Why you don’t need an insulin pump


Perhaps my most controversial post ever, let me begin by saying this is not about bashing insulin pumps.  I think they are a nice tool and a great piece of technology.  They’re just not great enough for me to use.

Nothing can compare to a fully functioning pancreas (duh) but, I find it interesting that most people I have talked to who have insulin pumps say they couldn’t live without it.  They mean it, too!  I understand.  I used to feel this way.  Yet, now that I’ve been off of the pump for a few years I realize I felt that way because of fear.  I can assure you there is nothing to be afraid of.  Please read on to find out what exactly I’m making a fuss about.

I recently heard someone say, “if you aren’t on the pump you must be crazy!”

Oh really?  Let’s be more open minded here.  First of all, why does it matter to me that people out there feel this strongly about having a pump?  Well, because of the negative power these words might have on an individual who cannot afford a pump or who for some reason or other cannot get access to one.  People should know it is very possible to manage their diabetes without one if that is the hand they are dealt at the moment.  I would hate to think some people out there feel they don’t have good control over their diabetes because they can’t get a pump.  This isn’t true but, they might be lead to believe it is.  They need empowerment and those of us who feel strongly about using all that modern technology has to offer should think twice before speaking.

Even my own doctor (I refer to him as my ex-doctor) laughed at me when I told him I wanted to get off of the pump.  He said, “nobody goes backwards, people always want to seek to improve their blood sugars, not disturb them”.  He disturbed me!  What ignorance!  (Its ok, he wrote about me later as a case example of a diabetic who did better coming off of the pump-although he still doesn’t understand how or why)

How come I  have A1c percentages in the 4-5% range (non-diabetic range) without a pump?  Is it assumed I’m doing something wrong?  I assure you my blood sugar is typically around 100 instead of swinging up and down.  So, there is one person’s proof they can do very well without a pump.  What about others?  Mary Tyler Moore doesn’t have one.  Many professional athletes don’t either.  Does this mean they are crazy or that their diabetes management is out of control?  I doubt athletes can perform well without controlled blood sugars.

There are valid reasons to choose not to have an insulin pump and those reasons should be recognized.

After several years scar tissue buildup becomes a serious issue for many people on the pump, causing changes in insulin absorption.  The famous Dr. Bernstein has said that after about 7 years on the pump, scar tissue is likely unavoidable and a real barrier against insulin absorption.  Interesting…I found my glucose numbers swinging mysteriously during my 6th consecutive year on the pump and decided to switch back to prehistoric syringes after 7 years.  Those glucose numbers stabilized with syringes.  Dr. Bernstein in fact, doesn’t even recommend insulin pumps to any of his patients.

I observe that there are more ways for a pump to potentially mess up your glucose than a syringe and vial of insulin.

Let’s take a look:

The syringe needle could break off (although it has only happened to me once).

I can’t think of more possible ways a syringe can go wrong.

The vial of insulin could be dropped and broken (I’ve dropped vials everywhere and luckily never broken one).

The pump itself is an imperfect machine which can go wrong (it may not go wrong, but the point is the potential is there-and I know it happened to me for no apparent reason more than once-a total mood killer when you hear the mad beeping).

The pump’s tubing can have air bubbles which cause high blood sugar if not caught in time.  You bolus for a meal and you think you are getting insulin when in fact all you got was air. (This also happened to me a couple of times, enough to infuriate me all the way to China).  The tubing can also knot and prevent insulin from reaching you. (I hear this often happens to active children and teens).

The pump’s battery might run out (obviously it warns you well ahead of time but, it is another thing to deal with).

You know, some people have told me, “well, at least with a pump you don’t have to carry anything around”.

I’m sorry, did I hear that correctly?  Does this mean you don’t carry around some form of sugar, emergency glucose gel, or glucose testing device?

For me, adding a small batch of syringes and a vial of insulin to the above required items is too easy.

Something I found negative in a pump was only an issue when tied to a specific person’s tendencies.  I call it being, “trigger happy”.

I gained a lot of weight when I first got on the pump the summer before 11th grade.  I was so excited to have insulin on me at all times and had heard the pump pitched to me as a way to eat whatever, whenever I wanted.  (Obviously not good advice.)  Problem was, I snacked just because I could do it so easily.  I also would give insulin when I suspected a high blood sugar and instead of testing first, I gave insulin with the pressing of a few buttons.  It was just too easy.

