Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pump Talk

Gracie is on daily shots. When she was first diagnosed a year ago, this was all we knew. Then, through looking around at others with Type 1, lots of research on the internet, our endocrinologist’s knowledge and meeting a 9 year old girl named Zoe who had a pump, we learned about possible pumping options.

Here is how a typical discussion about insulin pumps would go, since her diagnosis:

“So G, did you see that pump on Zoe. What do you think?’
“I don’t want a pump. I don’t like it.”

“Hey, look at this, a pump! Wanna see the ad?”
“I don’t want a pump. I don’t like it. It’s gonna suck it outta me!!!”

“See Zoe’s pump and her cute cheetah waistbag for it?”
“No, I don’t want a pump. No thanks Mom.”

You get the picture???? I didn’t push it at all, I would mention it and the response would be immediate. No thanks Mom. And insisting that despite all I would show her and explain to her, that the insert will be sucking the life out of her. It’s just gonna suck, suck, suck, til she blows away (ok, she didn’t actually say that, but that’s the emphasis she put on it in every discussion we would have).

Until she was sick this week. We had LOTS of time to spend together.

Somehow we got on the topic of pumps. I had ordered a sample OmniPod a while back, just to have as a sample to show her. When we got it, she opened it, looked at it and plopped it on the table with a stern “No thanks.” OK dear, got it, nuff said. I filed the sample Pod away. I came across it as I cleaned out a diabetes-stuff box.

“So, you know, a pump might make your life and eating easier for you G.”
“ You mean no more shots, shots, shots, shots, shots?”

“Yep, that’s what I mean. You would get your insulin through the insert under your skin. I would give you your bolus dose through the PDM, or on the pump itself, it would have buttons honey.”
“No more syringes???No more Lantus at night?”

“Nope, no more Lantus.”
“I want the OmniPod.” (At this point, the heavens opened and the angels started singing)

“Ok, let’s talk with Dr. Z at our appt in March. Sounds good?”
“Good Ma. Yep.”

Then I went to the bathroom and did a happy dance, all by myself. Not because I want her on the pump, but because she had an open discussion with me about it and realized, herself, that it might be an option for her.

One of the reasons I have not pushed it with her is the idea that it is HER diabetes and not mine. I don’t want her to resent having the pump cause Mom and Dad wanted her to have the pump. She’s 7. She knows life before the big D. She knows her decisions, she is a smart chick. It is SHE who has to wear the pump, live with it, own it. What if I took that control away from her? She’s has given up so much control to this lousy Type 1, I feel like it would be one more thing that she would have no say in. I gotta give this girl some say in her diabetes. That’s how she will take care of herself, when she owns it, through her own decisions.

I don’t know if I made the right decision, not forcing her to get the pump sooner. What if I had forced it on her, then the daily battles begins about it, with a giant bucketful of resentment towards me.  I know all the facts about the pumps - she would have better control, better A1C,  more freedom, more ability to be on her own. Maybe I didn’t have to wait this long.

But maybe there is a flip side to all this. Maybe through my waiting and working through my impatience, til I finally was patient and let it become about HER decisions and not what I wanted, I gave her the ability to have control. To see herself as in charge. And that may be the greatest gift I can give a little girl who has already given up so much.


Anonymous said...

I love how you did the happy dance when she said yes to the OmniPod. It made me laugh.

Carrie Wilson Link said...


Thank you so much for your comment and wisdom you shared on my blog RE: the dog! I appreciate it!


Amy said...

Hi Penny! Just thought I'd say hello...I saw a comment you left on Laura's blog and followed you here! :)
My daughter Jada was diagnosed in March of 2008 at the age of 2...almost 3. Jada will be 5 in April and we will hopefully be pumping by then. She has been resistant to the pump until her last dr.'s appointment, when she was able to see and hold one. It's all she can talk about now. So...I'm excited and ready for a change! I look forward to watching you through this journey, too!

Penny said...

Hi Amy!
Thanks for finding me - glad you did! I'm excited for kids like Jada and Grace - coming into it on their own and pumping. PLease keep me updated on what pump you choose and how she does with it once she gets going.
Glad you are here!