I’m Getting an Insulin Pump – Medtronic Revel Insulin Pump and CGM

Medtronic Revel Insulin Pump and CGM

Components of the Medtronic Revel Insulin Pump and CGM I will be using (pump pictured is similar to the one being shipped to me).

To pump or not to pump?  That has been the question for the past week.  It wasn’t until yesterday during my appointment with my doctor and a rep for Medtronic named Carlo that I finally made my decision.  I’ve had a variety of concerns regarding an insulin pump, the foremost being what if it malfunctioned and gave me too much insulin?  Thus, would wearing it be a lot like the worry I feel when I’m flying on a plane.  I realize the chances are extremely slim that I’m going to crash, but the possibility still exists simply because I made the choice to board the plane.  I expressed this concern directly to Carlo.  I needed to know that wearing an insulin pump wouldn’t make me feel like I was on that plane every day.

“Have there ever been any cases of the Revel malfunctioning?” I asked Carlo, letting him know that it was my biggest concern.  “No,” he replied.  He then began to explain some of the safety checks that the pump performs.  I knew of these checks.  In fact, a video on Medtronic’s web site explained that the Revel Insulin pump “completes over 6 million safety checks each day.”  Still, anything can be made to sound good and it’s possible that a handful of checks are just being repeated over and over and over.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.  It all depends on the quality of the checks.  However, as with boarding the plane, anything’s possible.

My second biggest concern with getting an insulin pump was will my wife still find me attractive with a tube attached to me and a plastic cannula stuck under my skin?  Will I even feel attractive myself?  Yes, I’m in part referring to intimacy, but I’m also referring to more than just that.  Will wearing an insulin pump be a constant reminder of my disease?  Will that constant reminder cause my wife to view me as weak and sickly?  Will it even cause me to start viewing myself that way?

As you already know from the title of this article, I’m getting an insulin pump.  For one, no matter what, I’m definitely getting a continuous glucose monitor, and in order to use a CGM, I’m already going to have the CGM’s transmitter and sensor attached to my body.  The visual reminder of my disease will already be there and it’s something that I’ll have to deal with.  At this point, the comfort and reassurance that the continuous glucose monitor will hopefully be able to provide will far outweigh any feelings of unattractiveness.

Next, even though it felt like my doctor didn’t want to give me a straight answer (perhaps for liability reasons), my wife and I asked her, “In your opinion, will an insulin pump give me the chance for better control over my blood sugar than I could ever get with insulin shots?”  Although she did say that it would be possible for me to get my A1C under 6 with insulin shots (it’s currently 7.1), in her opinion, the flexibility of the insulin delivery with the pump and the fact that its slower delivery throughout the day more closely mimics a working pancreas, makes the pump the best possible choice for me with regard to the management of my type 1 diabetes.  Also, when we asked the doctor how many of her type 1 patients use an insulin pump, her answer was more than 90%.  Even though the pump may not be for everyone, it was a number that was hard to ignore.

My wife then asked Carlo, the rep for Medtronic, “Of all the people that you’ve helped get on the Revel insulin pump, how many have changed their minds and gone back to insulin shots?”

“None,” Carlo replied.

I realize that getting an insulin pump will be a big adjustment.  I also realize that there will be downsides that I cannot foresee at this moment.  However, my current opinion is that the potential benefits of the Revel Insulin Pump/CGM outweigh any potential downsides, both seen and unforeseen.  Hopefully, if wearing the pump makes me feel at all like I’m on that plane, the Revel will at least make me feel like I have a pilot in whom I can place my total trust.

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