Now obviously this may not be you or most people.  Yet, I know I’m not the only one this happened to and honestly, I felt very free when I switched back to shots.  I thought twice before throwing something in my mouth because I had to give an injection for it.  I felt relieved that I was no longer addicted to the all too convenient buttons on the pump.  Again, I recognize this isn’t an issue for everyone.

Some people may feel that they enjoy the convenience of hitting buttons and enjoy snacking often.  Remember though, the more often you give insulin, the higher your margin of error due to a higher rate of incidence and the more unstable blood sugars you will have throughout the day.  This is scientific fact-not my own idea, and it has been talked about before.

I also wonder that if because insulin pumps make certain people so much money, insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals all end up promoting them over shots.  Just a thought.

Let me reiterate again that I am not against the pump.  If you have one and control your blood sugars well with it then that is awesome and I couldn’t be happier for you!  I am simply making a case for the cheaper, not-so-nifty, yet always reliable syringe which is so often made to look as the inferior alternative left for poor or unfortunate diabetics.

Thanks to syringes I give the exact amount of insulin I am intending on giving-every time.  This is priceless for me.  The fact that I can keep things simple and achieve great glucose numbers without something attached to my body is freeing for me.  I just want others to know that if they cannot try out a pump, don’t despair!  You can still manage your diabetes just as well with shots-if not better.  The goal for all of us diabetics is the same.  We deserve to freely choose how we reach that goal.

I know this struck some nerves so lets talk about it.  Just leave a comment :)


40 thoughts on “Why you don’t need an insulin pump

  1. Karen C

    Thank you so much for this post! I have avoided going to doctors (and have switched doctors) because he/she pressures me to get an insulin pump–often “chastising” me for being irresponsible and behind the times. I’ve had diabetes for 22 years now (I’m 39), my last A1C was 5.3%, and I have no complications–why in the world would I want to get a pump? Anyhow…thanks! I love your blog.

  2. Sysy Post author

    Thanks for your comment, Karen! I don’t appreciate being pressured by doctors, either. I don’t get why they do considering your great A1c. By the way, 22 years, no complications-that’s wonderful!

  3. Megan

    I have been a pump user for a little over 4 years and am already having problems with scar tissue. At the end of January I actually ended up in ICU! I have not attempted to use my pump as I don’t want to have that experience again. None of my doctors can even direct me in this situation as I am their first patient to experience this. I do love my pump. My control was excellent and my diabetic habits were just a way of life for me. Since going back on injections my bs are horrible. I am curious as to the types of insulin you are using. One of my favorite things about the pump was the lack of brusing at the sites. I take Latus and Novolog. Novolog goes in my arms since the doses are so much smaller and I split my Latus to twice a day and those are for my thighs only. But oh my do they leave bruises! I am constantly high and just getting frustrated. Any tips for going back to daily multiple injections? It’s like the past 15 years of gaining tight control has slipped through my fingers.

  4. Sysy Post author

    I’m sorry you’ve been having a hard time, Megan. I’m using lantus once a day and humalog for my fast acting. I give insulin shots in my hips and stomach (I had twins and since then I have a lot more belly for injections, I’m afraid).

    One thing that might help you is to test your lantus to make sure it’s at the right dosage. For example, without any food for 24 hours, your lantus should keep you at your target blood sugar without too much deviation. It should act like a good basal rate.

    It’s good you take your lantus twice a day. I take it once at 11pm every night and this means that every day around 7pm the lantus is done working since it doens’t last 24 hours, more like 20. What I do is just give a little extra insulin around 7pm with my dinner or work out in the afternoon around 5-6pm.

    The thing that I find really helpful is to not eat certain foods. Pasta, rice, flour, it all makes me have unpredictable blood sugars. But, when I have fruit, veggies, meat, chicken, fish, nuts, and legumes, I give insulin to cover the carbs and usually don’t have any surprises later.

    By the way, I too bruise on my thighs and arms, I’m not sure why though.

    You could talk to your doctor about getting him/her to help you test your lantus because if it’s too much, you’re always going to get in the habit of giving less insulin for meals and if it’s not enough, you may wonder why you’re often high despite giving enough novolog for meals. This happened to me. I went absolutely low carb for a day and found out my lantus was too low. Others times it’s been too high. I adjust it up and down depending on my activity level/stress level/mentrual cycle. For example, when I exercise I give about 18-19 units, if I’m not exercising I need about 20-21, which is also what I need when I’m pms’ing.

    It’s not easy but, after a while I managed to figure out what worked for me. Definitely talk to your doctor so you don’t do it alone and so you get the support you need to do it safely. Who knows, you may need to tweak the lantus a little.

