Busting Misconceptions About Insulin Pumps

Before I started insulin pump therapy, there were certainly worries, queries and misconceptions that I had about insulin pumps which were huge points to consider when it came to the key question ‘Do I want an insulin pump?’. The examples below are just some preconceptions I had in my head, which I now know are simply not true. I am writing this primarily for those who may be contemplating a pump. I hope my brutally honest truths will provide you with reassurance that these little niggles that seem like a big deal right now, wont be a problem in the near future. Your body just needs time to adjust.

Misconception 1. The constant attachment is not something I can deal with and plus, I’ll get tangled in the cannula line??

I must admit, the constant attachment was a huge point of consideration for me, and to put it bluntly, I think you’ve just got to bite your tongue and get on with it. Really, it’s a very small compromise, for the amount of accuracy you can get from insulin pump therapy, and in turn, improved quality of life.

In terms of the actual attachment, you’d be surprised how aware your mind will become of where your cannula is, and what length tubing you are using. Although I’ve had my fair share of the swinging pendulum of dooms*, I find the tubing easy to navigate once I got over the initial ‘OMG I CANT MOVE’ period!**

*the swinging pendulum of doom is a technical term for when you forget to pick up your insulin pump, and it swings from your cannula site, which is quickly followed (in my case at least) by expletives and short gasps of pain.

** rest be assured, this period in the first few weeks of starting insulin pump therapy is perfectly common, and expected. This will ease with time as you adjust to your new buddy!

Misconception 2. The insulin pump will get in the way and annoy me. Again, your body will quickly adjust to the whereabouts of your infusion set, and what length tubing you are using. Your subconscious will be aware of just how far you can move without having to grab your pump, although it does take practice. In terms of storing your pump, it becomes routine in no time at all. I have a body band which I wear on days I’d rather not faff around with where exactly my pump is going to sit all day, or I just tuck it into my waistband or the pocket of my jeans. There are times I get frustrated, and feel like a dog on a lead, but I am quick to remind myself what a blessing this technology is.

Misconception 3. I will feel healthier from the get-go, an insulin pump is a cure for Diabetes!

I’m afraid this one is simply not true, and is a huge misconception about those ‘out of the know’, so to speak. Often insulin pump therapy goes beyond the knowledge of those without Diabetes themselves, to a point they think it’s so complex it must be a cure. Unfortunately, this is not the case, at all. Pumps are (arguably) harder work than injections in the initial setting-up-stage as it requires constant monitoring and data analysis to get things right. And like anything related to Type One Diabetes, things are right until they go wrong, and you have to change all of your settings again. That’s just life with a chronic condition, there is no cure for this. I know, it sucks.

Misconception 4. I am not comfortable having a physical, and obvious sign of my Diabetes 24/7.

Being a young person who has grown up with Type One her whole life, I never really talked about my Diabetes, until very recently, so the thought of everyone now knowing I had Diabetes, without it being my choice to tell them, was disencouraging. It’s not that I was ever ashamed of my condition, but ‘telling people’ was always an element I had control over, and suddenly that would be taken away from me. Well I’ve got good news, a pump is surprisingly discrete, and I know you won’t believe me, because everywhere you read it says the same thing, but trust me, for a big, bulky pager-type device, it’s easy to hide. The majority of the time it just looks like a phone in my back pocket, and when I’ve got it in my body band, the only person that can see it is me!

Misconception 5. I’m not cut out for this.

A simple answer, but only one you can figure out for yourself, you get out, what you put in. The same goes for MDI, if you don’t inject at the right time and do not calculate the carbs, your blood glucose levels will not be fab. Fact. You’re right, everything you read about how challenging starting on an insulin pump is, is correct and no, that’s not what you want to hear, but if I was being dishonest, the only person I’d be fooling is myself.

The hard work is worth it, with anything, give it time and you will watch your dedication follow through.

Originally published at diabetesgeek.blogspot.com on March 12, 2017.

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