An extended period of time disconnected from insulin pump
“I’ll be taking a pumpcation after nearly 15 years of being connected to a pump”
To take a pumpcation
“While I’m pumpcationing, I’ll be doing MDI (multiple daily injections) to receive my insulin”
This post contains "Reasons Why I'm Taking Pumpcation," explaining my personal reasons for disconnecting from the pump temporarily and "How to Book a Pumpcation," a walkthrough of the steps I took before going on MDI.
I can’t remember when exactly I first hooked up to an insulin pump but I was about 8 or 9, only a couple years post-diagnosis. Someone came over to my house and with my parents, taught me how to use the insulin pump. We practiced inserting a cannula beneath my skin, and filling a reservoir of insulin, two things we would need to do every three days. After we felt confident in these maneuvers, I was left with a long wire attaching a little me to a little machine.
Not until I went to Diabetes Camp did I learn how to insert the pump on my own. I came home after two weeks away from my family feeling SO proud of this accomplishment. I found the back of my arm to be my favorite spot. It was the most painless, lasted the full three days (except on the rare occasion it would be caught on a nosy door knob). But lately, I’ve been a little burnt out. Not on Type 1 Diabetes (well more than usual, anyways) but on my pump. I’m exhausted after what? Over 2,000 pump sites all over my body. That’s not including the ones that don’t work, the ones that bleed, the ones that are uncomfortable.
So it’s time to take a pumpcation. Packing up my pump supplies and heading on a one way ticket to shots-ville. Not tequila. Just insulin shots. This might only last a week, but I’m going to try and last 30 days. That seems like a fair time to allow my body to adjust to the long-acting insulin and figure out if injections fit my lifestyle better!
Reasons Why I’m Taking a Pumpcation:
Change is good, change is refreshing. A pumpcation is like a change of scenery, like I’m taking my diabetes to face the ocean instead of the city. Humans vacation to help with burnout at work and the real world. Their one week on the beach is supposed to be stress-free with no work emails or calls. Although I can’t take a vacation from my diabetes, the pumpcation can be refreshing in the same way.
-Dependent on Technology-
It’s currently 2019- we’re ALWAYS on our technology. You’re reading this via iphone, tablet, computer and heck, I’m using technology to type this. Being without pump will eliminate a piece of technology that I’m feeling dependent on. I want to remind myself that under certain circumstances, I can survive with MDI (multiple daily injections). I think of this as like going from an automatic vehicle to a stick shift because incase you ever rent a car in Europe or go on The Amazing Race then you know you’ll make it (the cars are most always stick shift and the losers never know how to drive them).
Okay, did you know that my pants have TWO pockets?! Without a bulky pump taking up the space of one pocket, I’ll have two usable pockets to keep whatever I want in! What does one actually put in pockets though? I’ll find out. Along with the freeing up of pockets, I won’t be connected to a wire. This wire quite literally keeps me alive so it’s not anything I can risk getting yanked out by door knobs or tearing out when the pump machine falls out of my pocket (okay, what are pockets actually good for?). Although I’ll be wearing a Dexcom™ (wireless) - this change is a bit more freeing.
How to Book Your Pumpcation:
-Make sure the time is right-
Ya don’t want to book a trip during the wrong season; the weather might be crappy or the flights expensive. You also don’t want to take your pumpcation during the wrong time! This May, my A1c is officially the lowest it has ever been. I was 7.6% before I started wearing the Dexcom™ and currently, am at 6.5%. Not only are the numbers showing me that my diabetes is more controlled, but I also feel the difference in my day to day life. Since joining the Type 1 Diabetes community online, I feel supported and encouraged to live my best life by taking care of myself. Reflecting on this, assured myself (and my doctors) that it was an appropriate time to take a pumpcation.
-Talk to your doctor and book this pumpcation-
Your doctor is like your travel agent here, they should help in figuring out the best time to go on a pumpcation. Every doctor has their own method and reasoning for why or why not to take a pumpcation. Make sure to receive your endocrinologist’s blessing before going on a pumpcation to figure out if the time is right, as well as to receive some tools in figuring out insulin sensitivity and carb to insulin ratios!
-Start packing and planning-
Like planning an itinerary for an actual vacation, figure out what the next, say 30 days are going to be like and start packing! I chose to use insulin pens for my short-acting insulin and just a syringe for my long-acting insulin. I also had to decide when I wanted to administer my long-acting and because I trend lower at night, I’m going to do it in the morning! I’ve also figured out what my fears/worries are for this time. I like to workout about 5-6 days a week and I usually set a temporary basal on the pump but you can’t do that with long-acting insulin shots. So this is going to have to be something I pay extra attention to!
Make sure to subscribe to stay updated on how this little experiment goes! I will definitely be coming back to contrast my time pump-free with my time needle-full.