First, let me make clear that although I love using a pump and therefore talk more highly of it than MDI (multiple daily injections), I fully understand and respect that a pump is not for everybody. Whatever works for you both physically and emotionally is what’s best for you.
This post is strictly my own opinion based on my own experiences with MDI and pump. Everybody is different and has different experiences, feelings, opinions, and needs.
I spent the first 27 years of my diabetic life on MDI. I was fine with MDI, or at least I thought I was. It was all I knew, I was used to it, I was comfortable with it. I also spent these years rebelling against my diabetes. Ignoring it. Hating it.
Then I started getting involved with my diabetes. I started to care about my blood sugars. I started to study diabetes more, ask questions, actually really talk to my doctors and other type 1’s. I realized how behind the times I was. I was using ancient, obsolete insulin. I was still using syringes instead of pens or a pump (not that that really matters). I began to feel like the odd one out.
As if I was a member of an elite club but not taking advantage of the perks of membership.
Usually I’m not the kind of person who cares about the newest toys, gadgets, popular stuff, etc., in any area of life. But as I studied up on pumps, CGMs, and all the stuff I’d ignored and not even known about all these years, I realized how much help, aid, convenience, health improvement, time saving, etc., I was missing out on.
I studied, I talked to my endocrinologist and other type 1’s, I started using pens, and then I decided to get a CGM and pump.
Emotionally, how different is MDI from a pump?
You may not have even thought of it, but, yes, switching to a pump has made a big difference in my emotional and psychological state.
Well, um… how do I put it into words? Do I even understand it?
As a child I didn’t hate taking shots. I got used to it pretty fast, I think. I did, however, hate feeling like I was chained to the clock.
“Time to take my shot, gotta drop everything and go to the fridge to get my insulin and shoot up.”
So, yeah, there was a bit of loathing and resentment there.
My brother has had a pump for many more years than I. I never really cared. I didn’t even pay attention to his pump. But once I started catching up on the times and thinking about pumps I realized how much more convenient his life seemed than my own.
He just pulled his pump out of his pocket and pushed a couple buttons, and here I was searching for my purse, digging out my pen, putting my needle cap on, dialing up, looking around hoping no one is giving me horrified looks (I don’t care what they think, I just don’t want to deal with drama)…
Also, I got to where I would get my insulin pen out and feel obsolete compared to my brother.
Jealous much?… Um, I think envy is more appropriate here.
What really got me to choose a pump, though, was all the stuff I read and heard from pump users (including my brother) on how much better and easier their BG control was with the pump.
Emotionally, I felt a million times better when I went on the pump. Initially it was the more shallow reasons, being caught up with the times, having a cool device to carry around and show off, convenience of having my insulin on my hip at all times, etc. But then it was the more important things. I felt more secure about my BG control, I was in control at all times of my BG and insulin. I didn’t have to drop everything to get my pen from somewhere to bolus for this unplanned treat. I no longer have to worry about missing or being late for a shot, because it’s on me at all times, and keeps a log of doses! I don’t have to keep track of where my insulin and supplies are because they’re right here on me.
Simply, I have the power and security of much tighter control, and I have the convenience of not being as restricted or anxious with time and planning, and scheduling.
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all flowers and puppy dogs. I have had a flare in depression over my pump. I gained weight after going on the pump.
Because having more control over my BG’s also meant I was taking more insulin. And more insulin means more fat storage.
The pump didn’t directly cause the weight gain, it’s mostly my eating habits and actually trying to bring down my BG’s. I just learned that I need to adjust my lifestyle if I want to be in control AND lose weight.
Some people ask me, “But don’t you feel trapped or bogged down by having that thing on your hip all the time?”
Nope, I actually feel safe, secure, relieved, and free with it on. It’s not a constant reminder of my disease, if that’s what you mean. On the contrary, it reminds me that I have my lifeline right on my hip and not separate from me where it can get lost.
This may piss off a lot of diabetics, It pisses me off, too, I cry when I think about it. But the reality is that I actually feel ‘more human’ with my pump.
Sad but true. 😦
I also get asked, ” How do you sleep comfortably with that thing on?”
A lot of diabetics do it differently, but I simply just sleep with it clipped to the waist of my panties. I sleep on it, it doesn’t get smashed, no buttons get accidentally pushed (there’s many safety protocols built into it). Nope, it never gets in my way or disturbs my sleep.
“How do you manage sex with your pump?”
I always wonder how this could even be an issue for people, but, anyway… I wear a silk (because it’s sexy) belt and clip my pump to it. Easy peasy.
Is MDI not as good as a pump? In my opinion it really depends on the individual. I think the best way to find out what’s best for you is to try them both out. If you’ve never used a pump and have the opportunity to try one, do it! Then make an informed decision on what’s best for you.