Are insulin pumps really the way to go?

By mustangpeg Latest Reply 2014-02-05 12:18:12 -0600
Started 2014-01-31 10:08:42 -0600

I am type 1 and have been losing weight slowly over last three years. Now I am so thin that it is really frightening me. I am losing about 2 # a month and the Dr thinks that an insulin pump is the answer. The Dr. says that since my body produces no insulin, that when food goes in my body, it is attacking my muscle and fat and so that is why I am so thin and weak. My question is, will the pump help this problem and will I start to put on weight again? I really can't get much thinner. Also scared about the pump. Any info will be appreciated…

26 replies

jaydoubleyou23 2014-02-02 14:32:37 -0600 Report

Yep it is! I've gained healthy weight while on the pump also. I was scared of inserting the pump so I went with omnipod so it did that part itself! I highly recommend it! :)

mustangpeg 2014-02-02 14:52:27 -0600 Report

So good to know. I was thinking of the Omnipod because it is so small and light and the inserting needle is now my biggest fear. Good to know you gained weight, because I need to gain back about 30 #. I feel so much better about the pump now… Thanks a bunch

One Step at a Time
One Step at a Time 2014-02-04 12:02:31 -0600 Report

Call and get a demo kit from Omnipod. Mine will be here next week. All pumps have some sort of device to insert the tubing. Check them out on YouTube. I like diabetic Danica. She's got all kinds of good videos. She's a college kid, so sometimes she gets a little chatty…but they're informative.

bayridgevet 2014-02-02 13:50:05 -0600 Report

I used the pump from 2001 to 2003 before I received my kidney pancreas transplant. I wish I had started years earlier. It definitely is the way for stricter control of your diabetes. This in turn should stabilize your weight. Best of luck and Health!

mustangpeg 2014-02-02 14:14:30 -0600 Report

Thank you and I think I'm convinced to go with the pump. All the info that everyone has provided me here has really opened my eyes to the pump…

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-02-02 08:47:18 -0600 Report

I've been T1 for 27 years, and started my 1st pump about 4 months ago. I feel silly for not having done it years ago, it is life changing. It takes a level of commitment, especially to getting it all dialed in, but the return is so much more than I ever got from MDI.

mustangpeg 2014-02-02 10:24:17 -0600 Report

Thanks so much for positive input. I guess my fear is holding me back but all the positive comments here have sure helped, I guess the hardest part would be getting the dosage right but I have to do that with the pens too and I get so tired of sticking myself. Thank you again and I am prepared to more forward with the pump.

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-02-02 10:56:05 -0600 Report

your endo, or a pump rep will help you get dosages set. You kind of have to let your BS go high in order to dial in the bolus, basals, and corrections, but it quickly becomes 2nd nature. Look at all the pumps out there and the differences, they are all good

jarett88 2014-01-31 21:51:43 -0600 Report

To start been on a pump for over 30 years. From there pumps are the best for me. They are different. Talk to some reps from pump company's to get info. Pumps alone will not lower a1c or put on or take off weight. That's all you. I grew up with body builder. There meal plans they give people now. Eat 3 meals 3 snacks. Watch calories, fat, carbs. To gain weight eat more good calories. To lose eat less. Been doing this for 30 plus years. Please check with a nutritionist. Get help from people who know.

One Step at a Time
One Step at a Time 2014-01-31 19:49:45 -0600 Report

Are you on insulin pens? I lost weight pretty rapidly before I was diagnosed and since starting insulin I have gained it all back, plus 15 pounds. I can't figure our how to loose the weight and keep my BG up. When I work out I drop low and have to take in calories/carbs to get back up. Sometimes undoing all my work…

I'm also thinking about a pump…

mustangpeg 2014-02-01 12:38:55 -0600 Report

Yes I am on the insulin pens. I have one long acting shot every day and a fast acting pen for meal spikes. I guess I'm scared about the pump and really don't know that mush about them except what I have read online. Dr. says it will make my life so much easier.

tkpaulin 2014-02-05 03:11:18 -0600 Report

Currently I use the insulin pens - a long-acting and a fast-acting. I like the control it gives me because I have also lost 80% of my pancreas and have less than 10% functionality in the remaining portion. I became T1 because of a severe bout with pancreatitus that is now a chronic condition. My sugar levels can aggravate that for me and so can avoiding too many carbs. So, I'm very hesitant about the pump and really like the control I have with the pens to use as much or as little as I need.

mustangpeg 2014-02-05 12:18:12 -0600 Report

So glad the pens are working for you. I am on same thing but I find it really hard to control. So I guess pump is the only answer for me now and because of all the great responses here, I think I am ready to move forward.