    Hope this helps :)

  5. Kathy


    After reading your article, I want to come off the pump. I am 49 years old and have been a type 1 since I was 37 years od. My A1 just keeps going up and the last one was a 10. It was been between 8-9 for years. My doctor wrote a book on the pump and that’s all he promotes. Lately, when I take my pump out, the tubing is always bent. There is always blood at my site. I didn’t realize scar tissue builds up. I have been beating myself up. Right now I have about 50 units of insulin. What time should I take the lantus and how much. I called my doctor a week ago and he hasn’t called me back. Thanks for any support.

    Thanks Kathy

  6. Jasmine

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. I think I’ll print this and give it to my doctor and everyone else who ever tries to talk me into going back on a pump. I’m tempted to wear it pinned to my shirt.

    I was on a pump for a grand total of 13 years with all the same frustrations and fears you describe, and went back to shots as a “last resort.” I couldn’t have been happier. Under pressure, I tried the Omnipod, only to find that I was just as bad off on a tubed pump. With my last A1C rise, my doctor tried to claim that I’d had better sugars on a pump, but that simply wasn’t true– my lowest A1C in 23 years of Type 1 happened three months after I quit the pump. I too would highly encourage anyone who’s not happy with a pump but fears disaster just to go for it and cut the cord.

  7. Monica

    This is a great post, and rather influential, I should say. I’ve been diabetic for almost 8 years (I’m 31 now), and have always *assumed* that pump therapy is better than multiple daily injections: more advanced, more accurate, etc. For the last few months I’ve been investigating pump therapy seriously for myself, and as it turns out, it’s highly unlikely my insurance will cover it. (Extraordinarily regressive, I know.) But after reading this post, and your excellent ideas, I feel much better about my current system of lantus and novolog pens. In fact, just today I had my prescription changed to get novolog in a vial (it’s LOADS cheaper than pens), to try it the way you describe. I often feel with my pens the same way you did with the pump: eat whenever you want, push buttons (dial up and shoot up, in my case), and be pretty lax about diet. So I’m curious to see if the little bit of extra effort involved in a syringe and a vial will help me think harder about my snacking and keep it a little more controlled. Thanks again for a great alternative opinion on pump therapy.

  8. Kimmy

    I have been fighting with my emotional self for weeks, and you have helped me finally arrive at a solution. I’ve been pumping for 5 years and still not having very good a1c’s, and just making myself crazy cuz I felt I wanted to go back to shots, but “everybody” has an insulin pump. Well, now I know without a doubt what I’m going to do. It’s a personal decision whether or not to pump. I’ve gained 40 pounds also on my pump, and it’s time I take back control of myself and back to shots I come!

  9. Jessica

    I’ve been talking about going off the pump and people, who arent diabetic or just know someone who is, and they all think im mad.
    I cant wait. Ill be able to ACTUALLY LOOSE weight and therefore need less insulin. Ill be able to wear dresses without being completely uncomfortable. wont have to deal with beeping like a robot all the time and if im tired i take long acting insulin and GO TO BED. I dont have to make myself change my site and become grumpy. better yet if my sugar is elevated or im eating a high sugar food like fruits- i can take a shot in my ARM where it acts faster. And im so with you on the just taking insulin with out testing- Guilty!
    Couldnt get an appointment any sooner than the end of next month… 30 days till freedom.

  10. June S.

    Wowee! Kindred spirits here! I am considering going off the pump SOON. I took shots for 35 years, and have “pumped” for 5. I’ve been having two site failures per week. The site doesn’t exactly “fail,” but becomes less absorptive than it should, and multiple boluses don’t bring my BG’s down. My most recent A1C was 7.1. I am likely switching from the MM 523 with CGM to a DexCom Seven Plus along with multiple daily injections. I would NEVER, and I mean NEVER, live without a CGMS anymore. I live alone and it makes me feel safe. I’m hoping I’ll do as well on injections as you did!

  11. Delbert Mulvaney

    I have been on shots for 5 years and had unsteady numbers. I was put on Humalin 500 last year, 5 shots a day, and still had an A1c of over 9, had been as high as 12. Then i was put on a pump in Nov. of 2011. I weighed 320 lbs. I started a low carb diet and with the pump my last A1c, as of March was 6.7 and i weigh 278 and feel great. Dr is thinking of dropping me to Humalin 100 and if i keep going maybe taking me off the pump completely. I still eat pizza and some junk food, i just count carb intake. 60-70 carbs per meal. Hope this helps.

