Wearing T1D as an Accessory: My Insulin Pump Story!

Just eight months ago, I was dealing with the day-to-day struggle of finding the strength to give myself insulin injections. After 7 years of poking and stabbing, I got used to it, but my patience for it was diminishing with each and every unsuccessful attempt to tame my blood sugar. I grew tired of the constant ups and downs and the weight of all Type 1 Diabetes was doing to my body, and it felt heavier than ever. In a zombie-like state, I wanted more than anything to improve my A1C and relieve myself of all the pressure that was put on me by my endocrinologist, my parents, and also myself.

For years I grew more and more defensive about not getting an insulin pump, as if someone suggesting it was insulting my T1D skills and my capability to take care of myself; I took it very personally. Along with that, I did not want to have something attached to me at all times, screaming, “Hey!! Look!! I have an auto-immune disease!”. I feared it would pin me as a walking advertisement displaying something I considered very personal, something that I did not share with many people. Type 1 Diabetes was consuming all of my mental and physical health, and after my first year of college I finally decided it was time.

Everything was set in place: the diabetes educator was coming in a week and I had my pump, CGM, and everything I needed placed in a neat stack on the kitchen table waiting to be opened. Every time I walked past that tiny tower that held my future health within its contents, a little jolt of excitement ran through my body. At some point I think the thrill and anticipation actually outweighed my nerves. And as that Saturday finally came around, it was time to come to terms with my long-term fear: wearing my disease as an accessory.

This meeting lasted almost three hours because there was so much new information to absorb, it was like learning my long-lived disease all over again. While I was overwhelmed at first, I couldn’t wait to be alone with my new device and learn everything about it. As soon as my CDE left, my parents and I went out to a celebratory lunch. While I did have separation anxiety from being without my insulin pens, my purse was a little lighter and the weight I had been carrying around for so many years was, too. The thrill of pressing a button, let me repeat that… ONE BUTTON, a few times to take my insulin brought me a rush of relief and happiness that I had been waiting for.

Within one month, my A1C went down to 7.1, a record low in all my seven years of having Type 1 Diabetes. It felt as though my hard work throughout all of those years had payed off, but I was just missing the second to last piece of the puzzle. My insulin pump has become my best friend and my dearest ally, giving me notifications when my blood sugar is high or low and calculating all my carbs for me. The transition process was a breeze, and I can’t imagine how I survived without it for all of those years. I have to check my blood sugar about as much as before, but I do not have to inject myself daily. While it was hard to adjust to the tubing and where I place my pump with certain outfits (click here to find out more about my favorite accessories), it has improved my health tremendously, making all of my previous concerns seem trivial. It is absolutely worth it.

Type 1 Diabetes does not conquer every piece of my mind and body anymore because my pump gives me more freedom, assurance, and security. I don’t feel as scared as I once was, and I am not in as much pain. My pump has allowed me to live a better and healthier life. It has opened doors for me in ways I couldn’t imagine, and it has filled me with hope. Experiencing this technology for the first time was breathtaking, making a cure actually seem achievable. I can’t wait to experience the day we find the final puzzle piece: a cure.

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