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Calling All Insulin Pump Users... . . . .......
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I've been a type one diabetic for most of my life, and for many years have kept tight blood sugar control with syringe delivery of my insulin. For this reason I've never really explored the idea of changing to an insulin pump. The other reason is my lack of enthusiasm for the idea of a box, even if it is small, always being attached to me, with all the involved tubing and a constant injection site that remains prone to infection. Needles have always been so easy for me.

In the last year, my blood sugars have suddenly become more difficult to predict and control. It is likely due to impending perimenopause, or added life stressors, or simply having had the disease for so long and things are finally starting to catch up. I know that the latest pumps offer great options for watching things closely, and can be a valuable tool for tightening the screws. I'm hoping to hear from diabetics who have been using needles for a long time, and changed to a pump. Even more interesting would be diabetics who were on the pump and switched back to syringes. As I mull things over and do my research, it is good to hear from people who are in the know, and living it!

I have been watching closely the story of the Omnipod, a pump that I would immediately buy and try to incorporate into my life were it available in Canada. This one uses a patch as a delivery system, like a nicotine patch I would imagine. I wait with bated breath for our Health Department to approve its sale here, but things such as this tend to be conservatively slow up here.

Any info/insight would be much appreciated! :)

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I've been on an insulin pump for over 7 years and it has made a world of difference. I take a break for a day or two every now and then and go back to the shots. That never lasts long because it just reminds me of the reasons I went on the pump in the first place. There are so many options for insulin delivery that allow for such a personalized approach to your diabetes. Nights were always a struggle for me before the pump but they're much more stable now. It is also so much more convenient and practical. You might have something physically attached to you but I don't think it's any worse than having to carry insulin and syringes everywhere. In fact, it's very nice to not have to find a clean place to give an injection in public. Expense shouldn't be a concern since Ontario now covers pumps and supplies for Type 1 diabetics. You get used to it very quickly and will soon forget it's there. I usually wear mine on a leg strap around my calf so no-one even notices i. I've never had an infection and that shouldn't be an issue if you change your sites regularly. I leave mine on for up to a week and no problems at all. I like my Minimed because you can get the sensors and glucose transmitter with it. The sensors are great when you need to establish what your patterns are. Feel free to ask me any questions I haven't answered.

Btw, did your celiac disease have any effect on your blood sugar levels before you were diagnosed?

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Thanks for the response, Smoly. I went off gluten four years ago, and I always knew before that time that heavy starches caused my blood sugar to rise, often quickly with their high GI number - - so I've always limited my consumption of grains, corn, rice, potato, etc. But in hindsight, I think the glutinous sources in that list caused the biggest disruption of all. Rice causes a need for a little more insulin, but wheat pasta required a BIG shot of extra. So yes, the extra insulin I was taking was due in great part to the gluten I was unable to tolerate, and therefore the undiagnosed celiac.

The inconvenience of giving myself shots while out and about has never really been a problem for me. For many, many years I have only been on two shots a day, and they are at convenient times - -when I get up in the morning and right before supper (the very odd time there is a third shot at some point in the day due to a rare jump in blood sugar). My insulin requirements are low due to my exercise regimen, which is unfailingly carried out every single morning. I treat exercise like an insulin injection - - I must do it, every day. This brings me to another question about pump use: I'm wondering how the mechanics are affected by things like vigorous movement and copious sweat. I am soaked, every morning, after my 45 minute cardio. I assume that would be a time that I would take it off. I need to know more about the Omnipod and its patch delivery system, and whether or not it can be peeled off and back on.

I must say that the new pumps that have constant blood sugar readouts sound fantastic - - this in itself could be reason enough to convert, for it is the five blood tests a day that really are a pain!

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Thanks for the response, Smoly. I went off gluten four years ago, and I always knew before that time that heavy starches caused my blood sugar to rise, often quickly with their high GI number - - so I've always limited my consumption of grains, corn, rice, potato, etc. But in hindsight, I think the glutinous sources in that list caused the biggest disruption of all. Rice causes a need for a little more insulin, but wheat pasta required a BIG shot of extra. So yes, the extra insulin I was taking was due in great part to the gluten I was unable to tolerate, and therefore the undiagnosed celiac.

The inconvenience of giving myself shots while out and about has never really been a problem for me. For many, many years I have only been on two shots a day, and they are at convenient times - -when I get up in the morning and right before supper (the very odd time there is a third shot at some point in the day due to a rare jump in blood sugar). My insulin requirements are low due to my exercise regimen, which is unfailingly carried out every single morning. I treat exercise like an insulin injection - - I must do it, every day. This brings me to another question about pump use: I'm wondering how the mechanics are affected by things like vigorous movement and copious sweat. I am soaked, every morning, after my 45 minute cardio. I assume that would be a time that I would take it off. I need to know more about the Omnipod and its patch delivery system, and whether or not it can be peeled off and back on.

I must say that the new pumps that have constant blood sugar readouts sound fantastic - - this in itself could be reason enough to convert, for it is the five blood tests a day that really are a pain!

I've never seen the Omnipod in action so I don't know much about how it stands up to sweating and how easily it's removed. I disconnect my Minimed when I shower swim and the site stays really secure. You can always put some extra tape on tape if you want some extra security though. Movement shouldn't affect the pump since many athletes use them on a daily basis. I wouldn't drop it or use it in a martial arts class but it's a pretty tough little device.

One thing to note about the Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS) is that you still have to test your sugars the old-fashioned way at least 4 times a day to calibrate the machine. It's also advised to test whenever you have a result that is high or low. The CGMS is meant to show you trends and alert you to upcoming changes as there can be a delay between the CGMS and real-time blood sugar results. There is a great forum called Insulin Pumpers that can answer just any question you might have about pumping. It was invaluable when I first started on a pump.

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    • Thank you for going through my long post and responding. I have been both dairy and gluten-free free for 10 months now. Yes, even I was worried about other food allergies. I mentioned it to my GI doc and asked if I need food allergy test to eliminate other allergens. He said, food allergy tests give a lot of false positives and are not accurate. He said: not everything is because of food allergy and it's refractory celiac which is causing issues as the jejunum biopsy, done recently, is showing villous flattening.

      My doubt: 1. If I have so much damage in my small intestine (villous flattening) then how was I keeping fine for 6-7 months ( eating eggs, soy, rice and meat) - was constantly losing weight though - but was able to work out regularly - not much fatigue. 2. If it is other food allergens ( out of mentioned allergens, I take eggs, soy chunks, almonds only) why does it happen only few times and not always - I keep well for 7-8 days and then fall sick again - this without any change in diet.  
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    • I have intolerances to a few foods now, so I was wondering about that.. I love cashews though, and a month or two ago I was eating them all the time with no problems at all. I mean, could I really have developed an intolerance to them since then? I don't know if they're made on shared lines (it didn't say on the package so I assumed they weren't), but I'll give them a call. I'm really, really sensitive to cross contamination. Even if something is just made in the same facility (but not on shared lines) it will make me sick. If that's not it, then I'm not really sure
    • Research with KP and find a celiac-savvy GI in your area ( read the biographies). and ask your PCP/GP for a referral to that specific GI (not his buddy).  Ask the GI for the rest  of the celiac panel or proceed with an endoscopy/biopsies -- 4 to six.  Keep eating gluten daily until all testing is complete.  Document and request in writing.  Do not worry about symptoms.  There are over 300 of them and some celiacs have none!   Research all that you can about celiac disease.  The University of Chicago has a great celiac website that has testing Information etc.   Poet me know how it works out.  Hope you feel better soon!  
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