with this when I went shopping with my friend.
The mall we went to was huge and I should’ve known to be prepared for all the walking we were to do over the course of three hours. It didn’t take too long for my blood sugar to start dropping, at which point I decided to treat with a 15 gram granola bar. That seemed to level it out, but not for long – within the next half hour, I was falling again. We decided it would be a good time to grab some frozen yogurt to help give me a boost. I was about to bolus for it when I learned after a quick nutrition fact check that I was only eating about 20 grams of carb. Normally, I would give myself a full dose for that, but held back because I was in the 60s and still planned on shopping for an hour or two more.
Fortunately, things seemed to work out okay in the long run. I’m missing two hours’ worth of data because I had to change my sensor, so I’m left to assume that my blood sugar didn’t skyrocket much in that time. But the point of this story is that I could have prevented a low and a ton of uncertainty if I had decreased my basal rate for the duration of my shopping trip. Maybe then, I could have been able to shop without having to stop for snacks. Trust me, I love snacking, but I like to do it by choice and not when my blood sugar forces me to.
So here’s to being optimistic upon learning the outcome of my first pump progress report, but also acknowledging that I still have some learning to do as I utilize all of the features my pump has to offer.