Just a quick update on where I am on my insulin pump journey......
This week has been a bit hectic with getting ready for going on holiday today......trying to make sure I've left instructions for everyone at work about how to do my job while I'm away (the place just falls apart without me don't you know, ha ha ha), packing for the holiday, making sure I've got all my medication sorted and three appointments.
Firstly the opticians where he said there's no point changing my glasses at the moment as the prescription is only a weak one and the fact that I'm currently having lots of changes in the back of my eye due to the retinopathy and because I'm having more laser soon. Good news as I didn't relish the thought of having to buy new glasses at the moment!!!
Wednesday was seeing the dietician at Stafford Hospital for a carb counting group session. I'd never been to one of these before so I was a bit apprehensive but needn't have been as it was really informal and we met three really lovely people. It made me realise that I haven't been the only "bad" diabetic in the history of diabetes!!! Some of the stories were so similar to mine, for example, ignoring the condition and trying to pretend it's not there. All the years I was being "bad" I used to think I was the only one and that all other type 1's had perfect sugars and never ate unhealthily but now I'm starting to realise that I wasn't so alone after all. Anyway, the outcome of the session was better than I could have expected as the dietician said she was happy to tell the pump nurse that I'm ready to go onto the pump as I have got the hang of the carb counting......FANTASTIC!!!! I couldn't hide my excitement as I really didn't expect to hear that so soon. I thought I would have had to have another couple of one to one sessions with her, at least. I also had some bloods taken to find out what my HbA1C is.....my last one in Feb/March was 11.6 so I'm hoping it will have come down a bit now.
Thursday - Back to Stafford Hospital, this time to see the pump nurse!!! I had been really looking forward to this particular appointment as it was going to be the first time I would get to hear about how the process of getting "connected" would work and how long it would take and which pumps I could choose from. After the news from the dietician on Wednesday I was even more excited.....I could hardly wait to get in the room and say "Mina says I'm ready for my pump...." We had a really good discussion about all things pump related and about what to expect. I did have one rather embarrassing moment when we were discussing my meals and portion sizes.....hmmmm, it seems that I really am a greedy pig!!! I will never forget the look on Gill's (pump nurse) face when I told her what I eat for my evening meals, I think pure shock would accurately describe it!!!! So the next thing I need to work on is cutting down on portion sizes!!!! Gill then told me that for every 1% that my HbA1C comes down I can expect to gain up to 4lbs in weight if I don't cut my portions down and start to do some exercise so my new exercise regime is due to start first thing tomorrow in the hotel pool in Turkey!!!!!!!
Once she had got over the shock of the amount of food I can put away, Gill showed us the 3 pumps that the hospital offers. They are:
1. Animas One Touch Ping
2. Accu-Chek Spirit Combo
3. Medtronic Paradigm
Obviously, they all essentially do the same thing but they all have a slightly different look and have slightly different features. The aim was to discount one and then focus on the other 2. I will then take 2 of them home filled with saline instead of insulin and attach them so I can get to experience how it feels to wear one and get to have a 'play' with the features on each one. After discussing my insulin requirements (the amount I currently take per day) we decided that the Animas Ping was not for me as it holds less insulin in the reservoir so it would get used up about every 2 days which would mean changing the infusion set every 2 days. The other 2 can hold more insulin so I would need to change the infusion set every 3 days instead of 2. At the moment I am edging towards choosing the Medtronic pump (partially because it comes in pink and you can get some nice 'skins' for it - ha ha). Aside from the look of it, I like the fact that it can be used in conjunction with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). The hospital don't offer those as they are extremely expensive. You can have one on loan for a week though. In future though the price may come down and the hospital may supply them.
Anyway, the outcome is that on the 29th July I will take the Medtronic and Accu-Chek Combo home to have a go with.....soooo excited (but also a little nervous if I'm honest). After that it will be a case of Gill trying to match me up with another person about to go on a pump so that we can be 'pump buddys'. They try to match people up who they think will learn in a similar way, i.e. people who are both ok with gadgets and technology would probably pick up how to use the pump at about the same rate. If there is no one she feels would match well with me then it may be that Gareth is my 'pump buddy' and we do the training together, which will be a full day and then go back a few days later for a half day.
All in all things are moving much much faster than I ever expected. I really do appreciate how lucky I am in this respect and also in terms of how easily I have been accepted for a pump. For some people the whole process can be a real fight and can take a long long time so I am very grateful to Dr. Coates, Mina and Gill......Thank you!!!
For now, however, I am off on my hols in a few hours so I must go and finish my packing (including my new book on insulin pumping of course!!!)