Deciding on my first pump! I'd love to hear from pumpers

Hi Everyone,
I was diagnosed about 2 years ago and have found multiple daily injections quite tiring so, I’ve made a decision to move to an insulin pump. The two pumps i’m looking at are the animas ping and the animas vibe with CGM monitoring. I was set on the vibe but didn’t realize it doesn’t have a remote where I can administer in insulin doses from but then the ping doesn’t have CGM monitoring. It’ll be be my first pump so i’m little in the dark about what to expect. What are your thoughts on insulin pumps, the advantages/ disadvantages between the two? People with the ping how often do you use the remote to bolus? I’d say my main concern about the vibe is not having easy access to it, if i decide to clip it to my bra or something. With that being said, people with the vibe, do you have any tips about where to put the pump. Lastly, I’m also not a fan of long needles and have heard that the dexcom CG4 insertion needle is large, does that one hurt?

Thanks so much, Anna

Hi Anna,

I see you already have a good HB A1c using a pen [Congratulations!], so I can see the advantage for changing to a pump would be convenience, a little better control maybe reducing your standard deviation and fewer needle sticks - I know my charts the year before I switched from pens which I used since about 1980, said I took 1,488 insulin shots that year.

I have only used a succession of three Medtronic pumps so I can’t comment on Ping. I have had a remote for my pumps, but have used it only for assuring that it works, nothing regular although I do keep a fresh battery in it so my wife can shut me off if I’m not responsive - so far she hasn’t done that.

Keep living well and enjoy your pump.

Anna, I found that I never use the remote. It just takes up extra space in one of my pockets. Easier just to pull the pump out of its holder and program it directly. I only have experience with Medtronic, which makes a pretty good pump, but there is soon going to be a revolution in pumps with true CGM closed loop control. JDRF recently closed its experimental sampling of people with it. IT is an animus pump, so they will have a leg up on Medtronic. Don’t know when it will be released, though. Insurance companies only pay for a new pump about every five years, when the warranty runs out.

To help decide, you could request the area rep for each pump to give you a demo and sales pitch on their pump, and that might help you decide. I found most doctors are partial to the medtronic, but that I believe is because they have a larger field presence and a good program for uploading data into, making it easy for a good endocrinologist to get a bead on you.

I forgot to add, that the Medtronic 530g (latest model) has a feature to automatically shut the pump off for two hours if I don’t respond to a low alarm. Great feature, as it will bring you out of a severe hypoglycemic episode while you are sleeping or you go unconscious (which has never happened to me since I was in my early twenties (a long time ago). The more active you are, the more likely a severe glycemic episode will happen.

I can’t help with advice on the brands you mentioned - I have been using Minimed pumps for the last 14 years and have loved them. Their customer service and quality can’t be beat, and I am frequently reminded by user posts of other brands that I have made the right decision. I do wish their Enlite CGM would catch up on quality, because I think they are unfortunately losing market share because it doesn’t work well on a lot of people, and people understandably want a pump that interfaces with their CGM.

If I’m wearing a dress I typically clip it to my bra “between the girls”, and that works well to keep it concealed, but like you say it can be a little challenging to reach. I tend to buy dresses where I can just reach down and grab it out to do my thing, then reach in and clip it back in. This obviously can be entertaining for people who happen to see me doing it, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do and I truly don’t care.

I have strong feelings about the vibe versus the ping. I had a ping for 6 months, then got a dexcom, so decided to change to the vibe.big mistake, and can’t change back. I suggest you meet with a rep to see the difference. Strips for Verio IQ cost $1.50 apiece, and my insurance wouldn’t cover it. Any other meter won’t communicate with the pump, and this affects how your information shows up on Diasend, the software I use. Carbs only show up if I act on them, not when I take some to correct a low, even when I download the information from the meter separately. I miss the communication between the two and being able to dose with the remote. I used it a lot. Also, customer service was slow to respond to my problems. To me, the vibe is a money grabbing scheme to sell those strips. I would much rather carry the dexcom receiver to carry. A separate warning to anyone who carries something hard like a pump, in front of your sternum.If you are in a car accident and the airbag inflates, it can fracture your sternum, which is very painful for breathing. I had a Medtronic for 7 years and was mostly happy with it, but the screen was harder to read. They would be much different now. Check them out,and good luck!

Hi Anna (@afrits)!
I have been on 4 different pumps in the last 16 years. Here is my story on each of them (although the first two are no longer available). This will be a long post, so bear with me.