Type1Lou 2014-02-05 08:42:51 -0600 Report

You'll even have greater control with the pump. It delivers you "basal" insulin in fractions of a unit throughout the day/night and can be programmed for different levels at different times of day. My pump is programmed with 4 basal levels ranging from .1 unit per hour ro .55 unit per hour…you can't "fine-tune" your long-acting insulin this way. You'll still "bolus" with the pump when you eat and control when and how much fast-acting insulin you'll take to handle the food you ingest. My pump is programmed to calculate my bolus dosage based on my current BG and the amount of carbs that I tell it I'm eating…but before I bolus, I can increase or decrease the pump's recommended amount…so you are still very much in control!

Type1Lou 2014-02-01 09:32:02 -0600 Report

This is where a pump might help. To avoid hypos during or after my 50 minute 3-mile walk, I temporarily set my pump's basal rate to 0%, (essentially suspending it). I set this 1/2 hour prior to and for the duration of the walk. You can temporarily set the basal in increments of 1% from 99% down to 1% based on YOUR needs and the degree of exertion. This is not an option with MDI.

Type1Lou 2014-01-31 14:55:35 -0600 Report

Peg, I have had diabetes since 1976 but only started using a pump in 2011. I'm kicking myself for having waited so long to start pumping and hope I never have to go back to MDI! That said, for the pump to work well, it demands a great deal of commitment and input. I do not use a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) but even if I did, pumping still requires using a meter to test BG's. I test on an average of 8 times per day. I needed to become knowledgeable about the carb content of the food I ate so I could properly bolus for meals. It took my endo and I about 3 months to properly set the basal and bolus rates in the meter and they occasionally still need some tweaking. When I exercise, I need to reduce the basal rate of delivery so that I don't go hypo. Since pumping, I haven't experienced any serious low BG episodes requiring glucagon or ER visits. It works for me and I love it. If you need to chat or have specific questions, I'd be happy to share my experiences with pumping.

mustangpeg 2014-02-01 12:45:15 -0600 Report

Thank you so much for your input. I guess I am scared about the pump. Having something attached to you all the time and what about showers and sleeping? Is it hard to adjust to or is it a real pain? Is it painful for the needle ? That scares me… Anything you can share will help… What pump do you think is best? My Dr. says the pump will make my life so much easier. I am on pens right now. I take a shot of long acting insulin once a day and take shots from a fast acting insulin as needed. That's why I have been losing weight because I don't always take the short acting shots so no insulin to absorb food and so losing muscle and fat.

Type1Lou 2014-02-01 15:21:05 -0600 Report

The January issue of Diabetes Forecast reviewed and compared 180 different diabetes items and one of the categories was pumps. By going to their site, you should be able to get this info which I think would be very helpful in deciding which pump suits you best. The Metronic Minimed Revel 523 pump that I use has tubing but there are also tubeless pumps (like OmniPod). Medtronic has also come out with a new model, the 530 Enlite I think it's called. I change the reservoir and infusion set every 3 days…so that's one poke every 3 days rather than multiple shots per day. I don't find connecting the infusion set any more difficult/painful than taking insulin shots. You do have to rotate the infusion sites like you do with your insulin shots to prevent insulin absorption problems. The Medtronic pump is not waterproof and musr be disconnected when showering or bathing. There are some pumps out there that are waterproof (I think OmniPod is waterproof.) I resisted using a pump for years because I didn't want to be connected to something 24/7…I've adapted and find it is no big deal…in fact, I now wish I'd begun pumping years sooner. For night-time/sleep, I've sewn little pockets into my nightgowns that securely hold the pump so I have less danger of disconnecting the canula/infusion set if I toss and turn. For those intimate moments, I just leave the pump on and we work around it. In 2010, I had increasingly been experiencing scary low BG's requiring my husband to inject me with glucagon and/or getting me to the ER. The final straw occurred while on vacation in August 2010 in Idaho. My husband couldn't wake me up, tested me and injected glucagon. When that didn't produce the expected results, he took me to the ER where they admitted me to be certain I hadn't suffered a stroke. The next day, after many tests and observation, they discharged me since it was "only" a hypoglycemic episode. I had been seeing a GP for my health issues since moving to Florida in 2005. Upon returning home, when he advised me to keep on the same insulin regimen (Lantus and Novolog) with no dosage adjustments, I asked him for an endocrinologist referral. The endo actually reduced my Lantus (long-acting insulin) dose by 25%, changed the time I took it, and re-educated me about sliding scales and carb to insulin ratios. After a year, I opted to try the pump and haven't had a scary low BG since. Pumping really has made my life with diabetes easier and has brought some peace of mind to my husband.

Anonymous 2014-02-01 15:51:13 -0600 Report

Thank you so much for all the wonderful info and helping to ease my fears. I will check the January issue and read up on the pumps. I got a sample of the OmniPod and really liked the small design and so light. Would really like to chat with you more about this.

Type1Lou 2014-02-03 16:50:10 -0600 Report

Go to the OmniPod website: or call them at 866-605-4763. I just went to the website and requested their free demo kit to see what it's like as compared to my Medtronic Minimed Revel pump.

Type1Lou 2014-02-02 10:06:03 -0600 Report

Anytime…if we're friends and you'd like to chat via message, just send one and I'll do my best to help.