Drew gets a Pump - Drew's story as told by Mom firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer of 1997
Drew was diagnosed with diabetes the week after his third birthday. What a shock to deal with another issue in our house as we also have a daughter who is multi-handicapped and another son 15 months younger than Drew. We were fortunate to be referred to a very progressive endo from day one. We knew early on that Drew would eventually use a pump to manage his diabetes. I guess that attitude from an endo is really quite unheard of , even in this day of modern technology. If you are a parent who is reading this page you most likely have been discouraged in your pursuits of the pump for your child, especially the younger the child.
We thought early on that school age might be a good time to begin pump therapy. However, we began to look into the pump considerably earlier because of some problems that Drew was having. He experienced wide fluctuations in blood sugars that left us wondering daily how these swings were affecting Drew's development. I so wanted for him to just feel GOOD every day. The most severe problem though was the dawn phenomenon. This extreme rise in am blood sugars was staggering. He would wake up daily for weeks on end with blood sugar in the 300 and 400's. We explored many different combinations of insulins and of course tried to give injections at different times, but nothing seemed to really make a difference. Of course, every day we knew that there was SOMETHING that could make a difference in Drew's life. The whole concept of insulin delivery through infusion makes such good sense if you are willing to check and track blood sugars. The constant blood sugar checks have always been an element in managing Drew's diabetes as they are for most younger children who are diagnosed. Parents with young diabetics simply have to check more often with children who are still in diapers and are non-verbal to an extent.
So at the age of four, Drew got a pump. He was on saline for 3 days and was then placed on Humalog. It has been the most liberating experience to be on a pump and use such a rapid and EFFECTIVE insulin. (We really liked H , even when we were injecting.) Pumping has helped Drew and our family in many ways. Food does not have to be an issue any more. Either he eats what I put on the table or he doesn't. I sure we all remember experiences when we had to beg our kids to eat after giving their insulin. Secondly, we are no longer tied to a schedule. The pump has also just been plain easier to deal with after a month or so of learning the mechanics of it.
Drew goes to preschool every day until noon. The staff checks blood sugars for us and gives a bolus if necessary. They were much more willing to bolus than they were to inject. The staff has been with Drew since his diagnosis and they are amazed at the reduction of lows. They were just as astounded at the leveling out of Drew's blood sugars. They see the difference it makes in Drew's personality, behavior and learning when he stays within his target range.
What I am sharing is just our experience. I do not think that every diabetic should use a pump. There is a level of commitment involved that has to be there in order to have success with pump therapy. However, we wonder now that we have Drew on a pump , what the big deal is if you have that commitment. No, life is not perfect on pump therapy. Perfect in our opinion is when we are in heaven with restored bodies.
I guess our best testimony for pump therapy comes from Drew. Drew began pump therapy in July and in August we went on vacation to Seagrove, Florida. Although we knew that Drew could swim in the pump, I worried about the sand, grit and sun tan lotion interfering with adhesion of his infusion sites. I encouraged Drew to go on injections the week that we were there. His reply was with all the dignity that a 4 yr old could muster! "Oh no mommie! You are NOT taking my pump away from me!"
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