The downside to using my pump.
By Deanna Glick
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
October 2011 — The insulin pump gets praise from a lot of corners. Carb-lovers, control freaks, athletes, growing kids and busy adults to name a few. Perhaps the most enthusiastic cheers come from parents, either of diabetic children or who have diabetes themselves, or those who fit into both of those categories.
I began pumping a few years before my daughter was born. It took me through the blood sugar waves as I carried her in my womb, nursed her for nearly two years and now as I raise her into adulthood. Undoubtedly it's prevented countless free falls and treacherous climbs throughout the roller coaster that can plague diabetes control via multiple daily injections.
However, as a mother, I've discovered the pitfalls of pumping that go way beyond the hit a woman's vanity takes when something's tethered to her body 24/7. Of course there's the little limbs that get hung up in tubing and the subsequent ripped out sites. But, for me, it goes beyond those obvious issues.
My pump allows the ultimate in flexible scheduling and eating. And one tends to become so accustomed to its presence that it can easily be forgotten. Despite its funky color and hard exterior, it becomes nothing more than another part of one's body akin to an arm, toe or other natural appendage. And with all of this comes benefits and drawbacks.
The benefits aren't hard to guess.
The drawbacks, for me, have a lot to do with Mommy Brain. You know it. I think it starts somewhere between the zygote and embryo stages. You begin to forget things like where your toothbrush is or what your mother's maiden name was, let alone all those passwords scattered about your life. And when you're a diabetic Mommy on a pump, that means you might forget to test, bolus or have a pretty hard time counting carbs despite how easy it was or how diligent you were about these things for any length of time prior. You're fitting more into your days, hours, even minutes at the same time your brain function takes a proverbial punch in the frontal lobe.
The flexibility my pump allows in terms of when and how much one eats is fantastic for any person with diabetes, particularly a busy parent. But I think the loss of rigid routine MDI regimens require (and that I sustained for 10 years prior to pumping) makes one more susceptible to memory lapses when it comes to bolusing, carb-counting and eating. Add Mommy Brain to that equation and you're doomed.
Sigh. A Type 1 Catch-22.
I've been battling this for five years as of next month. And I think I've finally stumbled on the solution:
Don't laugh. I can do this.
It came to me the other day as I was fitting a quick test between processing my daughter's claim that she and her friend shared the same boyfriend (she's not even in kindergarten yet) and devouring a taco salad after a day filled with deadlines. Deep breath. Calculate. Bolus. Ok. Now I can take a bite and ask my little girl about this lucky little boy and why they're sharing him.
Because he's awesome, she says.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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