Pump #1 - Medtronic MiniMed 508. when I was a senior in high school, I decided to go on a pump prior to going to college. I didn’t want to be carrying needles around campus and dealing with the hassle of being tied to a clock for my injections. At the time, there were really only two or three pump brands available: Medtronic, Disetronic and another I can’t remember. I chose the Medtronic since most of my T1 friends were on it. Long story short, I had a terrible time with it. In the 4 years I was on the 508, I had to have my actual pump replaced 3 times due to malfunctions. I was so turned off of Medtronic by their product and customer service, that I went off pumping completely and back to shots (lantus and humalog) for a year. Until I met my friend Sarah in my senior year of college, who was on a Deltec Cosmo pump

Pump #2 - Deltec Cosmo pump with CosMore system. Honestly, I loved my Cosmo pump. It was one of the first pumps to have an integrated meter, so I could check my blood glucose with my pump and make correction boluses accordingly. It simplified my life and got me to love pumping again. I was only on the Cosmo for about 2 or 3 years before an old high school friend introduced me to the Insulet OmniPod.

Pump #3 - Insulet OmniPod. When I first saw my friend Caroline with a pump on her back, with NO tubes, I was amazed and immediately said, I need THAT! While I loved my Cosmo and had decent A1cs from it, the tubeless feature of the OmniPod was the main seller for me. I was sick of getting my infusion set tubing caught on door knobs or my pump getting stuck in chairs and I had been having issues with the Cleo infusion sets. So, I went to my doctor and was trained on the OmniPod around 2007 (i think…). The ease of use and how quickly setting up the Pods were was lifechanging. I no longer had to waste insulin with priming my tubing, saving money and valuable insulin. From start of opening the Pod packaging to placing the pod on my body to finish pushing the “start” button on the PDM, my time was freed up by a good two minutes. I had less supplies to carry around since the Pod and reservoir come in 1 contained package. The PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager) handheld device was pretty cool. It also functioned as a meter, so correction boluses were simple. It had a massive food log to easily find carb counts for random food items. The interface was simple enough to learn in a few minutes. I now had 5 sites for infusion sites (arms, abdomen and back) instead of just my abdomen. But the fact that it was tubeless was the main reason I went on it…and stayed on it until 2015. I used the OmniPod for 8 years and had ZERO reservations or complaints about it…until Insulet redesigned it. While the smaller pod was nice, the shorter cannula caused issues with leakage and bad absorption for me. But those weren’t the worst issues. The reason why I dropped the OmniPod system after EIGHT years was because when they redesigned the pods, they must have used a new type of adhesive or glue because i started getting huge, blistery welts on my back pump sites. Due to the shorter, angled cannula, I could no longer use the OmniPod on my abdomen, so i was back to using one site; my arms. When my blood sugars started creeping back up again and the OmniPod started becoming more and more of a daily hassle and full of guess work, I decided I needed a change. I asked many of my pumper friends what they used and my options were seemingly endless now that a new pump company seems to pop up every year. After consulting my endocrinologist (a Medtronic user), multiple friends, and doing my own research, I decided on switching back to a tubed pump, which is what I am on now…

Pump #4 - Animas Vibe. Before I decided to go on the Vibe, I did a LOT of research. Pumping technology had changed a lot since 2007 when I went on the OmniPod, so there was a lot I needed to figure out. I needed to see what features the pump had that I wanted and what features were “added bonuses”. I needed to see what kinds of infusion sets were available. I needed to think about if I was ok with the idea of going back to a tubed pump. I asked my husband, who for the majority of the time we were dating, knew me on a tubeless pump. I wanted to know if it was integrated with a DexCom, since I had been on my sensor the previous 2 years and wanted to stick with it. I wrote out a literal PROs/CONs list for both the Vibe and the OmniPod. The only PRO in the OP side was that it was tubeless. The PROs for the Vibe, for me, included, infusion set OPTIONS (i didn’t have to have just one set, i could pick and choose what i wanted, when i wanted it); DexCom G4 integration; small infusion sets (so lessen the possibility of skin reactions); the option to have slow or “fast” infusions; it came in fun colors and the infusion sets can match your pump color… There were many more on the list, but those were the ones I can remember writing down. After I met with the Animas rep, I made my decision to jump back into the world of tubed pumping and I honestly couldn’t be happier. Within the first 6 weeks of going on the Vibe in the spring of 2015, my Aic dropped from 7.5 to 6.8. I have been on the Vibe now for a little over a year and my A1c has continued to stay under 7, which is a feat I never expected to happen. I have had only one instance in the past year, where I have had to call customer service about a pump issue, and it ended up being an issue with my infusion set. The pump uses pretty expensive AA batteries (Energizer Lithium), but I asked for some for Christmas, so hopefully I will be good for a while on batteries. I originally got both the Inset30 and Inset infusion sets, but I am now only using the Inset, as the straight infusion set works better for me. I love that the infusion sets are essential “self-injecting”. I am a terrible needlephobe, so the inserters are a lifesaver for me. While the Vibe doesn’t have a meter integrated with it, I use my OneTouch Ultra Mini. My only complaint about the Vibe is one most people have and its that the screen is hard to read in bright sunlight.

