Friday, April 8, 2011

She's more Machine than Man now . . .

That's right folks. I have officially begun my foray into Robot-dom.

I've been pumping & CGM-ing for a week!

My insurance ended up approving everything (at the standard 80/20 Durable Medical Equipment benefit cost, of course), and I received my Animas Ping in the mail about two weeks ago. Our total costs ended up being $300 for my Continuous Glucose Monitor (the Dexcom) with a months worth of sensors , and $750 for my Insulin pump + 3 months of supplies (infusion sets & tubing/reservoirs). The $750 would have been about $1400, but we got $650 in credit for sending them my old MiniMed 508 pump. Cha-ching. (Side not: can you believe $1400 represents only 20% of the total cost of that pump! Those things are expensive!) Of course, I'll still have continuous costs for sensors, insulin, and infusion sets & reservoirs, but in all I'd say approximately $1000 in start-up costs is better than most pumpers/CGM-ers probably have it!

Last Friday, I went to my endocrinologist for my official pump-start day! It was so exciting! And so incredibly easy! I thought they would be training me on both the pump & the CGM, but my endo's PA (who does all the training) said she was only a certified trainer for the pump and that I'd have to call Dexcom to set up a training with one of their trainers if I wanted it. Then she said that most of their patients actually just end up starting the dexcom themselves because they system is so easy you can just figure it out yourself. So, that's what I did! And she was right! It was SO easy to start!

So, after a week of both pumping & CGM-ing, here is my take on both:

Animas Ping Pump
I love this pump! I haven't been pumping in quite some time, so I have never used all the bolus calculators before but I LOVE that my pump does all the math for me now! And I also love that it calculates Insulin-On-Board (see "recent developments" section of this Wiki Article for explanation)! I did not have that feature in my 508! And I love that I can dose right from my meter, too. So easy! And the Animas Inset infusion set is awesome. It is much less painful for me than the Softsets I was using before, and I don't need IV3000 tape to keep it down, so the amount of space it takes up on my stomach is a lot smaller. Also, I'm not allergic to the adhesive! I was totally allergic to the soft-set adhesive and my skin would get all red and itchy every time I used it. So far, this has been like heaven on earth.

Also, and less importantly so, I think the Ping is much sexier. I like the look, feel & design of it more than other pumps out there, and that is important to me when choosing something I'm going to be attached to 24 hrs. a day. Shallow? Maybe.

Dexcom CGM
This little piece of machinery was SO easy to set up! I was nervous, because the sensor inserter was a little intimidating and scary (with the longest needle I have ever seen!), but it didn't hurt at all! I haven't even been able to feel the sensor in me at all this entire week, either. It took about a day and a half for the sensor to get used to my interstitial fluid, but after about 30 hours it was spot on. And even in those initial 30 hours it was spot on with the direction my blood glucose was trending. I have now worn it a full 7 days, and I LOVE it! The adhesive has only been itchy once or twice, and has stayed on really well, no need for any extra taping or anything! I think I could probably get away with wearing it several more days (many Dexcom users use there's for 14 days or more), but I think I won't try to do that with my very first sensor. I want to see what my skin looks like underneath, and how bad the needle poke hole is before I decide if I will try to get more days out of my sensor in the future.

So, that's where we are. I'm still getting my basal/bolus/correction ratios all figured out, and that has been a little frustrating. I've been high a LOT the past week, and have been drinking water & peeing like crazy. (No Ketones, though!) I know once my endo & I get these rates figured out, things will be MUCH better, though. So, even with the crappy highs this week, this has been an extremely pleasant, heartening and hopeful diabetes experience!

And finally, I was going to post a picture of my stomach showing you my new robot-accessories, but after seeing a photo of my own stomach, I decided that was NOT something that was forever going to be emblazoned on the fiber optics of the the world wide web for eternity. So, just envision two plastic-y things taped to either side of my belly button, one of which has a tube coming from it running to a beeper-like thing on my hip. :) You can enjoy THAT mental image now. Trust me, it's better than the real thing.