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.
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.
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.
The diabetes community has something in common besides malfunctioning pancreases*: our giving nature.
*I prefer pancrei, but Webster’s would probably laugh at the petition.
We do it all year round and in many ways: Spare A Rose, Save A Child; JDRF and ADA Walks, volunteering time and talent to projects like Nightscout (CGM in The Cloud) and Tidepool, sharing knowledge and much needed support through non-profits like Diabetes Hands Foundation and diaTribe (who is celebrating their First Anniversary as a non-profit!) and much more.
So, it seems strange to ask you to donate today, because you already do so much to help others in our community, but here I go, hat in hand (but a lovely chapeau it is, bedecked in feathers and a wide brim)…
Whether it is a few minutes or a few dollars, please consider helping these worthy causes today:
It costs you nothing, but the addition of your voice is priceless.
We have two days left to tell the FDA that patients should be involved in every discussion, at every level, when it comes to the devices we use to keep us healthy and safe. Go here, read the easy steps, and add your comments to the FDA docket. (It closes December 4th, so giddy up, cowboy.)
I’m truthfully astonished to see how far the diabetes community has come in the last year, rallying to ensure the FDA understands how important our opinions matter. They’ve been stellar at recognizing and working with us, but there are no resting on laurels, because while we know it and some forward-thinking individuals know it, not everyone does. Until there’s a cure, all we have is our voice. Give it today.
You’re Going To Shop, So Might As Well Give At The Same Time
Full disclosure: When I’m not being a rabble rouser or loving on my family, I’m the founder of The Diabetes Collective, Inc., which is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, created to fund programs like The Diabetes UnConference. There are so many wonderful non-profits out there that focus on living well with diabetes, so why create one more? Because there wasn’t a program designed to bring all adults with diabetes together to share their thoughts and get support in a safe environment. In order to make that happen (and some other things that will be coming after the first Diabetes UnConference is in the bag), The Diabetes Collective, Inc. was founded.
Amazon has a program called AmazonSmile and you can select The Diabetes Collective as your charitable organization.
“The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. From time to time, we may offer special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services or provide for additional donations to charitable organizations.”
There is NO additional cost to you. The prices on Amazon are the same as if you are shopping without the AmazonSmile selection.
Please consider helping this way by choosing The Diabetes Collective, Inc. as your non-profit organization and help support the scholarships we provide to bring people with diabetes together to have the discussions they can’t have with their doctors or family.
If You Got a Penny or Two to Share…
You can donate directly to The Diabetes Collective, Inc. by clicking on the button below or on this link. It will take you directly to a secure PayPal checkout.
This is a tax-deductible donation so you’ll get a tax receipt from The Diabetes Collective, Inc. for 2014. Any amount will help.
But I also want to direct you to another amazing opportunity that is near and dear to my heart: The Bionic Pancreas.
You can donate (and it’s tax -deductible) here:
There you have it. Three ways to give: no money, giving through shopping, and giving through tax donation. Do one, two, or all three.
Wait. Stop. There’s one more way to give.
You can share this post with your friends. Your family. Strangers on the street. Tell them about how important a role diabetes plays in your life (even though you don’t want it to…) and how they can help you and millions of other people. (And if you don’t follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook, please do! I’m funny on all sorts of social media avenues!)
So, give. Whether it’s your time, your shopping acumen, or with a financial gift. I adore you for even allowing me to put it out there.
Give what you can.
Do what you can.
And we are grateful.