Pump vs. MDI

Hi everyone, I was diagnosed in 7th grade about 7 years ago.  I started out with multiple daily injections before deciding to go on a Minimed pump.  I stayed on the pump for a few years but I finally decided that I just didn't like it.  I have since been on multiple daily injections and as much as I hate it sometimes, I can't really imagine being on any sort of pumping device again.

I just couldn't stand always being attached to an electronic medical device.  It felt more like life support than something that was supposed to make my life "more convenient".  In the end, the infusion sets, insertion sites, low batteries and problems with tubing and canulas just amounted to even more daily hassle than I felt it was worth.  Diabetes is on my mind practically all the time, except for a few precious moments a day.  With the pump, I felt like I literally could not escape the reminder that my life is not what I want it to be.

One of the things that bothered me the most is that, to this day, I feel like the pump is almost sexist in that it is so much easier for a guy to wear than a girl.  Girl's clothes just aren't made with the same bagginess and deep pockets that make pumping less complicated.  I had a lot of other issues wearing the pump besides interference with my wardrobe, but I feel like I should at least still be able to wear whatever I want- I don't want diabetes to take that part of my life away just like everything else.

Is there anyone else out there who has been there and done that with the pump, and decided it just wasn't right for them?  So many other T1s are such staunch supporters of pumping- I've even been given dirty looks for explaining that I hated wearing one.  I am just wondering if all of you agree that insulin pumps are everything they're stacked up to be.

Pumping is not for everyone that is why there are options to stay on MDI or pump. There is an Omni pod out now that is a tubeless pump which you don't have to worry about what you wear anymore. Maybe you would be more inclined to wear that one if you ever wanted to pump again.

But, as far as what you said yes it may seem like it is easier f or a man but, I doubt when they made the pump they trying to make it harder for a woman to wear. You have made some valid points of why it is not for you and a lot of other people feel the same exact way as you do.

There are times that I really hate wearing the pump myself. Especially with summer coming because it is harder to conceal. example swimming or going to the beach. But, for me it works I couldn't see myself not wearing it. Trust me I have gone on pump vacations but, it almost gives me a reality check and then I go back on it because it is way easier. The pros for me out weight the cons. Just like for you on MDI.  Your pros and cons are different than mine. Don't be ashamed of not being on the pump. If you hate it you hate it no biggie!

I haven't been there and done that.  However a few years ago I did the due dilligence research on pumping.  While it does seem to have it's benefits, I can' t get past  having that thing attached to my body at all times.  That and while it may provide somewhat better control, it requires much more work in regards to testing and adjusting doses and programming etc.  And there seems to be just as many supplies (if not more) to cart around like tubes and infusion sets and insulin and syringes just in case and whatnot.

I already have to spend way more time fussing with my diabetes than I want to.  I'm looking for a solution where I can spend less time and brain cycles on it. 

Unfortunately it seems that every "advance" in diabetes care requires more and more effort and time.  I've been doing shots for 32 years and am way past the point of it being a pain or icky.  It's just life for me.  I'm OK with it.

I'm keeping an open mind, but at least for me, right now, it's not where I want to be.

I've heard that there were people out there like you.  Thanks for sharing your story.

However you decide to manage your diabetes is ultimately your choice.  You can go with whatever therapy best suits you, but just make sure you make a fully informed decision.

I was diagnosed with Type I when I was a junior in high school.  I went straight to the insulin pump (literally, within 24 hours of diagnosis) because I saw my dad's success with one.  Twenty years later -- going through college, law school, tons of travel with my job, a wife who is about to complete her medical residency, and now being a dad -- I know it was the right move.  I don't have a single complication, and most of the time, I feel pretty darn happy and healthy with my pump.  I would prefer not being a diabetic, but since I can't change that fact of my life, I have decided to go with as aggressive a treatment plan as I can.  It has really paid off for me.

Like any decision you make in life, you have to balance the pros with the cons.  You certainly mentioned the cons of pump therapy, but you didn't mention any of the significant pros of pump therapy, such as better control leading to fewer complications, reduced blood sugar swings, feeling better, and better overall health.  Just make sure that your decision is based upon the cons as well as the pros.  The analysis might be different for you, and I certainly respect that.

I also certainly understand that pump therapy could be better.  I understand how it is a lot easier for guys to use, especially because I have female friends on the pump.  I also think that the insulin pump companies could do themselves a real favor by simplifying pump therapy rather than making each new version of the pump more complicated -- I think that the relentless introduction of new, complicated programming features alienates many diabetics who might be receptive to pump therapy (and endos and PCPs who prescribe pumps) by making the insulin pump learning curve much steeper than it should be.  In the era of the iPod and iPhone, there is no excuse for the user interface on any of these insulin pumps to be so friggin' user unfriendly (I'm particularly talking to you, MiniMed - you people need to hire an outside design consultant to completely overhaul and simplify your interface).  But with the introduction of the OmniPod and other insulin pump companies into the insulin pump market, I think we will see a lot more innovation and simplification.

Keep an open mind.  Good luck.

