Friday, April 28, 2006

insulin pump minimed 508 - aka 'philip'

This is the insulin pump that I have! I think it is great, and so useful, especially with the life that I lead.

Insulin pumping is something that many people have thought of but few take the steps toward getting one. I would just say to try it, Minimed is incredibly supportive of the individual and working out what the needs of that person are. They will guide you through everything and you will have your own personal expert that will be there if you need to ask any questions. Of course feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you promptly.

I didn't get an insulin pump when I was first diagnosed, in fact I only got one 2 years after that first diagnosis. I was the first female teenager in the whole of Wiltshire, UK to have an insulin pump, and now I know that there are many more people that have one. My reason for changing to an insulin pump was that having had very poor control for the previous years my mum researched into a better way of maintaining control. She came across the insulin pump through reading the diabetes magazines and went from there.

When I was first hooked up to the insulin pump I had no worries about being attached to it for that long, as I knew that it was going to change my life. I did however become quite conscious of the insulin pump being there, and even thought about designing a whole line of clothes with pockets to put it in. It was this fear of people thinking I was abnormable and asking too many questions that got me stuck in 40 degree C heat with a cardigan on just to cover it up. It was after that incident that I experimented with having my insulin pump on show. I realised that the pump made me individual and that even if you get a few looks people think its a pager or they will be really interested to know what it is. Many people have never even heard of these things before. My close friends and family don't even notice that I am wearing it any more and it hasn't got in the way at all.

I think my family were really great in helping me to be less self-conscious. So if you are a parent out there, my advice would be just to let them figure it out for themselves. My mum never really commented on my insulin pump, only was concerned with my sugar levels. She certainly never told me I was stupid to wear a thick cardigan in 40 deg C heat, I learnt from the error of my ways and only from your own learning can you realise and continue to live with your issues. Although this does mean I have made some really big mistakes and neglected my health for a while, I have now become really strict with my health and keeping a close eye on my sugar levels.

I also call my insulin pump Philip. This is particularly useful and fun! I also had a pump called Paul but he was just a temporary. It makes talking about the insulin pump a lot easier with friends and family and makes you feel less embarrassed or ill. Both my names began with a P so that it could be Philip the Pump!

But my advice for those people who have not yet made the step into wearing the insulin pump with pride would be this:
- At the moment in the shops you can buy loads of different really long tops that will cover up the insulin pump.
- Buy lots of knee length skirts and put the insulin pump in a Tubigrip on your thigh. I find that these are really great, then no one sees any tubes or pump!
- Put it in a pocket on your trousers.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Diabetes and Me - My Story

Hey Alissa here! That is a picture of me on the right there on holiday in France last month, it was lovely!

Having had diabetes for almost 8 years now, you would think that I would have gotten to a complete and utter control, but the fact is that I haven't! I have found it really very difficult to control my sugar levels, and even harder over the last year, my first year of university.

I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 11, two weeks into my first year of secondary school. I was put onto 2 injections a day, which seemed to suit me fine at the time. (Of course at 11 there weren't really any hormones and there was a strict routine!) But after two years of 2 injections and increasingly poor health my mother decided that we needed to find a more suitable option for me. She found out about Minimed via the internet, and after some serious research and trials with our local health authorities I was given an insulin pump. I was used to it after a week, and seemed to know exactly what to do.

Over the next few years I would experience some harrowing doctors advice, one of which told me that I would die if I didn't sort out my sugar levels. This is because of one thing that we would never have counted upon - with the freedom that is given by an insulin pump, the less you feel restricted, the less you feel like you have diabetes, and therefore the lazier you get. It seemed to be a slippery slope down (or I should say up as my blood sugar levels were rising!) into poorer health. The thing is the worse your levels become the harder it is to get them back to normal again, because your body gets used to all the extra sugar. I would love to blame lack of proper support from my local medical authorities, but really it all comes down to how much effort you put in to make you feel 100%.

Anyway, so I am currently at the stage of working out exactly what it is that I need to do in my life currently to make things work for me, but that is an entirely different post, and I need to go and check my blood sugar level. So bye-bye for now!


Juvenile Diabetes

Welcome to this blog all about juvenile diabetes! I have had diabetes for almost 8 years now, so I should be able to answer most questions that you may have. Currently a student at the University of Winchester, I do not let my life be taken over by diabetes, and certainly strive to make each day better and better!