Taking a pumpcation

January 11, 2024
Cydney Willenbring
Kansas State University
Cydney is a student at Kansas State University, majoring in dietetics and minoring in mass communication. She has had Type 1 Diabetes for 7 years, is currently the co-president of her campus’s Link Chapter. She hopes to one day become a dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) and continue advocating for all those affected by diabetes. In her free time, she enjoys doing anything that gets her outside, getting coffee with friends, and perusing Pinterest.

Three days, two ineffective infusion sites, and a few tears later, I was not happy with some of the things that come along with wearing my pump. I was frustrated with diabetes in general. Wasn’t this little device supposed to be making my life easier? I decided I needed a break. Maybe going back to multiple daily injections (MDI) would make me realize how much I appreciated my pump. Or perhaps I would end up liking MDI better this time. Either way, I knew I needed a change. It was time for a pump break, or, as I’ve heard it called before, a “pumpcation.” While I (unfortunately) can’t take a vacation from diabetes altogether, I knew a little trip away from the pump would be a good change of pace I was ready to not have my little device attached to me 24/7. And so, off went the pump, and in came the shots. 

But before a pump break can begin, several logistics must be considered. As I disconnected, I realized my pump had been doing everything for me, so I needed a little reminder of my insulin-to-carb ratios for each meal as well as what my long-acting basal dose would be. I gave my diabetes team a call, and they helped me figure it all out. Additionally, MDI require both long-acting and fast-acting insulin, needles, alcohol wipes, and potentially other supplies, so it is important to make sure you either have everything on hand before disconnecting from your pump. While not using your pump, you also need to be much more mindful with carrying around your supplies. I remember showing up to high school one day and realizing I had left mine at home – talk about nightmare fuel! Thankfully, I realized I had an extra kit in the nurse’s office that would suffice for the day. Once you’ve got these logistics down, you’re good to go!

It wasn’t too long into my break that I realized how much I missed my pump. Yes, there were some things about MDI that I preferred. I enjoyed not having to be connected to a device at all times. I didn’t have to deal with changing my site every three days and being scared that it would hurt when I put the next one in. I could trust that each shot was delivering the insulin I needed. But overall, I felt like I had better control of my diabetes while I was wearing my pump. It was more convenient for me, and despite the painful sites every now and then, the majority of my sites are painless. So, I decided to end my pumpcation and return to the pump.

Diabetes takes a toll on us – both physically and mentally. It’s important that we listen to our bodies and our minds and make the decision that is best for ourselves. If you are feeling burnout or ready for a change, I suggest talking to your care team about whether taking a break from your pump might be the right decision for you.  The treatment that someone else prefers might not be the one for you, and that is okay! You know yourself best. So, whether that is MDI or your pump, discuss it with your doctor and choose the option that will make you the happiest and healthiest!

Thank you to Medtronic Diabetes for sponsoring this blog post!

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