Hooked to a Machine: My Experience Living with an Insulin Pump

  • Print
Hello there, fellow DiabeticLink members! I hope that you all are having a lovely March and that spring is beginning to bloom wherever you live. Today I want to address a topic that I rarely stop and think about, but that is an essential part of my life- my usage of an insulin pump.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 18 months old, and started using an insulin pump when I was ten years old. When I look back, I cannot believe that it has been almost a decade since I have had this little device attached to me, but then again, I can’t imagine a life without it. I’m not going to lie- being on an insulin pump is hard. It definitely gets easier over time, and it beats having to give yourself 5-7 injections a day, but still- it’s hard. When I first started on the pump, my parents and I had to undergo several training sessions just to figure out how everything was configured and what kind of infusion sites worked best for me.
I now use the Animas One-Touch Ping Pump, with exclusively Contact infusion sites, as they minimize pain for me. I have tried all sorts of infusion sites- ones that shoot in straight at the press of a button, ones that shoot in at 30 degrees (what?!), ones that are an inch long and shoot in my leg, ones that are an inch long and that I insert into my leg myself (yay for shaky hands), purely metal ones, purely plastic ones, etc. I even remember going through a phase where my infusion sites wouldn’t stay on, so I had to get this awful sticky glue that I would put on the back of the infusion site before sticking the needle in myself. This glue was so thick it could probably fasten someone’s shoes to the ground, and had a strong chemical odor. Of course, this made taking the infusion site out all the more fun, as I had to rip it off my skin (using a special adhesive remover called Uni-Solve) as well as take the needle out, which is a delicate process.
All of those bad experiences aside, having an insulin pump has made my life so much easier, and I am so grateful for it. Just now, I was able to snack on some candy, easily correct for it with the proper dose of insulin, and continue on with my day- without thinking about it. Having an insulin pump gives me CONTROL back in my life- something that is often lost when one is diagnosed with a chronic medical condition such as diabetes. I am able to fine-tune my insulin dosages to a point that is nearly perfect, and am directly responsible for the outcomes of my own blood sugars. When I was on insulin shots, I didn’t have that freedom or precision of control. For someone who has a very busy life, an insulin pump is great for being on the go.
However, there is one fundamental issue that still nags at the back of my mind at some points during the day, like when I lay down to sleep, or when my wire gets hooked on something and my site gets ripped out. Having an insulin pump is somewhat like having an external pancreas. You have to protect it as you would an organ hanging outside of your body, but you also have to worry about it more than you would an internal organ, which can regulate itself in accordance to your body’s needs. Therefore, having an insulin pump often feels as though I am constantly hooked to a machine. This did not bother me initially, and should not bother me, considering all of the pros of having an insulin pump. However, as time went on (almost 10 years, to be exact), I realized how often I wished that I could be free of this little device constantly hooked onto my stomach.
What do you guys think? Do you think that the pros of an insulin pump outweigh the cons? Or vice versa? Leave a comment below!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding insulin pump usage- I would be happy to help! :)

Post Comments

Add Your Comment!

Comments RSS
Your Community Manager

Grace Samtani is our community specialist who is available to help you get the best out of DiabeticLink. Grace is a Type 1 Diabetic herself and has many years of experience with diabetes. If you have questions about diabetes or the community on DiabeticLink then do not hesitate to contact Grace. You can find her profile here: Grace Samtani

Blog categories