On October 6, 2009 we drove back to the hospital for yet another appointment. Except THIS time, we were excited. No, make that THRILLED! Because on this day we said "Goodbye" to shots and "Hello" to the insulin pump!
(Are you listening to the song that's playing? You didn't stop it, did you? Don't do that! It's the PERFECT song to accompany this post! I couldn't resist!) ** It was "Pump the Jam" by Technotronic. Sorry you missed it!**
Sweetpea started on the pump just 5 months after diagnosis. We would have started a lot sooner than that if we'd had our way. However, we had to wait for insurance approval and one of their prerequisites was having been diagnosed for 6 months. We got an early go-ahead!
J and I were all for the insulin pump. But we figured that we'd get there one day - when she was a little older. Sweetpea had other plans (are we surprised?). One day shortly after diagnosis, she and I were looking at pictures on the Internet of people with diabetes. She had never met anyone else - another kid- with diabetes. She liked looking at pictures and seeing that she was not alone. She saw a picture of a pump.
"What's THAT?" she asked. So I explained what it was and how it worked.
"I want THAT. I want that NOW!" she declared.
And that was that.
Now, we would not let her make random health care decisions on her own. She was only 3 at the time. But we knew that we were all for the pump. We just didn't think so soon. However, if SHE wanted it - if SHE felt like it would be better - then sign us up!
Shots were AWFUL for us. Sweetpea cried and fought us at EVERY. SINGLE. SHOT. For FIVE MONTHS!!! It was horrible. I hated holding her down. I ended up in tears just about as often as she did. Plus, she may be little - but she's STRONG. It almost always took two of us to hold her down. We had to arrange schedules, limit time away to between shots, bribe friends to help us, etc so we could get the shots done. Awful, I tell you! So we were all for anything that might make that aspect of diabetes easier. And we felt like if SHE thought it would be better, if we let her have a little control - that it would, indeed, be better.
And it has been! It has been beyond WONDERFUL!
I am totally IN LOVE with our pump! J is lucky it's an inanimate object or he might be in trouble! And Sweetpea loves it, too - which is really what is most important!
When it came time to choose a pump, we looked at the options that we had. We were choosing between the Animas PING, the Minimed and the OmniPod. To read more about Minimed - check out what Meri has to say! To hear about the OmniPod - head over to Laura's blog. But if you want to know about the Animas PING - stay right here!
Why did we choose the Ping?
Here are the three main reasons:
1. The TINY doses that it allows. The smallest basal rate that the Ping allows is 0.025 units per hour. This is currently the smallest on the market. And we NEED those tiny doses.
Sweetpea is a tiny little girl. For you non-pumpers out there, before pumping her Lantus dose was going between 1 and 1.5 units. The struggle was that we needed something in the middle - and doing a .25 on the pediatric syringe is almost impossible. And even when we did it, it still wasn't as accurate as we would have liked. For the pumpers, Sweetpea spends the majority of the day at 0.05 units of basal. That dose is so small that it would be invisible to the naked eye! Other times she is at 0.075 and she tops out at a whopping 0.125 units!
I really like the fact that we can be so accurate with her doses. I like that we are not limited by what the pump or syringe is capable of giving her.
2. The REMOTE! All Hail the Remote!! The Ping comes with the One-Touch Ping Remote. The remote is also her meter. We test her bg with the meter and then we can bolus directly from the meter. No need to get out the pump. It's all wireless. It's like magic!
We thought this was an AWESOME feature. Because Sweetpea is so young and so unpredictable with her eating, we bolus for meals after she eats. So - Sweetpea can eat and then go do what she does - play outside, go upstairs, dress up like a princess.... and never have to stop to get a bolus. We can count up the carbs and enter it into the meter remote and we can bolus her with that. No need to stop playing. No need to make diabetes more noticeable. She never even notices when we bolus. And she likes it that way! In fact, my mom is just now getting comfortable using the remote. Sweetpea finally got tired of having to stop what she was doing so that Mimi could get out her pump and said, "Why don't you just use the remote, Mimi. It's easy."
And it WORKS. We have bolused Sweetpea when she's in her room and we're in the kitchen. Her room is almost directly upstairs above the kitchen - and it worked!
I also love that remote does a lot of the math! It's more accurate than me, anyway. I still have to count up the amount of carbs that she eats. Then I can go into the pump or the remote and select bolus. Then I can choose to do an EZ Carb bolus. I enter in the amount of carbs she has eaten. It asks if I want to enter a bg. If she's high, I do. If not, I don't have to. It figures it all out and tells me what she needs.
