I am a newly-diagnosed type one, just under six months. I currently use Levemir and Humalog pens. I am considering switching to a pump, as my educator thinks it will better fit my active lifestyle. I have done a little research on pumps, but just want to hear some opinions.

Do you prefer a pump or just using pens?

Any suggestions on pumps?

Thanks!

Tags: 1, Insulin, Pumps, Type

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I starting pumping about a year and a half after diagnosis and have been very happy with the change. I like going from maybe 5 shots per day to one site change every three days. I also like being able to exactly match my carbs with a bolus without going through contortions. One of my goals when going on to a pump was to gain a bit of weight and I've been able to do it.

I've been pumping with the Deltec Cozmo which I love but it's no longer on the market so I can't recommend it. I would say that if you have a low toleration for things going wrong - bent canulas and bad sites, you might not like the Omnipod which seems to have more problems in that regard. If you are able to deal with such frustrations, then the Omnipod might work very well for you. Lot's of users are very happy with it.

Maurie

I never used pens, I went from R/ NPH shots to a pump and it's been awesome!! I have a Medtronic pump, my second since 2008, and I've been very happy with it although I just belay the tube around my belt. My job is casual so I've had no fashion-type of issues.

I injected insulin for over 20 years before I started using a pump. I wish that I had started pumping as soon as one was available to me. Looking back I can see that my vanity was clouding my judgement. I had several problems with basal insulin that caused low night time BG and DP which caused high BG every morning when I got out of bead. The constant hypos and BG rebounds every day where making me old before my time.

My pump enables me to vary my basal needs, which are very low in the late evenings and extremely high in the early morning hours. When I started pumping I also discovered that my insulin needs throughout the day dropped dramatically  my I:C , and sensitivity need to be reduced throughout the day. These small subtle changes where  imposable to administer with injected insulin.

The pump change my life:

1). I can sleep soundly at night.

2). My am BG is within target range.

3). I can maintain a normal BMI, seldom am I forced to eat because of too much active insulin.

4). I'm not forced to comply with a injection schedule, in the old days I could never fall asleep early if I injected my night time insulin before 10pm It would cause a hypo about 2am and a sweaty rebound at sunrise....

5). I can eat foods that I never dreamed possible buy having the ability to spread out  a bolus it gives me the ability to eat high protein, high fat, foods without high BG 4 or 5 hours down the road.

6). I can reduce or increase my basal insulin on the fly, enabling me to do activity's on short notice...no longer do I have to decide the day before if I'm going to ride a bicycle or even just wash my car without having a low BG event. I even had trouble walking around the block or going to a big department store without going low in the evening hours because I always had to much IOB by 3 or 4 pm every day if I added any extra activity.

I started pumping about 8 months after diagnosis...for all the reasons JohnG posted above.
It's mad my life with diabetes much more flexible and substantially improved my control.

It's good to be comfortable with carb counting before switching to the pump...it's not magic, you still have to do the thinking you do with pens, the delivery is just far more easy and flexible.

I wouldn't go back unless I had to.
Oh yeah... forgot to add... I use the Omnipod, and have had a good experience with it. I like the "no tubing" and automated insert aspect of it. I also like the fact that I can shower, swim, etc without disconnecting.

I did shots for over thirty years before switching to a pump about ten years ago. I've never used a pen, but switching to pump therapy was the best move I ever made for managing my diabetes. When exercising (racquetball, softball), it's easy to disconnect and cap until my workout is finished. I use a Minimed pump, no CGM. Good luck with your decision.

When I was first diagnosed I was using a needle and a vial of insulin...then I went to the insulin pens now I am on the pump! I have to say that I love the pump no more 5-8 shots a day..just every 3 days change a set out..very convenient. I think the only reason I would say pens are better are if you are not on the pump and it's a choice between the pens and a needle/vial of insulin just because the pens are a lot more convenient in that aspect. :)

Thank you everyone for the feedback! I am thinking that a pump will be a good fit for me. I have always been active and have exercised, but since my diagnosis, I have sort of strayed away from doing much because of the low readings. I know exercise is important in management, but it is hard for me to actually plan out when I am going to work out so I can adjust my dose accordingly. Plus, I would love to not have 3+ shots a day!

