When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, nearly 20 years go, I was offered an Insulin Pump.
My father even offered to help pay for one. But I declined.
I was scared. Newly diagnosed, I had a temendous amount to digest and process. And, at that time, there had been a few horror stories of pumps malifunctioning. People dying. Fucking scary shit, man.
Think I’ll take a pass on ALL of that. Thanks.
For a while I used syringes, then they switched me to Insulin Pens. But I was using those when I DKA’d and was left terrified of them, so switched back to syringes. For. A. Long. Time.
Then a few years ago, I switched back (again) to pens. And I have had a much better go with them this time around. Thankfully.
But having needle phobia makes giving myself injections slightly complicated. Regardless of whether I am using a syringe or pen. Every time. No matter what. I freak out…
Those freak outs can be quite varied:
1. The mild freak out – this happens more than any of them, it is my day-to-day. I throw a pen tip on my pen. I do my mathematical equations and come up with the magical number of units that will cover my meal, snack, correction – whatever the reason for the injection might be – then load up the pen. Then I wait. And maybe wait some more. Sometimes with my family all gathered around the table (I usually holler, go ahead and start!). Then I take a deep breath and rub the designated zone. Wait some more. And go for it.
Most times, it goes okay. Sometimes the site is no good. Sometimes the needle is no good. Sometimes it takes several attempts. Sometimes I get frustrated and walk away. Wait a few minutes and come back to it. Almsot every time, I get the sweats.
2. The not-so-mild freak out – this happens more frequently than I would like to admit, but I’m being honest. So. Yeah. I have some moments where I curse, throw the pen down on the counter and stomp away like a four year old pitching a fit. It isn’t pretty. But sometimes necessary.
3. The way-beyond-mild freak out – this happens. Not as much as the other two. Pretty rarely in fact, but it does happen. And it usually catches me off guard because I am under the impression things are going to go well. Then they don’t. When this freak out occurs I get the full-on sweats. Light headed. Nauseated. The works. It is close to a full blown panic attack. Thankfully, I have never fainted while trying to administer an injection. But I have come as close as you possibly can.
The freak outs cannot be cured. I saw a therapist who got me as far along the help train as possible. She told me when a freak out is on its way to just walk away. A few minutes delay (this is sounding like Diabetes by Dr. Seuss) isn’t going to cause me to DKA. Or a dramatic and immediate rise in glucose. She told me it was okay to just take a moment to breathe and revisit the entire situation. So that is how I have come to deal with the whole needle phobia bit.
Insulin Pumps have come along way since they first arrived on the scene. Even since I was first offered one two decades ago. And again since my last attempt to go on one…
A few years ago I started up at a new clinic. I really liked it; the nurses and educators were fantastic. That’s where I met my therapist. She was a phsycologist whose focus was people with Type 1. She was a great sounding board for all of my dia-worries but also helped tremendously with my anxiety. More than any other therapist (and there have been a few) ever did.
Side note: when we moved last year, I lost her as part of my team. And that continues to be part of my daily struggles. Because I have not yet been able to get a referral to a new therapist. Instead, I have been (over-)sharing my struggles on my social media accounts (sorry not sorry). And that has helped me a lot. More than I thought it could.
Back to my journey to Pump-dom. While at that clinic we initiated the months long process to a government funded pump. But 2/3 of the way through there was a hiccup. A cervical cancer/multiple surgery/terrible infection followed by pneumonia hiccup. And it completely derailed the pump process.
Which super sucked. Because it left me feeling totally defeated diabetes-wise. Not to mention, it all took place during a super scary life moment. Basically it was a total shit storm that left me feeling less than motivated. And instead found me resign myself to the evil (MDI) I knew.
Happy enough to just be around.
Not interested in making any kind of change.