I am super duper excited as it looks like I am finally going to be getting my very first insulin pump! It has taken me rather a long time to get to the point of an actual real life appointment letter to start the process rolling and I am really looking forward to it (that’s really sad isn’t it- I know!)
That’s my excited face…
The story starts a number of years ago when I first expressed an interest in insulin pumps. My interest literally started in me just having a little google as to what these magical contraptions looked like, how they worked and what the different types were. I was intrigued and somewhat intimidated by the plethora of information out there and of course I fell victim to the odd ‘forum’ (yes, I know, this is always a bad idea) where people were posting about their pump experiences and opinions etc.
I didn’t really think about it too much for a while, it was always something in the back of my mind however, I felt that I was managing well on MDI and therefore there wasn’t any need for a pump. I was also not massively keen on the idea of having something constantly attached to me and therefore potentially limiting what I could wear and of course, making it a lot harder to hide the fact that I had T1d.
My interest was re-ignited when I attended my DAFNE course last year as I came to understand a bit better how the pumps worked and the additional flexibility that was possible when on pump therapy. I am often a slow burner on these things and took in all the information provided, still maintaining my stance that I wasn’t that bothered and MDI was fine.
Being the inquisitive and slightly geeky person that I am, I started doing some more reading and research on pumps and, the more info that I was able to find, it really became clear to me that pumps are actually quite brilliant. I started to question how and why anyone ever thought that the act of injecting a long acting (basal) insulin twice a day with top ups of quick acting (bolus) doses to counteract the blood sugar rise caused by food, was a suitable substitute regime for that of a fully functioning pancreas.
This is when I seriously expressed an interest to my consultant and I realised it may not quite be as easy as I had hoped to get one of these magic pumps! The NICE guidelines for insulin pump therapy are detailed below…
I did not fit in to either of these categories and therefore was not ‘technically’ eligible for NHS funded pumping! Grrr, it’s like being punished for having good control! Anyway, my fabulous consultant managed to bypass this and got me on the list whoooop! 😀
***i am no scientist and not the sharpest crayon in the box therefore my understanding of all of this is very basic and I am aware there may be some slight innaccuracies going on!**
Taking the above disclaimer in to account….. by my understanding, the fully functioning pancreas is constantly releasing insulin in to the body, there is always a baseline of insulin present and whenever something happens that alters the body’s insulin requirements, the pancreas deals with that by releasing the appropriate amount of insulin.
Again, by my understanding, a pump works in a very similar way. You set your ‘basal’ rate which is the constant provision of a low level of insulin and then you add a ‘bolus’ dose as and when required. It is also possible to adjust the basal rate depending on external factors (weather, exercise, illness etc). This means that you no longer have a lon acting insulin such as levemir, Lantus or degludec and are only working from a short acting like novorapid.
To me, this makes a lot more sense than MDI. It seems a lot more representative of the way in which a pancreas works and therefore surely it’s a no brainer that it should assist in gaining tighter control.
Now of course, the pump is only as good as the information you provide it with and you are still required to test your bg and adjust and dose accordingly. I am not under the impression that it is going to be a magic cure or anything like that, I am however excited about the possibilities it will provide and increased flexibility that will hopefully be available to me!
Soooo, my first appointment is on 5th December where I will get taught about the workings of the pump and then have a practise week wearing it before switching to proper pump therapy a week later. I will of course keep you updated on the progress, I am sure there will be challenges and bumps along the way as well as plenty of positive stories.
I would love to hear any tips or other people’s experiences of switching to pump therapy from MDI, please comment below with anything you think I NEED to know!! X