I don’t think that I have ever written about my pump breaks on here, but I know that I have mentioned them on Twitter before. Basically, at least once a month I like to take a break from my pump.
The first question that you may ask is, “does this have an impact on your blood sugars?” You’re damn right it does. But, I don’t care.
Let me explain.
I don’t care because sometimes I get frustrated by my pump. I may have 3 consecutive days of needing to change infusion sets for whatever reason. Maybe one fell off doing hours of yard work in 90 degree weather. Maybe I decided to take a nice, long, hot relaxing bath which made the infusion set adhesive wear away and easily fall off afterwards. It may even be possible, that I just don’t feel like inserting a new infusion set that night, so I just go a couple of nights without wearing one.
Warning….if you live your diabetes life on label and the thought of people doing crazy, off-label stuff makes you upset, then please do not read any further, because the following is definitely not prescribed, nor approved of by my doctor (and not really me either, but sometimes, I don’t care and my sanity means more to me.)
I always have a full supply of syringes as backup. When I am off the pump, I just use a vial and a syringe…take it back old school. When it comes to basal insulin, well, here is where we trail off that on-label track.
I have two options during these times. My doctor gives me samples of Levemir every so often. If I have a sample pen of Levemir at home, then I use that. I know what your next question is…. “Aren’t the pens only good for 30-ish days after you open them?” Yes, but like I said, if there is still insulin in it, I’m going to use it. One pen only gets me through about a week, which is about all the time that I need for my break. If there is some leftover for next month’s pump break, then I will use it again. If the insulin isn’t effective, then I won’t continue to use it. I will either open up another sample that I have, or, just not use any basal insulin at all.
Yes, during majority of my pump breaks, I don’t actually use any basal insulin at all.
During the day, I keep a close eye on my blood sugar, but when I eat a meal, I will be sure to take what I need for the bolus, and then check again in an hour. If I determine I need more, then I will take more. Basically, I will give myself the 3.5 unit basal amount that I use per hour. During these times, my goal range is a bit higher, I am satisfied with anything under 220. I know that sounds like a crazy idea, that I would be happy with a blood sugar of 220, but remember above when I said, I’m willing to sacrifice an hour or two of a higher blood sugar in order to have sanity and not drive myself crazy having to put in another infusion set that just keeps seeming to fall out.
I do NOT recommend this for anyone. Don’t even talk to your doctor about this method. If you need to take a break from your insulin pump, then do so, but make sure you speak to your doctor about how exactly it would be best for you. Be sure to have an equation figured out to determine what your amount of Levemir or Lantus would be based on what your total daily basal usage is.
I have a tricky calculation, but it never seems to work, so I usually just use the calculation every time, then adjust the next night and then the night after that. Then when I go on the next pump break, I start off where it was working before.
How do you handle breaks from your insulin pump? I would love to hear your stories. Please share in the comments below or on Facebook.