“Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots! Everyyyybodyyy!!”

(Thank me later for getting that LMFAO classic stuck in your head.)

May 6 will mark six months since my return to multiple daily injections (MDI), or, as I like to say, “shots.”  Let’s call it like it is, people.  It’s sticking a needle in your arm, butt, back, stomach, leg many times per day to deliver life-sustaining medication.  It is not a cure, but it gives us life each day.

At a recent doctor’s appointment I proclaimed, “This rollercoaster isn’t working.  I need to return to the pump!”

To which my doctor countered, “And you told me the same thing about the pump before you went back on shots, Ally!”

I responded with a stunned face that only a googley-eyed emoticon can convey.  My doctor was right.  Diabetes is not as simple as insulin pump versus shots versus Afrezza versus whatever floats your boat.

If I have learned anything in the past six months, it is just how different everyone’s diabetes is and just how different our treatment methods may be- whether out of personal choice or simply out of necessity.  I’ll give another plug for Spare a Rose here: Most of us in the #doc are blessed to have any access to insulin, never mind the added bonus of having some flexibility in treatment options.

With that said, I know I seem like a broken record about the insulin pump.  I want to set things straight here once and for all, while providing an update about my shots journey for those who may be interested.

Insulin pumps, when functioning optimally, are amazing devices.  Going on the pump in high school opened up a whole new world to me.  My parents breathed a sigh of relief that I could enjoy being a dorky kid with a bit more freedom back then.  There are things that I miss immensely about insulin pumping: fine-tuning insulin doses, temporary basals, basal adjustments in one minute flat, carb-count/correction factor/insulin on board “wizards,” stability in blood sugar values on the good days.

If the pump works for you without many issues, all the more power to you. I want you to use whatever makes you feel healthy and happy- the same goals that I want for myself. In my rare case, going on shots had to serve that immediate interest in order to save my health. Do what works for you.

You can achieve a healthy lifestyle on shots, but it is more of a clunky, awkward sort of dance.  Once that Lantus is injected, it’s there for the day.  On Friday, my pancreas decided to rev up a notch (sarcasm), and for some odd reason I could not get my blood sugar to rise all day despite having taken the same dose of Lantus that I take every single day and hardly bolusing Humalog.  I force-fed myself almost all of the leftover Easter candy to no avail.  Good Lord did I miss the temp basal feature of the pump then! I longed for the personalized touches of modern technology that brick and mortar insulin injections simply do not afford.

I would ultimately like to ease into an “untethered” regimen of background Lantus in case of pump failures coupled with insulin pump usage again. However, this is quite complex, and we are not quite there with the shots yet. More details need to be worked out in terms of my basal and bolus plans. We are not settled into our comfort zone at this time, but we will get there.  For now, we are enjoying the fact that insulin is getting into my body without technological glitches causing ketones each day, a freedom that I will never take for granted again.

Many topnotch brainiac doctors have looked into my pump issues. We know that the product did not work for me personally. But we also know that a pump-centric solution has not yet been provided. Right now, we do not need to add another factor to the equation. We’ll give shots a shot (see what I did there?) for another few months, at least.

I find myself daydreaming about a cure so often now: the party on the tropical island with the entire #doc; the sugary drinks consumed without having to stop and bolus- whether that be via insulin pump or shots; the happy kind of tears.

As a child when that elusive diabetes cure was “ten years away” (cue inside diabetic joke laughter), my father used to tell us about the enormous cure party we would have. There would be a table in the middle of the front yard with a sledgehammer on it. We would smash my blood glucose meter, syringes, and other diabetes supplies into tiny pieces to signify victory over a vindictive disease.

The sentiment was well-intentioned, although today I must admit that I laugh a bit at that particular daydream. If I were cured tomorrow, all of those diabetes supplies would immediately be donated to people who needed them in the interim. The supplies have nobler uses than being crushed by a sledgehammer.

We should be thankful for the supplies that we have keeping us alive right now. If an insulin pump does its job for you, perfect. If Afrezza is your drug of choice, inhale away. If shots suit you better, go for it. However you choose to do so, just fight the good fight until there is a cure.

Please keep those cure daydreams alive by continuing to advocate so well. #weneedacure

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4 thoughts on ““Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots! Everyyyybodyyy!!”

  1. RapidCalc = the “carb-count/correction factor/insulin on board wizard” that nobody tells you about when you switch back to shots! No kidding, this app works even better for me than the actual bolus wizard on a pump because it has a couple added features that the pumps dont, like the “predicted exercise bolus reductions”, the “you’ve had a low in the last few hours and need to adjust accordingly” feature, and you get to input your very own IOB rates (not just hours, but the actual % per hour!) which is a little tricky at first, but with a few days of watching a CGM its reasonably easy to fine tune. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rapidcalc-diabetes-manager/id400469609?mt=8

    I don’t think there’s an android version out there yet, but if you don’t have an iphone already, it runs fine on an ipod touch (which is what I use) and you can snag those pretty cheap these days (well, cheap if you consider the cost of a pump instead!). Between the Dexcom and this app, my control is BETTER than it was on a pump (on days that I pay attention, some mental effort still required). Although I would LOVE to get my temp basal and extended bolus options back, this app is the best thing since sliced bread, and I would actually argue that its better than a pump because its way more accessible and gives you a lot more power with a lot less hassle. The effort-to-results ratio is much better with this than with a pump. Sure, pumping can be amazing, but it takes a lot of effort and supplies, and being on top of things. CGM+RapidCalc = decent results with minimal added effort.

    Although I haven’t tried it yet, I understand that ManageBGL takes it one step further and helps you fine-tune your rates and ratios based on your results, and can predict problems and give suggestions for how to prevent (eat 4 jelly beans now) a problem from actually coming into existence. I thought I’d give it a try when I get bored/stuck again and see what sort of great things it can do for me. http://www.managebgl.com/

    In the mean time though, like you I am so freaking glad to have found a “solution” to my pump woes and BG disaster, even though it very much meant bucking the trend and going back to shots, because at least this WORKS! Big sigh of relief to know it wasn’t just user error (that would have followed through on injections as well) and that it wasn’t myself somehow rejecting insulin (which is about what I ruled it down to at one point). Its not always smooth sailing, but I go to sleep most nights now not even thinking to question if that last bolus is gonna work, because it (nearly) always does now. Phew!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Skye,

    Thanks so much for the recommendations. I checked out RapidCalc quickly and it looks pretty cool! Those added features that you described are so pertinent to diabetes. They seem like they would take the edge off of the “What the heck?!” variables that diabetes is so obnoxious about!

    You said it so well regarding the pump issues not being user error. That is the easy rationalization that most people, even those close to me, have thrown around; it’s beyond frustrating when your life depends on insulin and that insulin is not getting into you day after day! Thankfully, I had a few awesome doctors in my corner and the support of some good eggs in the #doc who understood that although my pump issues were weird, they were not something that I could change. Hence, the shots.

    I’m still on a learning curve, but I agree that it is SO NICE to know with certainty that insulin has gotten into my body on the shots. Do you do split dosing with the long-acting insulin?

    As much as the pump is great for fine-tuning when it works well, there were just too many wildcard scenarios where it wasn’t working well for me in the past. I sincerely hope that infusion set development becomes less stagnant in the future. BD is trying to come out with better sets, which would be awesome! http://diatribe.org/fixing-weakest-link-insulin-delivery-bd-new-infusion-set-shows-excellent-results-early

    I wish you the best in your shots experience- until there is a cure! 🙂 Thanks for reaching out!

    Like

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