Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Two weeks in.....


It's now been just over 2 weeks since I got my insulin pump.  It's been......challenging, exciting and also, I have to say, pretty tiring!!!

I have been able to be in constant contact with my DSN (Diabetes Specialist Nurse), Gill, which has been brilliant and really reassuring to know that theres an expert on the end of the phone who can help with problems and panics.  I have been texting Gill each morning (at her request) to let her know what my blood sugar levels have been over night and also to make suggestions as to what adjustments I think I should make. 

I have been testing my sugars between 6 and 10 times per day which is much much more than I ever did in the past but it's necessary so that you can see exactly what your blood sugars are doing according to your doses and according to how much and what food you have eaten.  It is important to keep accurate and detailed records of all of your blood sugar test results, exercise, what you eat and other things such as being ill so that your basal rates and bolus doses can be altered accurately.  With accurate records you can then see patterns start to emerge at certain times of the day and/or when you eat certain things so you can then make the necessary adjustments.

Frequent testing is also essential because an insulin pump only delivers fast acting insulin so you don't have any long acting insulin in your system as a back up, therefore, if insulin delivery gets interrupted whilst on an insulin pump your blood sugars can go dangerously high in a pretty short amount of time so you need to know what is going on so you can treat high blood sugar levels quickly.

To test whether my overnight basal rates are correct I have been getting up at midnight and 3.00 a.m. to test my blood sugars - hence being so tired at the moment.  My levels have still been fairly high in the mornings so that means I probably need more insulin overnight.

I have been having a lot more hypos since starting on my pump.  Hypos were virtually non-existent for me in the past but now I'm having at least one a day which isn't fun.  The lows seem to be mid afternoon and a couple of hours after my evening meal so now we need to work out whether it's my basal rates that are too high at those times of the day or whether it's my insulin to carbs ratio before lunch and before dinner that needs to be changed.

I've had a few panics and dramas like when I managed to put the infusion set in a stupid place (where a roll of fat creases over when I sit down - Yes, I know that's not a very attractive image I've just conjured up for you - Sorry!!) and it was really quite painful.  I persevered with it but then at work I bent over to pick something up and the infusion set popped right out of my stomach...... Aaaaaaggghhh, I almost had a heart attack and went into total panic!!!  Then I managed to replace the infusion set without filling the tubing first because I was in a panic and wasn't concentrating on what I was doing!!

Changing the infusion set and reservoir has been fairly easy so far (apart from the daft mistakes I mentioned above).  At the moment I'm following the user guide to the letter each time I do it and it's taking me about 15 to 20 minutes but I'm told that I'll soon have it down to about 5 minutes!!!

Not doing injections is fantastic and has also been quite strange.  For the 1st few days it was a struggle to remember not to jab myself and it felt like something was missing!!! But it hasn't taken me long to get used to it and appreciate the fact that not injecting after 19 years is absolutely amazing and I never want to go back!!!!!

I've enjoyed showing off my pump and explaining to people all about it and how it works.  A couple of people at work have asked me "Whats that in your pocket?" when they have seen the tubing and I've been really happy to show them and tell them all about it.  I will carry on rambling on about my new bit of kit for as long as people are interested and want to listen!!!

So far, going from injections to an insulin pump has felt a bit like a full time job at times, trying to keep up with what's going on with my sugars and what I need to do with the pump, counting carbs and then remembering what to do when I need to change the infusion set and insulin reservoir and I've felt like my brains been in meltdown but I know it will be all worth it.

