I want to share with you what happened to me. I got on the pump because of frequent urgings by my endocrinologist in October 2009. I also caught the flu that month. Suddenly, I was stricken with uncontrollable blood sugars and the most severe fatigue I've ever had. In February 2010, I had to stop working because I couldn't get out of bed anymore. I had several (in my house) trainings by a Medtronics trainer named Angela (I believe she's left the company now) about how to use the pump and cgm device. I'm a gadgety person anyway, so at first, I liked the idea of the technology. But I was so darn sick. Many times, me and my family wondered if the pump was somehow making me sick - nothing and no one - including more endocrinologists seemed able to answer the question as to why I couldn't get good control with my pump.
Finally, in about March this year, I went back to my original endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic and we went over everything. She took at very close look at my pump settings as guess what? A setting had been set incorrectly by my medtronics trainer. She'd put my active insulin setting at 6 hours, meaning if I had a high of 598 4 hours after I ate, the pump would not give me any insulin for it. This explained a lot. She reset it to either 3 or 4 hours and I tried the pump for another few weeks, but decided ultimately that this thing is not for me.
Things I hated about the pump: Having to change it every 3 days. The scars and bruises from the insert sites. Having to watch what I wore and how I wore things, to figure out how to wear the pump with it. I love long skirts, which meant wearing a child's arm cuff around my thigh which eventually lost its elasticitiy, was quite expensive, and fell down my leg all the time. Wearing it to bed and constantly having to wake up to move it with me. Getting the cord wrapped around door handles and the like. The sudden battery warnings - and you better have more than one triple a battery on you that's new, just in case one of them isn't liked by the pump. How the pump calculated things in a way that made it so I couldn't do it in my head anymore - I was chained to the pump and what it said was the right dose, even though I was always high afterwards. How, no matter how many times we increased the insulin I was getting, my sugars still ran high. How I gained 45 pounds in a year.
Why I hated the cgm device: Sometimes it took all day just to get it working, and if you were really motivated to get that sucker to "wet" properly (which could take up to 3 hours), meant starving yourself all day just to get it going for 3 days and then, guess what? You have to do it all over again for the next three days. The pain of inserting it, the scars it left on my body. Trying to find a place to put it that wouldn't be near my waistline (where clothes my push on it & disturb it), which usually meant I had to try to reach around to my butt to put it there. I couldn't put it in my lower abdominal area because I have all this lipidemia (or whatever it's called) that could cause problems with the device.
But the absolute worse thing of all about the cgm, that no one explains to you, is that if you have a low blood sugar and the cgm doesn't catch it because it's off doing its own math in la-la land, you have no proof that you had a low blood sugar. Which means the device can't warn you and feeds the pump the wrong info when you upload (if it didn't catch it). This happened to me on the pump one day last winter. I felt funny, like I had a migraine coming on, and decided to check my bs just in case. I have hypoglycemia unawareness, which was why I wanted the cgm device in the first place - to help me catch them. My blood sugar was at 19. I apparently had a diabetic seizure, they say, because my vision has been messed up ever since. I can't see up close anymore without reading glasses, and I'm only 36! They said it would go back to normal, but it's half a year later and it's still the same.
So I got a bottle of Lantus from my Mom, called my endo and said I have the supplies until you can call it into my pharmacy - I'm taking a long if not permanent vacation from the pump. She agreed that I'd given it my all and it wasn't working.
I am so much happier now. My regime is back to its simple way - just needles and insulin and a glucose meter and test strips. There is nothing on my body anymore - that was a HUGE issue for me; I was embarrassed by my own body and felt like a cyborg or something. I don't get the bruises and scars from the needles I got from all that Medtronics equipment. I check my blood sugar and eat when I want to. I'm not anywhere as hungry as I was when I was on the pump. My blood sugars have gone from 400-600 to 80-300s, depending on the day and how good I am at carb guessing. I'm on a different carb ratio than I was before I started the pump and am tweaking it on my own. I feel in control again and I love it.
My original problem, the hypoglycemia unawareness, wasn't solved with or without the pump. Which is why I'm thinking about getting a diabetes alert dog when we move to a better location. I think that's the only thing "on the market" that would really work for me - a dog is a living breathing thinking animal, and I'll bet their intelligence far outweighs the current technology by far because they can smell the difference in you when you go low.
I urge anyone who is having lasting problems with your pump to check with your endocrinologist and make sure it was set up properly. Don't stop asking questions. And if it doesn't work for you, don't fret - it doesn't work for a lot of people, although I know pumpers who would rather die than give up their pump. Keep in mind, too, that they are pushing pumps at type 2s more and more, which means the device will be used differently by that user group. I know I've been treated like a type 2 several times by doctors in my life, so make sure if you get on a pump, that your trainer understands you are insulin dependent. And I have to say, everyone makes mistakes, but this trainer I had was adamant that my active insulin setting at 6 hours was correct - we talked about it at least 2 times. Consider that even the trainers might not know everything, no matter how confident they seem. If, during training, you have questions you feel uncomfortable asking the trainer, bring those questions to your next appointment with your endo. It took me a year and a half to find out what was wrong with my pump and I had half a dozen endos/p.a.'s whose care I was under, and NONE of them caught it but my doctor at Mayo.