I Wore My Son’s Insulin Pump For A Week—And Here’s What I Learned About Living With Type 1 Diabetes

Six years ago I didn’t know insulin pumps existed. I’d never seen one, never contemplated how the 1.25 million Americans with type 1 diabetes managed their health, didn’t think about diabetes at all.

And then, at 20 months of age, my son, Tom, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was like being struck by lightning — there was no family history of the disease, an autoimmune disorder that kills pancreatic cells and destroys the body’s ability to absorb life-sustaining glucose. The round-the-clock regimen of blood sugar tests and insulin injections shocked us into an alternate reality.

Then, two years after diagnosis, we started him on the pump, which is what he still uses today at age 7. It’s essentially a small, wearable IV machine like you’d see in a hospital. The pump is filled with insulin, which it dispenses into his body through tubing and a cannula (a smaller tube) under his skin. This way, patients don’t have to inject themselves with syringes multiple times daily and can just give insulin through the tube.

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