Tandem vs Omnipod...i need the truth

Im a newly diagnosed 15 almost 16 year old and i have the option of Tslim or Omnipod. They are both great pumps but i cannot make a decision since the pump that i pick is the pump that i will have for 4 years. I play golf multiple times a week and i lift weights as well as golf and many other physical activities. The Tslim and the software sounds awesome but the main drawback is the tubing and the obvious “hey look at my insulin pump I’m diabetic” aesthetic. Omnipod seems dated and i have no idea which pump is right for me so if y’all could give me the bitter truth about the two pumps to help me decide that would be more than awesome.

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Hi @julespthomas. My first pump, from about 20 years ago, was a Minimed. I had the first 3 models and liked it, but when Tandem’s T-Slim came out I did prefer the sleeker, more modern profile, so I made the switch several years ago. When my last warranty was up I was thinking about the Omnipod but decided to stay with my T-SLIM for a few reasons:

  1. Comfort. Depending on how I lay down, it got in my way and I couldn’t relax ; 2) appearance - to me personally it looked like a huge bug, which was a turnoff ; and 3. Remote control only: I rarely leave important things behind, but there have been times I’ve left behind my cell phone, a book I needed, or the keys to my office, when I left the house. I could manage without for the day and it would just be an inconvenience. But without my pump remote (I think Omnipod’s is called a PDA) I’d be dead in the water. Even if I did remember it I would still be concerned about it getting lost or stolen, or even breaking - and what would I do until I got the replacement?
    Having said all that I’ll give you the opposite perspectives - much of which is simply a matter of personal preference:
  2. Lots of people do use the Omnipod and apparently have no comfort issues - there was a time when you could try a non-working sample, so try it if you haven’t already to make sure you like the feel.
  3. The “bug thing” is also a matter of preference. You may prefer it’s appearance to keeping a standard pump and tubing in your pocket; and
  4. Lots of Omnipod users do remember to take their remote with them so my personal level of concern may not be an issue for you.
    I personally don’t have an issue with people seeing my pump - I take it out to bolus in public all the time and sometimes it’s a nice ice breaker for me, which I don’t mind. I don’t play sports as you do, but at the gym I just clipped my pump to my waistband, or depending on my numbers would disconnect during my workouts.
    That’s about all I can think of. I’m sure you will hear from plenty of people who can give you perspectives to help with your decision. Wishing you the best.
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Hi @julespthomas! I am also a long term Medtronic user. I am eligible for a new pump soon, and it will be Tandem t:slim. I make that choice based on practical blood sugar control issues, and software upgrades. I am currently using Loop, a DIY “artificial pancreas system. It has given me great control and A1Cs, but I’d prefer to be on a commercial system. Once Tandem’s latest software load is FDA approved, it will be closer to my DIY system than anything out there. Omnipod has a similar system in the works, but I haven’t seen any dates for it. You are a very intelligent young man, and you’re asking the right questions. If you use Facebook, there are user groups for the various systems where you can see more about what people think.

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hi @julespthomas Welcome to Type One Nation!

the truth? you will have to filter out a lot of personal preferences but here goes:

they are both pumps, they both require more physical interaction than MDI, they both will more closely approximate your body’s requirements for basal insulin, they both work, and they both have large followings of people that really like each one for similar and sometimes different reasons.

Pumps require attention, button pushing, alarm monitoring, a bit of babysitting and some technical abilities for troubleshooting. Do not pump if you are unwilling, or unable to learn the technology.

Pumps can have mechanical failures… in the Tslim it tends to be with the infusion set so you rip it off and put another, in the pod… well it’s generally the pod but it’s a throw-away so you glue a new one on.

all pumps have more glue than MDI. and pods have the most glue of all pumps it is important to understand if you are sensitive to the glue. most are not sensitive.

tslim and omnipod dash are both very recent - with the Tandem pump potentially having integrated CGM controls (the pump will give you, or reduce insulin automatically based on CGM reading) That’s not going to be matched by Insulet for some time, but you didn’t ask about CGM so this is moot. The dash alleges the potential for using a smart phone as a PDM… so that headache has a potential work-around.

you can always do a search right here on the site, there’s a magnifying glass allowing you to search the forum for posts.

I have 2 queries prepared if you don’t like to search you can click.

https://forum.jdrf.org/search?q=pod%20problems

or

https://forum.jdrf.org/search?q=tslim%20problems

I’ve been pumping for about 14 years. Pumping isn’t the answer to everything, in fact, pumping is the problem in some cases, but for me, using a pump sucks way less than shots. Don’t lose your mind over this. You are likely to have diabetes much longer than this decision will last.

I hope to hear from you.

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thanks for the reply and i forgot to mention that i am on dexcom g6 and it’s awesome. my main thing with T1D is that i can forget about it and let it be background noise since i’m so busy with my sports and just life in general so having a convenient system that removes hassle and annoyance is really what i’m shouting for here.

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what made you decide on tslim over omnipod or did you even take in omnipod as an option? thanks for the reply

@julespthomas Well Jules, I can tell you that for me, diabetes is just like background noise with an occasional barn fire. It takes a good year to learn how to deal with it. It can take many years to learn how to use insulin.

I always recommend reading “Think Like a Pancreas” for good universal understanding of diabetes and there’s a book “Pumping Insulin” which is a technical reference to generic pumping without being product specific.

In the coming 1-9 months, you will see changes that are most likely due to your body’s reduction in insulin production. For many of us, the first year is a rough ride because we still make insulin for a little while. Just when you get used to the idea of having diabetes… control gets a little trickier.

I am really glad to hear you are athletic, That is very important.

please feel free to reach out anytime.

