Pens or the Pump in College

Hi! My name is Jillian and I am going to be a senior in highschool this fall. As I start my college search I have been reading a lot about staying in control with my diabetes while away at college. Right now I am dosing using lantus and novolog pens. I take lantus once a day before bed and I use the novolog pens to cover my other meals.

I read somewhere that it is better to have a pump in college, that it makes life easier. If I am going to switch over to using a pump I would like to do it my senior year in high school where I will have the support of my joslin team to figure out how to live with the pump. I wouldn't want any mishaps at college.

What are your opinions? Do you think a pump will make diabetes management in college easier or does it not really make a difference?

Thanks in advance for your responses

Hi Jillian!  When I wore a pump, it made life sooo much easier and I wasn't in college!  I am a teacher and it was just so wonderful to have!  I think college would be much easier if you tried the pump.  You have a good idea in trying one out before you leave!  Unfortunately the pump didn't work out for me and I am back on multiple injections a day.  I take lantus like you at bed and I use apidra for my meals!  The choice is yours.....give it a try!  Good luck with your decision!

I definitely agree with your plan to try a pump way in advance of starting college if you decide to make the switch! That way, you'll feel totally comfortable before you head off to college. (Or, if it doesn't work out, you have time to switch back.)

I'm personally on injections, but I can imagine that the pump would be great in college when you schedule differs by the day. I survived fine on the pen in college -- I think my a1c's were around 7.0. But, it was definitely a time in my life when I wasn't able to pay as much attention to the D b/c of everything else I had going on.

Once, in college, there was a fire in my dorm, and I had to evacuate quickly w/o my insulin pens, meter, etc. I was stuck outside for a few hours w/ no supplies. I would have loved a pump on me at that moment so I could have headed to the dining hall for dinner! (:

Where are you applying??

I got diagnosed during my sophomore year in college so I've had experience with both the pens and pump during college. I definitely think the pump is easier than when I was on the pens because I have a lot more freedom to eat what I want  and when I want. Before I would prefer not to eat stuff outside of my meal times because I didn't want to take an extra shot, but now its no problem so I feel more normal when I'm hanging out with my friends. I would also have a lot more lows when I was on the pens and have to eat snacks before bed to avoid a low, which led to a lot of unwanted eating. Also its a plus so you would never forget to bring your pens with you or  losing them or something, because the pump stays with you! It would especially come in handy during Sarah's situation above, thats scary! And like the others have said, give it a try and see how you like it...if its not for you then at least you will know and have given it a chance. Good luck on your decision, with the pump and with college!

Thanks for all of the advice. I think I am going to try the pump, once I get my numbers in steady control. Hopefully within the next few months. But I am still kind of weary about pumps.I have heard stories about really bloody sites and insertions that get pulled out accidently. Do these things happen often?

I am only applying to schools on the east coast. My top choices right now are UNCH, Georgetown, Emory, and U Pitt. I also really like Swarthmore but it's a smaller school.

from what I saw, the OmniPod looks pretty hassle-free.  but I wouldn't know until i get one.  I hope so though; I want to get one!

[quote user="Jillian"]

I have heard stories about really bloody sites and insertions that get pulled out accidently. Do these things happen often?


They do happen, but not often. 

As for the sites getting pulled out, if you get the short tubing, or just remember to tuck in the tubing, you should be okay.  Or maybe I just got used to it after all my pumping years.

Bloody sites are more informational than a hassle.  It lets you know you need to change it because it's probably infected.

My nine year old son has had an Omnipod for a year.  We both love it!  He swims with it and plays like a rough, energetic boy!  We have had no complaints and great customer service!!

Hi Jillian,

I started on a pump right before I went to college and I was really glad that I did so.  It's hard to maintain a consisent schedule in college with classes starting at different times on different days and you might have a long break one day where another day you don't have a break at all. So, as you can imagine, my eating schedule was not consisent. It was much easier to manage this with a pump.

As for the bloody sites, I've had the pump for almost 10 years and that has only happened to me once. I also have had it ripped out only once when someone tried to steal my pump off of my side. (I'll tell that story another day!)  If you are worried about the tubing part getting caught on stuff, you should check out the omnipod, because it doesn't have any tubing.

Good luck with your applications!


[quote user="Jillian"]

I am only applying to schools on the east coast. My top choices right now are UNCH, Georgetown, Emory, and U Pitt. I also really like Swarthmore but it's a smaller school.


Send me a message if you have any questions about Georgetown. I went there undergrad (class of 2000) and I loved it!!! It was a wonderful experience. I also had a part-time job at the pediatric endocrinology dept at their hospital for 2 years which was fun, and easy for me w/ my T1 background.

I got a pump when I was in 7th grade, diagnosed in kindergarten, so I had it all through college, I'm in grad school now, and I loved it. It really made life easier, especially since no day was ever exactly the same, so eating at around the same time was basically out of the question for me. You'll have a couple days a week when all your classes are in the morning, then others when they are all in the afternoon or something crazy like that. Or if you take a night class or something, it's 3 hrs once a week. Very hard to develop regular plans around. Plus the late night pizza runs... can't forget about those.

I also never had much trouble with my sites. One time I order the short tubing on accident and dropped my pump, which ripped my infusion out. I always get the long ones, so if I do drop my pump it won't rip out. I rarely ever had bloody sites or anything. I would totally recommend trying it. If it really doesn't work out, you can always go back, it can't hurt to try it out.

FYI, I have a MiniMed Paradigm, I named it Eli. :) Good luck with your decision with the pump and with school!

Thanks soo much. This is really helpful. It seems like everyone generally seems to like the pump so I am going to talk to my endo about getting one.