This post is primarily for my friends and family to help them understand a new part of my life. Sorry if this bores my diabetic readers, check back next time for more interesting content or share your own frequently asked questions in the comments.
After the untimely death of my pancreas, I had been using injections and a glucose meter to manually do its job.
Now, I’m proud to announce that this girl is battery-operated!
Last week I started using an OmniPod to manage my type 1 diabetes. This doesn’t mean that I get to go on autopilot, stop carbohydrate counting or not test my blood sugar anymore, but it does mean that I have a little more freedom.
Here’s how it works:
I wear a pod filled with insulin.
Meet my Omnipod:
My PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager), talks to my pod for me.
I can test my blood sugar on it and tell it how many carbohydrates I’m going to eat and it recommends a dose of insulin to cover the food that I’m about to eat. When I confirm, the pod gives me that insulin.
I still poke my finger tips and test my blood sugar, it doesn’t know that information unless I tell it. But now instead of injecting myself with insulin four or more times each day, I put on a new pod every three days and it gives me the insulin that I tell it to.
Wearing an insulin pump is a new therapy method for my chronic condition, not a cure. I still have diabetes and my pancreas isn’t going to just decide to make insulin again so my pump doesn’t “fix” me, but it greatly improves my life.
I’ve already gotten several questions from my friends and family about pumps, injections and diabetes in general, so here are some of the most common ones and how I’ve answered (I’m a patient not a doctor so these are not medical recommendations, only my experiences).
Q. Where do you put the pods?
A. I change the placement of my pods every three days and I have a few places that I can put them. Today, I have one on my back. Here’s a picture of where it’s recommended to put them (these are the same areas where I could previously give myself shots):
Q. Did they put a “hard line” in you?
A. There is not a permanent (or semi permanent) port in my body like the ports that chemo therapy patients sometimes have or a picc line. Insulin infuses into tissue and isn’t injected into a vein so a permanent medical port is not necessary.
Q. Is there a needle in you all the time then?
A. No. When I apply a new pod, it does quickly (and kind of painfully) shoot me with a needle that inserts the cannula (small plastic tube). But the needle retracts back in and leaves the tube behind.
Q. Does it monitor your blood sugar too?
A. My PDM has a glucose meter in it, but the pod does not consistently monitor my blood sugar for me. I still have to do that. I haven’t opted to get a continuous glucose monitor yet (one medical device at a time for me).
Note: It is really frustrating to be told about insulin pumps by non-pump users (and people who aren’t medical professionals). I have heard several stories with
ridiculous inaccurate “facts” about pumps and diabetes in general, although well-meaning, this is stuff that I have researched and been trained how to use.
I like to answer questions about my own pump and my own diabetes. So if you’re curious, just ask me. But please don’t try to “teach me.” I have an endocrinologist and a fantastic group of diabetes medical professionals that I (along with my insurance company) pay to do that. If I can answer questions and help you understand this condition a little better, I’ve done a good thing.
(Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this post has not been reviewed by one, it’s simply my experiences. Omnipod and Insulet Corporation did not know I was writing this post, they did not request that I write it and I am not receiving any type of compensation for writing this.)
Any questions to add?