From Saline to Insulin – My Journey Towards Insulin Pump Therapy

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Yesterday, after living with an insulin pump for a week using saline solution to practise with, I finally inserted my first cartridge of insulin.

Over the last 4 days, I’ve been keeping a written record of my blood sugar results, the amount of carbs consumed, and the amount of insulin I’ve given myself. In doing this, my DSN was able to enter my recordings, plus my age and weight, into her computer system and come up with a tailored dosage plan to suit my body and its needs. Nothing set in stone, but it gave us a starting point to which can be tweaked over the coming days, weeks and months.

During the last 24 hours, I’ve stuck to the doses set by my DSN, just to get a feel for it all and see how my body responds. My sugar levels have been surprisingly pretty well behaved for the most part, just one hypo and a couple of non-threatening highs which I’m certain will sort itself out as I start tweaking.

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My main worry was that I may hypo during the night. I set an alarm for 2am, another for 4am and one more at 8am, just incase. As it happened, I slept through both of the first alarms, but randomly woke at 5.30am. My BG was an amazing 6.5mmol and by 8am, was still a good 4.8mmol. I decided I’d do some morning fasting BG tests, skip breakfast and test myself every hour until lunch time. Normally, by mid morning, even without eating, my BG usually creeps up to 10-11mmol, this morning my BG levels have stayed a steady 5-6mmol. I’ll repeat this again over the next 2-3 days to give myself a more accurate picture, as today could well be a fluke.

Once I’ve got the morning dose set correctly, I’ll move on to evaluating my lunch time, evening and then bedtime doses and readjust those if and when needed. I then plan to check my mealtime doses (my Carb ratio), and again, tweak as necessary. Part of the beauty of the pump is the freedom it brings, so my aim is to teach myself how to make adjustments and give myself more freedom by not have to rely so much on my Diabetes Team to tell me when and what changes to make.

Although I still have a long way to go, lots of regular follow up appointments over the next 6 months or so, it amazes me what Science can do! I’ve gone from injecting a large dose of insulin into my body once a day, not knowing and not being able to control how it’ll affect me, to being able to specify exactly how much goes in at any time of the day! Despite constantly hearing over the past 25 years that a cure is imminent, I’ve kinda become immune to believing it. Personally, I don’t believe that a cure will become available in my lifetime, but the insulin pump allows me to be a step closer to feeling like I have a fully functioning body. As much as I’d love to have the real thing, for me personally, my bionic pancreas is the next best thing right now.

For now, my biggest concern is what to have for lunch… My stomach is growling angrily after me forcing it to skip breakfast, so I’m going to sign off and shut it up with some food!

Chat soon,

Bionic Becky x

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