Switching from a Pump to Injections

7/30/18
WRITTEN BY: Paloma Kemak
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Editor’s Note: Switching from a Pump to Injections was originally published on Glitter Glucose.


Nope, you didn’t read that backwards! ​I’ve been attached to my insulin pump every day for the past three years. Even though I LOVE and value my pump VERY much, I have long dreamt of a “pump break” but I could never commit. I always thought I was brave and could just “cut the cord” and be fine. When it came down to taking my pump off suddenly all these questions and fears came to mind. Would I even remember how to calculate the proper dose? I haven’t had to think about the math and numbers that go into injections in a LONG time. Would I really be diligent in recording my blood glucose numbers and time/amount of dose given? Probably not. The biggest thing for me was how I would keep track of insulin on board? My insulin pump is SO helpful in helping me avoid stacking insulin and going overboard when correcting and dosing. My insulin pump does so many things that multiple daily injections just can’t offer me … until I discovered the InPen!

 

When I was thinking of going on a pump break I started googling info about insulin pens. Thankfully the InPen came up in my search. I was fascinated. I immediately contacted them saying I needed this genius product. They were kind enough to send me the product for review, but all opinions are my own. There was NO way I would even consider going on a pump break without the help of the InPen. I knew it had all the features I loved in my insulin pump and I was ready to take my pump off! Well, not really. Even once I got my InPen in the mail I realized I was still a little scared. I REALLY wanted a pump break, but all those fears came running back. Finally, my cat actually cut the cord for me. I have a new kitty and she literally chewed through my pump cord as I was sleeping. I took it as a sign that “Okay, it’s time!”

PictureWhat is the InPen?

It is a smart insulin pen! What does that mean? Well if you are familiar with insulin pens, the InPen works just like any pen would except it has upgraded features that a simple pen doesn’t have. The InPen is paired via Bluetooth to an app on your iPhone. (Not yet for Android!) Through the app your doses are calculated, recorded, and tracked. Plus, you can set dose reminders, share reports with your doctor and more! Let’s get into the details.

The deets

 

First things first! The pen is very nice looking! It comes in blue, grey and pink! (I got the pink of course!) The pen is reusable and lasts 1 full year. No recharging or battery changes necessary. To be able to use the pen you must get insulin cartridges, (Humalog or Novolog 3ml) from your local pharmacy.
So really, that covers the pen itself. The pen isn’t what is special here. It’s the Bluetooth compatibility and app that is integrated with it. When you open the app for the first time, you have to enter specific settings related to your personal diabetes management. My endocrinologist filled out the settings when he prescribed me the pen. (This is a prescription only product.)
Basically, it mimics your insulin to carb ratios and correction factors the same way they are entered on your insulin pump. I think this is AMAZING! The dose calculator uses those numbers to calculate a precise recommendation of how much insulin is appropriate, the same way a pump would! Below is a photo for comparison. Please do not take this as medical advice. These settings are specifically tailored for me personally by my doctor.

The features

I already touched on the subject of the dose calculator, but it needs its own spotlight. When I was thinking of going back to insulin pens, I didn’t think I could manage to get all the dosing math correct. Thankfully the InPen uses a built-in calculator to give you a recommended dose based on the settings you entered, the amount of carbs and your current blood sugar. One of my biggest mistakes when I used to use insulin pens was stacking insulin. I never even had a clue about insulin on board (IOB) until I got a pump. It is so important when correcting high blood sugars to take into account how much insulin is still active in your body. The InPen keeps track of IOB for you and takes it into account when dosing/correcting. Also, on my insulin pump I have an alarm set for 2 hours after I eat to check and log my bg. This optional feature is also available within the InPen app! (There is an optional dose reminder feature, but I don’t use it.)
Like I said above, I really wanted a pump break for a long time, but regular insulin pens didn’t offer features that I felt were important. One thing I couldn’t go without was the reports and data my pump produces and shares with my doctor. When I bolus for food or corrections in my pump, not only is the dose automatically calculated, but the carbs, BG, and dose is also automatically recorded. The InPen also does all of the above! It also generates reports that can be shared with your doctor! I found this to be an extremely important feature!
Last reason why I didn’t feel comfortable using insulin pens is because I live in Arizona. I don’t even have to tell you that the desert is hot but OMG it is HOT! My insulin pump has warned me many times that my insulin is heating up and if I want to save it I need to adjust the temp. If I were to carry insulin pens, I would of course use my MedAngel (which I love) to alert me if my insulin reaches unsafe temps but I think it’s a great added bonus that the InPen already has the temperature feature built in!
​Here is a chart of features that are important to me when it comes to insulin management. I’ve compared what regular injections offer vs the InPen vs a pump!

 

Basal insulin

​The InPen is only for fast acting insulin. I had to figure the basal part on my own. I actually didn’t have any trouble adjusting. Last time I was on injections, I used Lantus for basal insulin. I always felt the burning sensation when injecting but I thought that was my fault! I thought maybe I was doing something wrong until I joined Instagram and started seeing others talk about the famous Lantus burn. This time I decided to try Levemir instead because I had a sample. I worked with a Certified Diabetes Educator to find the right dose based on how much basal I used with my pump. Also, I decided to try taking 2 smaller doses instead of 1 big dose and it was perfection for me. The first 24hours I was sky high but after the Levemir settled in I was good to go!

Final thoughts

​Overall, I am happy to have an option to take a pump break if necessary. There is no way I would have been brave enough to do it without the InPen. I have become accustomed to all the great features a pump offers and it would be really hard to me to go completely back to basics if I had to. One amazing thing that came out of this for me was my carb counting. With the insulin pump I feel comfortable estimating because I know I can just easily correct after. By going back to injections, I became a carb counting ninja because I didn’t want to have to take an extra shot if it could be avoided! I would recommend the InPen to anyone who already uses insulin pens. The upgraded features are so valuable! I feel like the InPen is a great in-between. It is great for those who feel comfortable using pens but want to upgrade their diabetes management without committing to the pump. I would recommend the InPen to pump users who are looking to take a break from being connected to a machine without losing the amazing benefits.

Let me know what you think of this product! It is so amazing to see diabetes technology growing and advancing! If you are interested in knowing more about the InPen, you can click here for a free insurance check!



Paloma Kemak

Paloma was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as an adult at the age of 23. Beginning a new lifestyle at an age where she thought she already knew it all was extremely difficult. From that point forward it has been her mission to change the way people see diabetes and that’s how Glitter Glucose was born on instagram and Youtube! Paloma shares her life as a T1D while simultaneously having a career in the fashion industry, traveling, and volunteering with diabetic organizations in the community. You can find her online at www.glitterglucose.com or on instagram @glitterglucose. Fun fact: The Bachelor is her guilty pleasure! She never misses an episode!