Type 1 Diabetes

Why we pump!

When my grandson Cooper was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at 22 months old, we were all in shock. I never thought I would get to babysit him again! I went through the diabetes classes with my daughter Jenny to try and grasp the disease. I soon found out that unless you live with diabetes, it wouldn’t be easy to understand! Testing blood sugarand giving daily shots didn’t come any easier to me!

My daughter Jenny was and still is an inspiration to me. She threw herself into learning everything there was to know about diabetes, so it didn’t surprise me when she started looking into pump therapy for Cooper. There were severalinsulin pumps to choose from and she ultimately decided on the OmniPod System. She liked that it was tube-free and wireless. With a 3-year-old it seemed to be the perfect choice, especially since she didn’t have to worry about the tubes that the other pumps had.

My Son’s Diabetes Diagnosis

Insulin-Pump-for-Active-BoyJoey stays very active and knew a tubeless insulin pump was right for his busy lifestyle. 

Fast forward a few years later and my son Joey was diagnosed with diabetes by my daughter on Mother’s Day. I was going to be babysitting Cooper that week, and since it had been awhile since I watched him, I was rusty checking his blood sugar. We asked for a volunteer to let me prick their finger so I didn’t have to practice on Cooper. After some bribing, Joey agreed! He was only eight, so his fingers were smaller like Cooper’s.

To all of our surprise and disbelief, Joey’s blood sugar was 466! We had him wash his hands and tried again. We got the same result!

So now I am back in the diabetes class, but this time with NO choice but to learn how to take care of my child – and fast! My mind was focused on how to make this work and I kept thinking about pump therapy for Joey. After class, I spoke with the nurse and asked her when we could get Joey on an insulin pump.

She explained that with Joey being newly diagnosed, they wanted us to make sure he was out of the “honeymoon” phase, which is when the body still releases insulin. It can take anywhere from one month to years for this to happen. But at the one-year anniversary of diagnosis they would consider it. It was also important for us to have a true grasp of diabetes, before we have a pump doing the work for us, because we would be the ones making the adjustments on the pump. I was anxious to get started! 

The hardest thing to get used to was giving the long-acting insulin injection! We would have to hold Joey down to give this shot – and it hurt him! And he had to get this shot every night in addition to the multiple daily injections, or “MDI” as it’s called in the T1D world.

As the one-year anniversary approached, we were all excited to finally hear the words, “He is approved for the pump!” from the endocrinologist. We had already called our insurance company to make sure everything was covered.

Choosing the Right Insulin Pump

Now we just had to choose the right insulin pump for Joey. In the back of our minds we knew Jenny had already done the research and that the OmniPod would be the right choice for Joey too. He is very active, plays multiple sports and didn’t want to have the inconvenience of tubes attached. The fact that he would have to wear the other pump options on his belt or in a pocket was also a deterrent for him. He also didn’t want to have to “unplug” the insulin delivery for sports or for swimming, which he loves. With the OmniPod pump option, the small size of the Pod, which is what holds and delivers the insulin to Joey’s body, was just perfect for this active boy!

So we had our decision made, and within weeks of Joey’s one-year “Diaversary,” he was “pumping!”

Our Experiences with the OmniPod Insulin Pump

Joey loves the ease of the OmniPod. He can have his Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) in his sports bag on the sidelines, as opposed to having to wear it.  And of course NO TUBES!  Life certainly got a lot easier since Joey started the OmniPod System. We are grateful and feel like his pump is the best tool in our diabetes toolbox! He feels normal with it and no one has to even know that he has the Pod on – it’s not noticeable unless he wants it to be.

If you asked Joey what the best part of him using an insulin pump is, he would probably say, “No more multiple daily injections!”

The way the OmniPod pump works is that we program the PDM with all of Joey’s numbers. He only uses one type of insulin, because it works as both the long-acting and rapid-acting doses, and we program the insulin delivery over a 24-hour period. He may get one unit each hour between 12:00 AM-7:00 AM and a different amount between 7:00 AM-10:00 AM, and so on, depending on what his body needs at certain times. He still checks his blood sugar, but all he has to do to dose for a meal is tell the PDM how many carbs he is eating and it calculates the insulin-to-carb ratio for him! Again, based on what we pre-programmed into the system!

That’s why knowing diabetes and your child’s needs are imperative. The wait is certainly worth it! Life is so much better with the OmniPod insulin pump! We all love it!

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