Stuck between a pump and a hard place

So it goes like this. Pump company rep offers me trial of new shiny bright CGMS (continuous glucose monitoring system) which is now about to be available in Oz. I gush an “oh yes that would be brilliant” like a knee jerk reaction. Christmas then intervenes, as does life and I start to ponder whether CGMS is really for me? Do I want another machine attached to me? Do I want to know every second of every day what my blood glucose is doing? After considering all the options and repercussions of this I decided, no. I do not, thank the lovely rep for the offer but let him know it is not for me.

I love my pump and what it gives me. I have been a pumper for 12 years. I have been through a journey from no cover under the NDSS for supplies, to sets that had no tape attached and involved multiple pieces of tapes and patches to hold the cannula in place. I have had a range of pumps, some no longer available. It changed my life. No question.

I called my health insurance company back when I considered the CGMS to get the new pump which can attach to this. And they said, sure, it is ages since you had a new pump. Yay! I thought, even if i don’t go ahead with the CGMS, I will upgrade my pump. Nice.

Move ahead to today. I find out that in fact I can not claim a new pump for another year. Ouch…..

Lately, I have also been pondering whether I have now reached the 12 year itch with the pump? This latest development where I now have another year before I can upgrade, has me thinking even more whether I really want anything attached to me? Do I want to keep trying to find sites in my toughened skin, weathered from all those millions of drips of insulin going through my skin into my body tissues each and every day over the past 12 years? Do I want to do the flick and clip manoeuvres  of a seasoned pumper when going to the toilet? Trying to find a comfy place when I wear a dress?  I have wondered if going back to injections or MDI as they call it in the business, could be a change as good as a holiday for me?

Then I remember back to my pre pump days. I recall the horrendous wake up calls of 25 mmol or more with no prediction and no way of dealing with this. I remember the problems from my delayed stomach emptying leading to hypos after I ate and highs a few hours later when the food hit my system (at last) and the way I dealt with it – which was to take little bits of insulin before, during and after a meal – essentially like a pump, just with a hell of a lot more injections!

I remember not being able to easily reduce my basal insulin prior to exercise, to not being able to reduce or increase this when I was sick. Having to wake up to eat. And the hypos…..I remember those days BMP (before my pump) and not with fondness.

Yet, I still find myself toying with the idea. Things have also changed on the insulin front. There are now long acting insulins that do not have the issues of my pre-pump insulin. People live their life on MDI basically as if they were on a pump – dosing to meet their carb and exercise needs and anything else that can happen. Maybe it could work….

Or maybe, this idea I have, of going back to injections is like when I went on a pump and then had a complete downer when I realised despite it making big positive changes to my life,  I still had diabetes.

Yep, guess no matter which way you look at it, I am stuck between a pump and a hard place.

Helen Edwards