By Diabetic Danica
When you’re connected to a medical device 24/7, you grow “attached” to it - not only physically attached, but emotionally too! I have been an insulin pump user for 11 years, and I have only ever used an Animas insulin pump. So when I heard that Animas was officially exiting the insulin pump market last year, I knew I would have to face a very big change. It is crazy to think that a device you have used every single day for more than a decade will soon be a thing of the past. However, I was happy that the warranty left on my current pump gave me some time to investigate my options before making a decision. When I choose my next insulin pump, I’m committing to it for up to four years, so it is very important to me that I make the best decision.
When Animas decided to exit the insulin pump market, they chose Medtronic to support current Animas customers through the end of our warranty. However, it is important to remember that we do have options. We do not have to simply switch to whatever pump company Animas has selected at the end of our warranty. There are different pumps that offer different features, and it is important to do our own research into what pump would be best for us. In the U.S., there are basically three insulin pump options out there.
Omnipod differs the most from my current pump, as it is a tubeless pump that stores the insulin in a patch-like pod that is controlled by a remote PDM (Personal Device Manager). I was able to get a demo pod to try out, and I came to the exact conclusion that I had expected: the pod was simply too large for my taste. I also worried that I might accidentally leave the PDM at home and not be able to bolus when I’m out and about. My pump is important to have with me at all times, so I don’t mind it being attached to me! Having tubing does not bother me.
This left me with options from two other companies, Medtronic and Tandem Diabetes Care. To me, the biggest difference between the two is their Continuous Glucose Monitor integration. I am a loyal Dexcom CGM user. I absolutely love my Dexcom CGM and personally feel it is the best CGM on the market. I’m hesitant to use anything else.
The Tandem t:slim X2 Insulin Pump is currently integrated with the Dexcom G5 CGM, which allows me to dose my insulin using CGM data alone without requiring a separate fingerstick. While Tandem pumps don’t automate insulin delivery today, I like that the potential is there because the t:slim X2 Pump is capable of remote software updates as they are approved by the FDA. There’s obviously no guarantee, since there are a lot of steps involved in getting something like automated insulin delivery approved, and Tandem has also been transparent that there may be a cost for some software updates, but it does make the 4-year commitment feel a little less scary. Additionally, I like the look of the t:slim X2 Pump. It’s significantly smaller than the Medtronic pumps, and I like the simplicity of the touchscreen. I want a device that does not overcomplicate my diabetes life. I love that you can see both the Dexcom trend graph and insulin on board right on the home screen. I also like the ability to enter numbers on the screen instead of scrolling. It sounds silly, but Animas requires scrolling and I waste a lot of time. The t:slim X2 Pump has a keypad and you just type on it.
Figuring out which pump to switch to can seem overwhelming. It is a lot to think about, but overall I am excited to embark on a new insulin pump journey. Who knows how much the insulin pump market will change as I wait for my Animas warranty to expire? I will miss my Animas, but I’m also excited to try something new! Technology is developing fast, and my goal right now is to stay informed of my options and make the right decision for me when the time comes.