Thursday, May 24, 2007

The search for a pump - part 1

I've been on multiple injections since my diagnosis and each endo I've spoken with thinks it would be a great move for me to go on the pump. I'm constantly fighting lows after I work out and basically need to make sure that my blood sugar is around 250 if I'm going to run and 200 if I'm going to lift. A 30 minute run drops my blood sugar about 170 points and a hard lift drops my bs about 120 points. Since I'm determined to have this disease affect my daily activity as little as possible I've done a ton of research on pumps. The big advantage is that they offer more flexibility in how you receive insulin. A lantus shot (long acting insulin) will be in your system for 24 hours and the more you work out the better the insulin will work. A pump uses short acting insulin which will leave my system in 3 to 4 hours. Also the pump allows me to slow down the insulin delivery so that less insulin is in my system prior to my exercise helping to avoid a massive carb load before the gym.

What I've learned - they all pretty much do the same thing but the level of customer service and style of pump is vastly different. However, for someone who studies efficency, profitability and business improvements for a living my research has been extremly frustrating. I can't believe the lack of technology in the pumps and have to completly agree with Amy Tenderich and her letter to Steve Jobs. For example, the omnipod (only wireless pump) is a fantastic idea but why not make software for a palm pilot to drive the device rather than create your own PDA - just another thing for diabetics to carry around. The minimed paradigm has both a remote and constant glucose monitor but neither really adds value to the pump. The remote only gives you the ability to add a bolus shot or suspend the pump - if the pump spoke back to the remote and allowed for actual programming it would add real value. So I left my diabetic educator's office more frustrated at the lack of technology than excited about the possibilities.

That evening as I gave myself a bolus for dinner I thought it would be really nice just to hit a couple buttons rather than lift my shirt and prick myself. I got over my frustrations with the lack of technology and contacted Medtronic (Minimed), Insulet (Omnipod) and Animas (2020). Medtronic and Animas both wanted to meet me privatley while Insulet simply offered to e-mail me the forms to see if my insurance would pay for their device. That simple difference took the omnipod out of the running (plus I'm not sold on their design). I spoke with both the Minimed and Animas reps at length on the phone and set up meetings for the following day. By the time I got home from work that evening I received 2 e-mails from other Animas employees, one who is a marthon runner and the other is on the board with DESA. Danielle, the rep from Animas knew I was concerned with athletics and my pump so she wanted to get me as much information as possible.

The meetings with each rep were fairly similar but I felt like Animas really wanted to help me live a full life with diabetes where Medtronic just wanted my business. When I asked the rep from Medtronic why she would choose the Paradigm 522 over Animas she stated "we've been around the longest, are the biggest and have sold the most so we must be the best." The Animas rep answered that question with "We're always trying to improve and Johnson & Johnsons acquisition will only help us, over 90% of the employees at Animas have diabetes and Mr. Universe wears our product, plus if you purchase an Animas pump you become part of our family." With the e-mails I had received the previous night and the hour long conversation I had with the marathoner I truly believed her. By the next morning she got back to me and offered a loaner so I could try out a pump - one of my main concerns was wearing the thing at work and at work outs.

So today I have my loaner Animas 2020 pump in - I love the interface and its actually alot more comfortable than I thought it would be. Unfortunetley the infusion site (Inset by Unomedical) fell out when I was doing speed intervals on the treadmill. I'm going to talk to the marathoner and see if there is a way around this besides surgical tape. While I see the benefits of the pump I'm not 100% sold that the infusion sites will be durable enough for work outs - I wish the pump could screw into something in my skin that was just replaced once a year, but for now I'm going to have to find tape that's strong enough!

1 comment:

SkiRough said...

Welcome to the dark side. :) Can I link to ya?