January 31, 2005


Just waiting, waiting, waiting now. My pump was supposed to ship today, but I'm not sure whether it really did.

The only thing I can think of that this feeling reminds me of is half my lifetime ago, when I was waiting for the day I would leave home to go to college. It's a similar combination of excitement and trepidation, a similar anticipation of big big change. Going to college was more all-encompassing, of course. But then again, diabetes is (for me, for now) so all-encompassing that starting the pump feels rather comparable in scope. Life-changing and all that. Or so I hope.

January 28, 2005

Name That Pump!

Pursuant to the post below, and also to get it off the top of my blog :) I thought I would say a bit about my pump-naming aspirations. It seems to me that I'll need to meet my pump before naming it, but the current front-runner is Jamie. What child of the 1970s could forget the beautiful, intrepid Jamie Sommers, television's own Bionic Woman? (Actually, her name was spelled Jaime, but I'm adapting it because I once knew a Jaime--and he was a Latino guy, not a bionic chick...) Anyhow, it seems appropriate for a soon-to-be bionic woman to name her pump after THE Bionic Woman.

Also high on the list, on a very-different-yet-somehow-the-same note, is Brigit. This one is borrowed from Celtic mythology. Brigit is a Triple Goddess; her three aspects include creativity, fertility/healing, and battle (especially the creation of weapons). Wow, talk about a powerful female archetype. I am most impressed with how Brigit brings together such divergent aspects of femininity. I like how this name would link my pump with qualities to which I personally aspire. Well, not so much the weapon making...but you get the idea. Strength.

I also really dig the name Audrey, as well as the most famous Audrey I can think of, Audrey Hepburn (and the less famous Audrey Toutou, who is often compared to the former). So I've thrown that on the list as well.

Nominations for other pump names are welcome...

I'm Too Sexy for My Pump, part 1

I say “part 1” because this is a Big Huge Issue for me, and it will be an ongoing one as I continue down the pumping path. It’s difficult to write about. Body image stuff is hard for everyone I know who has been brave enough to acknowledge it out loud. I’m no different.

For me, the biggest challenge in starting the pump is that it feels--at least for now, pre-start--disruptive of my sense of myself as a woman. Well, in certain ways. I fully embrace the notion that there are many ways to be feminine, or masculine, or both, and any given person can embody those energies in positive ways that are highly individual. What I’m referring to is a very personal sense of femininity, my own deal. YMMV and I hope it does, as variety is part of what makes us humans so cool.

I’m fairly girlie. I like long, flowy fabrics and stuff with lace. I’m a skirt-wearing chick. There are a variety of reasons for this, and I go other directions at certain times. It’s not about buying into a traditional viewpoint on gender at all. It’s about what speaks to me aesthetically and what feels authentic, more like my true self, if that makes sense. It’s how I feel most attractive, a primal thing really.

Enter the pump. Oh dear. It is just not an inherently feminine creature. It can be cute (see the Cozmo) or cool (see the Animas) or just kinda there (see the Minimed, my choice). It can, happily, be many colors (mine will be purple). But it cannot be girlie. It just isn’t. The infusion set is not a lovely thing. The tubing ain’t pretty either. Indeed, these aspects of the pump have an expressly ungirlie feeling to me. They medicalize the body in a way that I’m finding difficult to reconcile myself with.

Happily, there are many, many practical and spiritual counterpoints to this problem. I have found at least 8 websites that feature pump accessories, some handmade and quite creative, to dress up and/or conceal the pump. I’ll be doing that at least some of the time. And you can, of course, disconnect from the pump for sex. But I’m more concerned with the overall picture, how I feel about my self-image when I’m wearing the pump, as opposed to sex itself. A cyberpal on the Salon Table Talk forum Pins and Needles pointed out, when I raised this question in a tongue-in-cheek way, that anybody with good BG control is much more likely to “sparkle,” hence to feel and look sexy. This seems quite true.

I’m working at revising and reframing my sense of the pump as ungirlie. One helpful aspect of my situation is that I have an inherently female motivation in starting on the pump, which is that I want to obtain the best possible control in order to eventually, I hope, have a healthy baby and be a healthy mama. Can’t get much more feminine than that in my book. Hence my pump will indeed embody female energy for me, as it will help me on my journey to motherhood. So I am thinking of it in a personifying way, as a powerful female entity, and I am planning to give it a name that reflects this energy. (Kinda New Agey, I know, but names hold such power.)

Beyond that, I’m still at a loss. I see this as evolving issue that’s sure to change once I actually start the pump.

Delay and Irony

My start date has been moved to 2/16, boo. I was aiming for 2/7, but I’m doing some cross-country travel that week, which makes hooking myself up to a life-sustaining electronic device for the first time not such a good idea. The pump is supposed to ship on Monday, so I’ll have it for quite a while before I start using it.