Your feedback has been very helpful, thank you!

I love my pump. I have gone on and off one over the years, but definitely see the benefits of pumping. It is work and there are some things you want to do or consider during your investigation and before you actually order a pump.

  1. Read Pumping Insulin by John Walsh. They just came out with a new edition.  Read it carefully and then read it again.
  2. Research all the available models. Each pump has slightly different features/characteristics.  Those features/characteristics may be helpful to one person but irrelevant to the next.  Pick the pump that has the features YOU need.  For example, if you spend a lot of time around water, the Animas Ping is the only truly waterproof pump. If you want a CGM but don't want to carry around another device, the Revel is currently the only pump on the market with an integrated CGM.  If you are really, really concerned about tubing, the Omnipod is the only pump that is tubeless.  Ask questions on this forum, do your research, and narrow it down to a couple of pumps. Then meet with reps from each company to actually see/try out the pump.  It helps to see them in person.  I was leaning towards the Ping, but when I saw the pump itself, I noticed that the tubing cap stuck out quite a bit and was uncomfortable when I had it clipped to my waistband.  For that and many other reasons, I went with the Revel.  Don't let a doctor try to push in the direction of a certain pump.  Decide for yourself. 
  3. Consider the costs. Pumping is not cheap, even if you have insurance. There are copays for supplies and for the pump itself, which can be significant.  Know your benefits. 
  4. Log now to help with pump set up. You really need a good 2-3 months worth of logs to help set up the pump. Your insurance company may also require those logs.  So keep good records of everything you can (BGs, insulin doses, carbs, etc)
  5. Pick a time when things are relatively calm in your life to start.  Getting all the pump settings worked out can be tricky and frustrating.  I had a solid 2 weeks where I felt HORRIBLE because my BG was swinging all over the place.  So don't start a pump right as you're dealing with something really hectic/stressful.
  6. Consider all the downsides of pumping.  There are quite a few. Many achieve better control, but you have site issues, some people develop allergies to the adhesive, you don't have long-acting insulin in your system so you have to be really on top of things at all times, you are attached to something 24/7, you always have to carry extra pump supplies, you have to be really committed to checking your BG, you have to have time to devote to the whole process.  Just make sure you're aware of the downsides.

Pumping is not some magic cure, nor does it make managing diabetes as a whole easier.  An insulin pump is a great tool that will likely provide more flexibility and tighter overall control.

Thank you for the thorough response! I currently have PEIA insurance, and they only work with Bayer. This is definitely something that I am going to have to look into, as I like the Freestyles meter and strips. I have a hard time getting enough blood for other strips, so I really like these. Of course with my insurance I have been paying for them out right and they are very expensive. I am currently working out ways to get them lowered, so I do have my concerns with the pump.

You are right about the logs. I have kept my readings, but I have not been so good about writing down my carb intake. I need to be a little better about this first I think!

I am definitely going to speak with my Educator/Dr. before hand and try to work out what will be best for me. My main dose of insulin now is basal, so it will be quite an adjustment for me to only be on short-acting insulin.

Truly appreciate the feedback!

I second MBP's advice to know your benefits.

Your annual OOP (out of pocket) maximum may make a big difference in lowering your cost in the first year of pumping despite the up front cost of the pump. You may also realize (as I did) that the OOP max in the first year could allow you to get CGM essentially free during that year.

If cost considerations are paramount like they are for me, you may want to time your pump start at the beginning of the calendar year, i.e. Jan 2013, in order to maximize the savings of hitting your OOP max.

Beginning of the year was sort of what I was thinking. Nothing like a fresh start. Thank you!

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