As I mentioned in my last blog post I have Type 1 diabetes, diagnosed at the age of 11. For many years, until I was 18 to be exact, I did three injections a day; could you imagine being a teen and having to stop between classes, locate a vacant bathroom stall at lunch, or find a nice uncrowded piece of bleacher at the football game to give yourself a shot? Let me tell you, it wasn’t fun and it wasn’t always easy.
When I made the decision to go away to college (and wreak havoc on the nerves of my loving parents), I started to explore the option of having an insulin pump. Honestly, I could’ve started pumping a lot sooner but I had some misconceptions about the pump; things like “you’ll need surgery to put it in” and “you can’t ever take it off.” How silly of me to put off doing something that would be so great because I didn’t have the necessary information!
I get asked a lot of questions about my pump and I thought this would be a good opportunity to answer some of those. In no particular order, here are the things I get asked the most:
1. Do you ever take it off?
Yes, I take my pump off to shower and to swim. It is recommended that you not leave your pump disconnected for more than an hour at a time. During times I’m disconnected, it is important to check my blood sugar frequently to be sure that my blood sugar is not becoming elevated.
2. How is it connected? Is there a needle in you? How often do you change it?
I have a connection similar to an IV; I have a small, flexible plastic piece (cannula) that stays just under the skin and the insulin drips from that. The “site” as it is called, is inserted by a little device that just pops it in, and there is actually a very thin needle that breaks the skin to make way for the small cannula. The needle comes out and the flexible plastic piece is left behind. This is what it looks like:
Image from Google
I change my “site” about every 3 days to avoid absorption issues.
3. Where do you put it (the “site”)?
I wear mine mostly in my belly since that area is known to have better absorption. Some people wear it on the backs of their arms, in their upper buttocks, and on their thighs.
Image from Google
4. What if you don’t have pockets?
No worries, I wear mine in my bra! Most pumps (mine included) have a clip on the back so there is always an option to clip onto your pants.
I am currently using the Tandem T: Slim G4 and I love it; this is me and my pump:
Image from Pinterest
If you’re ever in CHEC and you have questions, please ask! I am always willing to answer questions about something that has been such a wonderful part of my life. If you or someone you know (in my medical lawsuit commercial voice) is considering getting an insulin pump, I urge you to really do your research and ask lots of questions any time you have the chance. Getting a pump is a huge investment but it can change your life.