  12. Ashleigh

    Enjoyed your take on this. I have been on a pump since 1996. I could live without it.
    When I was places on the pump at age 20 I was having to take 6-10 injections daily.
    Life was one shot after the other for me. What a relief to have a pump continuously giving me insulin. Don’t get me wrong I have had problems. The blooming thing messes up on my honeymoon and we got I spend one night in the ER. Hate to know that doctors are pressuring patients to do anything they don’t see as necessary for themselves. They should be looking put for us. The pump has been great for me. With 3 healthy children and no additional injections involved hope I be on it until they find a CURE.

  13. Janice

    Thank you for this interesting site. I have just gone on the pump (Medtronic Paradigm 723) and am finally LOSING weight after years of Lantus and Humalog shots. I went on the pump because I was tired of the weight gain from Lantus and also from six injections a day. I have found it to be great, mostly, but there are definitely some “bugaboo” issues with pump therapy, as my endocrinologist told me:

    1) checking the tubing for kinks or air bubbles. I had some air bubbles that caused me to get no insulin, or some type of occlusion and I went much too high–over 300. I had to take an injection–thank God I still had syringes (don’t ever throw those out, even if you wear a pump!) to give myself a shot.

    2) dealing with the tubing–where do you clip your pump when you sleep in a nightgown rather than pajamas? And you need pockets for everything unless you want to clip it to your waistband and then worry about it falling off!

    3) disconnecting for a shower or bath isn’t bad, but you are still reminded that you are ATTACHED to something!

    4) at the beginning, be prepared to do a LOT of blood sugar testing and learn how to use the pump and adjust the settings.

    Obviously, nobody is going to be satisfied completely whether they use shots OR a pump. NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, compensates for a bunch of dead and useless islet cells in the pancreas that no longer produce any insulin. Everyone has to have the method that works best for them.

  14. Megan

    I’m glad that you got a lot of positive comments here, and obviously you’re not alone. But I’ll be honest with you…my daughter, who is 5, was diagnosed a month ago. Giving her shots four times a day is horrible. She hates them. A pump would make life a lot easier for us right now. This article made me feel almost ashamed for even wanting one. I think if you had written it a little less cynical tone it wouldn’t have. I know you said in the beginning and the end that you don’t have a problem with pumps, but all the words in between say that you do.

    I’m sure I’ll get a lot of grief and that’s okay. I just think this article is very insensitive to parents of small children trying to deal with diabetes or anyone who is thinking of getting a pump. Everyone should be allowed to deal with their diabetes in the way that works best for them without jerks telling them how they do it and how wrong everyone else is for not doing it their way.

    You just sound like a jerk.

  15. Sysy Post author

    Hi Megan, thanks for your honest comment. I certainly didn’t mean to come off as a jerk. I’m many things and jerk isn’t one of them so I’m sorry you got this impression from this post.

    My feelings tend to reach out towards the most helpless in society, the poor, the ignorant, and I have felt badly for them when they get the impression that their health is going to inevitably suffer because they can’t afford an insulin pump. I wrote this post mainly for them. I’d hate them to believe they can’t manage their sugars without a pump because though it’s not true, the thing is, if you believe it is, then it might as well be. This post is also written to an adult with diabetes.

    I AM saying that I have problems with the pump, but I’m saying that from my personal perspective and not speaking for anyone else. The things that can go wrong with a pump are true however over time I think improvements are being made to the pump and it’s supplies so that hopefully these occurrences are minimized. Also, if someone is willing to stay on top of all the checks and maintenance with the pump and rotate the sites correctly, then they are a better fit for a pump than I am.

    I speak as someone who had a pump for 7 years. Eventually, the one insertion every 3-4 days hurt more than 20 shots combined because I developed a lot of scar tissue. This isn’t the case for everyone, but it was for me. It was unbearable. I prefer the very small syringes. But that’s just me and those who agree with this post are mostly those who have had similar experiences.

    You, being a parent of a child with diabetes, and for a short amount of time are in a very different place. I can’t imagine how scared you must be and how hard this is. I remember when my 3 year old sister was diagnosed with type 1, my parents suffered very much. They would do anything to make her feel more comfortable.

    I’m thinking that perhaps you were hoping to get your daughter on the pump because she hates shots and you read some negatives about it here in my post and felt overwhelmed and exasperated thinking that nothing is going to be good enough for her. Because you know that the shots or the pump both involve pain. And there are still the finger pricks, and the host of other issues that comes with diabetes. And it’s true…nothing out there right now is good enough for her. She deserves a pancreas that works perfectly. In other words, diabetes is the jerk you speak of.

