To pump, or not to pump -- that is the question

By keek Latest Reply 2014-08-17 14:37:34 -0500
Started 2009-07-27 22:52:08 -0500

So… I have an appointment with the nurse practitioner for my endocrinologist on Wednesday. I have been really afraid of the pump since it was first mentioned to me in high school (and I graduated 11 years ago!), but am considering it now. I have a bunch of questions that I plan to ask, but was wondering if any of you have suggestions for what to ask. Also, have any of you been unhappy with the pump? Has anyone tried a pump and gone back to injections? Please let me know your thoughts on insulin pumps.

10 replies

TLTanner 2014-08-17 14:37:34 -0500 Report

Another one I'm commenting on years later, but again, I had to put my 2 cents into the discussion.

I have an allergy to the silicone they use in band-aids and some tapes. The tape I used to use for my pump would leave me itching and at times too, my skin with it when I'd peel it off. I told Medtronic about it and they gave me a few samples of tapes that I could put on first and then inject the catheter and put the other tape on top of it. I found one that worked for me and although we had to punch a hole in the center for the catheter, it worked great for me!

With the new infusion sets they have now, I don't have that issue with the tape they use for it. I hope this helps someone else who might have the same problems.


keek 2009-08-18 19:10:05 -0500 Report

So, today I went to a class on all of the pumping options out there. I think that this is the right move for me, but now I need to decide which device to get. Initially I thought I wanted to get an omnipod, but now I don't know. It seem like it may be more conspicuous than the pumps with tubing… at times anyway.

What do other people think?

Crashnot 2009-08-20 15:32:14 -0500 Report

I'm happy with my Medtronic Minimed. But if the Omnipod was approved here in Canada, I'd be on it in a minute! I have seen a few problems people have had with it, but they all have their issues. I have tubing problems about once a month with the infusion set models I've had, so any delivery problems with the Omnipod are probably similar. I'd find it a lot more comfortable to wear and work in, even if I did have a funky lump under tight clothes!

Harlen 2009-08-01 10:48:11 -0500 Report

I love my pump, It has made my life so much better. I just got it last month .
It takes a little time to get it all dawn ,just like taking shots.Now my life is so much better. I was useing over 200 ut a day now down to 105
I am very active and can be even more so now. Good luck and let me know if I can help

keek 2009-07-28 11:35:51 -0500 Report

Thank you, to each of you for your input. It is helpful to hear both sides of this issue. Right now, my health insurance is pretty good, so I hope that if I choose to go on the pump, it will be covered (knock on wood).

BLC- most of your complaints are things that worry me, so it is interesting to see that they are actual problems that real people encounter.

AlbanyArts- I like the sound of a Pod, and you have given me something to look into. I am going to do a little research, but I will probably have questions for you.

I'll keep you posted on my thought process.

Melissa Dawn
Melissa Dawn 2009-07-31 19:49:35 -0500 Report

Perhaps this information is a little late, but I thought I'd share my experience with the pump too. I have a Paradigm 722 pump. I have extra long tubing because I like the option of moving my pump to my sock (not always a great idea, but occasionally it's been what I need. I've seldom had a problem with my tubing getting caught on something. The woman who trained me on the pump also wore one and she just wound the tubing around her fingers into a small ball and tucked it into her pants just above the pump. I do the same. Its simple and out of the way, without forcing me to keep the pump in the same place for the duration of the infusion sites life.

I did have problems with my infusion site (the place where you insert the tubing into your skin) going bad earlier than was common. I had to change my site every 2 days, while most people can go three.

As far as control goes, I think my doctor said it well when he reminded me that it wouldn't be a fix all. It would be easy to gain weight if you let the "freedom" of the pump change good eating habits. Yes, I can eat when I want without having to give myself a shot — but I still try to keep a fairly regular eating schedule, and actually have used the pump to lose weight. Prior to insulin pump therapy, I couldn't exercise without my blood sugars going low because of the insulin that was already on board. Once a low hit, I'd have to take in sugar — thus more calories, undoing my good work. With the pump, if I exercise, I simply turn the basal down for however long I needed. No lows, no extra calories… I lost the 10 pounds I'd thought I'd never be able to lose. On top of this, my A1c's have been getting better and better. My control is improving, and I think the pump has majorly contributed to it.

The pump takes major training — I spent about a month checking in regularly with my trainer to adjust the basals and boluses to what you need. Still, I'd never go back.

Good luck!

AlbanyArts 2009-07-28 00:54:58 -0500 Report

I have resisted the pump for years. I'd heard of so many problems with the tubing, I didn't want to have to hang a meter on a waistband, I didn't want to be reminded that I was a diabetic every moment, I didn't want to do anything special when showering or swimming. Everything was a negative. (this is not an ad) I finally had my MD tell me that after being an insulin dependent diabetic for 32 years with no side effects, it was time to go on a pump. Kicking all the way I went to a diabetic educator who had diabetes since middle school. She showed me a tubeless pump which was attached by a patch to your skin, the meter sent a signal to the pump and the meter also served as a glucose monitor. I'm still working on the function keys, not a big deal. If you can use a cell phone you can use a Pod. When you need to add an extra bit of insulin, before a meal, it looks as if you are texting. I know this is too long, but I really am converted. Please send me a message if you want more info.

BLC 2009-07-27 23:47:41 -0500 Report

Hey, I am actually a former pumper. I have been off the pump for about 2 weeks now. This is my experience with the pump:
*my blood sugars were significantly higher than on shots
*I got infections at the catheter site all the time
* the pump was very restricting to my wardrobe (it was hard to find a place to put it if I wanted to wear a dress or pants without pockets.)
*I did not like having something hooked to my body all the time.
*I gained around 30 pounds on the pump
*I got the tubing hung on stuff all the time
*After removing the catheter I would itch forever where I took it off.
*It fell off during exercise.
*All in all I just wasn't happy with it.

I will say this positive aspect about the pump, it is very handy. It is so much easier than packing around insulin and needles all the time. And I also had much much fewer and less severe lows on the pump.
I have been told by doctors and other pumpers that my experience with the pump was very unusual and most people have great control on the pump. However I have talked to other people who have also opted to go back to the shots for the reasons I listed among others.

I hope this helps a little, I know I have given you a lot of negatives here but I really wish someone had gave me the cons of the pump before I started using it. Instead I was told how wonderful it was and how it would change my life for the better. But it didn't.
Hopefully others will be on here and give you the positives of using the pump. There are some I'm sure.

Crashnot 2009-08-07 15:37:41 -0500 Report

I get itchy fromt he cannulas too, and discovered I"m sensitive to the teflon they use. Did you every try the stainless steel needle canula? They've been very comfortable for me, and a heck of a lot less intimidating to put in than the long ones!

Anonymous 2009-07-27 23:45:11 -0500 Report

Keek - We struggled with insurance years ago and got my husband a pump when they first became available and were not nearly as user friendly as they are now. It was not a miracle cure by any means but it enabled him to have the flexibility he needed in diet (had a variable eating schedule due to his professional duties) and to keep up with exercise (he was a mountain biker) and liked to swim and hike. We initally worried it would compromise our sex life, but it did not. Despite certain hassles, changing the tubing, skin problem with tape, it seemed to be the answer for him. My opinion for what it is worth is why not try it for yourself and see if it works for you.