Pumping Frustration


For the last couple weeks I’ve felt as if my glucose levels have been off. While I attribute some of the difficulties I’ve been experiencing to carb loading before the marathon and then to not running after the marathon, I still think something else is up.

I’ve repeatedly switched infusion sets and sites and I even threw out an insulin vial thinking it may be bad. But none of this seemed to make much difference, especially in the last few days.

A few times things seemed to work fine right after replacing a set but soon after, my blood glucose went back up to the upper 200’s and didn’t come down no matter how much I bolused. A few of my infusion sets came out looking broken, which I guessed may be contributing to this.  Maybe the insulin just isn’t getting through. 

Last night I ate a normal dinner with around 60g of carb. I bolused accordingly, letting the pump do the thinking. Two hours later I checked my blood sugar and was amazed when the glucose meter flashed 306. I plugged the number into the pump and bolused again. An hour and a half later, before going to sleep I checked again, this time I was 241. Tired and frustrated, I decided to switch my infusion set again.

I got all my supplies and went to the study. The kids were all asleep and Jessica was almost asleep, too. Since I had just switched my infusion set in the morning I decided to just leave the insulin and tubing and only put a new infusion set in to a new site. I took a Quickset, placed it in the inserter and inserted it into my belly.

Well, at least I tried to. The adhesive got stuck to the side of the inserter and although I tried to save it, I couldn’t pull it off.  (This has happened to me several times already.)  I had to remove the new infusion set and try again. When I took it out, I didn’t take into account that the needle was still in the set and pulled it at an angle. It killed! I let out a loud “ouch”.

When I went to get another set from the bathroom where I store them, Jessica asked me what had happened. “It’s just the f***ing infustion set,” I said.

I got the second set and put it in, with no trouble this time. I detached from the old site and reattached to the new. I removed the old set carefully but for some reason it started to bleed. A lot! Maybe there was a problem with the site, I thought to myself and headed back to bed.

I bolused once more and set an alarm to check my blood sugar again an hour-and-a-half later.

I slept through the alarm and woke up at 7:00 a.m. I checked my blood sugar and like many of the last few mornings I was high, 257. I wasn’t high from a rebound, just high (the two kinds of high feel different to me).

I dropped the boys off at school and went out running. I had a good 9 mile run. When I got home I checked my blood sugar again. It was 119. I hadn’t reduced my basal rate and hadn’t had a gel during the run or any food before, but I was happy my blood sugar had finally come down. 

I decided to not have any carbohydrates at all and see what would happen. Maybe all of this trouble was a result of a small change in diet. I ate some leftover chicken for breakfast and went to work.  Ninety minutes later I checked my blood sugar and was very surprised to see that although I had bolused after my run and eaten no carbs all day my blood sugar was 202.

Extremely frustrated, desperate and feeling like shit I called my Medtronic rep for help. I told him most of the above and he advised me to try and see if changing my basal rate (130%) makes a difference.

I did that and bolused again. After an hour I was still 180.

Unsatisfied I contacted the people at Spring, since I have also been using their infusion sets. I spoke to Shmulik, Springs’ International Sales & Support Manager.  I told my story again and was asked some of the same questions. The advice I got this time was different though: “Try switching your insulin again, a new vial from a new batch. If that doesn’t work use a syringe and see if that works. That way you’ll know what isn’t working.” While on the phone I checked my stash of insulin – 5 vials from three different batches. I was set.

“You know you may just be coming down with something” he continued “you may just be getting sick”

I sure hope not.

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Catherine Price

thanks Bernie. I haven’t had cannula problems for a while. I’ve been told that some times the pack is just no good.


I just discovered your site after doing a search using “insulin” + “heart rate”. I’m also a runner and I can easily reach 170BPM unless I keep my pace VERY slow.. But regarding the issues you have had with the Quicksert cannula, I’ve had identical issues. Someone has already mentioned cleaning the inside of the Quicksert.. This worked for me when I noticed a small amount of adhesive had somehow accumulated on it. With the “kinked” cannula problem, it used to happen to me about 20% of the time until I shifted from abdomen to my inner thigh. Has not… Read more »

Catherine Price

Thanks Francie. I’m happy to say that I don’t think I’ve become insulin resistant yet. I think a lot of my troubles where from the change in carb intake before and after the marathon and the drop in training during the two weeks after. I did have some tubing issues and bent canulas (which may be a result of losing a few pounds and sleeping on the infusion sight) but after going back to running 40+ miles a week and cutting back to my normal carb intake (Paleo) my BG levels are back to normal and can say that that must have been… Read more »


Hi MIke, I too started having “mystery highs” and blamed my pump and made several visits to my doctor.  After being told i was just a “bad” diabetic, i kept pushing the issue, which led to a referral to Mayo Clinic’s Endocrinology Dept.  I have been a type 1 diabetic for 34 years, and now I have been diagnosed as  insulin resistant!  I always thought an insulin resistant person became a type 2 diabetic, and that insulin resistance was a result of obesity or no exercise, (I have followed a balanced diet & regular exercise all my life)  I never heard of a type 1… Read more »

Catherine Price

Thanks Scott. I have actually been using the 9mm canula all along. That may be part of the problem, the canula may be hitting muscle. I’m going to try 6mm canulas and see if that help.

Scott Richard

Mike – You may want to consider the 9mm canula instead.  I had problems with the 6mm, but never the 9mm.  Also you may want to change where you place the quickset.  I keep “extra” fat around the belly, but if I recall you are a runner.  I am sure you are pretty lean.  The upper buttocks or thigh might work better for you.  Scar tissue could also be an issue, even though you have been pumping for a short time.  Let me know if you need any other help!

michelle s.
michelle s.

i think it is the Quicksets!  i have just gone back to them recently and am having unexplained highs.  time to try the Mio or go back to Silhouettes. i have noticed absorption issues before with the Quicksets.  Yesterday morning i suffered from a horrible sugar high, wouldn’t come down with tons of insulin and then i realized my cannula was totally bent to the side when i pulled my site out.  SO frustrating. 


Try cleaning the inside of the inserter with an alcohol swab. I know the inside gets sticky after a few insertions and the set will stick to the side making things extremely frustrating.

Sheri Z.
Sheri Z.

Very frustrating indeed!  I went through a similar situation a while back.  However, I had started a new medication and blamed it on that.  My endocrinologist and my PCP both assured me that the medication will not effect my blood sugar at all.  Nothing else had changed in my life.  I was not sick.  My diet didnt change.  I wasnt stressed.  There was no reason for my bg to be so crazy.  I would be 400 for no reason.  I went off the med and they went back to normal.  Of course, I went through all the changing of the… Read more »

Dorothy B.
Dorothy B.

I was having a horrible time with the quick sets the whole month of Dec.  It didn’t matter what I did, my sugar stayed high.  It had gotten to the point that I was spending hours a day exercising just to be able to eat.  I was taking injections to compensate for the highs, changed vials of insulin, you name it.  I finally called and complained to Medtronic and had them send me the Mio infusion sets.  Like magic my sugars have been under control. 

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