This first couple of weeks of having twin girl on an insulin pump has been incredible, exhausting, liberating and iced with a sprinkling of stress. I cannot even begin to articulate how much better this clever little gadget suits our lifestyle.
The pump itself is attached to her 24\7 by a piece of tubing which sits in her body via a cannula. She has to have a cannula inserted into her skin three times a week, which would still be horrifying to most kids and grown adults. However I am assured that in comparison to having six injections a day, having a slightly more invasive cannula every two days is a walk in the park.
Of course, because she is an impressive little thing she has already popped a cannula in her thigh all on her own. I did one a couple of days before and had to stand behind her so she didn’t see my hands shake.
Insulin is then given via the pump whenever Molly eats, or when her blood sugars are running high. Simply put, being able to ‘correct’ her whenever she has high blood sugars, means her average blood sugar level is considerably lower and therefore safer for my girl.
The intricacy of the pump means we control how much insulin she receives every hour, but like most things with Type 1 diabetes, her levels will change as she grows, eats, gets scared, and does exercise. So, like before, we are always alert; fighting the sugar to ensure she has ‘normal’ levels and therefore doesn’t face any diabetic complications in the future. She manages it through the day and the he who helped create them and I take over the battle in the evening. This last two weeks has involved 2 hourly blood tests, we are both proudly supporting bags under our eyes, in the same way Twin Girl is proudly displaying her pump round her waist. Her pancreas is now firmly on the outside.
We went to a Bonfire last night, and hot dogs were on offer for all the cold little children. Twin girl’s eyes lit up and she stood in line for a bun. Whilst we queued I quickly worked out the carbohydrate content in the meal and before she even had the dog in her hand, we had pressed the buttons and sent a dose of insulin via remote control into the needle already positioned in her thigh.
“You are my pancreas Mummy,” chortled my daughter, “and you best get ready, because I think I will have seconds.”
On an insulin pen (needles), seconds is not always an option, you have to calculate the total carbohydrate dose of the entire meal and then inject before eating. If you get full part way through, you need to chomp through it, if you want more, you need to hang on till supper, or plunge another needle into your skin.
Last night, twin girl had three hot dogs – just because she could.
Type 1 diabetes is not all about food, but for children like twin girl, it is about control, fitting in, and being able to live as her peers do. For us, based on the first fornight, we think the pump will give her more stability in her levels, and allow her to eat like a kid (without the sugary sweets), control her own diet and not have to break her skin with a needle every time she wants to eat.
So far, for us, the pump has given her freedom and in our opinion wearing your pancreas on the outside is the only way to be.