Pumping Symlin (part 1)

I recently posted about my experiences so far with Symlin, and how I’m using a second pump for it.  That post generated a lot of questions, along with a request to elaborate on using a second pump for Symlin.

I’ll start with a little background on why I decided to try using a pump for it, and then I’ll answer the specific questions.

I’ve been using insulin pumps for somewhere around 10 years.  I hardly remember what life was like before pumping insulin, and have very much integrated them into my lifestyle.

I started on a pump back in the days before fancy things like vibrating alerts or even backlights.  On my first pump, to deliver a 10 unit bolus I would press a button twenty times, the pump beeping loudly each time, then it would pause and echo back the key presses.

Can you picture this during a lunch meeting at work? How can I possibly take my lunch bolus inconspicuously with my damn pump beeping over forty times!!?

Things have come a long way, and I’m glad to be enjoying the advances.

I had been curious about introducing Symlin into my box of tools for a while.

One of my big trouble spots is post meal spikes that drop back to target after a while.  I can’t take more insulin because I would drop too low.   I tried (with some success) the Super Bolus technique described by John Walsh, but I was still curious about Symlin.

One of the things that I read about with Symlin when it was first introduced was that the septum on the vial was so tough that it actually dulled the syringe needle simply going into the vial!  I was not big on the idea of taking that partially dulled needle and jabbing it into myself.  I was also not big on the idea of carrying a vial and syringes around again.  I decided then that I would wait for the pen to come out.  This took care of the dull needle and made it easier to carry around.

Once the pen was released and I convinced my doctor to write the prescription, I took it almost immediately to the pharmacy.  They didn’t have it in stock, but were able to order it quickly.  I had it in my hands within a few days.

After getting the pen I was a little nervous about adding a new variable into the mix.  I took a little time, did some research, and then jumped in with both feet.

(To be continued…)

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, and advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer.

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…