Why an insulin pump is better for me!
There are many pros and cons to being on the insulin pump, but for me, there are many more pros.
Probably the biggest change is that I no longer have really bad hypos - I had one or two really bad ones where I had a sugar hypo that came on very quickly.
With a pump the hypo seems to come on slower, giving me more time to react to it and meaning that instead of sugar or glucose I have time to eat a light snack.
When I was having daily injections, I had to eat at a certain time and be careful when I had exercise. With the pump I can adapt the amount of insulin that I am giving myself, feel that I am more in control of my diabetes.
Instead of feeling compelled to eat a certain amount of carbs at any one meal, I can vary it.
At one meal I can have no carbs at all, if I wish; whereas at the next meal I can have food that's pretty high in carbs.
For me the flexibility is key, also the fact that I feel like I am in control, rather than being a patient whose life is controlled by diabetes.
And, the hospital doctors assure me that my control is better, so that they are happy too!
The reason I love my insulin pump is mostly due to the sort of lifestyle I can lead with it, and the freedom it gives me.
When I was on daily insulin injections, my control was very poor, and no amount of encouragement from the doctors helped my to improve it.
I had just started secondary school when I was diagnosed and this was an immense time of change. Not only did I have to get used to a new environment and timetable, but I had to try to adapt to eating at specific times and checking my sugar levels frequently.
I was on two injections a day, which meant that I was restricted to eating certain amounts, although looking back on this I didn’t really restrict myself as much as I could have.
If any of you out there reading this are on just two injections a day it is absolutely worth going to your doctor again to update this to 4 a day, as this can drastically improve your control.
The amount of care I was given by the NHS was adequate, but I still had very poor health.
In hindsight I wish I had been told more about diabetes, and about how food and exercise can effect it, rather than learning this by myself 5 or more years down the line.
I also wish that they had focused a lot more of the teaching about it in my direction, as well as my Mums, perhaps if they had treated me more like an adult I would have acted more like one, and kept a tighter control.
After 2 years of poor control, my mum researched and found out more about the insulin pump, hoping this would give me better control and keep complications from developing later.
This of course would be the start of a huge learning curve for me.
When there's a situation that you hadn’t planned for then you needn’t panic about it, you can keep yourself well and just adjust the settings on your insulin pump.
It does mean you can exercise whenever you want to, for however long you want without it being too much of a hassle to change your daily routine.
It enables you to do more things, whilst keeping a handle on your sugar levels.
In my opinion the insulin pump should be bought for anyone who can’t put vast restrictions on their lives or stick to a routine, and being a student that is never possible.
The first year of university was the worst control I have ever had, and this second year seems set to be the best.
This has taught me so much about how diabetes works, and how you can keep your sugar levels balanced with a totally different lifestyle. It has also made me appreciate that you can’t abuse the technology you are given, as is so easy to do with the insulin pump.
It is so very easy to eat really badly and not exercise at all, or simply just to not use it to its full advantage. It has to be a two way process of giving, if you work with it then you will get awesome results.
So by eating healthily and doing more exercise (at least something that raises your pulse every day) you can achieve almost normal sugar levels and feel so much better, but firstly you have to really grasp this as the truth.
written by Alissa Carter
The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin