Looking back at my year of pumping: what I have learned and what I didn’t expect

12 months ago on the 3 September 2013 (the day before my 26th birthday), I walked into Manny Cussins diabetes centre in Leeds for another junction in my diabetes road map.

Along with 3 other people (and one wife), I jumped on the diabetes bus & soon arrived at junction Insulin pump.
After learning how to fill a reservoir, what we need to order, when to order supplies *note keep an eye on what you have not what you think you have*, our account number with Accu-Chek, what was in all the boxes in front of us, when to change the batteries in our handset & pump, how to change a cartridge & how to prime our tubing line.
Then it was time to do my first cannula, as the only female in the group the blokes were asked to leave the room while one of the wife’s of the men in the group & the Accu-Chek rep helped me put the cannula in & it didnt hurt!!! hallelujah!!
Then once everyone was back in the room & cannulated it was time to take the plunge & connect to our pumps (our basal profiles were already set on the pump & handset as were our ratios & sensitivity ratios), I tested my blood sugars & corrected (I was in the 9’s at the time) using the handset & then I was released from hospital (after my DSN said she would ring me the next day to check I was ok) & was suddenly #pumpinganddangerous

Ok my bloods werent perfect to start, my bloods were high but what do you expect? I’d had half my lantus insulin that night & none in the morning.

First night was ok apart from the occlusion in the middle of the night, wow my pump can wake the dead!
Also the safety limit on my boluses were too low so I couldnt have the correct amount of insulin without repeated boluses (and noone wants to stack insulin).

I dont know what everyone else was like the first time they had a cannula in but I avoided everyone & everything, in fear that I would catch my tubing or cannula & rip it out (the only known enemy to them is door handles….)

It took a while to get a rhythm with Jerry who is my third insulin therapy in nearly 12 years.
Now its a cannula change every 2 days not every 3 days as I find I either leak on day 3 or have an infection (mmmmm pumpers custard…..not!!) & new cartridge every 2-3 days. This is my life now on a pump, no new needle each injection, carrying new cartridges of novo rapid or lantus incase I may run out, no air shot in public with on lookers thinking what the ????

One thing I have noticed due to my job (i’m a barristers clerk for my sins & sometimes have to attend court). You must let security know you are a pump user. They have had me walk up to the body scanner, sticking my hand down my cleavage various times to produce Jerry. Security now know i’m hiding a pump down there & are nice about it.

Now where to put your pump is harder, i’m not a gorgeous size 8 model but a tall curvy woman. At work Jerry goes in a carry case held around my neck but for bed time Jerry likes to roam free & boy is he one naughty pump, he’s known to jump out of my top onto the mattress, floor or down the side of the bed #ouch

In 12 months i’ve had :-
Bleeding cannulas
Leaking cannulas
Cannula site infections
Blood in my tubing
Pain from cannulas
I’ve had pump “failure”
Various occlusions (mainly at night)
Cartridge/cannula changes while half asleep

Yes a lot has gone wrong in 12 months but I dont think i’d give my pump back, its the closest thing I will ever again have to a working pancreas.

Yes I have a huge pump manual & text books but like any diabetic would tell you (or I think would tell you), life with diabetes isnt textbook. The disease doesnt behave how an author in a book writes about it, it reacts to everything & anything that gets thrown at the diabetic.
We test multiple times, we try EVERYTHING & ANYTHING so we can try to attempt to have an easy/normal life, we ask other diabetics what they would do & if it fails – we didnt fail, it just didnt work this time.

Jerry as I type is currently nestled between my boobs in the vague hope of performing the great escape (am I the only one who hears the music & pictures my pump holding a spoon digging for freedom? Nope? Just me then).

So thats my first 12 months of pumping & heres to the next 12 months (unless the cure comes before then).

Byline by Jerry
Hello dear readers.
You all know a bit about me from Laura’s ramblings (sorry I mean blogs) but i’m not as bad as she makes out. I’m a young pump, I just wanna have fun!
What Laura said about me planning the great escape, is true but dont tell her #diggingforfreedom