All I can say is --- WOW!

- by Pamela L. Polk

Our story started like so many others - our young child (actually an 11-month-old baby) was sick-really sick. Vomiting, insatiable thirst, heavy urination. Doctors thought it was either the flu or an ear infection. The day Matthew was finally diagnosed his blood sugar was over 850 and he was in a state of Ketoacidosis. After a weeklong stay in an Atlanta children's hospital we went home to care for our diabetic baby.

All I can say is - it is TOUGH!

We went through years of a picky toddler not wanting to eat, living by the clock, having an extremely structured life, wild fluctuations in blood sugars, and so much more with our routine of Humalog and NPH. We knew there had to be a better say. When Matthew turned 7 (he is now 8) we visited his doctor for his scheduled diabetes visit and brought up the pump. His doctor said.. he is too young. I said, "where is your data to support that". He said he didn't have any but he felt he was too young. Well it went back and forth and I finally said.. "What would you do if it was your child?". He kind of looked at me funny and then I told him that if he didn't work with us, we were going to go to adult Endo who would. We got the request faxed to the insurance company that day. I have no doubt that most parents have had to do this, and if they were thinking about a pump I would suggest doing this. I had gathered from the Children With Diabetes web site comments, comments from the doctors who answered questions about the benefits of the pump. And I knew our doctor knew of them. Some of the concern may be that they did not have any pump support in place but that would not of stopped us. I feel that if a parent is ready to do the hard work then their child should go on the pump.

All I can say now is. wow! It is great. The first two weeks were hard - a lot of adjustments and blood sugar checks. But once we got the basal set and the bolus insulin-carb ratio down, it was so awesome! How nice to sleep in and not have to wake Matthew up for a shot and breakfast (it was summer). No more living by the clock. Our first night on the pump (we had a great day) we ate dinner at 6:30. It felt so weird to do that. It took us a while to get used to the fact that we were not living by the clock. As I write this it is Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m., Matthew is just getting up, his blood sugar is 132, and he is not yet hungry.

The pump is a lot of work-I won't say it is not. But once you make that work a habit (heck we worked just as hard it seemed when he was on NPH) that it is now second nature. The only areas we need to work on are pasta/pizza items for dinner and an on/off higher numbers prelunch at school. His first A1C was 5.7, his second was 6.7. We will take that!

Matthew's mom, Pamela L. Polk

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.