….since my life changed.
4 years ago today I began using an insulin pump.
Prior to pumping I’d gone over 16 years on injections. I was sick of it. I was ready for a change. And I needed a change. My A1c levels were always high. I had been recently (the month before) diagnosed with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. I couldn’t get my dawn phenomenon under control.
I had been trying to get an insulin pump for a year, with no success. I had an endocrinologist who was, quite frankly, stupid. He seemed to have no idea what he was doing. In an attempt to ‘help me’ he took me off Lantus for a while and put me on Lente. He took me off carb counting and put me on a strict sliding scale……..all of which combined meant horrible things for me. I was supposed to eat at very strict times. Yet I was a full-time student who also had a full-time job. My schedule from day to day was so different – there was no way to make it work. And work it didn’t! I ended up in DKA 3 times in the span of about a year. 1 time I called 911 for myself, 1 time my ex took me to the ER, and 1 time….my roommate saved my life. I had already been unconscious for hours when she found me, I was slipping into a coma. It wasn’t good. The hospital wouldn’t take me further than the ER because everyone thought I was going to die.
After that third time in DKA a CDE at that hospital where I’d been taken talked with me. He asked me quite frankly ‘what the hell is going on?’ I explained about my insulin regimen and how I knew it wasn’t working but what could I do? All my RXs had been changed, so it’s not like I could go ahead and keep using Lantus and doing what I knew was better for me (though to be fair my control on Lantus wasn’t good either). I credit that man with what came next….he stormed out of the room, made a call to my diabetes clinic at a neighboring hospital and demanded I be switched to a different doctor. He made an appointment for me with my new doctor for the following week.
That new doctor was Dr. Patel. He is still my doctor today. He worked with me to get me somewhat re-stabilized on MDI with carb counting. He made me see a CDE, a dietician, and the pump trainer……and then he agreed I needed the pump. My old doctor had always scoffed at the idea, as if the entire notion of me on a pump was ridiculous. His reasoning was that I was so out of control I could never handle a pump. Dr. Patel saw it my way though – I needed the pump in order to gain control.
It’s now been four years. I started on the Minimed Paradigm 722, which I didn’t like a whole lot. I used the Animas Access program (a trade-in program) to get an Animas Ping 2 years later. Now my refurbished Ping’s warranty is going bye-bye and I’m attempting to get my hands on a t:slim before I have to switch insurance coverage.
I am fully convinced that without an insulin pump I’d either be dead or completely blind right now. Some people prefer MDI, and that’s great for them – but it doesn’t work for me. My basal rates are way too variable for MDI to ever be successful in the way that pumping has been. I’m so glad to have access to the technology I need to be healthy.