Weirdly, since ordering the pump I’ve had my most stable blood sugars yet. This may be because my clinic switched me to Novolog, which seems to do well in my system. But I’m bemused that having invested in a major (and not at all cheap) lifestyle change in pursuit of good control, I’m now getting…good control. Huh.

January 25, 2005


If all goes as planned, I'll be starting in 13 days. I had quite a flurry of excitement while I was researching pumps and choosing the right one for me (Minimed Paradigm 515). I was even irritated over having to wait a Whole Three Weeks for my pump start.

Now I feel differently. I'm still up for it, etc., but I'm a little bit wigged out. The name of this blog notwithstanding, I know that pumping isn't gonna be a freakin paradise. I'm not sure I have the energy for another major lifestyle change, following so closely on the heels of the diagnosis, which was 3 months ago this week. Last week, I was sure that I did have that energy, and I imagine that next week I will be again. But today, hmm.

The thing is, it's still diabetes, period. I can't research or purchase myself out of it. Ever. And that, on harder days, is more than a little depressing.

I've gone through a gradual transition at work, letting certain people know as needed about my disease. It's gone okay, mostly, and I think I'm ready for the sometimes-more-visible aspects of the pump. But still I'm afraid. It takes a lot of energy--there's that word again--to talk with people about diabetes. There's enough misinformation out there that the conversation is usually mainly a series of corrections: "Well, I'm sure you'll be able to control it through diet and exercise, that's what my mom does." Actually, no... "You're too thin to have diabetes!" Well, you see... And so on. Which I do NOT mean to sound like sour grapes. People are kind and concerned, which I appreciate very much. And on the flip side, there are a hell of a lot of diseases I know nothing about. It's just the energy it takes, as an introverted person, to talk openly about something so close to my inner self. It's like doing a striptease in the office kitchen.

I guess the gist of all this rambling is that I've opened myself to what are, for me right now, a whole new set of unknowns. And while I'm trying to be brave, I have plenty of qualms. Ack.

January 21, 2005


Soon I'll be depending on a machine to keep me alive. Scary thought? Yes and no. Sure, I identify with the pumper's nightmare: the gizmo malfunctions while you're asleep, doesn't alarm or the alarm doesn't wake you up, and 8 hours later you have DKA. Happily, pumps have many safeguards to keep that nightmare in the world of bad dreams where it belongs. But to be sure that I can deal with pump stoppage at any given time, I'll be toting around backup batteries, a spare infusion set, and a syringe (plus my trusty BG meter, of course) wherever I go for--well, assuming I like the pump, for the rest of my life. Wow. Bound to technology for decades (I hope) to come.

Then again, diabetes has already made me dependent on a lot of things. I already tote stuff everywhere I go--that meter, my insulin, pen needles or syringes, glucose tabs. I already need every one of those things to stay alive, or at least to stay out of the hospital. What's one more?

There's a certain comforting safety, though, in multiple daily injections. I know them well, even after just a few months. I do the measuring; I do the shooting. I know the insulin enters my body. On the pump, I'll be trusting gadgetry that I can't see. I'll be trusting engineers and manufacturing workers I've never met. But the illusion that I have complete control over my health is something diabetes has already taken from me. Going on the pump is just an extension of that experience.

And in other ways, going on the pump is actually all about reclaiming some of that lost control. Yeah, I'll be dependent on a machine. But that machine has capabilities that will empower me to control my diabetes in ways I can't imagine with injections. Once I'm trained, I'll be the manager of a sophisticated network of dosing options that I can adapt to any situation. I'll be able to reclaim some of the freedom I've had to give up--freedom of scheduling and food choices, for example. And I'll be safer from hypoglycemia and, I hope, complications.

More dependent? Maybe. But also less.

Welcome to Pumplandia!

Well, there's a lot I don't know about blogging. And I'm not actually a very public person, so this feels a little unnatural. But I'm on an interesting journey into the world of insulin pumping, so I'm going to work against my natural introversion in the hopes of sharing some worthwhile thoughts and hearing those of others. This is where I'll post my experiences as I get started on the pump--frustrations, victories, anxieties, resources, and the like.

I was diagnosed with type 1 in October 2004. The past few months have a been a whirlwind of changes. I've learned a lot about diabetes in that time, and I've quickly become convinced that for me, the insulin pump will be the best way to take care of myself and have a life as close to what I would hope to have were I not saddled with this disease. But that means another complicated transition--another new way of life. I'll be starting, I hope, in the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I'll post thoughts about the pump, resources I've found online, and my many worries here. I would love to hear from pumpers and prospective pumpers!