Woman, Independent Parent, Artist, Advocate, Artifical Pancreas.... and EVERYTHING in between.

I am blessed to be parenting two beautiful girls, ages eight and eleven. My youngest nearly lost her life at age six (August 2010) to diabetic ketoacidosis: an often fatal consequences of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. This is OUR journey: raw and sometimes, uncensored.

Thank you for visiting wishing good health and a cooperative pancreas to you and yours.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Refusing To Pump

Many of you know that my daughter Rowan was diagnosed as Type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetic 08/09/10. From day one in the hospital, everyone was talking about an insulin pump.

"All Hail the might insulin pump.... you're life will never be the same again!"

Well... if I almost lost my daughter to diabetic ketoacidosis last summer, I can assure you, NO MATTER WHAT life won't ever be the same. Regardless of what treatment method we use.

Since day one, I have had an aversion to this pump concept. I can't always articulate it, but I feel so intensely about it, my bones practically rattle around in my body when I just think about it.

Not alot of people can understand where I come from. Granted, alot of their family members wear the insulin pump, and if they see it as a Godsend, I'm never going to be able to persuade them to see my point of view. Well, maybe if they are very open-minded.

"Don't you want the best for your child?" I'm often asked when I announce that I am very anti-pump.

Are you kidding me???? Don't ask me stupid questions intended to manipulate me over to the "pump" perspective. If I truly did not care about the best interest in my child, I would have left them in an alleyway years ago. I haven't. Of course I want the best for my child(ren)... but where is it documented that the insulin pump IS in fact the best for my child?

When we were in BC Children's Hospital being trained to care for this newly diagnosed diabetic, there was a full sized cardboard cut out of Nick Jonas & his Omnipod insulin pump. How's that for manipulative advertising? Show a bunch of little girls Nick Jonas and his pump. Don't EVEN get me started!

Yes I am very passionate about the best interests of both my children. But this is indeed a single parent household, and I have to equate the best interests of all THREE of us into all equations, because if I don't watch out for my best interests also, then we'll have run this little wagon off the road and into the ditch.

No, I am not superimposing my "best wishes" for myself on this family unit. It's a fine balance of all three of us, and I have to consider that within every decision I make.

So here are my reasons that I will not likely EVER put my child on an insulin pump. Please note that I mean absolutely no disrespect anybody who is on a pump, or has a child on a pump. Diabetes, I am learning, is an individual experience. Much like trying to create a new foot path through dense and unfriendly thicket. I am, we are, walking territory that no one else will walk, because every family of a type 1 diabetic has to carve their own path. No two will ever be exactly alike.

Why I am against putting Rowan on an insulin pump:

  • Pump error. When I load her insulin cocktail into a syringe, and inject it into her precious little body... I KNOW exactly what just went inside her. I am CONFIDENT it is inside her as I was a key part of the process. Using syringes, I don't ever have to worry that the pump malfunctioned and dumped the entire insulin contents into her little body sending her into hypoglycemic shock (a guaranteed ambulance ride AND fancy-schmancy hospital stay! Thanks but NO THANKS)

  • Control. This is kind of covered by pump error, but another aspect of it. When I send my Grade one child to school, I already know that the insulin she needs is already in her system. I don't have to worry about her unplugging the pump (for whatever reason) and failing to put it back on.

  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis. I am still haunted by Rowan's ketoacidosis last summer when we nearly lost her. Statistics show that, for a variety of reasons, pump users are more inclined to experience diabetic ketoacidosis. We did that once.... I can't survive it again. And what if she isn't as fortunate to survive it the next time around?

  • Scar Tissue. The longer someone has been using an insulin pump, the more scar tissue they have developed, and the insulin is unable to be absorbed. After extended years of pumping, the effective spots for the insulin pump have been significantly decreased.

  • Pump Failure all it takes is some air bubbles, kinked tubing, or a disconnection of the tubing, and my sweet L'il girl wouldn't be receiving the insulin anyways. It would simply be trickling down her side. Once again.... when I inject it~ I *KNOW* it's in there, and if some has leaked out, I know that too.... right away. Without any hazard to her health.

  • Inserting the infusion set. I know, I know. Pumpers only have to infuse a pump every three days as opposed to multiple needles throughout the day. I don't know what size the catheter is on an infusion set, but my babe gets a 5mm syringe tip. Sometimes 4mm. It's in, it's out, we're done. It's not attached to her for three days in a row. Further, it took so much effort and patience to get Rowan accustomed to injections, I don't want to only have to wrestle her to the ground every three days for a new site. I sometimes wonder if the "blessing" of a couple of days reprieve might actually increase the trauma of the infusion. At least this way, when she gets "shot up" everyday, it's consistent. We know what's coming. There's no dread for her (or me) of "is this the day???" I'm also not confident with her acceptance of a catheter staying on her, in her all the time. I've heard alot of kids feel "normal" when on the pump. Really? I don't see how that can be, because when Rowan is finished getting an injection~ it's done. Out of sight, out of mind. I would assume that having a catheter on you 24/7 would be a very visible reminder of diabetes. If I can give my girl 8 hours of not thinking about it, then I will choose that everytime.

  • Emotional Trauma because once you've heard about the little boy who absolutely freaks out and drops into a panic attack everytime the word "site" comes up in conversation, I don't even want to imagine myself in that situation.

  • Costs (drum roll, puh-lease!) do I even have to expand on this point? Which by the way, is not at all the most convincing of reasons in my decision. But that being said, I can't help but touch on the fact that a pump costs in the range of $7000. Cartridges and infusion sets are far more expensive than our syringes and old fashioned vials.

But out of all of the reasons that I have listed as to why I won't likely ever put my child on an insulin pump is this: She doesn't want one. She's terrified of them. No one here is ready. We might never be. And that's alright by us. When was it decided that the invention of the insulin pump was the "second coming" of diabetic treatment?

I'm slightly nervous that this post might generate quite the comments. Maybe I'm just traumatized from the time I bashed peanut policies at school, and the outpouring of fury I received from peanut-allergy parents. So before you fire me off a heated or defensive comment, please try to remember that I respect YOUR choice to pump, I just ask that OUR choice be respected as well. After all~ if an insulin pump was the best treatment, wouldn't EVERY T1D be wearing one?

Until then.... syringes are my friend. Our friend! Her friend? Nah~ still don't think she's "friends" with the syringes as of yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment