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It was one year ago when I had my insulin pump training and began using an insulin pump. It’s been a great year. I feel lucky to be alive at this time in history. I lead a pretty normal life.
Before using an insulin pump, I had to do insulin shots, and my blood glucose was a lot more erratic, and my life was less normal. I couldn’t eat without doing a shot, unless I just ate something with no carbohydrates, like bacon or avocados. Insulin shots are less precise and less convenient.
I’m happy that I made the switch to an insulin pump.
Insulin Pumps are Amazing
It took time to get to know my pump. I took a couple of days off from work and I spent a lot of time learning it. In the beginning, I was really stressed about things like changing the insulin reservoir and the infusion set, but now it has become easy.
I’m a software developer and I’m skilled with computers, so learning to use the pump was like learning to use a new computer. Yes, there are a lot of menus, but with some practice, it wasn’t hard for me to master.
What took longer was learning how insulin worked and how to better predict how much insulin I would need. Counting carbs is really only one factor to consider when dosing insulin. There’s also things like needing more insulin during certain times of the day, needing less insulin when exercising, and having stress and sickness effecting insulin requirements.
Perhaps the most important thing to really understand about insulin is that Insulin takes awhile to start working, and even longer to peak. There is the temptation to over-correct rather than wait for the insulin on board to start working.
I’ve learned a lot about human biology by watching the effects of food and exercise and insulin on my blood glucose. I use a CGM which shows my real time glucose reading on a graph. It is a new form of biofeedback that I never had before. The biggest take aways are that food can have delayed effects. Some food has a much faster effect than others. An example would be orange juice versus milk. The orange juice is able to slow down my dropping blood glucose within minutes. The milk will take much longer to have an effect. Eating pizza will make my blood glucose rise twice, both in the first hour and then another rise several hours later.
Exercise has been particularly challenging as it has an immediate effect on my blood glucose. Even a brisk 30 minutes walk can cause my blood glucose to drop too quickly. I’ve begun to drink chocolate milk about 20 minutes before hand.
See my previous writing on insulin pumps
- How Getting an Insulin Pump is like a new puppy: A 3 month review
- Fear of Going Low
- Pizza Night – Success with Diabetes
- Don’t Rage Bolus