[Previous Months][Date Index][Thread Index][Join - Register][Login]
[Message Prev][Message Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

[IP] These Diabetic Teens Say They Love the Pump (1998)

tml">These Diabetic Teens Say They Love the Pump</A> 

Pediatric News 
These Diabetic Teens Say They Love the Pump
Maureen Donohue, San Francisco Bureau
[Pediatric News 32(10):61, 1998.  1998 International Medical News 


KEYSTONE, COLO. -- It's unanimous -- these teenagers love the pump!

In a panel discussion at a meeting on managing type I diabetes in 
children sponsored by the University of Colorado, five teens with type I 
diabetes candidly discussed the pros and cons of their experience with 
insulin pump therapy.

Ranging in age from 12 to 19 years and spanning grade 6 through the 
second year of college, the participants gave various reasons for 
choosing the pump: greater flexibility with eating and schedules, less 
trouble than shots, better blood glucose control, and prevention of 
diabetes-related complications.

But the number one reason was freedom! "The freedom is the most amazing 
thing that's happened to me in 16 years of having diabetes," said Becky 
Ellgen, a college sophomore.

Becky, who has been on the pump a year, plays college volleyball.

"The pump has made me feel like I'm not such a burden to the team. I 
don't have to ask for special considerations anymore on long bus trips 
to games. I feel more like a part of the team now." 

Carl Gustafson, a high school senior and Colorado state track star, 
loves the energy he's had since he's been on the pump. "I don't get 
tired as quickly as before, and my endurance is a lot better."

The freedom afforded by the insulin pump appears to bridge the gulf that 
separates type I diabetics from so-called normal children by giving them 
something that teenagers the world over cherish: a sense of 

"This is the first time I've felt like this is my disease and not my 
parents' disease," Carl said. "They don't really know what's going on in 
my life now. They ask me sometimes what my blood sugar is, but that's 
about it."

Each of the panelists expressed less anxiety about food. "I don't worry 
so much about when and where to eat, and my friends don't have to worry 
about me. I don't feel like such a burden," said Alana Henken, a high 
school junior. Becky agreed. "Not having to worry about having to eat a 
meal at a specific time has been the best thing, especially at college."

These teens appreciate the ease of use of the pump. "You don't have to 
fool with shots; you just have to push a few buttons. It's so easy -- I 
love those buttons," said Zach Quimby, also a high school junior.

There are drawbacks, though. "When I go swimming, I have to wear a shirt 
so the pump doesn't show," said Zach Waugh, a sixth grader.

And insertion of the infusion set can hurt, "but it improves with 
experience," said Zach Quimby. Changing insertion sets also can be 
tedious and painful but tends to become less of a problem over time.

The teenagers said they are afraid the pump might malfunction. To 
alleviate these fears, each patient carries a "hot line" telephone 
number to the manufacturer.

Just about anyone can use the insulin pump, these teens agreed. "You can 
be dumb as a rock. Just do what the doctor says," said Zach Quimby. "If 
you can play Nintendo, you can do this," Zach Waugh added.
for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org
send a DONATION http://www.Insulin-Pumpers.org/donate.shtml