Pumping with Brianna

by Shannon Winterhalter

Bria was diagnosed at age 5. By the time she was 8, we had tried every variety of insulin shot therapy we could think of. Just prior to pump therapy, she was taking four kinds of insulin, four to five shots per day. She had been a happy, easy-going child in the past, but had gradually become moody and unhappy, stating over and over that she did not feel good. Her tummy hurt, her head hurt, she had little energy, she wasn't hungry when she "should" eat... She experienced occasional severe lows during the night, with one scary episode of Todd's paralysis. The A1c's prior to pump therapy were in the upper nines.

We were told that Bria met all the criteria for beginning pump therapy, except age. It was the team's preference for her to wait until she was about 13. I was persistent in advocating for what I thought was best for my child. I felt overwhelmed when I knew the team did not support my decision, and showed their reluctance at giving pump therapy a try. I talked about this with Bria on our drive home, discussing again what pump therapy was all about. She told me flat out that she was tired of feeling sick and didn't care if she had to be "hooked up" all the time to a pump.

Pump therapy began in June of 1999. We chose the Disetronic because it was easier to understand how to use the various features, we could have up to 24 different hourly basal rates and it is water resistant ( Bria is in the swim club ). We are very pleased with our choice. She has been using the pump for eight months, and she is feeling soooo much better! After only four to five days, we had our old Brianna back--waking up singing a tune, smiley, happy and with a carefree personality! Her A1c's are in the seven's. We are using seven different basal rates in a day, which I adjust, and Bria is able to figure her bolus amounts related to eaten carbs. She still experiences occasional lows during the night. About every three months, she will go through a period of two to three nights of midnight lows. Otherwise, her basal rate for the most part, keeps her in range. We will continue to check her blood sugar every night at midnight, that's just the way it is. Is the team pleased now with Bria's pump therapy? Yes!

Shannon Winterhalter/CH/

If you have a child with diabetes and would like to talk to other parents about the Insulin Pump, please contact or visit the Insulin-Pumpers website.