One small thing I don't like about being on an insulin pump is that I now have to carry around a load of extra 'D' related stuff!!! Insulin pump kit = Glucose tablets, blood sugar testing kit and record diary, pen, carb counting books, blood ketone monitoring kit and/or urine ketone monitoring strips, spare insulin pen (for just in case there are problems with the pump), infusion set, reservoir, vial of insulin, antibacterial hand gel, spare AAA batteries, Glucagon injection (for use during a hypo when you are unable to swallow glucose tablets or glucogel) and snacks (such as cereal bars)......I think that's everything!! Obviously it's only a minor irritation but it certainly requires a huuuuuuge bag to carry it all around in....perfect excuse to buy a nice new bag if you ask me!!!!  :o)

I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who has asked how I'm getting on, offered tips and advice and who has just been there to support me during the last 2 weeks.  I have to say that the people I have met in the Diabetic Online Community have helped me massively with the transition from injections to insulin pump and it certainly makes things a lot easier when you know there are people you can talk to online and ask what you may think are daft questions.  There are always people willing to offer advice and help which is invaluable!!!  THANK YOU!!!

Also, a huge thank you to my other half, Gareth, who has been fantastic.  He has been there every step of the way for me, been to every appointment with me, put up with my moods and frustrations and he continues to help me with getting to grips with the pump.....I couldn't have asked for a more supportive partner!!! THANK YOU!!!! x x x
Last but certainly not least, I want to thank my Mom for being there for me from the very start of my Diabetes journey.....it's not always been easy, especially the teenage years when I refused to fully acknowledge my Diabetes.  It's only now that I realise how awful this must have been for my Mom and what a nightmare it must have been for her when nothing she did or said would get through to me.  I hope now that I have taken hold of this condition and accepted responsibility for my Diabetes I can  make her proud of me.  Love you Mom and thank you so so much for everything!! x x x

So to conclude, 2 weeks in, do I prefer the pump to injections??? Of course I do!!!

4 comments:

  1. What a great blog! I have read every post. Well done Bec. Hang on in there, I am sure all the tweaking that you are having to do will be second nature to you in the near future and the benefits to your health will be immense.

    My daughter was dx type 1 in Sept 2000, 10 years old (she is now 21.) She has had reasonable control of her DM and has only been admitted to hospital once - two weeks ago with DKA. She was in for 2 days and is OK now.

    She was accepted on the pump programme about 3 months ago, done the carb counting and is now trying to get tighter control with her MDI.

    She should get her pump in about 6 weeks. She is on a downer about the prospect of being tethered to a pump for the rest of her life. I am trying to get her to read blogs, such as yours, to get gain some inspiration from people who know *exactly* how she feels.

    Your point about how your mum has suffered regarding your DM, resonates greatly with my wife and I. Since my daughter was diagnosed we have shed bucket loads of tears (mostly in private) having to watch our daughter daily endure all the crap the DM inflicts upon her. We would not think for a second if it were possible for us to take away the DM and suffer it ourselves instead of her.

    I wish you all the best and I will be avidly following your pump journey with a vested and personal interest.

    Adrian

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  2. Hi Adrian, thanks so muc for taking the time to read my blog and post a comment. It's great to get positive feedback. Glad to hear your daughter is ok now. I am lucky enough never to have been admitted to hospital for DKA but I'm sure it must have been a terrifying time for you all.
    It's great that your daughter has started her journey from injections to pump. It takes a lot of dedication and you need to be really motivated and its taken me a really long time to get to that stage but I'm totally on board with my Diabetes now and am determined to persevere and make it work.
    If your daughter would like to message me at all and ask any questions about going onto a pump feel free to tell her to contact me on facebook (Bec Morgan). My main concern was the same as your daughters in that I wasnt sure how I would adapt to beint attached permanently to something but in actual fact that part of it has been much easier than I expected. Obviously I'm not an expert but it might help to ease any concerns she's got to 'talk' to someone who has recently got a pump.
    Thanks again for reading!!!
    Bec

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  3. Hi Bec, I will pass your FB info to Amber (my daughter)when she gets back from a music festival she is attending (she left today with her BF and will be back Monday).

    Regards,

    Adrian

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  4. Thanks for the mention - brings a tear to my eye!!! I AM proud of you and always have been & always will be - diabetes is a constant challenge but even through the rough times I have never felt any different about you!!!
    Love you loads, Mom xxxxxxxxxxx

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