    Please know that you will make the right choice for your daughter by just being open to whatever works best for her and ignoring what others say. There are a lot of blogs out there with opinions and while they can be a great source of support or information, they still don’t know better than you, even though they’ve had more experience with diabetes. I loved the pump for years before it was no longer the right choice for me. One day, when the time is right, I might be back on a pump. Until then, I just wrote my reasons for not being on one now and hoped that the people it was meant for got a message of hope and a “can do” attitude. I didn’t know I could keep good control until I heard of someone else doing it with shots. So that’s why I wanted to share. The basics in diabetes supplies doesn’t have to condemn someone to a life of out of control diabetes and ill health.

    Sorry this is so long, I just really wanted to be clear in my response to you. You’ll have to give yourself a whole lot of compassion as a parent of a child with diabetes because it’s hard to manage diabetes and even harder to manage diabetes in a body outside of your own and even harder when it’s a young child’s. But many of us have been there and our parents did their best and we turned out fine :) My sister and I included (it’s been 18 years for us and neither of us have any complications).

    Take a deep breathe and know that you can do this. Your hurt response tells me how much you care as a parent and I don’t think you’ll get any grief from this-your reaction is very natural and normal for a parent of a newly diagnosed. And you know what? The pump is great for children who deserve the spontaneity that childhood brings. Just do what’s right for you and your child. I wish you both the best.

  16. Scott

    Thank you!!!! I have been on the pump for 10 years and I have experienced EVERY downside that you mentioned (scar tissue, hightened A1c, drastic and unexplained bs swings, weight gain because it is “too easy” etc..). I have made the decision to go with Lantis, and Humalog for my meals. It will be GREAT to be able to change a pair of pants without that damn tube! And my sex life will improve too!
    My decision is prompted by my finances. And Obamacare SPECIFICALLY excludes insulin pumps, so the future is not to bright on that front either.
    I was thrilled to read your post!

  17. Andrea

    Do you follow Dr. Bernstein’s diet (6 carbs for breakfast, 12 for lunch, 12 for dinner) to get your A1c so low? I have been on a quest for a few years now to figure out how to get my A1c below 7%. The only thing that worked for me was doing a very strict Paleo (low carb) diet for a month but it has been too difficult for me to stick with. My A1c is always between 7-8% on the pump or on shots otherwise.

  18. John

    Thank you for this post Sysy, I used lantis and a novalog pen for most of my life. I had good control, good weight, with occasional highs and lows. I went on the pump hoping to prolong life without Diabetic complications. It was not the miracle cure I thought. More testing, more highs and lows, tethered by tube to pump, and lots more weight gained. It took quite sometime but I got things working well. Believe it or not I still miss the freedom of good old fashioned insulin injections. I’m in need of a new pump now & I’m really torn. Durable medical goods are only covered 50% and at a pump cost of $6195.00 plus the monthly supplies (almost a car payment) I really have to decide if it’s all worth it. I think the insurance companies are lousy and the ridiculous costs Medtronic charges are out of ocntrol. I’ve about had enough with both of these $$$ hungry companies. Until Medtronic can incorporate CGM and the insurance companies realize that equipment that needs to be changed every 3 days shouldn’t be categorized as “durable” medical goods, I think I’ll go back to a time when my waist was smaller and my wallet was thicker. I’ve been a Diabetic 45 years, pumping for 6, believe me there is and can be control without pumping.

  19. LeAnn

    Obamacare will pay for the pump for me but I have a $2,500 cost with deductible and co-pays. I was surprised the pump was covered and the glucose sensor too. Not sure I want the pump.

  20. John

    Wow, that really surprises me. If I had a medical plan that covered both pump and CGM I would really think about it. It’s really a decision that will vary based on individual. How are your A1C’s? What is your lifestyle like? Will the pump impede or improve your freedoms? The pump w/ a CGM will be the closest thing to an actual working Pancreas if you can deal w/ two infusion sights. Tough decision, personally w/ the Lantus, Levemir, and Novalog flexpens I’d wait until they incorporate the CGM w/ insulin pumps using only 1 infusion sight. It has to be coming? Again, my opinion is based on the assumption you have good control now.

