"GYM" dandy pumping with Jenna

Pumping with 8 year old Jenna, 1998
by Jim Bowen and Nancy Morgan

Jenna in the Gym Jenna Bowen was a busy 8 year old, who was doing great in school, and had just finished her first year of competitive gymnastics in February, 1998.  One week, though, she kept complaining about stomach pain, just wanted to drink and not eat anything.  Finally, at the end of the week, when there was nothing specific wrong, but she just didn't feel good, we took her to the doctor's and a urine test showed sugar and ketones.  She only had to spend one night in the hospital, as both parents are in medicine, so knew how to give shots and stuff.

It just so happened that she was diagnosed on Friday the 13th, and she now believes it really is a bad luck day.  She quickly learned to test her sugar and give her own shots.  She only missed one day of school, and 2 gymnastics practices before she was back in the thick of her life.  Still, the rigid schedule of meals and shots was hard to keep with a busy life, and the whole family thought there just had to be a better way to manage diabetes.  When we approached our endo about a pump, he thought kids should be in their middle teens before considering it (and he had a pump).  He moved away, though, and our new endo thought it was a great idea, especially since she was having a lot of hypoglycemic episodes trying to do her sport and keep up with life.  So in September, just 7 months after diagnosis, Jenna began pumping Humalog with a Disetronic pump.

The first month of pumping was a real learning experience, but we eventually got the kinks ironed out.  We couldn't figure out how to keep sugars level during a 3 hour gymnastics practice, so after about a month of disconnecting, she began wearing her pump during gymnastics practices, and even during meets.  Her coach calls it her "battery pack", and the other gymnasts think it's cool.  The hypoglycemic episodes are gone.  We wouldn't trade the pump for any other way of controlling diabetes short of an islet cell transplant for cure!

Nancy Morgan

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.