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The Disconnect.

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.I don't miss filling these every week.  Blech. 

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." 

Click.

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.

Comments

I wrote the same kind of post today. Brendon was so relieved to get his pump back.

Everything you just said describes exactly how I feel when I need a bolus of more then 25 units and have to use the pen instead of the pump. After 2 years of being on the pump, my skin can't handle the shots anymore like they used to be ableto.

I've had a couple of short pump vacations in the last 5+ years that I've been pumping, and I feel exactly the same way.

Well said, as always.

No offense intended Kerri, as you say different things for different people, but I'd like to suggest that if anyone else, like me, uses a pen and is on Lantus&Humalog (or similar), and if you're doing anywhere near 11 injections a day, something is badly wrong - go see your diabetes care team.

Kerri, Great site! You may have mentioned it in previous entries, but have you ever thought about trying the OmniPod? Keep up the good work!

Paul - None taken. :) The deal with the Lantus/Humalog injection festival was that I was eating every two hours or so, experiencing some crazy dawn phenomenon highs, and taking the nightly Lantus shot, which equaled out to about 9 - 11 shots per day. My A1c was good and my blood sugars were solid (but not without issue), but they stayed manageable because I was taking these tiny doses all day long to keep things straight.

I did call my diabetes care team. They suggested a pump. :) And the rest is (my) diabetes history.

While I'm totally envious of those on a pump, I have to admit the insertion devices scare me a little. I do, however, get very annoyed at being a human pincushion! Taking a shot for such small doses cause me to skip the meal rather than take the shot.

P.S. Glad you had a great time on your trip! Rafting is definately a blast!

Keri, couldn't agree with you more - had a similar post myself this morning. Although I never received a wet 5 from a cat when I got sick of shots I have been smiling alot more with my pump.

The insertion device is a little scary at first, but I am lost without it. It hurts far less than I ever assumed it would.

I have some photos on this post of the infusion device and the needles. Maybe seeing it all up close will help alleviate some fears?

Thanx for the link Kerri. You're right, the needle doesn't look nearly as large and scary as I imagined.

I guess like anything, you have to try to know. I know it took me 30 minutes before I could give myself my first shot, and they aren't nearly as bad as I anticipated.

Kerri, I can't believe you made it that long. It took me less than month to realize that 6-9 shots a day was for the birds. I called Medtronic and it was a done deal. Pumping rules and it should only get better as time goes on.

When I had my pump hiatus I was also taking around 10 shots a day, at least. Partly because I'm bad at making decisions (haha), especially ahead of time, committing to exactly what I wanted to eat. So each meal/snack would usually involve 2-3 shots. Plus frequent mini-meals/snacks, plus correction boluses, etc. And that was still way less often and precise than pump boluses.

I am so happy to have my pump back. Just out of curiosity, I checked and I average around 17-18 (small) boluses a day.

I have had a few unscheduled pump vacations lately and am always relieved to get back on the pump. It is an amazing feeling, though, to be a "real boy" (or girl in my case :) ) like Pinocchio with no strings attached. I guess the Omnipod helps but still I look forward to the day when I don't have to be a bionic woman anymore.

Thanks for the reminder of why I choose the pump everyday. It's been 6 years that I've been on the pump and frankly, I'd kind of forgotten the reality of how it was before. I may not always love the pump but I know that I ALWAYS like it better than shots. Thanks for helping me remember that fact.

I take 4 to maybe 5 shots a day which includes my Lantus before bed. If I ever had to do 11 or more shots a day, I would definetly choose the pump. So, I'm wondering for future reference, why did you have to do that many shots in a day. I read your comment but don't have a full understanding. Thanks!

I feel you Kerri! I really hate shots, not because of the needles but because of the inconvenience. I love the freedom of not having to lug around a coldpack with insulin and supplies, or being able to eat with friends on the spur of the moment without having to go home and get my insulin. Yea pump!

That is an incredibly vivid description of what diabetes is like.

I hope you will think of going to PostieCon, the conference for bloggers interested in making money with their blogs. That sort of writing would be in demand.
http://www.postiecon.com/

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