|My chosen insulin pump (Accu Chek Spirit Combo) on the right, |
and my blood glucose meter on the left which acts as a
remote and connects to the pump via Bluetooth
Let's take a look at the steps I have taken to get to this point.
28th February 2016 / Decision Time - Shortly after getting involved in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), I found myself more accepting of the idea of having a pump where I'd previously been psychologically held back by the thought of constant attachment. I researched and decided the next step in my care; I wanted an insulin pump. At this point I was still under the care of my paediatric team, I was 17, turning 18 and was going to transition to adult services. So I tried to be clever and did my outright best to get a pump from paediatrics, as I'd heard funding was limited in adults, I was told that I was of low priority for a pump; I don't have any complications and my control is neither extremes, amazing or poor so I should wait until I transition. Deep breath, this road was looking to be longer than I'd hoped.
|First infusion set (was very exciting at the time)|
10th March / Small Steps - As a compromise and during my last few months with paeds, I was able to try out my first infusion set which was a huge step for me (see photo.) I spent months chasing my DSN and we decided I would transition early in hopes to get an insulin pump. Between March and June I was waiting to move to adult services, not much I could do here to speed up pump process.
6th June / Taking Charge- I referred myself into the adults 'pump clinic' and had my first appointment with my new team, I had now 'transitioned' my care from one team to another, from a set of HCPs who had known me since I was 4 years old. We agreed at this appointment that I would need to attend an education course prior to starting insulin pump therapy (IPT). The ball was finally rolling and I felt pretty awesome, my motivation was at an all time high as I took the reigns of my own healthcare.
June-October / Request For Support - This is where things got a little complicated, to cut a long story short, because I moved to adult services without the transition service, I got lost in the system and fell under the radar of my adult team. I lost contact and spent the best part of 3 months in diabetic burnout. I was desperate for help and watched any glycemic control I thought I had, collapse. I lost a lot of confidence, any support I had was online, where my blog was thriving, but it was all so fake. It felt wrong to advise others, I needed to regain control of my own life. So between moments of motivation, I mustered the energy to compose a few emails to the adult clinic. Throughout this period I received letters to say that there was progress in terms of getting a place on an education course, but nothing seemed to be moving forward. With the support, encouragement and confidence from those closest to me, I got back in contact with the team, and was introduced to the adolescent specialists. I spent a while re-building any trust I once had, and have solidified my faith in their care since.
8th November / Support Provided - Here is where my hard work begins to pay off, I got an email late one Friday evening saying there had been a dropout in the Nov run of the education course, the only hurdle between me and pump therapy. So I jumped at the chance, the next 5 weeks were spent in weekly sessions learning how to adjust my insulin doses. Albeit information I had heard before, but after being diagnosed as a toddler it was refreshing to hear it all first-hand and see how advice has changed since 2002. I cannot fault my time completing the course, the information I learnt is simply invaluable. There is something to be said for peer-support just 5 minutes from home.
|Practising with infusion sets ready for pump start|
|Filling out my 'Pump Goals' prior to an appointment|
I've fantasised over the idea of an insulin pump since Feb last year, and now it's real, my official pump start day is the 6th February!! It has required a lot of chasing on my part, and a huge element of being a proactive patient, which isn't for everybody, all the time - why do you think I spent 3 months in burnout?! Once I start pump I have a 6 month trial period, which consists of intense appointments. So it's going to be exhausting but absolutely worth it.
It has been a hell of a ride, and at times I've thought that it's not been not worth it, but we got there in the end. To say I am terrified to start IPT would be an understatement, I have been told that starting pump is like being diagnosed all over again, but I feel confident that I have the best support network around me. There's only three words to end this post, bring it on.