I do not like needles.
The feeling of the tip of a needle against my skin makes me cringe a little bit. Having blood drawn makes me sick to my stomach and very light-headed. Even watching shots being administered on TV causes my fear to prickle.
I'm a big baby.
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, injections were our weapon of choice. I started out with one injection of Regular and NPH in the morning. Time progressed and I tried out all kinds of insulins: Regular, NPH, Lente, UltraLente, Lantus, Humalog, synthetic and animal varieties ... you name it, I shot it up. I went from one shot a day to two, then to three, and so on.
When I was 24 years old and using a Lantus/Humalog regimen, I realized I had hit an average of 11 shots per day. It wasn't that I was taking a ton of insulin, but I was taking eensy doses all day long. My arms were peppered with bruises. The scartissue in my thighs causes my little doses to leak. I had dozens of coffee cans with used syringes stashed in them underneath my kitchen sink, taped tight with duct tape and regularly disposed of at the local CVS sharps drop-off.
There was one night when something inside of me broke in two piece and I felt my fear and my strength mix together like sands in a timer. I had taken my ninth injection of the day. The needle caught slightly in my arm and a hot, red drop of blood spilled out immediately after I pulled back the needle. I wiped the blood with my finger - it smelled like the dentist's office, letting me know that some of what I just injected had leaked out.
"I'm done." I announced to no one in particular. Abby strolled by and gave my hand a lick in acknowledgement. This hot rage built up inside of me and I threw the syringe against the television screen.
"I am DONE!" I screamed with all the power in my lungs. Cell phone in hand, I dialed my doctor's number, leaving her a crazy message at ten-thirty on a Sunday night.
"I am tired of shots. I am sick and tired of them. I want to start on an insulin pump. I can't deal with this anymore." Hearing the frantic pitch in my voice, I caught hold of my composure. "Um, this is Kerri Morrone. If you could return my call at your earliest convenience, that would be nice."
That was almost four years ago. And over the last four years, I've had pinched cannulas, kinked tubing, and air bubbles. I've felt frustrated by being tethered to a machine. The damn cat has chewed through the tubing and tossed me up high. Sometimes I have no idea how to wear it. Sometimes I'm tangled in every possible way.
But after last week's pump vacation, I realized that choosing pump therapy was one of the best decisions I've made in my diabetes management. Despite all the frustrations, shots just don't cut it for me. After disconnecting and reverting back to Lantus, my skin immediately remembered how to recoil from a needle and how to bruise up with a vengance. I realized how easy it is to forget that Lantus shot. I recalled how frustrating it is for me to take a dozen shots a day, totalling no more than 30 units. Toting around insulin pens, making sure my bottles of insulin stay cool, and seeing those orange syringe caps making appearances on my kitchen counter - these are not things I missed.
I'm not of the mentality that pumping is better than injections. Different therapies work for different people, so I'm all for whatever keeps you healthiest. But for me, pumping is the way I need to roll. My sugars stay steadier, I'm able to administer precise eensy doses, and I don't have to whip out a needle every few hours.
One needle every four days versus eleven times per day is the kind of ratio I can handle.