For Part 2 of Spreading the T1D Love today I’d like to talk about:
All of the pumps I've loved before (Cue the music.) :)
I can proudly say that I have owned almost every pump on the market. I have had diabetes for 7 years and over those years I have done 30 day trials of pumps or had them for years. I’d love to share my opinion on each one I have had the pleasure of using. I know that it has been a while since I’ve used some of these pumps so some of the problems I had with them might have been resolved since I stopped using them.
When I was first diagnosed, I was scared to try an insulin pump. It was this strange machine that I would be attached to. I thought it would hurt much worse than the shots we just learned how to give me. About three months into diabetes we went to a family camp called Camp Arroyo to try and ease me into going to “by yourself camp” in the summer. When we got there, so many people had insulin pumps. I got to hold them and see how they worked (with permission) and I asked questions. Once camp was over I was very much ready to get a pump (and go to summer camp alone). We had an appointment with my endocrinologist the following week, so we got to start the process. It really was important that we waited until I was comfortable with the idea, so then I was excited and ready to learn. I can honestly say that I can’t imagine life without a pump. It has made my life so much easier and has given me more independence and has helped me control my blood sugars.
1) Animas Ping
The Animas Ping was my first pump. I got it about 4 months into having diabetes. I LOVED my ping. I had it for 5 years. It was green and I felt so cute wearing it. We drove down to Children’s Hospital LA to learn how to use it. My mom and her close friend Chrissy drove me. Chrissy worked as a secretary in the school I went to and she took care of my diabetes with me every day, she is awesome! All three of us went to the training and when it came time to put my first site on, I was so scared. It took me a while to get up the nerve but when I did I was so happy! It hurt less than my Lantus (long acting insulin shot) did. It was amazing.
My Pros for the Animas are…
• It had a meter that you could dose insulin remotely
• It was waterproof (so if I went swimming while I was high I could still get insulin)
• The pump site/insulin change took about 5 minutes
• It came in so many cool colors (I loved my green one )
• The sound my pump made was cute (except in the middle of a math class haha)
• It was very durable
• It was very reliable, I would never get occlusions
• It was very simple to use
• When I did break my pump they overnighted me a new one
• They had great customer service
-The pump clip that came with it would break very easily
-The biggest con is that they are now out of business :(
I loved my Animas and the reason I switched off of it was because I wanted to switch it up and try something new.
2) Omni Pod
I got the Omni Pod after 4 years of having the Animas. I wanted to try something new and so I tried the tubeless pump! It was a pretty exciting switch and I was very hopeful it would be amazing. It was pretty great, however there were some more cons than the last one for me.
The Pros list…
-It didn't have a chord on it (so it didn't get caught in door handles or around my dog’s leg when I hold her like other pumps do)
-It had a remote dosing meter
-It didn't hurt at all when I inserted it
-It had a cute customizable welcome message on the main screen so I could put little happy messages on it that I saw whenever I turned it on.
-They are so fun to decorate!!!
Here is my list of cons
-If you lose your meter then you can’t connect to your pump at all
-It is kind of bulky so it sticks out if you have clothes on over it
-It also sticks out so if you brush against a wall or something (which I do quite often haha) it usually falls off
-It didn’t stick on very well
-It was a waste of insulin if the site fell off early
I had my T-Slim for a 30 day trial when I was in seventh grade. It was pretty cool but it wasn't my favorite
-It is super cute
-It is surprisingly durable
-It plugs in to charge so it doesn't need batteries (Pro for the environment and a con for convenience)
-No remote dosing
-Your BG isn’t sent directly from a meter so you have to enter it in and when you’re high low tired or distracted you can really jack it up.
-Also I got a lot of occlusion warnings
-The pump changing process was extremely complicated and it took forever. Even the rep describing the pump change process made it sound hard. She said you should clip the tubing to a hairspray bottle while it primed to keep air bubbles out or something.
4 & 5) DIY Loop or Open APS with Older Medtronic Pump
My mom had a friend named Katie Disimone who helped get us set up on Loop. It was the first time I had my Dexcom (which I loved) connected to my pump. It’s a truly amazing technology created by super smart people who live with T1D or are parents of kids with T1D. They’re so generous to have allowed this to be used by anyone for free.
- Amazing to have an open source partial closed loop option for free
- Extremely customizable (ex. you can set BG target wherever you want)
• No prescription required because you gather all the parts yourself
• It adjusts insulin according to BG needs.
When it worked, it was amazing but when it didn’t it was super difficult to try to troubleshoot as I just didn’t understand it very well.
- It is expensive and complicated so not for the faint of heart
-You have to scour the internet for old Medtronic pumps with 2.4 or earlier for their software
• People drive up the prices of the pumps because they know people are wanting to buy them
• The old pumps are not waterproof (neither is any part of the set up)
• You need the pump, a Dexcom, a raspberry pi type device (Riley Link) and a phone (none of which have warranties)
• You need to carry all those pieces with you all the time
• You need to have good internet and bluetooth connections - which was really hard for me at school.
6) Medtronic 670g Our best option yet.
- ONE device- the pump itself! I couldn't forget anything- it was one thing attached to me! :)
• Guardian sensor is even more accurate than Dexcom (and I loved Dexcom!)
• There are no lost connections/troubleshooting. It just works.
• It learns your body and evens out your blood sugars.
• It’s like a smart, caring, never-tired mom following you around 24-7 making basal adjustments every five minutes. It’s a miracle.
• My A1c dropped .5% in the first few months with no scary lows and another 5% after that without effort.
- Every night- no matter what the day held, it fixed my blood sugars. Whether the rise was from hormones, high carb meal, phases of the moon :) it always worked it out. My mom is amazing and I love that she can now sleep through the night so much more!
• You have to learn how to use it, and it’s not the same as anything you’re used to using. Stay in manual mode until your trainer says you’re ready- it’s worth it. Try to be open minded- it’s like learning a new language.
• You have to relinquish some control to the device which can be hard for people stuck in their ways. One example of the learning curve- I forgot to dose for a big meal. I remembered later, panicked and dosed for the carbs I ate. However, the pump was already noticing my rise in BG so it had poured on a corresponding amount of insulin and the insulin I dosed was doubled down. Scary, hard day. Lesson learned the hard way.
• You can’t set your BG target lower than 100 (but 100 is great for me!)
• It doesn’t have built in remote monitoring yet like Dexcom share but it works - so really doesn’t need much monitoring. And with Dexcom it’s great to remotely monitor it, but It’s not adjusting anything, it’s just information. With this system the pump is actually doing the work! I remember someone told my mom she didn’t need to monitor it because the pump system just WORKED. However, you can add DIY monitoring through Nightscout for Medtronic for free. That’s what we do so my mom can monitor my blood sugars at night from her iPad or phone. It’s a nearly perfect machine but it still runs out of batteries/sensor expires/etc. It’s good to have my mom monitoring it at night still but usually she gets to stay in bed and just peek at the iPad and see that I’m good and go back to sleep!
If you need someone to talk to about getting an insulin pump or want your child to talk to about it, PLEASE feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message our Diabetic Sunshine Instagram or Facebook message me or my mom. We are more than happy to help.
No matter which pump you choose, pumping ROCKS. I love that we have choices because everyone has different needs and preferences. What do YOU pump with? Comment below and tell us why you love it! <3
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