This is a letter from me at 21 writing to you at 22. It doesn’t seem a huge difference but this allows me to make this challenge worth it because I can explain a few things in this letter more than I can another birthday as it were. By the time I’m 22 I should have started using an insulin pump. The big thing that will shock many people is I’m not thrilled about that in every way. I’m doing it because I have to and not just because I want to. I’m doing it because there is no other way out. I know this because I’ve tried everything, everything I could to avoid it.
I’ve always said that insulin pumps are not the Holy Grail like many make them out to be. They are not for everyone. They are a lot of hard and frustrating work. Starting the pump will mean sleepless nights and more tests than I want to be doing, at least at first. I want ‘you’ to remember ‘me’. I want to remember that I knew what I was letting myself in for and I chose it anyway because I need this. I want you to remember how I feel right now, how close to breaking point, how I was when it all came down around me. I need this because it has become the only way to get my life back. MDI worked for 14 years and I had good times. I had times when for hours I could truly put my diabetes to the back of my mind and that won’t happen anymore because the pump is always going to be there, impacting everything from how I wear my clothes to how I sleep at night. Sure, I will be able to move it but diabetes takes another few seconds from my day every time I need to shift it. In the beginning the pump is going to take away a hell of a lot more than it gives back and I need you to remember that I knew that.
I knew that my chronic fatigue would become a terror again because I’d drift through weeks of broken sleeps and tests. I knew my fingers would hurt more than they already would. I knew I’d have to worry about setting thing up and arranging deliveries of supplies and I knew my diabetes would no longer remain invisible. I knew my anxiety would go become a monster again because of all the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’. I knew that and I chose to ask for the pump because the dawn phenomenon means I hardly have a life right now so even if the pump dictates so much for a short time and has me constantly connected to a machine for the rest of my life at least it will be a life. I chose it because it is the only way to treat my problem. I can’t work right now. I can’t go to university. I can’ t leave the house without fear. I can’t have a full night’s sleep because I need to wake up at 5am and take that extra injection that doesn’t even fully work. What will give with one hand will take with the other and I have to be ok with that. I will feel it irritate my eczema. I will know it is there. I will probably half strangle myself at some point. I’m bound to wake up covered in insulin. I’m guaranteed to get it caught in something. I know I will be susceptible to depressive episodes as I come to terms with forever being attacked to a machine. I wonder how much of this has already happened? I hope you’re ok with that. I can’t even say I hope I am making the right choice for you because it is not even a choice. It is the pump or sit and wait as my diabetes slowly rips me apart mentally and then probably physically.
I love MDI. I love what it gave me. I’ve tried every combination I can to make it work with MDI and I feel bad that it isn’t. It isn’t like I’ve thrown in the towel after a few months of wrestling with it after it went wrong.
I need it. I don’t want it. I’m sorry we had to take this path. My biggest hope is I’m proven wrong and become one of those people ranting and raving about it. It is so hard to get an insulin pump that I worry people will think me ungrateful but I am grateful for the chance. I just wish I didn’t need that chance. With many medical conditions people don’t want the medication they need right? Yet they fight for it anyway. I hope others understand how I feel, how you felt, how you feel now whether it is the same or different. I’m sure I will one day say my pump is amazing and it has changed my life, but not everyone’s life needs changing. I’m glad I’m an adult getting a pump and not a teenager because I think teenage me would have cracked under the pressure and the questions and the weight of responsibility because I had one and pulled the plug, literally. I feel sorry for the children who wear pumps and can never trick themselves that they are free from diabetes for longer than the time it takes to have a bath. I couldn’t live like that. I just hope you’re strong enough to live with this. This is the last roll of the dice. I hope you got a good number.