  21. Don

    I was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 15, I am now 69. In the beginning years it was difficult to maintain a balance of high and low blood glucose. All attemps were done with your feelings or urine test. Blood glucose readings were taken every two to three months, according to what you could afford. Now with glucose meters and the pump, they are life savers. As you know the pumps biggest asset is the Basal rate 24hrs a day which helps counter act the Livers action on blood glucose. I have been on the pump for four years now and it is an improvement on my care. When looking back on the improvements in my care, I am thankful, from glass syringes, dull needles and urine test to single use syringes, glucose test meters and pumps. I agree, one size will not fit all since our bodies are all different and react differently to insulin. However, my vote is for the Pump over syringes but, that is only because of Medicare and the support it provides. Otherwise I would be on syringes, which is OK, I am living proof of that. It does take personal effort which can be done. All my vitals are good, better than most who are not diabetic. A good friend of mine told me ” To bloom where you are” in other words “Make the best of what you have, where you are at.” Lets face it, we (all) will not live forever in this body.

  22. Meghan

    I have a pump, and have asked my doctor to take me off it, I put on 9lbs in less then one month and I am always gettign some error on my pump, they tell me that I need to, because of all my other issue. I fell like I just need a group to hang out with to eat better and just help me be a better diabetic…

  23. britney

    i just want to start off by saying, i have been a diabetic 14 yrs. dianosed when i was 12, itook up to 7 shots a day.had a very rough time being a teen dealing with my diabetes. at the age of 18 i got insulin pump.yes, best thing that ever happened to me. and i have recently lost my insurance and can not afford pump supplies so this is my first day being on shot in 8 yrs. i am sad and happy all at the same time.. i get to swim all day without having to get out every 30 mins and hooking up to my pump. but im scared my blood sugar will stay sky high.. So after reading what you have written, i just want to thank you for this. It has inspired me that i can do this. :) and when you talked about your weight gain due to snacking.. that is soo me.. you reminded me of myself.. i feel so as if i can do this!!! THANK YOU!!

  24. Emile

    Thank you so much for this post! Ive been diabetic for 26 years (I’m 29 now), and have been on shos since day 1. For a large portion of my life pumps didn’t even EXIST, and I learned to control my blood sugars with reglar testing an shots. Lately my doctors have been pushing pumps pretty hard (“You can’t have a baby if youre not on a pump”, etc.), and seem to be ignoring my A1Cs of 5.2%- 6%. I’ve asked about the problems you mentioned in your post, and they seem to just gloss over those.

    26 years, regular A1Cs under 6%. If it aint broke, dont fix it, right?

  25. Scott

    Hey Sysy,
    This is Scott from the A1c champions program. I enjoyed visiting with you in Chicago and just found your website. I have had different responses to being on the pump. Usually when people find out I am on the pump they think I have gotten much worse and feel sorry for me. I have to explain that I wanted to go on the pump for better control. I used to do Lantus and Humalog before meals. I would have trouble with going really low at night. I would wake up in the morning with headaches and my bs would be high. With the pump I have been able to fix that problem. So I am on the pump side of this debate.

  26. Susan

    WOW!I have been Type 1 for 42 yrs.I am 49 now. Been on pump for over 20 yrs and am now UNABLE to control my bg’s. Nightmare, complications, etc.. (I am also an RN) so I made a decision that this weekend I am GOING OFF THE PUMP! Little scary, but what have I got to lose? If there is a chance that I can get this under control and get my Ha1c back to where it should be, then I’m doing it. I’m not going to let my doctors (who don’t support Type 1 without a pump)force me to be out of control… paying more companies (the biggest pump co)..more doctor visits, diagnostic testing, cardiac cath’s…etc…keeping the healthcare companies in business and very very rich. So this weekend I am going off the pump AND sensor. I pray that this will lead to better control. That is MY goal and that is what matters. Thank you SO much for having this blog.

  27. Geri

    Been Type 1 diabetic for over 42 yrs. Experienced ketoacidosis twice within 2 months recently while on the pump. Seems your white blood cell count shoots up when this happens and drs think you probably had an infection and that’s why your bg elevated when, in my case, it was scar tissue that prevented insulin from flowing into my blood that caused the problem. Both times this happened was when I changed my sites. I’ve been on the pump for a little over 20 yrs and am now finding that I have accummulated scar tissue but have no idea exactly where until it’s too late. Hospitalized these 2 times and ended up in ICU. I’m thinking of going back to shots. It’s more convenient to use the pump but scarey. Rotating sites doesn’t seem to matter that much after long term use. Seems you still run the risk of hitting scar tissue and not knowing until your bg’s are really high and you end up in the hospital due to severe dehydration, etc. I’m going to try to go back to just shots.
    Good luck to all of you and keep this in mind as your yrs of being Type 1 diabetics continue.