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thanks for the awesome reply. if it wasn’t for tubing tslim is the winner for me but i just want to be able to have this disease management as much in the background as i can so the tubing is a concern. if i would get tslim i would probably be worried about clothes getting in the way and tubing getting ripped out multiple times. i would worry about showing the world that i have a pump but i can see that that would not be a problem in the future but with the omnipod nobody has to know and not having people up my butt about what they think they know sounds pretty nice.

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thanks so so much for your time and effort. i’ll look into the books!

Jules @julespthomas, your enthusiasm and optimism must be congratulated - and Welcome to the JDRF TypeOneNation Forum! Continue sharing and learning.

Both the Insulet OmniPod and the Tandem t-Slim pumps are good and each has its place in diabetes management. No two persons with diabetes [PWD] are the same and hence have different management needs and each of us will gravitate to the methods and tools that help in the way we need. I was a long-term MiniMed pump user [Medtronic] until I began using the t-Slim x2 six months ago - my assessment was that the t-Slim is now my best fit and will be for the next several years and maybe it will be the last pump I need.

I suggest that before you surrender yourself to the point of relying on machines to keep you alive that you practice, learn and perfect self management under ALL conditions and as many different circumstances as possible. You say you are active in many physical activities [you mention golf and weight-lifting], so put yourself - just for trial - in a situation of mountain-climbing and your CGM and pump become inoperative or lost [I’ve been marooned by snow blizzards]; would you be able to know your glucose level ‘by feel’ without a BGM or CGM and know exactly how much insulin your body needs to survive on limited food supplies?

You are new to this diabetes game - I’m in my seventh decade using insulin to stay alive - and right now you know you’ve got the thing in your control. As I said at the beginning, I like your optimism and think you will go far, but don’t let yourself get all tied up in “Plug 'n-Play” without first listening to your body and understanding what it is saying.

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@julespthomas for myself omnipod was the only option… i will take shots before i am connected to a tube… the omnipod can be placed in many places, it has a small foot print, doesnt need to be removed for any reason other then a few things example mri and others… i love mine and live a active lifestyle and it doesnt get in the way… it can be hidden so its virtually in the background if you want it to be… also you have the option to loop,. and soon tidepool will work with the dash

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thanks for you feedback! i’m pretty dang good at calculations and feeling my bg but i just need to easiest option when it comes to hardware simplicity.

so with the dash system there are software updates just like the tandem? and also if you have a dexcom is it annoying to have to plug in your bg data since it doesn’t display it like the tandem?

@julespthomas yes i have a g6 also… i am using loop which basically is a closed loop software but not fda approved, before loop i used the g6 and the pdm from the omnipod, it wasnt a big deal to me to plug the bg level in for a bolus, basically the only time you will need to give the pdm a bg level is when you are entering for a bolus… its only one more step then what you would have with the tslim… you would still have to enter a carb amount and bolus suggestion on the tslim

are you trying to get the dash or the older platform omnipod?

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if dash is cover with insurance then i’ll prolly go with omnipod but if not then tslim

dash may not be covered currently, but will be eventually as they are only covering it thru pharmacy benefits and not dme like most pumps

once tidepool is fda approved with the dash it will be a game changer and not a flop like the 670g… tslim is also working with tidepool and will be closed loop with a software upgrade … the biggest difference between the two are tubes!!!

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thanks for your time but i can’t make a decision unless i know that i am eligible for DASH

As a TD1’er for 25+ years I have been pumping for the last 15 or so. I have had medtronic, omnipod, and t-slim. I liked the omni, but due to my ratios i was having to change it almost every 1.5 days. With my t-slim I can make over 2 days. One of the other issues for me was always having to remember the controller if i went somewhere and decided to grab a bite to eat. With T-slim and now being on libre I can “test” via my phone and eat and take what i need to.

One of my other reasons for changing is My insurance will cover one touch strips in its plan and any other i would have to pay.

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tubing annoy you when you are doing activities??

The tubing isn’t an issue for me, I’ve ripped out the infusion set maybe once in the 6 months I’ve had it. I’m a forklift mechanic, I was an industrial mechanic before I switched employers 3 months ago. Its probably one of the most hostile environments for tubing you can imagine, we aren’t even supposed to have metal wedding bands. I’ve wriggled inside of, underneath, on top of and through so many machines, each of them teeming with sharp, jagged protrusions to catch tubing on. Personally, and without having used it, I think the Omnipod is the weakest choice for durability. I lose one or two CGM sensors a month by snagging it on something. If you brush up against a door jam while walking through, say goodbye to your sensor because you just caught it and probably dislodged the electrode from your skin. Toweling off from a shower in the morning, forget you are a cyborg, and catch the sensor the wrong way, yup I’ve lost one that way too. Last week I killed a sensor when carrying out the trash, I slung the heavy trashbag over my shoulder and one of the drawstrings yanked the electrode out of my skin without disturbing the tape. Now multiply the size of that sensor by 5 or 10, that’s the Omnipod, there’s no way that isn’t going to get ripped off a couple times a week attached to my skin.

Nobody ever notices the tubing, if they did, they’d just assume it was earphones. The only people who ever have were people with Type 1, or family members of Type 1 Diabetics. Those are also the people you’d want to notice, there’s an instant connection through the shared hardship.

I have the 670g, I love it. I hate it too. It requires a lot of attention, MDI is easier in a lot of ways than pumping. Medtronic is awesome, I have the emails and phone numbers(two of them personal cells!) for three different people there in case I have a problem. Sales, technical support, and a trainer. They will overnight you supplies if you need them. Being the big, established name in the business, there are a lot of people who complain about them, but I have nothing negative to say about Medtronic or my 670g.

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