Spencer Started Pumping At Age 10

Spencer was diagnosed with diabetes June 24, 1994 at the age of 6. He never really minded the shots or the finger pokes, but having to give up his freedom was something else all together. No more popcorn at the movies, no more eating all day at Christmas, no more eating all night at sleep overs. He was now stuck to a schedule and so was our family. No matter where we were or what we were doing, if it was time, we had to feed the insulin.

Spencer was on 3 shots a day, Ultralente and Humalog. He did at least 4 finger pokes a day, but usually more. His blood sugars would fluctuate from 30 to 500 in any given day for unknown reasons. His mood swings were awful and his attention span at school was even worse. He would completely zone out at school and his school work suffered because of it. He also didn't like being different at school and having a snack every day at 2:00 PM.

One day while chatting with some other parents of diabetics and diabetics themselves I learned of something called an insulin pump. It sounded wonderful!! I spent the next week looking up everything I could get my hands on about the pump. I asked myself, "what kind of mother would I be if I didn't try absolutely everything I could to make Spencer's life a better one". I sent away for the FREE information and videos from both of the pump companies. At this point Spencer wasn't too keen on the idea of the pump, but I saw the freedom it would offer and I WANTED my son to have his life back. Spencer and I sat down and watched the videos together. He was getting more interested the more we watched. It was nice to see other kids on the pump. After the movies were over he asked to watch them again. I asked him if he would like to talk to someone about the pump and to see a pump. He eagerly said yes. Now, HE is getting excited about it. Hurdle number 1. The next step was to decide which pump, we decided on the Mini Med Pump. The rep came to our house and showed us the pump and told us what it could do for Spencer. Spencer couldn't even wait for the rep to finish talking to put in an infusion set. After he put in the soft-set he looked at me and said that didn't hurt. Then he turned to the rep and said "We'll take it" I could have cried. I wish it would have been that simple. The rep let us keep the pump for a week. I wore it for 3 days with saline and Spencer ran it the whole time. Then Spencer wore it over night and to school. That night as he was giving his sister a hug and kiss before bed he told her she could be the first to hug him with his new pump. Another tear jerking moment.

The next step was to TELL the doctor we wanted a pump. I called him up, told him we wanted the pump and then I listened to him tell me all the things he could think of to discourage me. The one comment that really made my blood boil was when the doctor suggested Spencer go on 4 or 5 shots a day to get the same kind of control he could with the pump. My reply to that was "WHY should he"? How dare he want to put my son through that. By the end of the conversation the doctor was so flustered that he finally just said ok he would let Spencer go on the pump. Hurdle number 2.

I informed my ex-husband of what was going on with Spencer and the pump. He was very much against it and proceeded to TRY and get an injunction through the courts to stop us from getting Spencer's pump. His lawyer wanted us to wait a while, but I would NOT back down. My ex finally got a judge to listen to his cause and then the judge told him that he didn't see anything wrong with giving it a try. It cost my ex-husband about $1000 to find this out, ok so I was a little happy about that. :-) Hurdle number 3.

Since going on the pump May 4, 1998 at age 10,  Spencer's mood swings are gone and he is getting wonderful grades at school (he even reads out loud in class). I don't miss making him eat when he isn't hungry, I don't miss denying him food when he IS hungry, I don't miss never letting him sleep in and I REALLY don't miss feeding him when he is sick and throwing up with the flu.

Spencer is also very active in soccer, basketball, skate boarding and bike riding. For the more physical activities he just disconnects and checks every hour and treating when and if he needs too. Other times he just lowers his basal rate and goes about his business. The pump doesn't make these activities harder it makes them easier to participate in. We LOVE this pump and wouldn't give it back for anything in the world.

I believe that every diabetic, no matter what age, should be given the chance to try an insulin pump. I get so tired of hearing how young kids aren't responsible enough to take care of a pump. Well, who do the doctors think are taking care of the insulin doses, feeding schedule and supplies on MDI? We the parents are and that is who will continue to take care of it until the child is capable of taking more responsibility for their disease, with or without the pump. If I were to give advice concerning the pump it would be GO FOR IT!!

Lisa Diener (Spencer's Mom)

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