Injections versus insulin pumps – my verdict (hint, pumps rule)

Omnipod 2

I used insulin injections for around 13 years. I can’t be too hard on them, they kept me alive for a start! I’d obviously heard about insulin pumps and wasn’t keen at first. The idea of having to wear one 24/7 was really off putting. In the end the biggest motivator for me was being told it could help me have even better control whilst trying to conceive and for carrying a baby. Being a pregnant type 1 is very daunting and knowing that you are solely responsible for the health of your unborn child is petrifying.

Pregnant type 1’s are much more likely to experience miscarriages, stillbirths, birth defects and many more. The best way to minismise these happening is through excellent blood sugar control, so without hesitation I signed up to pump.

I’ve been using a pump for almost three years now and I would never, ever, (one extra so you get my point) EVER go back to injections. A lot of type 1’s are put off by having to wear a fairly cumbersome pump and I agree, it’s not ideal, but the benefits, in my experience are amazing.

When talking through your options with your HCP, they don’t always explain some of the best benefits of the pump. This is through no fault of their own, it’s because – guess what? They’re not actually diabetic and couldn’t possibly understand the immense sense of freedom it gives to us (in my experience anyway)

On injections I got so fed up of having to eat carbs all day every day. For me, it was the only way injections worked. Also, with hypos you have to not only have sugar, but complex carbs to back it up. On the pump you can do away with the stodgy carbs and just have the sugar. A nice added bonus of this was me losing roughly a stone in weight. Pass me those jeans from 10 years ago, please!

I find eating so much more enjoyable now. Yes I still have to count carbs, but that’s second nature now anyway. I can finally, successfully have carb free snacks and meals and because my bolus is custom set to my body and lifestyle, it doesn’t affect my blood sugars and I have less hypos.

Freedom – seriously, this is the best part. If I want to go for a long walk, run around with my son like a nutter, or go on a night out, I can do it with the drop of a hat and I don’t have to eat extra food because of it. I just set a temporary reduced basal rate and off I go on my merry way. This also goes for hot weather, stress, illness, time of the month (ladies, you know your blood sugars have a mind of their own at this time) tiredness and everything else that blood sugars are affected by.

There are some downsides. If your cannula insertion goes wrong, or stops working, then your blood sugar can rise very high, very quickly. Early on I did have one unfortunate experience that involved my husband calling an ambulance and two very nice paramedics coming to my rescue. This is because your body doesn’t have that constant background insulin that you’d have on injections, unless the pump is working properly. This is the only major issue I’ve had in three years and I was very new to it, so as long as you test your blood sugars and try not to change your cannula before bed you should be fine.

It is also a bit complicated to fill the syringe and change your insertion site every three days, but after a few goes it is easy enough.

I have recently changed from a medtronic pump to an omnipod. The medtronic was great, but the tubing was a pain and the pump is quite big – meaning you need to have big pockets, or a big bra to hide it in (ladies, or men, I don’t judge) The omnipod is much smaller and has no tubing. I’m loving it. It’s also water proof, so no clock watching in the pool anymore (you can only be without the medtronic for an hour and it’s not water proof) and you can leave it on in the shower, etc. Awesome.

Medtronic Omnipod 1

(Above: the Medtronic with tubing. Above the omnipod)

These are obviously just my experiences and everyone is different, but I find in the busy life I lead I am freer and my BG control is better. Win win.

I’ll post a separate blog about type 1 diabetes and pregnancy, but spoiler alert I now have a healthy, happy 3 year old (yay, me!)

If you have any questions please comment below, or contact me on Twitter: @SarahSmjordan

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Published by

Sarah Jordan

All singing, all dancing type 1 diabetic. Living in Cardiff with my beautiful son, daughter and husband. Deputy Regional Manager at the Royal College of Physicians. Twitter - @SarahSmjordan

5 thoughts on “Injections versus insulin pumps – my verdict (hint, pumps rule)”

  1. Well that was really interesting, have had a Meditronic pump for over 3 years and it’s getting time to change. I am having 2nd thoughts about carrying on with a pump but the one you have now sounds better. I hate wearing a pump 24/7, but injected for 4o odd years and have no desire to go back to it. Well done with your son, I have two daughters and it’s not that easy being pregnant with Type 1

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    1. Thanks for reading. I would definitely recommend the omnipod. I did have to pester my hospital for over a year to get it though. Well worth the hassle! Good luck with your choice.

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  2. I have been type 1 or insulin dependant since i was 8 years old! I was told at the time i could never have a child over the age of 30
    So at 34 i started pumping when i started i wasnt so sure about it!
    But now being 35 and wanting a baby quite soon i want to have the option with great control or a great as it can get for me . As i am difficult to control my nurse says I sky rocket at some points and plummet at others . I need to get a CGM but cant afford it right now. I am hoping to get one soon.
    Thanks for listening
    X debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debbie

      Yes I would love a CGM too, but don’t. I had my son at 27 & have just turned 31 & no one has said anything about time limits if I wanted another. Fingers crossed it all works out for you. My control can be erratic at times too & I have to test 8 times a day to keep a handle on it. It’s hard work when you’re pregnant, but manageable & it really helps if you have support from people who understand your situation. I wish you the best of luck. I plan to write an in depth blog about my pregnancy & type 1, so keep your eye out for it & I hope it might help a bit xx

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