Insulin Pump Fears

I talked with my friend Katie yesterday. Her six-year old daughter was diagnosed last year with T1 diabetes. Among other things, we talked about insulin pumps and she asked how I like mine. I love my insulin pump (it’s a Medtronic MiniMed Revel Pump). But I didn’t always wear one, and in talking with Katie I remembered that it took me a while to warm up to the idea. I had to overcome some worries which felt big at the time.

These were my fears:

Pump Fear #1: Malfunctions
What if the software malfunctions and delivers too much insulin?
I looked into it and learned that multiple safety checks are built into pumps to prevent such malfunctions.

Pump Fear #2: Becoming a Cyborg
I’m not a big on accessorizing. Could I really have a battery-operated, external, plastic pancreas connected to my body 24/7?
I felt self-conscious for about a week. Now the pump is part of me.

Pump Fear #3: Having Cyborg Sex
This one I addressed with my (super awesome) endocrinologist:

So… even if I temporarily disconnect the pump, the plastic port remains attached to my body?
All the time?
When I swim?
When I bathe?
So. Um… the plastic port, it’s still affixed to my side or thigh during sex?
Ok, then.

Turns out it’s no big deal. I’m aware that the port is there but it doesn’t bother me (or my husband for that matter). Total non-issue.

Pump Fear #4: Nighttime Low
What if I go too low during the night when I’m asleep and I never wake up?
OK, so this one’s still a worry. But wearing a pump hasn’t made it worse.

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2 Responses to Insulin Pump Fears

  1. Katie Bacon says:

    One thing I’m concerned about in terms of our daughter is the issue of pumps malfunctioning–the lines kinking, etc. One family I talked with has had problems with that, especially during the first couple of weeks, though now they seem to like the pump for their daughter. Have you had pumps you’ve had to change out because your BG has gone too high?

    • Emily says:

      Hi Katie,
      Yes, I’ve had the occasional kinking issue (with either the tubing or the cannula), but it has happened only a handful of times since I started using the pump 7yrs ago. And, yes, every time the result was an unexplained high. I think the thing to remember is that even when you’re using an insulin pump, it’s still necessary to monitor BG often. So, if an issue arises, that cross-check is going to tell you something’s amiss.

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