As I looked at Emma's school calendar this morning to see if there was anything special going on, I realized that tomorrow is the 17th. The 17th is a special date for us each month actually. The 17th of May is when Emma started pumping with the Animas Ping. Tomorrow will mark 8 months of pumping! I can not believe that it has been 8 months already to be honest. There are many days that go by where I feel like we just started and I have no idea what I am doing. I am proud of us though...proud of her for being brave enough to start this part of our journey, brave enough to handle site changes like a pro, brave enough to learn how to operate it herself in such a short amount of time. It's amazing.
I know 8 months isn't a special or typical "anniversary" to be celebrated...but I wanted to dedicate this post to our pump anyway and share all of the things I have learned since that day back in May.
I have learned that just because my child is now on an insulin pump....it does not magically solve all of our blood sugar problems. I've learned that it is not some miracle device that will somehow stabalize things and make her blood sugar numbers stay steady and behave and result in us having no crazy highs or dangerous lows.
I have learned that the pump takes a LOT of work. It requires constant tweaking, constant management, constant adjustment, constant focus. It has not solved all of my night time woahs...it has not let me sleep through the night uninterrupted by checking her numbers as she sleeps. It is exhausting trying to keep on top of it.
I have learned that there are a whole new set of "situations" and "scenarios" and "options" and "chances for error" that can occur on a pump. There are a whole new set of things that could be the reason for wonky numbers. Bubbles no longer conjure up this image of fun summer days for me...instead they make me think of high blood sugars...because of bubbles in the tubing of her pump!
I have learned that my kid is tough. I always knew she was strong and brave and stubborn...but I had no idea just HOW strong and brave and stubborn she could really be until the first couple of site changes I saw her endure. I mean seriously...would you be able to suck it up and have someone else stick a giant needle into your belly every three days? Would you be ok with that person being someone who is NOT trained in the health care field whatsoever? Would you be ok with that person having 100% control over your life? Your well-being? Your pain? Keeping you alive? I know I wouldn't be ok with it.
I have learned that I can do anything. I was beyond terrified to put this device on my daughter and trust that it would do what it is supposed to do and keep her alive. I was afraid to trust something that runs on a AA battery. I was afraid that she would go into DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis...google it if you don't know what it is please) because of my own error in managing the pump. I was afraid I would make a fatal error in giving her insulin through it and she would die...and it would be my fault...I was afraid that she would hate it once it was on. I was afraid that it would get ripped out, she wouldn't be able to sleep with it on, her friends would make fun of her, she would be embarassed to have others see it when out in public, that she would hate me for the rest of her life for causing her pain, that the pump would malfunction and give her too much insulin on it's own and she would die, that she would make a mistake at school and give herself too much insulin and she would die. I was afraid that I was putting all of my trust in this little pink device...and it would fail me...that it would kill my daughter. I was afraid that I wouldn't get it right...that I wouldn't be able to do it. I was afraid.
I have learned that the pump is an amazing thing. It has lowered her a1c number (again...if you don't know what that is...please google it) by an incredible amount. Her blood sugar numbers are SO much better than they were before. It takes a lot of work...but it is all worth it...because the proof is in the pudding as they say...and I am loving that pudding in seeing her numbers becoming more steady than they were before.
I have learned that all of my late nights, interrupted sleeps, exhaustion, zombie-like brain.....it is all worth it. It's worth it to me because I see the look on her face. I see the freedom she feels. I see the way that she laughs and smiles and shows off her pump to people. I see her attachment to it...physically and emotionally. I see her love for it. I see the look in her eyes when she takes it off at bath time and sets it on the counter....I see her feeling weird without it on and rushing to get it back on once bath time is done. She loves her pink Ping pancreas and that makes me smile. I see how proud she is of herself when she learns a new function on it...how to bolus herself, how to set a temp basal, how to change an insulin to carb ratio, how to change a basal rate...I see the pride and it makes my heart sing. I see her running and playing with her friends and being a kid. I see her eating when she wants...be it 5:00 supper, 11:00pm snack on New Year's Eve, or a 1:00pm birthday cake at a friends party. I see her breaking away from that set schedule we had to live on for years and I love it.
I have learned that the pump have somewhat given us our old life back. Since we have started down this pumping path, I feel like we are able to have a life that is as close as possible to how things used to be before diagnosis. Yes, she still has diabetes...yes she still needs insulin because her pancreas does not produce any on it's own anymore...yes we still deal with pain and needles and blood and carbs and the whole bit on a a daily basis.......but it's different....it's better...it's more freeing.
I have learned that we can do anything....all thanks this little device that she wears every single day. We can do it...and I am proud of us.