Cyborg Seminar

So yesterday, I had an appointment at the endocrinology department here in Halifax.  It was a seminar about how to become a cyborg!

Ok…slight exaggeration…not a cyborg seminar…a pump seminar!  Close enough though right? 

When I firsrt got diagnosed, I wanted nothing to do with the pump.  I think the first words I told my CDE nurse was “I don’t have to get a pump do I?  I don’t want a pump!”.  Granted I had just gotten out of emergency very early that morning and was ridiculously tired and stressed, but still I didn’t want one.  Partially because at that time, I thought it was a a surgical procedure.  Silly, I know, but at that point I knew almost nothing about diabetes management.

Now?  After being exposed to the DOC, and meeting other diabetics using the pump, I think it would be a really good option for me.  The biggest thing for me would be the ability to adjust insulin delivery around exercise, as well as being able to adjust my basal rate to get rid of my early morning BG increases.  It can be a very useful tool, and as such I’m starting to do my research!

The seminar was hosted by the unit’s CDE nurse and dietician.  The nurse presenter was actually my first CDE when I got diagnosed, so it was good to see her and catch up.  They spent about an hour going over pump basics, and a little bit of nutrition.  The funny thing is, I already knew most it, thanks to all the blogs I’ve been reading!  They kept it very basic, which was good, as I still learned some stuff and had the chance to ask a few questions.

For the second hour, we got to talk to the pump companies.  Here in Canada, we have 3.  Medtronic, Animas and OmniPod.  All three are really good options, and there’s something about all of them that I like.  I wish I could take those parts and combine them into a super pump!  So here’s the rundown:

Animas:  A waterproof pump, and comes with a remote that allows you to dose without pulling it out of wherever you’ve stashed it.  Good for when you’ve got it somewhere like your bra and don’t want to take it out, and allows dosing to be discreet.  There’s talk of their new pump being released in Canada soon with constant glucose monitoring (CGM) technology integrated into it.  That would be really cool!  Until then though, it’s a very solid pump with the only drawback being no CGM.  But they’re working on it!

OmniPod:  The big thing about the OmniPod is that it is a tubeless pump.  Both the Medtronic and Animas pumps have tubing attached to them to infuse insulin.  OmniPod is just a little pod that sticks to your skin and goves insulin right from there.  The fact that it’s tubeless is a huge thing for me.  There’s no worries of  catching your tubing on anything, as well as the potential to keep it attached during a rugby game instead of going without insulin for the duration of the game.  The drawback?  It’s relatively big.  The infusion sets from the other pumps are pretty flush to the skin, whereas these stick out quite a bit.  Their new generation ones are supposed to be a lot smaller but I’d have to see them first.  Until then, they gave me a fake pod to stick to me to see how it feels and how it holds up with my lifestyle.

Medtronic:  Medtronic has something that the other pumps don’t have: a  CGM system.  Where this would be so beneficial for me is during activity.  I teach fitness for a living, so to have something that allows me to track what my blood sugar is doing without testing would be a huge advantage.  For me, it’s definitely the biggest draw for their system.  However, they don’t have a remote like the Animas and OmniPod systems do, so all deliveries have to be made from the pump.  A minor inconveniece, and one that could easily be worked around. 

So the seminar was well run and very informative.  I also liked having the opportunity to talk to the pump reps and ask all the questions I wanted (and there was a lot!).  For now though, I’m sticking with needles.  I had a brief chat with my old CDE and we both came to the conclusion that since I’m still honeymooning and using very little insulin (maybe 10-15 units a day) that now is not the right time to start pumping.  It’s nice to know what my options are and I look forward to the day when I might be able to join the pump club.


2 thoughts on “Cyborg Seminar

  1. I hated the idea of the pump at first too. It took me a while to warm up to it. Now I wouldn’t go back.

    Things to think about when you are no longer in your honeymoon phase:

    1. CGMs are helpful but not perfect. Especially during exercise. They measure the blood glucose level in our interstitial fluid which can lag behind the number that our glucometer reads. CGMs are notoriously off when exercising because our BGs can change so quickly. I’m not saying not to use it, just saying that it might not make the difference you think it will when you’re working out.

    2. I tested out Omnipod. I like a lot of things about their product but here are two things that turned me off. One – I wore it during a swim and it barely survived the workout. It was hanging off after an hour and a half. Considering the cost of the pods, I was not happy. Two – the pod must be changed every three days whether it’s out of insulin or not. Considering how little you use, that’s really expensive. You can stretch out Animas and Medtronic as long as there is insulin in the pump (keeping in mind that the site benefits from being changed every 4-5 days).

    Just my two cents since I researched all the pump options earlier this year. I’d used Medtronic and loved it. I’m now using Animas and love that too.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions I can help answer.

  2. Pingback: My favorite June D-blog articles | Below Seven

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