  28. Kristin

    My A1C is down to 6.7 and the doctors want me to go on the pump. I have some high BGs(348), and some low BGs(39). The thought of the pump being attached to me is scary, and I don’t want it. Everyone says that it will give me more freedom, but I’m not seeing it. I have to eat every 4 hours, for the injections (insulin) only last for 4 hours. I don’t want to even try the pump. I would like for my BGs to be more stable(100), and the Docs say that this will happen with the pump. I think I will reject the pump again. Thank you

  29. Kathryn O

    Love your blog! Have had Type 1 diabetes for 38 years and on a minimed now omnipod for the past 18 years (humalog). My A1c has been really great 6.8 but I’ve been looking to go back to shots recently and am getting the same response from my doctor that you stated. He ridiculed me in his office; and as I was leaving, I asked if I needed any testing done, he sneered and told me to check the Internet. He even told me that he makes money speaking at conferences for a certain long acting insulin company, but won’t prescribe it and tells other doctors to do the same. He refused to listen to me. I was hoping to try shots and go back to my pump if it didn’t work out well. I’m another one who’s gained 30 lbs; the first 20 rapidly without any dietary changes. We only have one medical group containing endocrinologists. I hate that I am being forced to see a GP then hope that they will send me back to an endo. If I need one later. I’m done with my current doc, he’s taken away my choice. I don’t know who he thinks takes care of me when I’m not in his office every 3 months for 10 minutes?? BTW I have no diabetic complications. I totally agree with you. We need and should have a say in our treatment. I was told that shots is going backwards. I feel that a break might be good. If it works, wonderful and if not it could make me more appreciative of the pump. Either way it’s a win. I’m glad that many of you have doctors that know how team work actually works.

  30. Wendy Rainey

    Thank you for this! I had been told by my Dr. and others that a pump would help level out my drastic, unpredictable blood sugar swings. (Dr. Bernstein diet didn’t help, but I still do only about 70 carbs per day- no bread, pasta/ junk food, fruit is a treat) and was able to get a trial one 9 weeks ago. My A1C went up from 6.5 – 7.5, and I don’t see enough improvement in the swings to make it seem worth it. Had 3 site changes in 24 hours and almost had to go to hospital with ketones and high BG, which in the 4 years I’ve had T1D, has never happened. Thinking I can live with the bruised tummy. Was told my swings were an absorbtion issue + pump would solve that- HA! I do like the fact that the pump will calculate insulin on board to help prevent overcorrections. Think I’m gonna research calculating that myself more efficiently and go back to injections. That one benefit doesn’t make sense financially or for my best health.

  31. Linda Bowman

    The pump has saved my husband’s life. Before the pump he took two shots each morning. Oh , he works a swing shift as well. Talk about scar tissue build up, he had that from the shots on his legs. Plus he isn’t able to take shots at work he wears a jump suite ans is dirty. Before the pump I saved his life three times from lows. He had grand mals. Now his A1c is usually 6, compared to 8 . His blood sugar print outs are stable. He is 54. He has been type one since he was 6. His Father died of it at age 36. So I am thankful. Especially being a nurse.

  32. DeAnn

    I agree with you totally. I am on an insulin pump and I just don’t like it!!! They tell you how much your life is going to change and that you don’t have to worry!!! That’s not so. This thing beeps at me and it will say one number and then when I check my blood it’s another number. You have to calibrate these things to keep them in sinc and you have to do that like every 6 to 12 hours. You have to mess with this thing ALL THE TIME!!!!!! I am going to get off the pump and do the injections. I will have more free time than messing with this pump.

  33. Katie

    Thank you for your perspective. I recently just went on the OmniPod and I am super happy with it. My husband and I want to have children and I used to be on levimer at night and peals during the day with a A1C of 7.2- told my doctors my intentions of getting pregnant and they make me switch to injections 4x daily. Just switched doctors and ordered the OmniPod and Dexcom CGM. I have had the OmniPod for 1 week
    and am so relieved. I hated to give myself needles- there is something about causing yourself pain… :) I also noticed a few times at work meetings that I wouldn’t give myself my medicine, wait until after the meeting and then run low. I love to eat out and I no longer need to fumble around or go to the restroom. I felt so uncomfortable with injections and it didn’t make me feel happy when I ate. I love food!!! I am excited to get my CGM- supposed to be here tomorrow. The only negative so far is that I bumped my arm in the doorway and pulled at it a few times when changing my bra. Interested to see if/when scar tissue becomes an issue.
    Best of luck to everyone!

