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An Easier Life with Diabetes

I have been a Diabetic since 1960. Experience has showed me that over time new and better options become available to assist someone with controlling their Diabetes. Using new techniques and technologies or both often provides better control. Changes may be required if control is not being obtained using what you are using. I’ve made a few changes over time. First of all, I was using a long acting insulin called Lantus. Due to side effects of Lantus, it caused me to faint at various times unexpectedly. Second, the inconvenience of carrying syringes, insulin, and alcohol wipes around with you everywhere you go can be a constant annoyance and even life threatening if you forget them. Finally I switched to an insulin pump which does not use long acting insulin, or require those types of supplies and can provide better management of Diabetes. I switched to using an insulin pump to make my life easier.

Over the period of time I’ve had Diabetes, I have used several types of insulin. Doctors determine the choice of what type you should be on, and you use it. There are prompt, short, intermediate, and long-acting insulins, and you may have to use a combination of them. Always striving for the best control, you may be advised by your Doctor to switch to a different insulin type. I was advised to switch to Lantus, so I did. This worked well for me for a while, however eventually I started to get one of the side effects of using Lantus, which was fainting. While at work I fainted twice. It took some time for me to figure out it must be the Lantus insulin that made me faint, but then I knew something had to change. Although it is not fun to change, maybe changing again will be an improvement this time.

One of the constants with Diabetes, you always have to prepared for what could occur. It is best to always have your blood monitor with you, to know what your blood sugar level is at. In case of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level) you should always carry food with you to bring you out of it. In case of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level), you should carry insulin, syringes, alcohol wipes, and something to carry all this in, so when you need to take a shot, you can do so. Sometimes people will ask you, “Hey, what’s in the bag”? Then you have to explain, this is all my Diabetes stuff. If you forget any one of these items it can be serious. Not having food with hypoglycemia, not having insulin or the supplies to give yourself a shot if you get hyperglycemic, and not having your blood monitor are things you always need to have with you. It’s an annoyance, but a necessity. Although I know these are all a necessity, I discovered insulin pumps are quite resourceful in the methods they use to control Diabetes.

After taking shots over 40 years, it was very satisfying to switch to using an insulin pump. I don’t have to take shots several times a day, just do a Bolus when insulin is needed. I don’t have to carry around syringes, needles, as the insulin pump has its own supplies that are used with the pump, and they don’t have to be carried around. It holds up to 300 units of insulin, which is about 3 days worth of insulin. It has many options that someone taking shots cannot do. It supplies a basal rate of insulin, meaning it gives you insulin constantly, and the rate given can be adjusted per hour. Temporary basal rates can be set when doing strenuous exercise or work, to prevent hypoglycemia. You can easily give a bolus amount of insulin, either manually, or let the bolus wizard calculate the amount of insulin you require. My pump, the Medtronic Minimed, can also use a real time continuous glucose monitor, which monitors your blood sugar level, and displays it on the pump. With all options the pump can do, gaining control seems closer to me, and a better way of life seems likely.

I am now using the Medtronic Minimed insulin pump, to control my Diabetes the best I can, and make my life easier. It uses short acting insulin which I have no side effects to, I don’t have to carry supplies with me, and the pump provides the best control available I believe. Improvements for controlling Diabetes keep coming, and I’m very thankful for them.