New pump, new experience

Well I did what I said I would never do again. I got talked into trying a new insulin pump. The Medtronic 670G with all the bells and whistles that come with. I talked in the past about how badly my last experience with an insulin pump went so why take the plunge again?

Well it comes down to the fact that this one is ALMOST totally automatic. I say almost since you still have to check you sugar level and tell it how much you are eating. Maybe soon they can write a program or algorithm to let it just adjust in real time to rising and falling blood sugars so al you need to do is calibrate it twice a day or so.

Well my opinion so far? If I wasn’t such a weird duck it might actually work as it was intended. It does adjust itself if high or low  and keep me closer than I was without it. My fears have been diminished with several events where it shuts itself off and alerts me to a low, even before it gets there. The first night I was able to use full auto mode with it I watched it like a hawk. When it dropped to about 117, it stopped giving me micro boluses. That is what they call the small shots of insulin in auto mode rather than basal dose.

Here’s the kicker, we knew before I started this that I was not normal.  No not just mentally, as far as how I react to insulin. I am apparently VERY sensitive to insulin. I went for almost 3 weeks without basal insulin and my sugar level went up but not as one would have thought. I even had a low once or twice without it. It was now in question whether I was even a type 1 diabetic. Had I been misdiagnosed 40 years ago?

A C-peptide test was run to settle the question once and for all. It came back that I made absolutely no insulin on my own. So where did this put me then? I was just very sensitive to insulin. That made me nervous with the pump. If it was programmed for a “normal” diabetic, how would it respond to me?

I’ve had it running for a little over a month now and although it has been a quick and sometimes rough learning curve, we have learned a few things. Kudos to the doctor who has been working with Medtronic and every resource she can call into play to make this work. The pump is already set at its lowest possible delivery rate and that is not low enough for me. They are looking into what Medtronic has done with pediatric cases who would use ultra low doses also. Haven’t heard back yet on that solution.

Here’s my take on all this. I think it is related to my metabolism. I think it jumps fast and far depending on how hard I am working. If I sit watching TV it is low enough for the pump to keep up but when I so much as look at the mower or shovel it starts to jump up.

A few weeks ago we had a bad storm come through that ripped several branches down in both my trees my aunt’s tree so I spent some time cleaning that up. The second day I was late getting started. While sitting around home, my sugar level was high, about 340. Within an hour after getting to my aunt’s place and start cutting the branches up, it dropped to only about 180-190. By about 1pm it had gone down to about 79 and that set it off screaming at me that my sugar was low. I ended up eating a small meal to get sugar level back up. I tried using small amounts of carbs but it continued to keep dropping so I went all in and binged hard.

Typical for me. I tend to bounce between high and low a lot. I been told my diet needs more protein. I eat hamburger helper, hamburgers, fish, eggs, and sources of protein so its not like I don’t eat enough. Its between meals when it gets hard. How do you get protein between meals? Peanuts? Slim Jim? The problem is when I need the sugar, I need it fast. I can’t wait for hours until the protein gets into my system.

Well my opinion on this new pump? It is good. Much better than the old one I was on but the fact that I have a unique reaction to the insulin does not help my case. I ‘ve seen an interview on TV where my doctor talks about the new pump and a patient she treats is also interviewed and she says how much better her life is with it. Mine is better but only marginally. All the alarms can be highly annoying. Especially when I am trying to sleep. Some nights I can only get 1 hour between alerts for most of the night. Other nights I can sleep all night, or day since I work 3rd shift.

All in all I am closer to having my A1C where it is supposed to be however is it worth the all the extra work? Inserting the sensors each week, calibrating several times a day (Recommend 4 times), changing insulin reservoirs, changing infusion sites. and mostly clearing all the alerts. Things have gotten better at this point but I miss not having to worry about ripping the things sticking through my skin off. Again it is no where near as bad a my first time on one but still, it takes getting used to. My final answer? Still undecided.

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