On the 30th of July (2019) I received my very first insulin pump. It’s now been almost a full month of wearing it and I’ve got to say, I love it.
As we all know, choosing to wear a pump is a personal choice and I was done with MDI (multiple dose injection) and the inflexibility in my life. I know there’s plenty of insulin dependent diabetics who think pumps are inflexible and MDI fits better into their life and guess what? That’s OK! Deciding to pump or not to pump is a personal choice for each and every one of us using insulin.
For me, MDI was literally ruining my life. Don’t get me wrong, it was still 100% better than trying oral med after oral med that just wouldn’t work. However, when the first euro heat wave hit and my blood sugar plummeted, it was absolutely impossible to get my basal straightened out so I could MDI and exercise. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t going to happen.
Honestly, after the cycling adventure where I probably ate my weight in carbs to try to make it through Expeditie Egmond I pretty much gave up on exercise. Of course I exercise to stay healthy, but I cycling, hike and kayak because I love being out on nature and seeing how far I can push myself. Having to stuff myself with food just to try to make it to the end of a workout isn’t fun. Not in the least. I rather just not work out than living like this. Honestly, I think this is partly the reason I was approved for the pump.
The First 2 Weeks of the Pump
In the first 2 days of wearing my pump, I got rid of my high alarms over night. By the end of the 2nd week everyone in my life was mentioning how they though I was looking better. Amazing how that works when you can sleep through the night, right?!
I got a profile set up that pretty much kept me between 6.5 and 8 mmol/L through the day and I made little tweeks to try to get closer to 7. In this time I tried the All You Can Eat sushi place for the 2nd time since diagnosis (first time was with MDI and while not a complete disaster, took a lot of management). I can tell you being able to set up for an extended bolus already made dinner so much nicer. I only had to fiddle with the controls for my pump once or twice.
I tried pizza with a Fat Head pizza dough, but unfortunately even though the pizza crust was low carb my gut really didn’t appreciate the high fat again. So I think pizza is probably on the “no, never again” list.
I also started drinking whiskey again since I can just lower my bolus by 50% for awhile to compensate for the alcohol lowering my blood sugar.
I also managed a 30 minute walk without alarms screaming that I’m going to DIE!
3rd Week of the Pump – EXERCISE!
Last week I started going to the gym again. Man, the temp basal option on the pump or just being able to suspend it all together is AMAZING! I do still have to eat a little something before leg day since it’s a big muscle and eats a lot of glucose. Plus things like stair stepping (a fairly high step) and walking lunges is pretty cardio intensive. However, where before I had to have a bunch of skittles or almost pure dextrose to survive a workout, now I can have a medium orange and 4 jellybeans. Or about 50g of grapes and 4 jellybeans (I know, 4 jellybeans is oddly specific isn’t it?).
I can’t tell you how much happier I am, especially since I HATE eating things before an intensive workout. I will throw up and some poor sod at the gym has to clean it up. Not nice for me, or for the people who have to deal with me.
Anyways, since Monday the 19th of August (2019) I have completed 3 leg day sessions, 3 chest day sessions, a 5k walk and an 8k kayak. All without going so low I have to stop and wait 40 minutes for my blood sugar to come back enough to limp home.
I’m hoping to try tackling spin class this coming week!
Drinking and the Insulin Pump
Something else I’ve been a little braver to try now that I have the ability to adjust my basal or just turn off the pump altogether is drinking alcohol.
With MDI, I’d drop like a sack of potatoes. Basically, there was no fun in drinking anything alcoholic because I knew I’d have to micro manage it. I’d drink maybe a half of dram of whiskey or sip off my husband’s. I mean, we have over 40 bottles of whiskey and bourbon in our collection not to mention how many samplers we’ve acquired. It’s all meant to be drank but my poor husband just can’t do it on his own.
Plus I think the flavor of the whiskey wasn’t as great knowing I was about to invite pain into my life. Now though, oh man, it tastes so lovely and my husband and I’m even brave enough to start experimenting with whiskey cocktails for our little whisky cocktail club project. With the pump I can raise or lower my basal based on the carbs in the cocktail vs. giving a bolus so I get better management. I’ve no idea if the pump is meant to be used like this but if it works, it works right?
So now I can start making some content about sugar free cocktails and other drinks!
The Conclusion to the insulin pump story
I’m happy! I’m grateful. I’ve gotten to exactly where I need to be and that’s all that really needs to be said!