Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Countdown to Connection

The 'Mio' Infusion Set for Medtronic MiniMed Paradigm Veo Insulin Pump
My insulin pump start date is getting closer and closer.....my overwhelming emotions in relation to this are obviously elation and excitement but I have to admit it......I'm also slightly nervous and scared.
 

I'm sure some people won't understand how I can be feeling anything but excitement about getting my pump, especially people who have had or are having a fight on their hands to get one.  I certainly don't want to annoy anyone by sounding ungrateful because that is not the case at all, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given and always will be.

It's hard to explain my feelings about Monday.....

I guess the word would be "apprehension".  There are a few things I feel a bit nervous about, one being the fact that I will be more or less permanently attached to something for the rest of my life....ok, so I got on fine with it during my 3 day trial at the weekend and I do know that you can disconnect for short periods of time, but I do feel a bit freaked out by the "alien" element of it all.  I have done a bit of reading on accepting being attached to the pump in my new "bible" (Pumping Insulin by John Walsh and Ruth Roberts).  It mentions that some people may feel embarassed or self conscious about wearing a pump.  I have to say that I am not concerned about that at all, in fact I am quite looking forward to telling people about it and explaining what it is and how it works, as it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of and I think the more people that know what it is and understand something about how it works the better.  It's not how it looks to other people that concerns me, I think for me it's the "attachment" element of it which is quite hard to put into words.  If anyone else had similar thoughts before starting on their pump please let me know.....(then again it might just be me!!! Lol)

Again, I do want to make it really clear that overall I am VERY happy about getting my pump and these negatives I'm talking about today are only small niggles, not major concerns!!!!  I think it would be difficult to do something so life changing without feeling some sort of nervousness or anxiety. 


I have been doing injections for 19 years now (first with a syringe and a glass vial of insulin that you had to draw up into the syringe yourself then with pens with cartridges that you changed and then finally with disposable, pre-filled pens) so I think I am going to find it really strange at first when I no longer have to reach for the insulin pen at set times of the day and for a while I might have to get Gareth to hide my pens so I don't inject!!! :o)


I started making changes in April by learning to carb count and work out insulin ratios according to the amount of carbs I am going to eat so the next step is to apply what I have learnt to the insulin pump.  I'm a bit nervous about managing to work out basal rates etc. but that will all be done with the help of my DSN on Monday and there will be plenty of ongoing support for me from her in the weeks and months to come.


Below are a few advantages and disadvantages of insulin pumps which must be considered before making a decision about whether a pump is right for you:
(Taken from http://www.input.me.uk/)


Disadvantages
•Being attached to the pump almost all of the time (the pump can instantly be disconnected for brief periods " swimming, showers, sex, etc.)
•Risk of diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) may be higher without frequent blood glucose testing
•Chance of skin infections, especially if the infusion set is not changed after 3 days
 
Advantages
•Offers a better quality of life and well being
•Freedom from a fixed insulin dose schedule
•Eat what you choose, when you like
•Ajust insulin to meet the body"s needs
•Feeling "normal"
•Being more alert & aware
•Being in control of life as well as diabetes
•Convenience
•Easier management of exercise, sport
•Reliable insulin action
•Staying up late, having a lie-in, or oversleeping without worry
•Restoration of hypoglycaemia awareness
•Managing the dawn phenomenon
•Travelling across time zones without missing or taking too much insulin
•Tight diabetes control before and during pregnancy
•Delay or prevention of long term complications
 
As you can see the advantages outnumber the disadvantage by far.....
 
Starting on the pump is going to be a massive life change, one which I am finally ready to accept. It's almost like throwing out everything I have ever known about Diabetes and starting all over again at the bottom of a pretty steep learning curve. I am so lucky to have been given the chance to make my way up to the top of the curve.
 
For years and years I just did the same doses with every meal, no matter what I was eating, no matter what exercise I did (if any) and I just did this without thinking about any of it. Starting with carb counting and going onto the pump has made me realise that it's not as straight forward as that if you want to take proper care of yourself. The next few months are going to be a lot of hard work in terms of more blood sugar testing, recording everything I eat and everything I do to see whether the basal rates are correct. I am totally ready to do everything I need to do to stay on the path of good Diabetic control for the first time ever!!!

As Monday gets closer I do have mixed emotions about getting "connected".....one minute I am high as a kite with excitement then I get a sudden surge of slight panic.  Then I think about the people I've got around me and I know that with their help and support I will be just fine and will soon get used to having my pump and, before I know it it will be as though it has always been a part of me........

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