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Switching from MDI to an insulin pump

This post is in response to the question that Melissa posed on 'Ask Me Anything'.

Hi Scott,

I was wondering how you felt when you got Arden's pump. Alison has been doing MDI since July 2010 and we just got her first pump yesterday.

I have to admit that I was really excited when the girls and I opened the box up. The little ones were excited to see the unit power up and hear the sounds it made and it was a really positive experience.

Once both girls were asleep in their beds, I took another quick look in the box. I was overcome with tears. I felt this enormous weight and sadness, almost like I did when we were coming to grips with Alison's diagnosis.

Just thought maybe others could share how they felt (excited, nervous, sad) about the changes in their child's lives. - Melissa

To answer your question simply... I was nervous beyond compare when we made the move to pumping. In my opinion switching brings up a lot of those old diagnosis feelings becasue it again challenges you to learn something foreign and learn it quick. That should be the definition of pressure, "figure this out or here's the list of bad things that'll happen to your child".

The long answer is this... In a few days we'll be celebrating Arden's third anniversary with her OmniPod insulin pump. I can remember getting more and more nervous as her pump start appointment approached. On the way home from the endo's office that day we stopped for lunch and I thought that I was going to cry right at the restaurant table. Switching from MDI to a pump instantly reduced me from a seasoned type I parent to a rookie. In that moment everything felt new and I was confusing myself with every move that I made. Basal, bolus, cannula... why did they have to rename stuff? What was wrong with long acting and short?

I just about fell apart... Then I looked over at Arden and she didn't care that everything was new. She was beaming, thrilled that the shots had ended... that's all she knew or cared about. I figured that if she could do it then so could I. So I took a deep breath and thought to myself, "bolus is the shot, basal is the long acting insulin, this is going to help her... lower A1c, no more shots... bolus is the shot - I can do this." A week later I felt like a pro again (I wasn't but at least I wasn't scared).

Melissa, I've been overwhelmed by a great many diabetes related moments. My best advice is that we have to go through these things so we can become the people that our children need. The first few years and the changes that come with them are our diabetes education. No one is going to be able to fully explain this disease to anyone else, we all have to live it to learn it, we have to suffer with it to master it.

One night as I was putting Arden to bed she asked me, "what am I going to do when I go to college", referring to overnight management. Poor kid, she's seven years old and she is concerned that she won't be able to be safe ten years from now. After I explained that by then she'd have a system just like mine, I went into the next room and cried. The trick is that I left my sadness in that room when I was finished. I choose to let those moments strengthen me. I considered them a hurdle crossed instead of another chink in my armor. I may be fooling myself but if I am... it's working.

Living this life demands that we get scared and even cry sometimes but always push on...

Congratulations on moving your little girl to insulin pumping, I hope and expect that it will be a wonderful addition to both of your lives! I know that my stress decreased significantly when the OmniPod came into our lives.

If anyone would like to share how changes in their child's care has affected them, please post your remarks after Melissa's at this link.

Great thanks to Melissa for sharing!

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Reader Comments (9)

This is one of the clearest distinctions between the technical and emotional aspects of living with a CWD (Child with diabetes T1D, I'm a lazy typer) I have seen.

I think you are spot on in advocating for separating those responses in ourselves and hiding our anxiety from our kids. I think the industrial medical complex chooses to ignore or maybe doesn't even know about the emotional side of things. Well they have to know, too many of the folks in the industry are people with type 1 diabetes (PWT1D?). Thanks for helping to close the communications gap.

At our first diagnosis our trainer described pumping as a masters degree in T1D. While I think that may over state it just a little it isn't a lot. A big part of that is learning to live with type 1 kids and that certainly isn't just the technical but it sure has a lot of technical in the living.

Better is better and pumping can be much better. It isn't a magic bullet.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBennet

Bennet - Your comment made me feel wonderful, thank you for taking the time to write it!


February 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterScott Benner

If I was a parent of a CWD-Scott I would feel the same exact way. I really enjoy reading your blog-great insight into what life is like as a parent of a CWD.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCherise

Cherise - :)

February 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterScott Benner

What wonderful timing! Our first pump class is next week and I have extremely mixed feelings about it. I hate the shots as does my beautiful Grace ( 7 y/o). I hate the bruises they leave. I hate the way a bad injection makes her yelp. I hate to see the tears well up in her eyes. I hate the look of "Why are you doing this to me?"

I love the pump. I hate the pump. I don't want to give injections any more. I don't want my child hooked up to this "thing" until there is a cure. I completely understand the freedom and control it brings but I know seeing that pump on her for the first time will be an extremely overwhelming experience.

Thank you for sharing this. It really hit home.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen


Not wanting to be hooked to something was what led us to OmniPod.

If your endo is leading you away from Omni... Carefully consider if they are doing so because they don't recommend it or if they don't understand it well enough to offer support. You'll find that many offices say the former but mean the latter and don't want to admit it.

Good luck!

February 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterScott Benner

Thank you for your candor Scott. It really helps me to feel that I am not alone in my emotional state concerning this new chapter in our lives.

Today is Alison’s fourth birthday. It has been a day of joy and celebration. My evening has been one of completing the prerequisite materials for our pump start on Wednesday. I keep thinking that I am all out of tears, but then they well up again.

Like I assume it is for most parents of a Type 1 child, my tears are my own private outlet. They are how I have been getting out my fear for Alison’s future; my rage at this disease; my heartbreak at a situation that I cannot make go away.

Thanks to all of you who commented. Your words are of such comfort. I will be keeping track of them and remembering that you have been there, or will be (Jen) and that makes my burden a little less heavy.

I guess I will soon be graduating, hopefully with honours, to the esteemed level of parent of a pumper.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Hello everyone.

I just wanted to give you all a little update.

Yesterday was our pump start. It went really, really well. Alison was a real trooper. The day was long, and sometimes must have been quite boring for her, but she was an angel. She didn't fuss over the insertion site or hooking her up to the pump at all.

When we got home, she was very excited to show my brother and her little sister everything she had learned.

Thanks again to all of you for your support through this - Next week we move on to Insulin :)

February 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa


That is wonderful news! I'm so happy that things started out on the right foot. Please send our best to Alison.


February 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterScott Benner

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