I have worn an insulin pump for every single day of my life since the fall of 2000, aside from one unfortunate 20 hour period in the spring of 2009, when my pump stopped functioning out of the blue (I also had no long-lasting insulin or doctors to write my long-lasting insulin prescriptions and suggest reasonable dosages... major planning fail on my part. I ended up giving myself hourly shots of humalog, and it was not a fun day.) and I had to wait for a replacement to land on my doorstep.
When I started pumping, it was life-altering. For the first nine months of living with diabetes, I had been restrained. Restrained because I needed to eat on a schedule. Restrained because I needed to take my shots (let's be honest... be given shots) on a schedule. Restrained because that meant that my mom or dad was always close by. Insulin wasn't nearly as user friendly, and my blood sugars were pretty erratic. It was hard. I started pumping in the sixth grade, just in time to go on my middle school's sixth grade trip to Land Between the Lakes. Had it not been for pumping, I'm not sure I would've been able to attend. The LBL trip was thrilling: for the first time since my diagnosis, I was kind of on my own. With the supervision of my teachers, I got to sleep over with all of my friends at the LBL cabins for two nights, go canoeing, listen to scary stories, and learn forest survival skills... it was my dream come true. And it was all because of pumping. If I'd been on shots- dependent on my mom or dad to hook me up with some insulin every few hours- I wouldn't have been able to do it. And if I had, it wouldn't have been the same. But the pump let me go. And for that...well, I have always loved the pump.
As I've grown up, the pump and I have also had our issues. I was allergic to the tape/adhesive used on/with Minimed softsets, which left my skin itching like mad, peeling off, and oozing strange fluids (I know that's gross, sorry) (luckily the quickset now offers different tape- hoorah!). I had a lot of pain with the softsets as well, leaving me incredibly anxious about site changes. I've had sites that, upon removing because of blood in the tubing, spewed blood all over the place. My pumping experience has been, as all of yours probably also has been, flawed. But... I've still kept pumping. Even in my worst hours of D-management, the pump has remained attached to me.
The past few weeks, I've been having some dry-skin issues. Because I'm also wearing the dexcom now, I've got a lot less "real estate" for pumping (and I don't have a lot to begin with, because my torso is incredibly short). Even my trusty butt sites (TMI... but it's true, they are trusty and on my butt) have been bugging me. My sites aren't infected, but when I remove them, I'm really struggling with the skin around them being dry. And that makes putting in new sites really hard, uncomfortable, itchy, etc.
I think my body is tired. I've been on this pump-road for over ten years. I estimate that I've done about 1,460 sites in that amount of time (one for every 2.5 ish days, to account for sites that lasted less than their full 3). That is a lot. I love pumping, I really do. From the very beginning, it has given me flexibility and freedom. It has given me options.
However... I need a break. It is time for a vacation! I have never truly considered stopping pumping for a bit until today. I was talking to Kyle about rafting over diet cokes at a restaurant, and I immediately told him that I didn't think I'd want to do something like that- because I wouldn't want to risk something weird happening with the pump. I realize that it is waterproof to a point, but still. What if the tubing got caught on a branch and the pump soared through the air into oblivion? I could have much more fun and much more peace of mind going shopping, thank you very much. (And no, I don't need a lecture on how I can do anything with diabetes... this is just my personal preference... and my fear of rapid waters my also be an influencing factor here.) But still... the story got me thinking. Could I take a break? Why not? I used to be afraid of MDI, because doctors told me that I would have less tight "control." But I'm sorry... control is mostly about effort. And I'm all about effort these days. Plus, I've heard plenty of pump vacay success stories here on the DOC.
I'm looking forward to calling my doctor tomorrow and setting up an appointment with a CDE to get re-affiliated with MDI. I have never taken a super long lasting insulin like Lantus or Levemir, and quite frankly, I am curious to experience one. With the dexcom, which I plan to stay attached to, I am not afraid at all of this little experiment. I also want to have MDI skillz and resources, so that in the case of another pump failure, I am not left to my own devices, injecting Humalog every hour like a mad woman.
I'm really excited about a pump break, and I'm really excited to be "unattached" for a bit. The idea feels liberating... exciting! I know that some of you have taken pump breaks recently, so help me out! Any tips? Anything I should watch for?
And as a side note... I suck at blogging regularly. As much as I wish I could dedicate myself to doing it on a consistent basis, it just isn't a priority. Moreover, I don't want to blog about nothing. But, while my motivation to blog may be less than frequent, that doesn't mean I'm not still lurking and thinking about life with type 1 diabetes!