Pumping with 14 year old LIZ

By Linda Janus-Vermeers

Our 14 year old daughter, Liz, was diagnosed at the age of 11 with IDDM just after after starting middle school. After coming to terms with her diagnosis she took responsibility for her condition and with the support of family, friends, and teachers, blossomed into a beautiful young lady. Unfortunately, after the honeymoon period ended and her growth hormones kicked in, trying to maintain control was a never-ending battle. Her bg's ranged in the mid 200's, even though she was doing injections up to 5 times a day. This was very discouraging for all of us because she followed her meal plan to the letter and really tried hard to maintain good control. What was even more frustrating for her was that when we went camping with friends (or anywhere else for that matter), everybody accommodated her schedule and ate whether they were hungry or not. Liz appreciated this support, but felt guilty that her diabetes was an inconvenience to others.

A few months ago Liz decided that she wanted to try pump therapy and got the ok from her endo. She excitedly told her friend Kristin (whom she'd met at a diabetes support group they both attended for 2 years) of her plans. Kristin was excited for Liz, but didn't want a pump herself. Before the month was over, Kristin excitedly told Liz that she was getting a pump too and that their endo said they could learn and start pump therapy together! The excitement this new venture caused was unbelievable! Both girls anxiously awaited the day they would be freed from their diabetes constraints. Pump day arrived on May 20, 1999 and the girls checked into the hospital (the Ritz to them) to begin their new therapy with the MiniMed 507C. Surprisingly, the transition was very smooth. The girls couldn't wait to order their meals and test out this new freedom. You wouldn't believe the amount of food brought to them on their hospital trays, and neither could they. For the first time in over 2 years they were able to eat like "normal" teenagers. Once Liz started on the pump, spontaneity returned to our lives and her bg average dropped into the high 150's, even though less than a month had passed since starting the pump. Liz feels much better and her moods have improved tremendously. Liz is anxiously waiting to attend diabetes camp again with Kristin at the end of June. She hopes to convince other kids that the pump is the way to go.

She told her diabetes team that she wants to speak out about her pump experiences and answer any questions from parents and prospective pumpers at a future diabetes support group meeting. At the moment, Liz's favorite things about pumping are being able to sleep in again and the fact that she can enjoy eating Frosted Flakes. The only negative feeling she has about the pump is feeling self-conscious wearing a two piece bathing suit, and that, I'm sure, will resolve itself in time.

Linda Janus-Vermeers

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.