You mentioned you’re nervous about the needles. As mentioned before, I am a terrible needlephobe, so doing on Dex, was a HUGE decision for me. Since it is a manual insertion, you do have to essentially “learn” what works for you and what doesn’t. You don’t actually see the needle while it is being inserted, which for some, is a good thing. I have found that the slower I insert my sensor, the more it hurts. I know it sounds dramatic, but I’ve found if I push the plunger in really hard and fast, with absolutely no hesitation, I have very little pain during or after insertion. But, it is something I am still getting over…I still hesitate at times and it’s something I need to get over. The Vibe infusion sets on the other hand, are WAAAAAY less painful than the DexCom and LIGHTYEARS less painful than the OmniPod. Maybe its because they’re spring loaded injectors, not manual, but whatever it is, it hurts less.

As for where to wear the pump… I’ve always been a pocket-wearer, even way back when I had my Minimed. I use the clip that comes with the pump and just clip the pump to the outside of my pant’s pocket. If my pants don’t have pockets, then i just clip it in the waistband. I wore the Vibe in my bra one night for a Christmas party and it was super uncomfortable, but i think part of it was because the bra I was wearing didn’t have my “support” for the Vibe to clip to. Some people get these band things that go around their thighs if they’re wearing a dress, and I’ve worn them in the past, but they tend to slip down for me. You just find what’s comfortable and what works best for you.

There are lots of groups on facebook for pumps, and i would suggest asking to be added to one or two. Read through the posts, see what people are using, any issues they have and how they’re dealing with them. Ask questions. If you can get in touch with an Animas representative in person, take advantage of that and ask them any questions you may have.

Best of luck to you!

Hi Anna!
How great are these responses?? :slight_smile:

I’ve been back and forth between Medtronic and Omnipod for 12 years - mostly due to insurance issues (also, was an adamant shot person - very resistant to trusting equipment - can’t imagine my life without my Omnipod!!)

All pump systems have their + /- For me, Medtronic who has the lead in the market was behind in technology. I needed something discreet that would allow me to manage my diabetes without interrupting it. :slight_smile:

While I am using the current version of Omnipod, the new version rumors to have its remote more like a smart phone than a garage door opener. ;). Can’t wait until the day all my devices are interconnected on my iPhone!

So for now - this is the best time I’ve ever had in diabetes management in 25+ years - why?
Omnipod + Deccom G5 + Glooko (app - love it!) + iPhone! While I still have to manage my Omnipod data transfer manually, the Glooko app is an amazing dashboard of all my information! CGM, BG, Food (their dbase is awesome!), insulin, physical activity, moods, glucose tablets, and more - now when I share with my provider (who can also view the information remotely as necessary) she can see pump set change, illness, food items (not just carbs). Etc etc. it’s a little effort - but as soon as I began using this combination my normal roller coaster oh BGs calmed right down - I could see right away where my problem areas are (these change weekly/daily for me) and allow me peace of mind.

One last thing!! Most pump companies offer “trials” - I would strongly recommend doing a trial (theory is great - but actual practice determines overall effectiveness) and also check with your insurance company to see if they have any limitations. I had to fight w mine for the Omnipod, because of the two part system having similar names (Omnipod transmitter and Omnipod pods) - once that was cleared up its been clear sailing.

Best wishes!

Everyones responses are awesome! Thank you so much for your insight, definitely something I consider valuable. I too, like many of you, can’t wait for a pump that can be controlled remotely from my iphone/ smartphone. I was also wondering if anyone here lives in Canada and has had any success with applying for disability tax credit. The restrictions on the form make it nearly impossible for type 1 diabetics to get.

if you use insurance to help buy it, wait till 2017 when artificial pancreas units hit the market (after expected FDA approval). If you get one now, insurance won’t approve a new one for five years.

check this site: http://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/artificial-pancreas-what-you-should-know#6