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[IPk] Life before an insulin pump

My name is Trisha Hyde.  I am 31 years old and have had insulin dependant
diabetes since 1976.  I have Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum, slight damage
to my eyes and have been uncontrolled for many years.  My aim is to stop the
high HbA1c results and therefore reduced complications before the
complications get the better of me.  This is my brief story.

Life before an Insulin Pump

It was hard work!!  Constant high's and low's made my sugar levels so erratic
that my mood swings seemed to follow also.  My weight has also been a problem
for as many years as I can remember and I put this down to mood swings as well
as hypo's and extra food to come out of them.

Four injections a day meant that I was totally reliant on time, times to
inject, time to eat and even to an extent time to sleep (making sure that
Glargine was given at the same time everyday) usually 10.30pm.

I have been an insulin dependant diabetic since 1976 (27 years) and treatment
has changed over the years, from glass syringes needing soaking in solution
every night and urine sticks to disposable syringes and blood machines.  Even
the insulin has changed from pig to human.  I've witnessed many changes in the
treatment of diabetes but none that has changed my life as much as an Insulin

I had to fight long and hard to get funding for Insulin Pump Therapy.  There
were a select few of people that actually believed, understood and helped me
in this quest to which I am truly grateful.  I may have been the more vocal of
patients trying to get funding for this pump but at least I succeeded in
getting the right treatment for my diabetes as well as the treatment I feel I

Life using an Insulin Pump

Tuesday 12 August 2003 - D Day @ Royal Bournemouth Hospital

The day had finally arrived when I was trained and fitted with an Insulin Pump
(the Minimed Paradigm).  I met with Joan Everett, Diabetes Specialist Nurse at
the hospital who is to be my Pump Healthcare Professional for the next 6
months.  Having already "read up" on the Minimed Paradigm Pump and I knew how
to work it made Joan's job a lot easier as she could just train me to us it
for my particular needs.

After an hour I was preparing the pump for use with insulin, priming and
putting my own infusion set into my tummy.  I was absolutely amazed that it
didn't hurt (in fact I didn't even feel it go in).  From now on there will be
no more injections, something I have done every day for the last 27 years!!
If I eat anything with carbohydrates in it I will need to give a bolus, but
that's not a problem when you don't need to inject to put insulin in the body.
I have been testing my blood sugars more, pre-meal and pre-bed and also tested
at 2 am one night to check that the basal rate of 1 unit per hour is right.  I
don't mind doing this as I have a machine (Medisense Softsense) that takes
blood from upper arms instead of fingers so that doesn't hurt either.  I don't
even mind getting up in the middle of the night to test as for years I have
been getting up in the night with hypo's anyway.  It's a great feeling to wake
up at 2 am and find that your blood sugar is 6.6!  Sleeping with the pump
attached was easier than I originally thought.  I just attached it to the
waistband of my pyjama bottoms and it didn't affect my sleep at all, in fact
I'd forgotten it was there.  Next morning I even got to lay in which I haven't
done in 27 years.

Joan has been fantastic phoning me late at night and early morning to check my
progress.  I would just like to add that Joan is "my type of Diabetes
Professional."  She has the attitude that diabetes should live as normal a
life as possible, for instance, why wait for a hypo to eat a Mars Bar, just
bolus for it instead.

I'm now on Day 5 of using the pump.  I've changed an infusion set, which again
did not hurt, and even changed my basal rate from midnight to 8am to cover the
period of rest where I don't need as much insulin.  I am amazed at how easy it
is to control my diabetes.  There has already been a marked difference to my
mood, as well as my sugar levels and my hope is that the Insulin Pump over
time will enable me to live a normal life and that my HbA1c will go down and
therefore my risk of complications reduce dramatically.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the past 27 years of being diabetic I have been through various emotional

  a.. The rebellious phase
  b.. The "I want to be like everyone else" phase
  c.. The depressed phase.
I believe these phases were due to my diabetes "controlling" the way I live
and the way I thought.

Now I feel as though I am in control for once.  For example, if I was to have
a hypo I can stop the pump for the duration and therefore stop the insulin
going in causing it to go even lower, whereas on multiple daily injections you
don't have that option.

I know that it will take time to perfect my pumping but as far as I can see
LIFE IS GREAT.  There'll be no going back to daily injections for me that is
for sure!

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