Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Feeling discouraged

It was early 2007 when I got a pump, the Medtronic Paradigm 522. The first month or two could have gone smoother but that was learning and growing pains. Stuff like dealing with the tubing. Or unlearning to pinch my belly before putting the injection in. Since then, I've dealt with a water-damaged pump, two other mysterious incidents where the pump would consume batteries in a matter of hours (for days at a time) but in general, it's all gone smoothly.

But these last few months have been harder. I've started to notice small scars or marks from the infusion sites that last weeks instead of days. As I've been more active this summer than I typically am, it's been a struggle to find fatty parts of my belly to use. And so, four years after starting pumping, I've been exploring alternative sites.

First was hardly exotic at all. I just went all the way to the edges. The infusion site was at my 3 and 9 o'clocks. The first time was on my left and it worked fine. But then on my right side, it could have gone better. Then I followed around to my back. There's little fat there, just two small spots above my hips. And again, left side worked, but on the right side, I struggled with high blood sugars and the infusion site came out with a bent tip.

Next, I tried using glutes. Pattern continued, left worked OK, right didn't work.

I've never been brave enough to try thighs. It's hard to imagine them working any better plus I'd need to shave. And I've heard of people using their arms but that makes me even more squeamish than trying legs.

So last night, being out of viable sites on my stomach, I tried the left side of my butt again. It went it, it didn't hurt, and I was relieved. My last 2 stomach sites have felt like beatings, so for it to go in relatively peacefully was a relief. Couple hours later, I went to bed with a blood sugar of 90.

I've slept better, waking up around 3AM but getting back to sleep. But at 6AM I felt like death. Checked blood sugar and was up to 414. Can't remember the last time I was that high. 350, but 400? Not in a while. I didn't even try correcting, went right to replacing the infusion site. And found the cannula sitting atop my skin. No wonder it didn't hurt!

The Dexcom should be coming in the next week or so, and hopefully that'll keep me from getting into that bad a place again. But I'm so discouraged about pumping right now. It's convenient and has worked well, but it's been so hard these last couple months to find usable sites and the rash of skewed cannulas isn't helping either.


  1. Hey Brian,

    I was having similar experiences earlier this year. After 7.5 years pumping, I started having a ton of problems with leaking sets and crazy blood sugars. I was always pretty good with rotating, but still....I decided to switch back to MDI because of absorption issues.

    I blogged about it here: http://www.act1diabetes.org/2011/05/26/site-change-sea-change/#comments

    ...And here: http://www.act1diabetes.org/2011/06/03/life-newly-untethered/

    Being back on shots has its advantages and disadvantages, but so far I feel like it was a good decision for me. Just throwing my experiences out there as someone who has endured similar woes!

    --Caroline (@carobanano)

  2. Well, crap. I don't like the scar-tissue answer but it is an answer. @somebody_exotic was discussing other sets too, that sounds like a good direction to go. Thanks for the advice!

  3. Yeah, I doubt you'd have scar tissue problems after just 4 years of pumping. Maybe Maria suggested these, but give the Sure-T's a shot. Since they have a metal cannula instead of plastic, they don't bend and can handle muscle better. It may hurt life a mofo...but worth a shot, right? Ask for a few as a sample from your CDE or something before getting a whole box, just to be sure. And let us know how it goes!

  4. i was actually going to comment and tell you to talk to caroline! but she beat me to it! :)

    i know that mike hoskins takes pump breaks from time to time as well. i also think trying the sure-ts would be a good idea. i'm actually thinking about trying them myself.

    good luck, and keep me posted!