I remember the week of my first Pumpcation, I would leave the house and panic when I didn’t feel my pump snug on my hip. I would wake up and feel around the bed for my pump before getting up. But in no time I was enjoying getting out of the shower and not rushing to put my pump back on. I didn’t miss inserting a new pump site every three days, and I finally got over my fear of door knobs since I wasn’t connected to a wire that was prone to getting caught and ripping out quite aggressively.
In May 2019, I started using Multiple Daily Injections (MDI) as a form of diabetes management instead of an insulin pump, a kind of external pancreas, that I had worn for around 15 years. The majority of my career as a diabetic was full of infusions sets, reservoir changes and figuring out the perfect place to clip my pump when I worked out. I started to get really frustrated with some of the obstacles that can pop up with an insulin pump and I wanted to take a step back and accustom myself to injections. I compare these two forms of diabetes management to an automatic versus manual car. The pump is automatic, and such a luxury. But the injections are more manual, as they allow you to feel more in control. It’s important to know how to drive manual; I’ve learned this after watching multiple seasons of Amazing Race where a team delays themselves when neither contestant knows how to drive stick shift when they are running around Europe. So I wanted to feel confident that I could handle the responsibility of injections in the event of something happening to my pump.
After multiple discussions about some challenging patterns in my Blood Glucose levels, the Registered Nurse (RN) on my diabetes care team at Steady Health gave me the look and said, “You know how we can fix these patterns, right?” And I knew it was time to give the pump another go. Here’s what was happening: Around 5 A.M my BG would slowly rise almost 30 points before I woke up around 7:30 A.M and there was no easy way to fix this on injections and I wasn’t about to start waking up in the early hours of the morning to give myself one stupid unit of insulin. But I was on the Medtronic 670G before and didn’t want to go back to this technology that had given me the buckets of frustration that led me towards a pumpcation in the first place. Luckily, there was a shiny new system that would work perfect with my beloved Dexcom. The T:slim X2 with Control IQ technology.
The Dexcom is a a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) that measures my BG every 5 minutes through a subcutaneous sensor on my body that I change every ten days. The insertion is painless, the numbers are accurate, I truly love this technology. Then there’s the Tandem T:slim is an insulin pump that works hand in hand with my Dexcom to adjust my basal insulin and to increase the time in that my BG is in range. So if I have the option to try this pump that so many people in the Diabetic Online Community strongly recommend, then I think it’s the right move for my diabetes management and I, no matter how much I enjoyed MDI.
I feel comfortable enough with MDI now, so I like knowing I can take pumpcations more spontaneously and often, if need be! My only skepticism lies with the charging method of the Tandem T:slim. The pump has to be plugged in to charge and I can barely keep my phone alive for a full day Maybe the fact that this piece of technology is responsible for keeping my life with diabetes well-balanced and as healthy as can be, will be enough to make sure I don’t let the pump battery drain. I also have some reservations about how the pump will clip to my clothes. I would get very frustrated with the bulky Medtronic pump and the clip was so flimsy that it would break all the time (I had it replaced three times!). Given the T:slim is…well, slim and more lightweight with what I am pretty sure is a metal clip, I am hoping for the best.
Crossing my fingers that this change will be beneficial to my diabetes care. I am always driven to improve my diabetes care because I know how much better I feel when my BG levels are more controlled rather than all over the place. The better my care, the more freedom I feel I have to do defy the stereotypes society places on diabetics.