Diabetes in Your Pocket


Yesterday afternoon I ran into one of my mother’s friends who lives across the street from me. She has had type 1 for as long as I can remember and was one of the two people I knew growing up who had type 1 diabetes. When I was diagnosed my mother used her as an example to show me (or maybe more to comfort herself) that one could live a good life with the disease.

I remember being told about her month long backpacking trip to South America (she was in her early 50’s at the time – not bad), and how she needed to pack all of her supplies and keep her insulin cool. I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about at the time but now that I know so much more about living with diabetes, I find myself much more impressed now than then.

MiniMed Paradigm® REAL-Time Revel™ Insulin Pumps

Since my diagnosis we talk about our diabetes a bit whenever we meet, comparing notes on doses of insulin.  When I saw her yesterday she shyly stuck her hand in her pocket and pulled out a Medtronic pump. She finally decided to give it a try after being sick for a week and having her blood sugar go completely out of control.

She hasn’t decided if she likes the pump. She said her blood sugar levels are better than ever and that she has lost  5 or 6 pounds since getting the pump, but she can’t get over the feeling of having it with her all the time.

Although I have never tried using a pump, I know how she feels. Rationally, it seems like she would be crazy to give it up. But that feeling of having something attached to you… do you ever get used to it?  Maybe it’s just part of living with diabetes, always on your mind, and with a pump, always in your pocket.

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9 years ago

I am 16 years old right now, and have had type 1 diabetes since I was seven. I’ve been using the insulin pump since the fifth grade… So since I was about ten or eleven. I’m quite used to the pump, and I really don’t even realize it’s there most of the time until I have to bolus after a meal or snack. Maybe because I was younger and didn’t fully realize what all of this meant, the pump doesn’t bother me so much. But after about five years of using the pump, I look back at taking doses after… Read more »

Catherine Price
10 years ago

I remember having the same reaction you’re talking about when I first got a pump — I actually think I got a little teary when it suddenly realized that i was going to have this thing attached to me all the time — it was such a constant reminder of having a disease. But these days, I can’t imagine not having it. I agree with all the comments above, and also think it’s worth comparing the pump to a cell phone: we all have those, and carry them around with us pretty much all the time. You just get used… Read more »

10 years ago

Should I or shouldn’t I ?? Its the question we confront when it comes to the option of the pump.  I’ve been diabetic for over 22 years and just recently turned 30. I fought the pump for many years until an old boyfriend pushed me into it.  “What do you have to loose?” he said and he was right.  I tried it and its been six years later w/ my Minimed.  People ask, “do you like it?” and typically my answer is, “yes, I like what it does for me but no I do not like wearing it.”  I’ve tried… Read more »

Valerie Heffron
10 years ago

I have had IDDM for 40 years now. In 2000 I got a Medtronic Insulin Pump.  I couldn’t live without it now, It has become a nautural part of me.  It changed my life.  I hate eating breakfast and I am not hungry in the AM.  I don’t HAVE TO eat anymore to regulate my insulin!    For 4years I have had the Medronic BG Real time transmitter that measures your BG 24hrs a day.   I Started using it 3 months algo and NOW I don’t know how I lived without THAT.  I finally know for sure what my… Read more »

Kelly Haro
Kelly Haro
10 years ago

My daughter has the Minimed Revel and we love it!  I can’t her ever going back on shots.  She also has the CGM.  She really has never complained about the pump or CGM.  We love that we can accurately make sure she gets the right dose.  Especially seeing how she is in school and we have to rely on others to give her insulin.  Her A1C is great.  It is 6.4.

Jane Kokernak
10 years ago

In answer to your question, I would say that, in my 7+ years with the Minimed Paradigm, the psychological weight + awareness of being on the pump has lessened dramatically, yet my awareness of the pump as a physical object is always present, sometimes as a comforting one (like, when I feel it in my waistband or in my pocket I think, “It’s taking care of me.”).
Michael, you could write a feature story for ASL about athletes with pumps and athletes without. It would be a good story, and it might give you a chance to reflect deeply.

Mike Hoskins
10 years ago

I’ve been Type 1 for about 27 years (since the age of 5) and started pumping with Minimed about 10 years ago. Went to the Cozmo briefly a few years back, but switched back to MM again. Love it, particularly the all-in-one CGM option they offer. The flexibility is the biggest gain for me, and I find that the constant stream of basal insulin all day does me better than just the long-acting injections that may trail off differently. Though, last year I took a five month hiatus (and blogged about it) to give myself a break mentally and to… Read more »

Jessica Imperio
Jessica Imperio
10 years ago

I have been Type 1 Diabetic for 13 years and have had the pump about 10 of those years. I love the pump. I got it when I was 15 when my pediatric endocrinologist thought I was responsible to get one (one of his rules for his pediatric patients). It gives me so much more freedom then the shots. my only down fall is that it gives me wayyy to much freedom and sometimes I have to remind myself of the dangers. I have gone through 4 pumps through medtronic and my curret endocrinologist said that minimed/medtronic pumps are designed to… Read more »

Catherine Price
10 years ago

Thanks for all the insightful comments (especially Jaimie’s). I am still resisting but feel my resistance wearing down. I kind of know that the pump is in my future but just need to make that final decision. It may take a year or two but it will surely happen.

I’ll keep you posted.

Jeff Nobles
Jeff N.
10 years ago

I resisted the pump many years for the same reason, but have been wearing mine since March 2001, almost 10 years.  You do get used to it. It’s become second nature to me, and while I sometimes have problems with it, they’re minor and easily resolved.  Pumping has become intuitive for me.
I began pumping before Lantus was available, so I can’t compare it to the latest MDI therapy. But the pump has always delivered better results for me, from day one, and it has made my busy life and complicated schedule more manageable.

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