Pump Break

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McKenna blogs about how she tried the InPen while taking a pump break.
Contributor
McKenna Raimer
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After two hospitalizations, an out of control A1c, and 15 years of pumping, I knew I needed a change. My endocrinologist and I had discussed my options with my current pump and CGM. Although she encouraged me to stick with it, I knew I was burnt out. I decided to go back to the beginning of my diagnosis where I used multiple daily injections (MDI) to manage my diabetes. Unsurprisingly, like riding a bike, it all came back to me in an instant; my A1c dropped three points in three months as a result. Always a syringe user, when I was given the chance to try the Companion Medical InPen, I jumped at the opportunity.

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The InPen has a few really great features. First, the InPen system allows the user to visualize the amount of insulin they have already injected in order to prevent bolus stacking! In an insulin pump, this is calculated automatically through the insulin on board feature. When using shots or a pen, this number is left to the user to calculate, which can lead to over blousing for a high blood sugar and unforeseen lows. The InPen will let you see and track how much insulin you have already given and account for that as it calculates your carbs. It utilizes specific CGM data straight from the source. I use a Dexcom G6 sensor in conjunction with the Dexcom app -- allowing my InPen to import data from Dexcom. This pen also has the ability to collect data from the Apple Health app for other CGM users. It currently does not support the Medtronic Guardian or Libre system.

Secondly, the InPen does the hard work for you when it comes to individual calculations and needs! During setup, the user can input their carb ratio, Insulin Sensitivity Factor (ISF), Active Insulin Time, and target blood sugar to allow the pen to calculate these items prior to bolusing. Especially for those that are newly diagnosed (or mathematically challenged), this feature will be a life changer as it takes the stress and anxiety out of meal times and corrections. 

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"While certain diabetes items cannot be recycled or reused (such as syringes or pen needles), the InPen eliminates much of the typical waste a diabetic person may produce."

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Arguably the most important feature, the InPen also has built in reminders for missed doses, long-acting insulin, and blood glucose (BG) checks two hours after an injection and again before bed. Although my CGM will alert me to a rising BG, it won’t help me understand if I miscalculated my carbs, did not properly correct, or if a food has negatively impacted me. I found the missed-dose reminder to be the most helpful. Personally, I tend to get distracted during/after meals and don’t bolus -- or forget to calculate how much more insulin I need to account for what I ate.

Finally, the InPen is more eco-conscious than a traditional, disposable insulin pen. While other pens are not reusable and cannot be re-filled, the InPen uses glass 100-unit cartridge inserts (not included with the InPen) inside the same pen. It even lasts a full year with no need to charge! While certain diabetes items cannot be recycled or reused (such as syringes or pen needles), the InPen eliminates much of the typical waste a diabetic person may produce. The 100U cartridges also eliminate the amount of space that supplies take up when packing for a trip or outing as the cartridges can easily fit in a small cooler or lunch box. My diabetic footprint has always been very important to me; I appreciate the ability of the InPen to help me stick with my goals

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"As technology advances, in my opinion, we diabetics are just going to have to become used to the fact that we have to give-a-little to get-a-lot (in terms of health benefits)."

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Overall, I was happy with the InPen. It was very user-friendly and it did help with my diabetes management. Looking back to the beginning of my diagnosis, the InPen would have been very beneficial for me and my family. I would encourage anyone on MDI to consider making the switch to the Companion Medical InPen. Of course, I would advise anyone seeking to switch systems or delivery methods to speak with their doctor first to decide whether the InPen is right for them. Switching from a pump back to MDI is always a challenge for me; it requires a little more effort in the beginning. Similar to other systems that I have tried in the past, the InPen required me to give up more control in my management from the beginning. As technology advances, in my opinion, we diabetics are just going to have to become used to the fact that we have to give-a-little to get-a-lot (in terms of health benefits). In a lot of ways, my pump allows me to place diabetes in the back of my mind for a few short minutes in a way that the InPen doesn’t. While I did end up switching back to my pump, I plan on using the InPen again when I need a break from my “robot” parts.

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Editors note: CDN works with a wide array of companies to ensure that the young adult voice is heard across the diabetes sector, and so that young adults are aware of all of the options that are available to them. Companion Medical (makers of the InPen) are CDN Corporate Members. McKenna was provided a complimentary InPen to try, and to review, for the purpose of this blog post.

 

In May of 2020, McKenna graduated from The University of Iowa with a B.A. in Criminology, Law & Justice, a B.A. in Religious Studies, and a B.S. in Medical Anthropology. Former president of Type1Hawks, the CDN chapter at Iowa, McKenna has made it her mission to advocate for access to healthcare and disability resources on campus. She is excited to attend The University of Iowa College of Law Class of 2023 to study health law and further her ability to positively impact the community that means so much to her.