    CFRD, age 28

  34. Mark

    Thank You…THANK YOU. 39, Type 1, late diagnosis just 4 years ago. Pens the entire time time with an A1C @ 6.8 until 3 months ago when I was nudged towards a pump. It has been a battle ever since and i’ve almost given up many times but i’ve been SOLD that this is the way to go. I miss my pens, my flexibility and freedom, but most importantly my great numbers. Its time to waive the white flag.

  35. Kim

    My last a1c was 5.9 on mdi and is the best I ever had :) Prior to that I had 8’s — 7’s —6″s -am going to try a pump in April because my insurance decided it will pay for one – Ya! and well- I wanted to see what all the hype was about! But I tell you this, If I cant get decent a1c’c in the first year ( I hear there is a big learning curve ) I will go back to MDI as I really didn’t have any problems with that -My Life-My Choice. Cheers

  36. Addie

    I totally, TOTALLY understand your post. I was diagnosed in 2015 and was on vials/syringes. But then they gave me prefilled Novolog and Lantus pens, even better. But then I grew tired of trying to get my A1C down, so I asked for an insulin pump. I loved it, for the first six months…then all of sudden I was terrifyed to go to sleep and had extreme anxiety because I knew almost every night I would get a low battery, no insulin notification, etc etc. Those damn alarms woke me up constantly, when I only had six to seven hours to sleep at night because I was going to school and work. Then I got extremely sick one day and ended up in the ER. I had blood sugar so high, that the hospitals fancy meter couldn’t read it. I only had to do IV drip for four hours and was sent home. My pump had leaked all over my shirt and I didn’t notice because I had a winter coat on all day (I live in the Canada area). Then, I kid you not, TWO WEEKS later I was back to the ER. But this time I was sent to the ICU for a few days. The insulin pump didn’t leak on me and it said I got the insulin. I checked the cannula and it wasn’t bent. I sent my pump in and they checked it for malfunctions, could find nothing. So I decided that this pump was just bad, so I opted for another one. Again, the first few months, and then BAM…problem after problem after problem. I had grown a negative relationship with my insulin pump, diabetes, and emotional state. I took it to my doctor, without an appointment, and demanded I get a prescription for shots again. Ever since last September, I have been fine. NO ER visits in over a YEAR since I got off the pump. I don’t think I’ll ever look back.
    Insulin pumps are surely not for everybody, but when it did work, I’ll agree…it was nice.
    Also, I found myself packing EVEN more supplies with the pump. I needed to have: multiple extra batteries, extra shower caps for the site, extra quick set paradigms, and extra insulin resevoirs. Then they recommended that I carry syrines and needles to, in case my pump shits the bed. So I carried vials, pens, needles, pump stuff, blood meter, test strips…I was a walking pharamacy. Anyways, there’s my rant lol. Cheers to both shots and pumps, may they work. lol.

  37. Cara

    Thank you so much for this awesome post. I am 44 years old and have had type 1 for 34 years. I’ve been on a pump for 12 years. I started with a tube pump and then switched to a tubeless pump about 9 years ago. I have been frustrated the majority of this time and have gained 31 lbs. My A1c has never been below 7 since being on the pump where prior to, it was below 6 on shots. I see my Endo next week and I am going to insist that I remove the pump and start lantus and novolog again.

  38. Dana Bryson

    I started the pump and gained 10 plus lbs in the first 2 months. I felt bloated and I had no energy. It failed one night and I took it off when I woke up in the morning I had lost 4lbs in 8hrs time. I haven’t put on a new pump on since. When starting the pump I was excited but way more cautious when I saw my number going up (I have a dexcom). When I saw my sugar reach 120 I’d freak and start doing insulin to try and avoid a high number. My numbers were perfect but i was miserable. Hopefully I can find a good balance.

  39. Ann

    I totally agree with your thoughts. On the pump for 9 years because I had to for the only endo within 150 miles to see me ….. this was after a heart attack so I suppose I did need an endo, tho now I’m sure I could have done it just the way I’d done it for 40 years before the heart attack. I’ve put on weight not because I like to snack but because I get low WAY more often. I had good control before …. I don’t think it’s a lot better really because I do get low, A LOT, which affects A1C and why “professionals” THINK I have better control. PLUS out here I can not get Medtronic educator to teach me to use the sensor, they won’t call me back. All the expensive crap sitting here unused because they make money selling but not teaching??? But this is what is most important for me and why I will never use it again: I learned to live with diabetes — on the pump, diabetes lives me.

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