When I was first diagnosed, the dr put me on 4 shots a day. That soon increased to 5 a day because my NPH (later switched to Lantus, and had the same issue) did not last the full 24 hours it was supposed to (which, from what I hear is pretty rare.) So we split it into 1/2 of the dose in the morning, and the other 1/2 before bed. In 1998, when I was in college, my Endo suggested I go on the insulin pump. I agreed and a few days later, my brand new Medtronic pump showed up on my door step. I didn’t have any options (not that there probably were even many options back then?) I wore it for almost a year before switching back to shots.
When I got pregnant in 2007, my Endo (different than before) suggested I go back on the pump, so we can have tighter control of my sugars. Again, there was no option given as to shopping around. So again, I went with Medtronic.
Last year, I hit my 4 year mark (the magic year when the warranty expires on a pump) so I decided to shop around a bit, even though I really had no complaints/issues whatsoever with my current pump. Just wanted to make sure I made an informed decision. I’d heard that the Animas pump was waterproof, so I wanted to check that one out. We had gone to Sea World last summer, and the Bahamas in the fall, and let me tell you .. it is a PAIN to go to a water park wearing an insulin pump – I had to take it off and put it in a locker and keep coming back to put it back on so it didn’t get too hot, and more importantly so I didn’t go too long without insulin. Puts a damper on the day for sure. So I thought how awesome would it be to have a waterproof pump and be able to have a normal day without having to be aware of how long my pump was sitting in a locker!
I called the local Animas rep and she met me for a demo. To reiterate, the only reason at this point in the process that I was even considering switching was the waterproof feature. After seeing the demo, I liked the sleek look of the pump. I liked how ‘modern’ it looked. So it was an easy sell. In fact, she didn’t even have to sell it to me – I was sold before I’d even seen it.
The Animas trainer came to meet me at my office to show me how to work it. For some reason, I felt very sad to take off my Medtronic pump – I felt like I was betraying it. I guess because we’d been so close for so many years by that point. But I took it off, and laid it on my desk while I put it’s replacement on.
I’d chosen the pink version and I loved it.
After wearing the new pump for a couple of days, though, I started doing some comparisons. I had 30 days to make my decision so I wanted to think this through. The major differences I found were: (Disclaimer: These are my own personal opinions, and I know many people that wear the Animas and love it.)
- the insulin reservoir is a lot smaller, and only holds 200 units. My Medtronic holds 300. I was constantly having to refill the reservoir (which is not recommended, btw). But otherwise, I’d have changed my site every 48 hours or so. And that wasn’t happenin’ so ….
- there are a lot more buttons to push in order to bolus. The Medtronic has a bolus wizard. So when I put in how many carbs I’m going to be eating, and also my blood sugar, it comes up with a magic number and the screen displays that number. I then have the option to scroll up/down depending on if I want to take it’s advice, or take less/more. The Animas had a wizard and would display a recommended dose, but I had to start at zero and then scroll up/down from there. This doesn’t seem like a big deal .. but it’s all a matter of what you’re used to.
- the belt clip on the Animas was different. I typically wear my pump on my pants/belt. The Medtronic one, you can sqeeze the clip to open it. The Animas was tighter and you could only slide it (over a belt, for example)- it was not very convenient. (IMO)
- the biggest issue I had with the Animas was that it burned when I bolused. It has a slow delivery setting, but even on that setting, it came out too “fast” for me. My Medtronic would deliver at .025u at a time. The Animas delivers 1 full unit. It also was very loud when it delivered insulin.
- the other selling point for me to switch back to Medtronic (which I did end up doing) was that Medtronic’s customer service ROCKS. I unfortunately did not have the same experience with Animas. I actually had many issues in regards to this, and I will gloss over them for now… but let’s just say, by the end, I did not feel guilty at all for going back to my familiar, comfortable, Medtronic pump.
If I’d never worn the Medtronic, and the Animas was my first pump .. I’m sure I’d have been over the moon. And I’ve heard people say that before – that it’s an easy switch from Animas to Medtronic, but not so much the other way around. Just becomes a matter of personal preference – not to say one is better/worse than the other.
From Medtronic’s perspective, it was a very easy switch back. They understood my brief stray, and welcomed me back with open arms. I still had my old pump, so they told me to reconnect it, and they’d ship me a brand new version – I chose purple this time and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I had always worn the gray one and decided to step out of my box – not like I need to hide it. I’m not ashamed. It’s who I am.
My insurance at the time was going to be ending soon and it paid for my diabetic supplies (miss that insurance!!) so I chose to get the CGM as well. So glad I did. I have heard that Dexcom is “better” as far as less painful, but so far I have not had anything to compare …so I’ll stick with what I have for now. (Would love feedback from other T1’s who have had similar/different experiences with pumps/CGM’s…)