Hi Jackie -  Others who've responded are right.  It's up to you and what you are comfortable with.  As for me, I am on a pump and have been for 9 years now, having said that, it took me a long time to switch to a pump.  I have had diabetes since I was 9 and it took me 21 years before I switched to one (granted the pump let alone home blood testing machines weren't around then).  From the time I started to consider a pump to the time I went on one was a 5 year period.  I made the decision when I was 31 years old. I think I may have had the same feelings you are having when I was in my early 20's.  Carrying the supplies, having something attached etc was not something I wanted....  I would agree with you.. being a guy it's easy to throw the pump on my belt/waist band - people think it's a PDA or something and I don't think twice about it. I would imagine it would be more of an issue with a woman's wardrobe.   It's a personal decision and only you will know what you are ready for.  Having said that, the pump has narrowed the range between my highs and lows and has significantly dropped my A1Cs so I am happy with my choice.  

As mentioned in another post, Omni Pod (Inulet) has a wireless Pod system.  I switched to it a couple years ago but hated it.  I had problems with it communicating with the PDA and the PDA failing a couple times.  On top of that, I prefer to have all the info I can get from the pump - blood levels graphed out and charted along with my insulin intake because it really helped me pin point why I was going high or low.  The Omni Pod didn't have that - not sure if it does now and I've been lucky by having few issues with the minimed I am on now. This is NOT to discount the Pod at all- some people love it, have had a good experience with it and I think that is great!  Like I and others said before, it's all a personal choice. 

Good luck to you - all the best!

I completely agree that pump companies ought to make their technology more user friendly.  We already have more complicated lives just by the nature of our disease!  Pump therapy should be appealing in more ways than by simply being the best medical decision.

As far as that goes, I do know that in terms of better control, the pump takes the cake.  I was on it long enough to realize that when used correctly, it can do wonders- sometimes.  At that time in my life, though, and currently, the physical benefits did not outweigh the pyschological burden that pump therapy seems to have on me.  Recently I have begun to reconsider using a pump again, but I am extremely skeptical that there is a current system which will persuade me to change.  I do have faith that pump therapy will continue to improve, especially as it is evident that the technology for simplified, smaller, user-friendly and maybe even girl-friendly pumps is out there.  It would be wonderful have the pump adapt to my style (be it clothes or anything else) and not vice versa.

I can certainly say that being in young and still in college influences my decision making.  I have plans to make a family someday, and when I choose to have children I will be switching to pump therapy for sure.  When it comes to the physical well-being of those I love (or will love), my "preferences" are understandably less important.

That being said, I have been thinking a lot lately in regards to controlling this disease.  There are times when I just want to quit doing the right thing all the time to take care of myself because I'm so damned tiredBut I just think about the people in my life who love me, and I want to be as healthy as I can be so that they can love me for as long as possible.  In a way, it would be selfish of me to do anything less- which just may influence me to give the pump another try.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts- it really made me rethink some things.

Jackie:  Just one final note.

As far as being younger and in college, I was a bit self-conscious about the pump in college.  But I realized that if somebody (i.e., a girlfriend or wife) was going to be turned off by an itty-bitty insulin pump, they sure as heck weren't going to be supportive in terms of understanding and managing my diabetes.  I knew I would need that in life, and it was a quick way to eliminate the idiots from the dating pool.

It was a brilliant strategy because I was in better control of my diabetes for that many more years, and my wife could not possibly be more understanding or supportive.  Not only does the insulin pump give me better control of my diabetes, but so does my amazing, beautiful, brilliant, wonderful wife.

Good luck.




Hi!  I am the mom of a 20 year old girl who has been living with diabetes for 15 years.  She went on the pump in 4th grade and it was great for her at that time.  She could go to sleep overs and not worry about getting up at a certain time to take a shot and then have a snack a few hours later.  She enjoyed the freedom it gave her.  However, she developed scar tissue at her insertion sites even with frequent changing of her sites and decided to take a break from the pump.  She is now using insulin pens which are convenient for taking with her and she loves it.  Like you, she had issues with where to put the pump with some of her clothing and what to do when she went swimming.  She is actually more careful about eating because she has to stop and think do I really want to eat this and take a shot or can I wait for my next meal.  She doesn't seem to be snacking mindlessly as much as when she was on the pump and could just punch some buttons to give herself a bolus.  Do what is comfortable for you and just do the best to take care of your health.  Everyone is different and what works well for one person does not always work well with another.  Good luck to you.  Take care.

I haven't had experience with other pumps,  but I have found the omnipod beats MDI.  You don't have insertion sets to deal with, and it can be hidden fairly easily.   And rather than 4 shots a day, I just have one needle insertion every 3 days which is handled by pushing a button on a PDA. 


I have encountered some women who don't like it because it can appear as a bulge under tight clothing.  And, sometimes when I wear short sleeve shirts and have a pod on my arm I get a lot of questions such as "what is that?" and "what is wrong with your arm?".  But, every thing with type 1 diabetes is a trade off.  I personally would rather get some strange looks than deal with MDI.

Good luck!

     I love my Omnipod, too.  I've been told that I notice the bulge from my Omnipod more than anyone else does for the most part.