Transitioning to an Insulin Pump

I’ve been on an insulin pump, specifically, the Tandem T:slim, for about 1 year now and I wanted to share a few thoughts on the transition. Of course, everyone will have their own experiences in going from MDI (multiple daily injections) to an insulin pump, but I’m here to share what’s worked well for me so far.

By far, the hardest part when I had first switched over to the T:slim was adjusting my own way of thinking for how I deliver insulin. When I was using MDI, though daily experiences, I had been able to estimate that it would take roughly about 1 hour and 10 minutes before I’d begin to really see my glucose drop from a bolus. It was truly so precise, that I’d be able to to set a timer on my phone and as soon as the alarm went off, it was almost guaranteed that I was falling. Switching over to the pump meant that I’d have more frequent, but smaller doses of insulin, and because of this, it felt really difficult to keep track of how much insulin was onboard and when it’d hit my system. Eventually I got the hang of it, and the Insulin Onboard reading that the pump offers truly is helpful, but I found myself steering on the side of going higher for those first few weeks out of caution.

There was a moment that I remember so well that I had to share, because if you’re at all on the fence of switching to a pump, this was the moment that the decision was reaffirmed for me. The moment was a realization, a few days into my transition, where I noticed that I had gone the entire day without touching my diabetes bag. No pricks, no strips, no needles, no insulin pens. My Dexcom G6 and the T:slim were working in harmony and because of this, the need to rely on my bag was dwindling. I still carry it everywhere I go, just to be safe, but this moment just felt so freeing and unique after five years of relying on my bag at least once an hour. It felt magical.

On MDI, I often found myself in situations where I needed insulin, but it wasn’t convenient to give a dose. Perhaps I’d be driving, in a meeting, out in public (specifically, in a place where I didn’t feel comfortable giving a bolus) and because of this, I’d run higher for much longer than I would have liked. Switching to the pump meant that it was now much easier to give quick doses to help keep my numbers in check. The T:slim has an option which allows you to press on its top button to deliver a dose in increments of your choosing. This means that there’s really not even a need to take the pump out of your pocket to interact with it, and it was that change that felt, and still feels, so liberating.

Again, it’s only been just a few months of being on the pump so far, but I truly feel so grateful for the device and the technology behind it. I haven’t even talked about ControlIQ yet, which is the algorithm that helps prevent both highs and lows—especially while sleeping. If your insurance will cover it, and you’re looking into the possibility of it, I really can’t recommend giving it a try enough.

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