People’s Stories – Sam, 12

Sam

“Hello, my name is Sam, I am 12 years old and I am an insulin dependent diabetic who is now on a pump. I have been diabetic since I was 3 and was under the care of my local hospital until very recently when I moved to Leeds. We had heard about insulin pumps a couple of years ago and believed it would really help me control my sugar levels during the night-time as they became very unstable. We had been asking the local clinic but they were reluctant on letting me use a pump due to lack of trained staff so we moved to Leeds and have been there ever since. On my first visit to Leeds I was quite nervous but everybody there was really nice and helpful and was very positive about me using a pump so it was a really good experience.

In November 2011 I had a pump with saline fitted to test out how it felt. I was nervous as I did not know what to expect, but all that I felt when it went in was a small nip, and it was fine after that. I had the cannula set in my leg and it was not very comfortable and when I went to sleep I pulled it out of my leg! But it was the first time wearing it and I still had a lot to learn. I had it on again in the week and that time it went absolutely fine.

My pump is a really clever piece of kit! I enter how many carbohydrates I am having and my blood glucose level (my glucose tester sends the data to my pump) and it calculates my dose, which I send through at the push of a button. There is also a sensor that I sometimes have monitoring my blood glucose all the time, this data is displayed on the pump. On the 5th of December 2011 I had my insulin pump fitted. For the first few weeks we had to change the settings around and, on the third day of wearing it we had a bit of a scare (ketones of 3.1!) but we overcame it and, by the end of the week I was able to get back into my school routine. It’s also much easier on a pump at school. On injections I had to leave the classroom, go to the office to collect my injection and set it up in the toilets! But now I just press some buttons and it’s done!

The difference is huge as well! My numbers have improved a load since going on to the pump. It went a bit haywire at Christmas but through January it improved a load! When I went to Leeds the nurse put some information into a computer and it calculated a system of tiny doses that it would give me every hour, this is called a basal rate and is used for stopping my sugars from rising naturally when I have not eaten. We have had to make a few adjustments to this but it seems to have caused my numbers to be more stable. Another thing needed to bear in mind is swimming; a pump cannot work underwater so I disconnect the connector from the cannula. This may sound complicated but it is really just unclipping the blue thing and attaching another one.

My pump is awesome and has really improved my health.”

Note from Sam’s parents:

A huge thank you to Lesley from INPUT as without her enthusiasm, advice and continued support Sam would not be pumping today. Sam’s first HbA1C result after pumping was a reduction of 0.9, FANTASTIC NEWS!! The journey of getting Sam on to a pump was a difficult and testing time, with many hurdles to overcome but INPUT were there with us every step of the way. Lesley gave us the information on how to move clinics, and with her support Sam is now under the care of a very pro-active pumping clinic that is absolutely brilliant!! Thank you to INPUT and all the staff at Leeds Children’s Hospital who have made such a positive difference to Sam’s life.”