Snap Decision

You grab a pack of gum at the checkout counter. It’s an impulse purchase and you don’t think about it. It’s a snap decision, made right then and there.

Choosing an insulin pump is anything but a snap decision. You research all of your options, talk with other people who wear pumps, weigh the pros and cons of each pump, and of course, find out if insurance will cover your pump and supplies.

In my case, my insulin pump choice was a snap decision. With a capital S.

unnamed-3The Asante Snap pump. 

After my warranty expired on my previous pump (Of course, it was pining for the fjords five weeks later.) and an opportunity to try the next generation of that company’s pump, I recognized that I needed to do further investigating. I’d only worn two brands of insulin pumps in the over 15 years of pumping. I am still happy with the choices I made back then, but back then, I didn’t have a lot of choices.

I cheer the fact that we have more choices now when it comes to insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring devices. Each pump and CGM has its strengths and weaknesses, which of course, means that some people will choose them based on their own needs, wants, and desires.

Here’s why I chose the Asante Snap Insulin Pump.

I Am Ricardo Montalbán

You can’t “test drive” a piece of gum. You buy it and if that new flavor isn’t what you wanted, you throw it away or foist it off onto someone else. It’s gum, right? Costs a buck? Pshh. Get outta here.

But it’s rare (or in some cases, impossible) to test out an insulin pump. This device is going to be a part of your life for a hopefully good, happy, healthy long time. And it’s not cheap. You choose a pump based on what you think it will do for you, go through the hoops (and oh, are there big, flaming hoops!) to get approval from everyone involved, only to find that… you hate it. I know some individuals who have returned their insulin pumps before the “trial” period is over, but it’s a big, ugly hassle and insulin pump companies don’t make it easy.

Asante gets that you should be able to take a pump for a test drive. Feel the rich Corinthian leather seats. Determine if what you want is what you actually get. They offer everyone who is interested in trying the Asante Snap pump a four-week free trial, including supplies, training, and support. I got to sit in the driver’s seat and go for a long drive. I wish all pump companies would do the same.

No More Rebel Yell Time In Range!

The four-week free trial is one thing. It’s another thing entirely when you discover that by not changing a single basal rate or bolus factor, that your time in range with your blood sugar skyrockets. (And when I say skyrockets, I mean supersonic space age shiny skyrockets.) Having the luxury of a Dexcom CGM allows me to see how my blood sugars play nicely (or not nicely) during the day. I was doing a lot of Billy Idol hair spikes. Without changing my eating habits or dosing timing, I saw spikes turn into smoother lines and when I downloaded my Dexcom (Finally able to do it on my Mac!), I was shocked. 80% time in range (for me, range is 70 – 180, but I’m already tightening the higher end).

Less lows. Less highs. All of a sudden, I wasn’t exhausted at the end of the day, chasing the blood sugar dragon. My head was clearer. I had energy. I thought it was a fluke, but after almost 8 weeks on this pump, I’ve come to realize it’s two things: the Asante Snap pump algorithm and the pre filled glass cartridges making this happen. I can’t take any credit for better blood glucose levels.

 Heart of Glass

The pre-filled glass cartridges not only help the insulin not degrade and lose potency as quickly as the plastic cartridges I once had to fill; it also cuts down on the time I used to fiddle around with pump  set-up. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? It’s a big deal. You get that I’m a two-minute sort of woman when it comes to diabetes.

Instead of the elaborate ritual of drawing up the insulin into a plastic cartridge, checking for bubbles, filling the tubing, checking for bubbles, priming the pump, checking for bubbles, I drop the cartridge into the pump body and it auto primes. In two minutes, I can complete an insulin pump set up, including a new insertion set. All that extra time I have now? I can rock out. 

(And I don’t have to hunt for a battery in the bottom of my purse. The battery for this pump is built into the pump body. You replace the pump body with the changing of the cartridge. Easy.)

I’m not the only one who thinks this is a good thing. I join Scott Johnson of Scott’s Diabetes, Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced and others who have switched from other pumps to Asante. Here’s what some people had to say about how easy it is…

The Little Things Add Up to Awesome

It’s the little things. A customizable color screen. A built in flashlight on the pump for those early morning BG checks. A missed bolus calculation if you stop your pump for a shower. (I never realized how much insulin I had missed even disconnecting for 20 minutes.) The ability to set alarms to NOT go off at 3am to wake you up to remind you to change your cartridge.

Some people prefer an integrated CGM and insulin pump. I tried it.  I’ve come to realize that I’m a Dexcom chick, tried and true. The other pump company with an integrated system has not yet updated its algorithm for increased accuracy. Plus… here’s the thing: The Dexcom G5 screen will be accessible to view on my iPhone I won’t even need to look at my pump to see my CGM graph.

When I was at AADE last summer and saw a glimpse of the future with Asante Snap (I sat next to Wil and we got to ooh and ahh at the demonstration, they announced not only would they be partnering with Dexcom for future upgrades, but they were the first company hooked up with Tidepool. (And you know how much I love them!). And then they blew everyone’s socks off my demonstrating bolusing the Asante Snap from an iPhone. I’ve never had a remote bolus device. I am totally ready for this. And when it does happen, it won’t cost me an arm and a leg (or a pancreas) to upgrade, because upgrades are $99. Straight. No chaser. 

