Thursday, December 21, 2006

My (Hoped For!) Insulin Pump

When I was a mere nine weeks pregnant with my second son, I went in for my first routine prenatal visit. I worked for the general practitioner's office & I was very much hoping to have one of the docs follow me through the pregnancy. And hey, the "commute" to my visits only would have required me to walk upstairs! However, they found I was spilling a "little" glucose over in to my urine. They did a random finger stick to just check. I swear the lab tech almost had me in the hospital! A normal blood sugar ranges from 70-100. Mine was somewhere in the high 300 range - two hours after breakfast. Not good to say the least. I was given an immediate referral to a diabetes educator, my friendly doc would not be able to follow my pregnancy after all, & I had a new label "high risk pregnancy." Needless to say none of this was expected. The news got better, after seeing a specialist I was told that this was "real." I did not have gestational diabetes, I had the real deal. However, until the baby was born, they wouldn't be able to tell if I had type 1 (insulin-dependent) or type 2 (non-insulin dependent & generally treated with pills). I was on insulin throughout my pregnancy. I hated those shots....

Four months after my healthy son was born, I developed a severe thirst. If you have ever heard talk about the"diabetes" thirst, it truly is an amazing thing. I was chewing ice to get the cotton feeling out of my mouth. This, of course, happened on a weekend. I thought the specialist had been wrong - no diabetes! He told me I would have 1-2 weeks of a honeymoon period after the baby was born. Here is was four months, but it came back with a vengeance. I got my work place to give me a fasting sugar & a random finger stick on Monday morning. (My glucose meter had been borrowed from the hospital & already returned.) I don't remember the number now, but it was in the high 200s I think. Needless to say, I walked out of there that day with a new prescription for insulin & syringes an appointment with an endocrinologist.

I still remember the day I went to see the endo doc after my testing was done to get my results. Normally it wouldn't have been a date to remember, but we went on September 10, 2001. The doctor had given me a sheet on the drug he planned to put me on. We all anticipated I had type 2 diabetes. I did not. I had type 1. I would be on insulin for the rest of my life.

Needless to say this was a life changing day. Here I was, 28 years old, & I had just been diagnosed with a disease that generally only affects children. In recent years there has been great strides made in finding out what causes the disease. It is now thought that a virus triggers it. When your body is attacked by a virus, it makes antibodies & fights it off. It is thought that the virus closely resembles the islet cells (insulin making) in the body & the antibodies can't tell them apart & it kills them off as well. Once these cells are killed, your body will no longer produce insulin. Without insulin, your blood sugar will go too high & your body can't function. It's not getting fuel.

The first diabetes educator I saw while I was pregnant explained it very well to me. Glucose is needed in the cells for them to function - for fuel. Insulin is the key to the doors of the cell. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesn't make any keys at all - so your body doesn't get the necessary fuel. When you have type 2 diabetes, you make keys but not always the right ones.

After about the first year, I was able to go on an insulin pump. It took me a few months to get used to it, but I loved the freedom it allowed me. I used quick acting insulin so no more trying to figure out when I would be able to eat (with two kids!) and giving myself my insulin 30 minutes before the meal. No more having to eat on a schedule. No more being forced to eat everything I thought I would want to eat because I had already taken the insulin to cover that meal - even though I was full & didn't want to finish it. The pump allowed me to give myself my insulin right before I began eating. It allowed me to stay at a table in a restaurant & give myself my insulin in front of people - instead of hiding out in a bathroom stall.

I went to see my endo. doctor this past fall & asked about upgrading my pump. It's about five years old now & they have made some really neat ones since I first got mine. I found out about a brand new pump (and company) called OmniPod. It's "wireless." Talk about exciting! There is no tubing that connects it to the pump unit like I currently use. I could wear dresses without pockets & not worry about where to stash my pump! No more having to wear a sock on my PJ's to bed - so I have a place to keep it. No more worrying about forgetting to take it off when I go swimming. This is a huge improvement. Also - the "pod" part of the pump takes care of the needle/catheter insertion automatically! It's suppose to be quick & "virtually" painless. Yeah!

Now I am just waiting for the insurance procedure to be followed. I've been told that my insurance company will deny it but the pump company will appeal & it should be approved. I'm praying that I have my new pump by the end of next month!

The OmniPod set

I have a similar pump (in smoke I think).
The tube comes out of the "knob" area on the left.


  1. Lisa, I am praying for you right now. My dh is currently waiting for our insurance to approve a $$ med, and it seems to take forever.

  2. I was wondering if you'd heard word on the pump....I'll keep praying...


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