Type 1 Diabetes Insulin Pump Therapy. My Omnipod Story.

Diabetes Omnipod Type 1

I don’t have time to have a full blog dedicated to Type 1 Diabetes. This blog is more about things that bring joy to my life. However, sometimes I just need to document things in my life for later review. Also, it feels good to vent through writing. My Diabetes like a lot of other PWD’s, kicks my ass day in and day out. Even when its not kicking my ass, it is. If you have read any of my other posts on LBC, you can see that I get involved in all types of shenanigans. I tend to act like a little boy on the weekends with my off road activities. On Saturday nights I occasionally play a little ice hockey. When I was learning about pumps the first thing I knew I needed was something durable. More importantly something waterproof. In fact, after destroying a Dexcom receiver during a water induced rollover on my quad, my need for waterproofing was fortified in concrete. I found the Omnipod to fit my needs quite nicely. The theory of Omnipod is absolutely amazing. Fill it up, clean an area, stick it on, boom! You’re done. So in May of this year (About 6 months ago) I got on the Omnipod system. It is very easy to use. I really can’t stress enough how really simple and unnoticeable it is. I’ve worn it everywhere, even on top of tattoos. People think its a nicotine patch, which always makes me laugh because that would be a HELL of a dose of nicotine. Almost immediately though I had an issue. Leakage.

No matter where I put a pod, I get leakage right around the sight glass area where the cannula (needle) goes into the skin. The problem here is obviously that your bolus is now only a percetage of what it should be. Thus making control of Blood Sugar very difficult. It also means that if you follow the directions and dont withdrawl the insulin out of the leaking pod, you go through vials at an incredibly alarming rate. Furthermore, corrections are nearly impossible. Originally I was calling Omnipod and reporting these leaks, I was assured that this is unheard of by every person working there. The notion of a leaking Pod was also shot down by my local representitive. This is when I started to take pictures every time it happened. I have quite a collection at this point. Because I usually only get a day or so out of a pod before it leaks, I run very short on pods. After a while I started to become frustrated and started doing a little reasearch around the web. Aparently I am not the only one who has had this issue. I also got some answers about what I can do. The Omnipod although in theory is a GREAT idea, like most great ideas, there are certain downsides to it. The cannula is a fixed angle and length. This is where the (my) problem lies. Other pumps mainly the tubed variety have many different options for infusion sets. That is, the needles can be longer, have different angles and even different diameters. This is not something that I had even considered before. It seems like a non-issue to someone who doesnt have a leakage problem. For myself and a few others this is a very important thing to know before you decide on a pump, but how could you know? You Can’t.

I have decided to try the Animas Ping. I already have a Dexcom, so CGM doesnt matter to me. I like the fact that its waterproof, and people seem to give it great reviews. I called Animas last month about 5 weeks ago to get the ball rolling. I was told by them that because I recieved the Omnipod system 6 months ago I needed to get a letter of medical necessity, so I did. Then I was told that they (Animas) had to get a letter of “PREDETERMINATION” from Horizon Blue. Since that day I have been on the phone with Horizon and Animas about 20 times each. Every single time I get a different answer, none of them what I want to hear. To Horizon, the predetermination department doesnt appear to exist, however Animas swears it does. The reason for predetermination as explained to me, is to make sure that Animas, doesnt get stuck with a decline from my Insurance. What I dont understand lies within the price. My PODS are covered 100% I pay nothing. I had to pay half for the system which was like 500$. With the Ping, the infusion sets as well as the pump itself are only covered 50%. That means I’m responsible for about 2500$ upfront, and the recurring charges for infusion sets. Animas seems to think that because Horizon paid for a pump 6 months ago they wont pay for one now, but look at that price difference. Can they even be considered the same thing? I thought the letter of medical necessity was there for this reason. In the letter my issue with leaking pods is stated clearly. So here I am 5 weeks later waiting for something that may or maynot exist. I have one Pod left. My reorder isnt for a few days and than a week to ship, at that time I will be stuck for 3 more months. My insulin bill (due to waste) is SKY high. I could drive a Masarati for that note.

What I want from this experience is for other people who are thinking about an insulin pump to really understand the differences between them. There are more factors than just a nice touch screen (tslim) or a tubless pump (omnipod). There are different infusion sets. What works for one person may not work for you. Its all very important and none of it is black and white. This disease, its just so grey sometimes and so is the treatment. I have one last comment that has nothing to do with any of this. I dont want to be called a Diabetic anymore. I want to be called Type 1. Nothing more, nothing less. I dont want to be put in a box with people, who quite frankly have a very different disease and experince then me in Type 2. The stigma really kills me. The outsiders think its all the same, and they dont care to understand that its not.

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