Forgetting to Take Insulin, Until I Started Wearing a Pump
We hear from so many people in our community that being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was shocking or scary, but can also be a wake-up call to a healthier lifestyle. Katrin Löffler, 40, from Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2009, experienced just that. The emotional rollercoaster of a T2D diagnosis, and then the aftermath of having to adjust to a whole new lifestyle—one that included insulin and changes to her diet.
Like many people with diabetes, Katrin was juggling the obligations of work, family and her own diabetes management. As a result, she was forgetting to take her insulin on a consistent basis. But after she started wearing Omnipod, a tubeless insulin pump, about a year ago, she noticed steady improvements in how she was able to live with type 2 diabetes. In our interview below, Katrin talks to Beyond Type 2 about the impact wearing an insulin pump has had on her life.
BT2: Hi Katrin, thanks for chatting with us! When were you diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? What were some of the symptoms you had?
I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes 12 years ago, on October 9th, 2009, just a day before my birthday. I was tired all the time, it was hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. My husband thought I was depressed, but I told him, “No that’s not the case. There is something else.” So I went to the doctor and told him what was wrong, at first I thought it was because I was pregnant at the time. He sent me to my gynecologist to check and see if there was something wrong with the baby. After some tests, I was diagnosed with diabetes. At first, we thought it was just gestational diabetes, but it turns out it is type 2 diabetes. My son was born just two days after my birthday.
What changes did you make to your everyday life after you were diagnosed?
At first, I hoped to give birth to a healthy baby boy. I told the doctors about my diagnosis. After my son was born, the doctors in the hospital took more tests and my blood glucose level was around 12 mmol/l (216 mg/dL). First, I started to change how many carbs I eat during the day. For breakfast, I always eat oatmeal, and for lunch, and dinner I started eating more vegetables and fish, which I hated at that time. For snacks, I swapped in fruits and vegetables and swapped Coca-Cola for water.
How was the transition to a life with type 2 diabetes?
The transition was hard. I have a family and I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that I was diagnosed with diabetes. I don’t know how I managed to take care of my family, my diagnosis and my job at the same time. At work, I was open with my boss and my colleagues about my diagnosis. The only one who was understanding was my boss because he was a diabetic himself.
Did you start using insulin from the beginning or did you try other forms of treatment?
My doctors prescribed me oral medication, but it wasn’t working. My blood glucose level in November was around 15 mmol/l (270 mg/dl). At that point, I started insulin injections. But most of the time, I would forget to take it. I’m a nurse for elderly people, and I’ve never been scared about taking my insulin. It also helps that my current boss is a diabetic herself, though she has type 1 diabetes.
How did you get started with Omnipod to manage type 2 diabetes? How did it help you improve your diabetes self-care?
I got started with Omnipod because I was forgetting to take my insulin. I told my doctor, who suggested I could try the Omnipod, and it changed my life. At first, I was pricking my finger to check my blood sugar, and it was hard for me to get blood so I switched to the FreeStyle Libre 2. With the Omnipod, it is easier to live my life. My favorite part is that I cannot forget to take my insulin. I live the life I have always wanted with my husband and our three kids.
After the birth of my youngest, Sophia, I noticed it was easier to lose weight this time around compared to my other pregnancies. It was easier to get my blood glucose levels down to 7 mmol/l (126 mg/dL). I’m sure this was because diabetes, for me, became that much easier to manage. I’m impressed with how far I’ve come with my diabetes management. It’s like there’s this newfound freedom in my life, now.
Do you think more people with type 2 diabetes should have access to devices like Omnipod?
Yes, especially for the elderly and young people who can’t manage diabetes by themselves. After I got mine, my boss asked me about it because even as a type 1 diabetic, she sometimes forgets to take her insulin, too. So, she switched to Omnipod and thanked me for talking to her about it. Even better? Her sons are diabetic too and they all wear Omnipod now.
What are some words of inspiration to people who may feel discouraged because they need insulin to manage type 2 diabetes?
Don’t feel like you’re alone! Talk to friends, family and especially to your doctor. Those are the people who can help you with advice or help you when you need it. I asked for help when I got diagnosed 12 years ago. It’s hard to ask for help but it’s the best way to live your life.
Overall, I hope that anyone with diabetes—type 1 or type 2—that wants to change from insulin injections to an insulin pump has the chance to do it. It’s easier to live life exactly how you want to.
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