4 Years in the Making

4 years ago, an endocrinologist told me about the insulin pump. I remember being wide eyed and amazed. I must have looked like I was being spoken to in a foreign language! The insulin pump was described to me as a little machine that continuously delivers insulin. When I wanted to eat, I just had to enter the amount of carbohydrate my meal contained into the pump and it will calculate how much insulin I need and deliver it. Most importantly, the ‘injection’ only happens once every three days! This certainly beats needing 4-5 separate injections a day. On the flip side, I would need to be attached to the pump 24/7.

I saw my very first pump on diabetes camp. Pumps seem to be extremely popular these days and diabetes camp is like pumps galore. Every second person with diabetes at camp uses a pump to manage their diabetes. So it was a good platform to check out different brands and hear everyone’s experiences. After hearing many stories that people had with the pump (good and bad), I was a convert. Partly because I’m a bit of a technology nerd and love getting new ‘toys’. More importantly, I wanted the extra freedom and flexibility associated with the pump. I was willing to be attached to it 24/7, which some people see as a constant negative reminder of their diabetes. But sometimes, it’s the small things that makes a difference, such as not having to bear scrutinising stares of others when injecting in public.

Fighting for access to the pump was a long journey. Although my endocrinologists supported the idea, it was always turned down every time I brought it up with my educators. They thought that I was in denial with my type 2 diabetes diagnosis. In actual fact, I couldn’t care less what type of diabetes I have. The bottom line is that I have diabetes. I have accepted it and learned to live with it the best I can. Now I have an opportunity to improve my quality of life and diabetes management through this piece of technology. So why were they preventing me from taking this next step? Turns out that unlike for people with type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes, the National Diabetes Service Scheme (NDSS) does not subsidise insulin pump consumables for people with type 2 diabetes. Rather than paying $25 a month for things such as infusion sites and reservoirs for the pump, I’d be paying at least $250.

I am extremely upset at how black and white diabetes can be on paper. Surely I’m not the only one who falls into the grey area of a diabetes diagnosis. I tried various channels to access the pump, including contacting pump supplier companies directly and explaining my situation. I even started a petition! The responses were similar everywhere. Finally, I sought the second opinion of a private endocrinologist who agreed to change my diagnosis based on the fact that I am insulin deficient. It wasn’t long until I began filling out pump order forms. But the world thought one more road block was needed. With a week to go before my pump start, I was told that my private health insurance wouldn’t cover my pump. After lots of tears and calls, I found myself a new private health insurer and landed myself a loan pump while serving out my 12 month waiting period. Even now, I’m nervous that something has gone wrong and I will have to return my pump. But until then, I’ll be enjoying and reaping the benefits of using an insulin pump, thank you very much!

I consider myself lucky to stand a fighting chance for this piece of technology when other countries don't have access to basic diabetes treatment and care.

I consider myself lucky to stand a fighting chance for this piece of technology when other countries don’t have access to basic diabetes treatment and care.

 

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8 responses to “4 Years in the Making

  1. I’m so happy that you finally have a pump. I agree, there’s so much grey area but you are the kind of person who will do well on whatever you can get your hands on. Good on you for fighting and never giving up. Enjoy pump life!

    • There is a lot of grey area and it’s sad that some people are too scared to speak up and challenge doctors because they think doctors know best.

      Thanks for your support :)

      • I find that being diagnosed with diabetes has really taught me that I have to be my own advocate. If I had listened to my doctors I would have been misdiagnosed for who knows how long. I’m really thankful that I have a GP that has been really helpful. I still have an undiagnosed neurological disorder and when one neurologist gave me a diagnosis, my GP said “That’s one of those blanket diagnosis.” And he’s really helped me to find another neurologist for a second opinion. Long story short, I agree. Ask tons of questions and if it doesn’t feel right, get another doctor.

  2. I do so agree with you Ashley. You sound just like me..lol. Ive said dozens of times…diabetes is diabetes no matter whether youre Type 1, Type 2 or Type 108…its irrelevant. When you need insulin you need insulin…once again Type has nothing to do with it. Its time the powers that be forgot about types and concentrated on the fact that when people need insulin, they need it and a pump should be a choice. What difference does it make as to your type when you have to inject up to 6 times daily….we dont do it just for something else to float our boat…we do it because we have to and thats that. Types dont discriminate when its all boiled down…its the powers that be that do the discriminating. I am so glad I saw your above comment…gives me a few thoughts. I always figured there would have to be a way around it and I like your way. May I ask how much insulin roughly you were having a day…not that it really matters….we have to inject whether we need 3 units or 33 units. I am lucky I am only on anywhere between 3 and 7 units of NR each meal and after each meal depending on my BGL reading. I dont know if IVe ever told you but I found an App for my iPad…Diabetes Personal Manager…it is brilliant…by the way Im Type 2. You just set it up with your desired BGL. All you do is enter your present BGL, the number of carbs you are about to eat and it then calculates the amount of NR for you. If you have your carb count correct, it is very accurate. Before this, I was just going by gut feeling and guessing…not quite the way to go but I stumbled along with it and it worked for me most of the time…now I dont have to worry about it which is awesome. Be interesting to see what my HBA1C is next week after using the App for about 6-8 weeks…Took I dont know how many years to get some help with working it out…I actually found the help myself…makes me wonder how many hundreds of thousands of people out there are just ‘guessing’…scarey. I think the pumps are a brilliant idea…read a lot on them a few years ago and gave up because of the so called “Rules” in place in regards to Type 2’s…Im about to get steamed up again after reading your comments….thanks Ashley…

    • Hi Betty,

      Thanks for your comment and for checking out my blog. I, too, think it’s unfair to limit the insulin to only people with type 1 diabetes. There are many people with type 2 diabetes on insulin who would benefit from an insulin pump too.

      My total daily dose is only about 25-30u (including lantus/basal insulin). I was also only on small doses. That app certainly does sound interesting! I’ll play around with it. Thank you for introducing it!

      Good luck with everything. Rules are like a glass ceiling. It limits us. The sky’s the limit!

      Ashley

      • Hello Ashley

        Thanks for replying. My daily dose is around 20 units of NR…I dont use Lantus any more…it doesnt like me and that suits me fine…lol…I dont really like it either. Just have a look at that App when you get a chance Ashley…its worth a look.

        I am going to see the Endo around September so will have a chat with him. If he doesnt want to play the game, there are always others. I love your outlook…lol.

        All the best Ashley and I will try to remember to let you know how I get on. I dont mind the needles…they are a fact of life…but a pump would be just so much easier…I believe the key is the correct carb count…the same as I am trying to do now and this way has really worked out great…I am stoked.

        Happy Easter Ashley
        Cheers
        Betty

      • Lantus has never liked me either. When I was on pens, my lantus dose was only about 5-6. I never minded the pens either but the pump has suited my lifestyle a lot better.

        Good luck with everything, please do let me know how you go and if you need any help!

        Happy Easter to you too!
        Ashley

  3. Thank you so much Ashley…I will be sure to ask for help when I need it…at long last I have found someone who is singing off the same sheet of music as myself…thanks so much for the Easter wishes also….

    Cheers
    Ashley

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