"To be strong in the end, you must fight from the beginning."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How To Get The Insulin Pump Experience Without Being On A Pump

I've been desperately wanting to get on a pump since about 3 weeks after my diagnosis. But alas there is that "wait it out" time period that my hospital enforces to allow you to get used to your diabetes before switching from MDI (Multiple Daily Injections) to an insulin pump. Usually they tell you to wait at least a year, but because I am older than most of their typical patients and very independant with my diabetes management they said that they would try to get me on one a lot sooner.

In the mean time though, I have been nosying around and I have found a way to get very close to "pump life" while still being on MDI's. There are three steps in this process and they are listed below.

***Please note that I am not a medical professional and that everything I am going to talk about works for me but may not work for you. This is also stuff that I have talked about with my diabetes team and I recommend that you do the same before trying any of these techniques.***

1.) I-Port Advance

I started using this device not because I have a phobia of needles but becase I was tired of the little red marks that all the injections were leaving on my stomach and thighs. I also wanted to get used to wearing something on my body for when I start using a pump.

The I-Port mimics infusion sets because it requires only one needle prick every three days. But instead of having tubing connected to your body, you inject your insulin with pens or syriges right into the device. The needle never touches your skin. It is inserted the exact same way that most infusion sets are and just leaves a tiny flexible cannula (plastic tube) beneath your skin. This little device is also great for kids who are scared of needles because it only requires 10 pokes a month as opposed to 3 or 4+ a day!

2.) Basal/ Bolus Insulin Regime (Lantus)

I think it's safe to say that everyone enjoys sleeping in. But if you're on the insulin program I was on before than that is just not an option. Until just recently I was using Humalog (aspart) and Humulin N (NPH) in the morning, Humalog again before dinner, and then Humulin N before bed. Sure it meant that I didn't have to inject myself at lunch because of the peak period of the NPH, but it also meant that I had very structured mealtimes with not a lot of wiggle room. If I wanted to sleep in I would still have to get up at 8:00am to give myself insulin and eat a full breakfast and then go back to bed if I wanted, but that practically never happened.

So my diabetes nurse recommended I try out a basal/ bolus approach. This involves taking Lantus (glargine) insulin that runs in the background and then taking the rapid acting Humalog to cover my meals and snacks. Lantus is a peakless insulin that allows me to eat whenever I want (or not at all if I don't feel like it) and gives me a lot more freedom in regards to sleeping in. Hallelujah!

Just like on a pump, the Lantus replaces the tiny drip of fast acting insulin and just lets you "bolus" for your meals by giving yourself rapid acting insulin.

3.) FreeStyle Insulinx Meter

This is not just a meter. This is the meter to end all meters. It is based on pump technology and can recommend an insulin dose based on your blood sugar and how many carbs you plan to eat. When you set it with someone on your diabetes team it even takes into account your insulin to carbs ratio, how long insulin stays in your body for, and how much insulin it takes to lower your blood sugar. This saves me a ton of trouble and has definitely helped me keep my blood glucose in range. Not only does it do the work for you but you can also set your own photo as a bcakground pic. Neat! The software it comes with it pretty awesome also and it lets you create graphs and charts to print off and show or email to your diabetes team. Oh and did I mention it's touchscreen?


  1. So you're able to use the i-port for different types of insulin? Like Lantus in the morning, and Humalog during the day? I thought I had read you couldn't combine insulins in it. Good to know!

  2. Talk to your endo to make sure although mine said something about being able to use lantus and humalog in the same port. There might just be certain time specifications or something.