3. The Calorie King Data Base that lives in the meter remote. This is kind of the funny one. I thought that sounded like the best thing since sliced bread! I was SO tired of lugging around that Calorie King book every place I went. I thought I'd be on that like white on rice. But you know what? I have not used it. Not once.
Here's why... about the same time we got the pump, we got iphones. With my iphone, I have amazing apps that give me the info I crave. I have access to the net at all times. It's been easier for me to do it that way. I really should check it out, though. Because it IS a pretty cool feature! And if I didnt have that phone.... oh yeah!
If you'd like to watch a kinda funny and informational video about the Ping - click here!
Here are a few other reasons why we LOVE the Ping...
1. It's waterproof! We don't plan to swim in it, but if it happens to fall into the toilet or something I don't need to have a heart attack.
2. It calculates insulin on board. The importance of this is UNREAL. I can't believe they don't talk about it more.... Here's how this works. Sweetpea gets insulin for breakfast at 9 am. She eats snack at school around 11. When her bg is tested, it's only been 1 1/2 hours or so since breakfast insulin. Sometimes her bg will be a little high. For example, say her bg at 11 am is 215. I can enter that 215 - with the meter or thru the pump - and it will figure out if she needs a correction or not. It can really save you and make sure you don't over bolus or over correct. This is a wonderful feature.
3. It's PINK! We love pink! Even the insets are pink! How cool is that?!? We started using the straight in insets. We like the ones that you just push - like the lady here is doing - on the white part and you're done. Easy to do on even the wiggliest of children. I also like that everything you need - the tubing, the inset - all of it - come in one little sterile unit.
To watch another cool video about the different infusion sets, what they look like up close and personal, where you can wear them and stuff - click here.
We have found that it's best to change Sweetpea's sites when she is asleep! She agrees! Sweetpea gets all worked up about things like that. Even though she said that it did NOT hurt, she just gets so anxious that holding still is impossible. She cries and panics and is a mess. We happened upon this by accident one night. It worked so well (she didn't even FLINCH) that we decided to make it a habit. The next day she said, "You changed it while I was asleep?!? Wow! I didn't even have to worry about it!"
Some kids can be cool as a cucumber during a site change. That is wonderful. But it's not my kid. My kid does a great job when she's in a deep slumber! Here is a video of us changing her site the other night....
** coming soon **
We have found Animas support to be great. We've called them a few times - at all hours - and they have been there to help us out! Very patient with us when we ask obvious questions. Willing to walk us through our first battery change. Helped us remember the amount we needed to fill the cannula. Good peeps.
For us, having tubing was not really an issue. Sweetpea has no problem with the tubing. She's only (knock on wood) had one site come out and that was because she hopped off the couch before we had the pump back in the pouch after changing sites. She sleeps in the pump with no problems. She sleeps in her pump packs. I originally planned on sewing a pocket into her jammies but she didn't want to take off the pouch. She goes to gymnastics and wears her pump. She swings on the bars and does somersaults and everything. I told her that we could unhook if it bothered her. "Nope" she said. She does NOT like to have that pump off her body at all.
The ONLY drawback that I could see for the Ping was that it does not have an integrated cgm - YET. It's in the works and reportedly due out sometime this year. At the time of pump picking, I didn't think we really needed a cgm and I didn't want to put another site on her body. If you read my blog, you know that my tune has changed! I want a cgm so bad I can taste it! However, Animas is working with Dexcom to pair the Ping with the Dexcom Seven cgm. This sounds like an awesome partnership and I'm eagerly awaiting what they produce in the coming months and years. (hurry up, guys!!)
I am also SUPER EXCITED that JDRF is working with Animas to create the first generation automated system for managing Type 1 diabetes - the Artificial Pancreas. You can read more about that here.
We love it! We've only been pumping for 6.5 months and I can honestly say that I can not imagine life without the pump. If I had to go back to shots, you'd most likely find me cowering under the covers, crying, in a full state of panic (and Sweetpea would be right there next to me)!
It works for us. Will it work for you? I don't know. You've got to go with your gut on this one. Do your research and trust your instincts. When we chose our pump, everyone we knew had the Minimed. But, something told me the Ping was for us. And I have never regretted that decision!
Here are a few links:
Animas - the Animas website
We're Pumping - My blog post about the day we started the pump and the joy we felt at that first shot-free meal.
We Love Our Pump - My blog post about how pumping was going about a week in. Also in this post are pictures of Sweetpesa's doll, Ruby, who also has a pump. Her pump looks just like Sweetpea's - but smaller. I made it for her pump start to help with the transition.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a pump expert, nor am I a doctor. I'm just my daughter's pancreas. And all I know is what I've learned from real-life experience. I know what we like and what works for us. If you are looking into getting a pump, consult with your doctor!