2011-08-15

Tomorrow I Start Insulin Pump Therapy

It is a big day for me tomorrow. Tomorrow I start insulin pump therapy. I thought I would write down some thoughts beforehand, as this strikes me as a very significant day in the course of my diabetes experience. 

I may have mentioned before that, to a great extent, having type 1 diabetes has had a comparatively small impact on my life, relative to other people. I had already been living a pretty regimented life, exercising daily, watching what I ate, going to bed at the same time every day, avoiding desserts most of the time. I did adjust my life significantly when I received my diagnosis, but the changes were minor compared to the complete lifestyle change that other diabetics must go through. In that respect, one could almost say that I was "born to be a type 1 diabetic." 

The biggest change in my life was the four daily insulin injections. This is a pretty obvious change, so I probably do not need to explain this too much. One has a different approach to life and health when one has to invest a great deal of time calculating out hormone doses in relation to the day's meals and activities. The more one wants to gain full control over one's blood glucose levels, the more intricate the thought becomes. Again, it's not so bad for a natural analyst/system-builder like myself, so the impact on me was comparatively small. But there was still a significant impact.

Which brings me to the pump. The one most significant aspect of my being a diabetic is about to change radically. Gone will be the four daily insulin injections, replaced with a little electronic device, about the size of a deck of cards. From here on out, my insulin will be dosed automatically, based on my preset values for carbohydrate-to-insulin ratios, insulin correction values, and blood glucose readings.

[Fun/exciting sidenote: my new blood glucose meter and my insulin pump will be able to "talk" to each other. That is, when I test my blood sugar, I will be able to basically beam that BG reading directly into my insulin pump for automatic correction bolus calculations. So there are indeed fun things in store for me, in a geeky respect.]

Al things considered, I'm convinced that pump therapy is the right choice for me. (At least, giving it a try is the right choice for me.) But there are sufficient new challenges associated with a pump that I am not fully at ease. Scared isn't the right word. Worried isn't the right word. Perhaps concerned encapsulates how I'm feeling right now.

Most of my concern stems from the fact that the pump - an electronic device with some tubing and a sticky little thing that juts into my abdomen - will be connected to me basically all the time. This throws a wrench in activities such as taking a shower or going to bed. I'm sure it won't be a huge complication, I mean lots of people use insulin pumps and figure out a way. Even so, there are now things I need to start thinking about that I never had to think about before. Where do I put my pump when I take a shower? How do I make sure my pump is okay while I sleep? What do I do if I want to spend some time in a jacuzzi?

In short, activities that we all take for granted are things I have to start planning for, starting tomorrow. It seems somewhat trivial to me, so I am not sure why I have been thinking about it so much for the past couple of weeks. I hope it is just a passing phase.

But I think that probably everyone who has ever undergone insulin pump therapy has thought about these sorts of things. Therefore, I put these thoughts here on my blog, for myself, for posterity, and for anyone else out there who has ever had to think about these things. 

Wish me luck.