by Robin Ramm Rammtoy@TRLonline.com
Let me start by saying that PUMPING is the best thing that has happened to us THIS year!!
Kevin had started feeling bad during the summer of ‘98 with constant headaches. We had been to the medical doctor numerous times, and to the eye doctor. No one found a problem. At our last visit, 2 weeks before Christmas, the doctor decided that Kevin probably had migraines and gave us a different medicine, AND we were to keep a food diary. We live in Virginia, and this particular Christmas we decided to break tradition and travel to our family in Florida. We had stayed ½ way to Orlando, in Atlanta, for the night when our drama unfolded...
It was December 18, 1998 when we were out celebrating the 13th Birthday of Kevin's sister (which was the next day) when the waiter served us our drinks. The waiter dropped Kevin's soda on his head! Needless to say, he had a very large bump on his head and the restaurant served Kevin like a king! He was given the biggest piece of chocolate cake they could find to make up for his bump! Obviously he gobbled it up. A few hours later, he started vomiting like never before. Not sure if it was from the chocolate pig out, or possibly the bump on the head - we took him to the local ER! (Which is another long story...finding a ER in a strange town at midnight!) On the way to the hospital he started experiencing severe pains in his belly and breathing problems. It had to be the longest ride we ever took. We stayed the next 4 days at a Children's Hospital called Scottish Rite in Atlanta. Later, we finished our vacation in Orlando, but knew things would never be the same!
For the next 5 months we struggled to find the right match with Lente and Regular insulin. This was very difficult with an active family life, school, and soccer. No day was the same. Kevin rarely had a "in range" blood sugar. It became very frustrating for all of us.
Luckily, early on I found some on-line support groups like Children With Diabetes, the CamelsRFun site, and The Insulin Pump group & learned more and more about the benefits of pumping. This began our quest for the pump. Convincing our Endo was the easiest part...all he wanted was for Kevin to be eager to learn about the pump, (and know the advantages vs. disadvantages) AND to be able to prove he could Carb count easily. Once we faxed him 2 weeks worth of Kevin carb counting his meals, the doc was convinced that Kevin (and family) were serious!
Convincing the insurance was the hard part!! Blue Cross/Blue Shield turned down our initial request for 3 reasons. #1- Kevin had not been diabetic long enough. #2-Kevin has ADHD. #3- Kevin was not yet 13 years old. We were outraged and this lit a fire under us like no other. With the help of people at the insulin pumpers group, we had all the ammunition needed to fight the insurance company! We put together a package to knock their socks off- including letters of testimony (from a dozen doctors, teachers and family/friends that knew Kevin and how responsible he was), the DCCT study which showed that "intensive therapy" reduced diabetes complications by as much as 50-76%, and many young pumpers stories such as this showing how pumping has changed their life for the better! A week later, we were approved!!!
Kevin started pumping May 3, 1999. We stayed over at UVA hospital for 24 hours and did great! With all that we had learned from the Pumping Insulin book and the IP group, we felt like we had been pumping for months! After a few weeks of tweaking, Kevin was off and running! The only challenge we faced early on was figuring his carb:insulin ratio and understanding how exercise affected his blood sugars. Kevin is one of the few that gets a "glucose dump" when he has intense exercise. Once we learned how to lower his basals for a few hours after exercise, we had it made.
Kevin is now a happy pumper! He can truly eat or drink when he is hungry and WHAT he wants- just like the rest of the family. He can figure out his insulin dose faster than a calculator... especially when it means a treat! Being attached to the pump has never been a problem for him. It quickly has become a part of him that he is IMMENSELY proud of! In fact...when we told him of the new studies for a cure for diabetes...Kevin was hesitant to give up his pump! That gives you a clue to how happy he is to be pumping!!
Write to us anytime with questions or for fun!!
Kevin's address is: Pumper200@aol.com
His parents are: Rammtoy@TRLonline.com (Robin and Mark)