I got to design my Snap. (Well, I got to have input. The Kid actually decided on the colors.)

No Pump is Perfect

No insulin pump is 100% perfect. (If it was, it would be called a pancreas and this blog wouldn’t exist.) I do miss the vibrating alarm option I had on my previous pump. I am a little jealous of other pumps that do have remote bolusing devices. I am a lot jealous of the current integrated pumps and CGM systems that work well. And I can’t upload my data at home; Asante currently uses the clinic version of Diasend.

I’ve talked with the management team at Asante. I’ve asked questions about their future models. They listen (and they even have a patient advisory board so they can get feedback). I see the Asante Snap becoming more perfect soon.

IMG_5863Time. In. Range.

Oh… that time in range. That blissful time in range that makes me feel more rested, less stressed, and looking forward to getting my A1C done. That makes it all worth while.

My new time in range makes my diabetes management easier and less about diabetes and more about me. 

Best Snap decision I’ve ever made.

I talked to Asante so much and gushed about how much this pump has improved my life that I’ve agreed to enter into a consulting agreement with Asante Solutions to write about my experiences pumping on their website. Please check the updated About page  for disclosures. Remember: My thoughts are my own. No one can make me write what I don’t feel or believe in on this blog. In fact, I get zero compensation for this – or any – blog posts on this blog. This is MY blog. MY words. MY thoughts. You get to read the uncensored version – always. 

0 comments
  1. I loved the switching out on the snap, for sure. Not worrying about insulin levels for a full week made me realize how much I do think about it. Unfortunately, I realized I could not do without the vibrate – not just when I’d like to be quiet (usually I don’t care) but I came to realize that in crowded/noisy situations – concerts, cocktail parties – I completely rely on feeling the buzz to tell me that a bolus has been delivered or that something is going wrong. I did really appreciate that the snap reps I talked with understood that and seemed to seriously listen to that concern – we’ll see!

    1. I loved the vibrate mode on my last pump because when I settle The Kid down in bed, I don’t want to hear a beep when my extended bolus is finished. I’ve turned down the volume to the minimum level, but I am hoping that the next iteration of the Snap will have a vibrate alarm option. (And this is why more than one pump company exists; we have choices!)

  2. Wow!

    I want it.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Christel. So glad to hear you found this to be the pump choice for you, and I’m definitely on the same page as looking forward to the near-future when we’ll have more smartphone-compatible options with CGM data access. For me, I’d love to try out the Snap but just have not gotten around to it yet… mostly, because I won’t be buying it. The vibration feature is actually a deal-breaker for me, and it’s SUCH AN EASY THING for them to take care of in design — until that happens, the Snap won’t be a serious contender for me, despite all the awesomeness that they have going on with the device and as a company.

  4. I am two years away from my next pump and 2-1/4 years away from Medicare. Although I find the Snap very appealing, I have not done the 4-week trial because I think I would really like it. Because it is not covered by Medicare, I would be setting myself up for a huge disappointment.

    I think “modular” pumps are the future and they will allow for more software upgrades over the life of a pump compared to most current pumps. I do hope that Medicare changes its policy on pumps such as the Omnipod and the Snap. But until then, I’m not trying out the Snap. It would be like waving candy in front of someone with diabetes and yanking it away…. (Yes, that was supposed to be a really tacky remark!)

  5. Congrats on the Snap decision. I would’ve signed up six months ago, except I’m a Novolog user and I don’t do particularly well on Humalog. Other than that, I loved the ease of use and the fact that they made it super-easy to do the trial. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for the description of this pump. I love how much the glass syringe makes a difference! I’ve been pondering my pump choices for a while now and love reading reviews like this (even if there is no indication from Asante when (if?) the Snap pump might be available in Europe). But like other commenters, that no-vibrate-option really jumped off the screen at me! Since they seem to listen and take into account user needs/preferences, hopefully that can be one upgrade down the line.

  7. I hope this pump turns out to be everything you hoped for and more! (except for the vibrating function). Of all the new pumps out there, this is the one that attracts me the most, but the combination of not talking to ANY other device plus the lack of a vibrate function is a dealbreaker for me. (If it was the right fit, I’d be willing to try the switch to Humalog!). But to have their second model out so soon after the first really speaks to something good; they’re not delaying new launches because the regulatory approval-process is such a pain.

    I must say that I’m really intrigued by the improved BG control with this pump. If all of the ratios are the same (and you’re handling corrections the same), what’s different? Is it the glass insulin-holder? The speed of the bolus? The frequency and size of each basal drip? Or is it possible that (gasp!) the other pumps just don’t deliver insulin as precisely as they claim?! That last one concerns me most.

  8. Hey Christel! Do you know if there’s any time frame on the Snap being available nationwide? As I mentioned to you in another forum, the Snap was my first choice, until I discovered that it wasn’t available in my area. Are we talking months, years, … ??

    1. I hope it won’t be long! (Especially because I want you to have the opportunity as I did to try it…) Let me check to see for you…

  9. […] at every meal, every occasion, and sometimes you fight with it…) and I have quickly grown to love my Asante Snap pump. I loved it so much that I became a consultant for them, writing about my experience with their […]

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