|This story is probably one of the most positive things that has happened to me in my 62 years. I was first diagnosed as a Type II diabetic when I was 40 years old. Control during the first four years was by diet and exercise. I was then started on insulin therapy and have been ever since.
I suffered all of the usual problems associated with diabetes including foot ulcers, renal dysfunction, heart failure, neuropathy and retinopathy. Insulin (Lente and Humalog) requirements increased over the years until I was taking about 130 units via 5 injections per day. Even with all of this intervention my glucose levels were extremely variable: one minute I would be in the 15 to 18 range and the next minute I would be low. My HbA1c was in the 0.010 to 0.012 range. Life was not fun!
My family Doctor had the foresight to suggest an alternative. Enter the pump! After a period of intensive investigation, my diabetic specialist suggested I try a loaner pump to see how I would cope. Following training by Diabetic Educator, I started with a Disetronic D-TRON pump and within a week I could see my glucose levels, while still a bit high, starting to stabilize. With lots of blood glucose testing, as well as two periods of continuous glucose monitoring, the specialist was able to determine the proper basal profile and the insulin to carbohydrate ratio. I also received training in carbohydrate counting.
So armed with my own pump I started to reap the benefits of this new way of delivering insulin.
These benefits were evident almost immediately:
- My glucose levels dropped to 5 to 8 range.
- I now take about 60% less insulin.
- An ulcer on my foot healed within one week and I have had none since.
- After 3 months my HbA1c has dropped to 0.064
What have been the changes in my life style?
Well they are many but the most important ones are:
- I just plain feel better! Feeling better means a better mood and a better disposition. My spouse says I am much easier to live with.
- No multiple injections each day.
- There is much more flexibility in when I rise in the morning and when I eat.
- I never have to worry about whether or not I have my insulin, syringes, pen, etc.; it's always with me (although I do carry a pen if I'm going more than a couple of hours from home).
- I never worry about finding myself in a situation where there is something I shouldn't eat; it is just a matter of quietly taking the appropriate bolus (not a good practice but sometimes it can't be helped).
- I also find that counting carbohydrates forces me to look carefully at what is on the plate in front of me.
Many of these benefits can be summed up by one word: independence. It's as if many of the restriction surrounding my previous lifestyle have been lifted and at the same time my diabetes is under much better control. It should also be noted that within three months of going on the pump I underwent triple bypass surgery. I had a very normal recovery and healed quickly without complication. I am completely convinced that this normal recovery was due to the glucose control provided by the pump.