Thursday, August 29, 2013

To Pump or Not to Pump? That is the Question.

I've met some people that are debating whether to place their kids on the insulin pump or leave them on the insulin pen. With all my heart I truly hope that I can assist them by answering some of their concerns and questions through this page. As the mother of a Type 1 Diabetic son, soon turning 11 years old, our concerns and questions never end. I guarantee that you will always want more information because even after six years, I am still hungry to learn more. We love our children and our family members living with this sickness and there is nothing more we desire than to wake up and discover a cure has been found.

Purple highlighted words are linked to 
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First, let me share that when my son was on the insulin pen, he received anywhere between 7 to 10 shots a day. His sugars ran high pretty much of the time and I struggled to understand what I was doing wrong. I felt terribly guilty and hated myself for a long time. When the pump was introduced to us, I saw it as a Godsend and worked immediately to get one for my son. He was on Novolog and then was switched to Apidra throughout the day to cover meals and stabilize sugars. At night, he took Lantus. I personally have never been a big fan of Lantus because I couldn't see the real benefit it played. His sugars still spiked and I wondered what is this medication really doing to my son's body.

Next, let me share that when we first got the pump,(Medtronic Pump) the training we received was very poor. I hurt my son while putting the insert on him. I wasn't shown the different options (styles) of quick sets (paradigms) and after a few painful attempts, I gave up. I put away the pump and went on my way, back to using the insulin pen and/or injections with insulin in a bottle. The truth is, the sugars were constantly out of control and if you read up on it you will find out that high blood sugars have horrible effects throughout the diabetic's body.

So, I found a new hospital where my husband and I were better trained and I felt better equipped to do this pump stuff. My confidence was restored and I can tell you that my son's sugar levels improved a lot more. 

Also, I have to say that somehow the A1c levels rarely lowered, even though we were attempting to check and monitors sugars a lot more. At the moment, I've restarted my son on the pump after having him off for two months. He started playing football and the site continued to come off during practice and very warm days when he was running and jumping around. I'd have to replace it and again, it would come out. We agreed to try and have him back on the insulin pen for a while and the truth is, I hate the high sugars, as well as the many needles I have to give him. I see the areas that get blue after the prick and I just hate it so much. So, I told him, I prefer to have to change your site everyday and not have to give you or see you give yourself so many shots a day. No debates on this topic. He wasn't excited but allowed me to place it back on him and the lower sugars started again. 

You're wondering if this is something for your child or maybe for yourself as an adult. I can tell you that the benefits of the insulin pump outweigh any negatives, like the ones I described above. My brother recently went on the insulin pump as well as he is very pleased with the way he is feeling, the control he has and the improved management of his diabetes as well. Yes, at times, especially for a child, it comes out, but hey, just put it back on. Yes, it hurts a little. If you think I don't know what I'm talking about, I can assure you that before my son went back on the pump, I relearned what to do and practiced by practicing with a diabetic educator's help on myself. I word the site for a week. I know the slight burning sensation if you have allergies to latex. 

I know the uncomfortable feeling of having that on your tummy and how you need to put it just right so it doesn't rub on your underwear or pants. But, as a mother, I can tell you that I prefer the pump one hundred and ten times more than putting my child through constant injections. My advice, place the paradigm on yourself, (only under the supervision of your child's diabetes educator and doctor). 

As I write this, my son's site is getting ready to be replaced. We are waiting for a new set with longer needle tips. Sometimes the machine says, "No delivery" and the line needs to be checked or the site needs to be changed. This is probably one of the only real negatives in my opinion. Again, I prefer to change a site instead of constant punctures to the skin. My son is not happy that I am going to place a new site. I changed it yesterday. Not because it came out but because it needs to be replaced every two to three days. Yesterday was the day to do it and unfortunately, this happens sometimes with the metal one (Sure-T Paradigm), he is using. I reordered the plastic ones and hope the longer tip suits him best.

Finally, I want to celebrate you as a parent of person with diabetes looking for a better way.  You know there are challenges up ahead and you want to be ready. You are not happy with the news of having to add diabetes to your life's resume but you are not letting it dictate your daily outcomes. You are willing to try something new and different because you want to live, to enjoy life and maybe train for a triathlon or just be able to rollerskate in the park. The insulin pump is a wonderful tool. Try it. I think you will agree, it will be an improvement to your sugar levels, management, and how you wake up in the morning.

To learn more about how we care for our son or what we learn about Type 1 Diabetes and medical advances on treatment,  visit my other blogs and visit regularly to see what I share. If I don't answer your questions or cover something you are wondering about, write to me and I promise to do everything I can to find answers and help to share your way. 

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