27 June 2019

Kaleido and a perfectionist

After two months of waiting, the big day had finally arrived: 26 November, the day of my Kaleido Training. That morning, a Kaleido representative knocked on the door to my student house. I listened, intrigued, as the rep talked about cannulas and infusion tubes, how to fill the insulin cartridge, and how to use the handset. It was a lot of information to take in at once, but I didn’t have to start the insulin pump on my own.

I was the first person in my hospital to start using Kaleido. My diabetes nurse found it all quite exciting as well. I started using the pump the day after my training course. Kaleido is my very first insulin pump, and I found it a little intimidating to trade in my insulin pens for a tiny device placed on my body. Fortunately, I received excellent support from both Kaleido and the hospital. I was allowed to swap the infusion set in the hospital for the first time, and I received regular phone calls and e-mails from a Kaleido representative to see how things were going.

Kaleido offers extremely personal support; Kaleido representatives at the JDRF event ‘Voel je vrij met diabetes’ even recognized me and asked me how things were going.

Why I switched

For me, the most important reason to switch from insulin pens to an insulin pump was to have more control over my diabetes in my daily life. To be honest, student life doesn’t always make it easy to maintain stable blood sugar levels. While using the pen, I’d describe my daily rhythm and my blood sugar level as irregular at best. My blood sugar levels are extremely sensitive to even the slightest amount of physical exercise. I’d have to eat constantly to prevent hypoglycaemia one day and inject insulin to prevent hyperglycaemia the next. That was extremely frustrating for a perfectionist like myself.

With the pump, I can easily adjust my basal level any time. After some fine-tuning, I even managed to finish a whole spin class (which I’m happy with after class, but not so much during!). Another advantage of the Kaleido pump is that I sometimes forget I have type 1 diabetes; the pump is so light, I forget I’m wearing it. In the beginning, I remember panicking and wondering where I’d left it, only to remember I was wearing it the whole time!

Not all smooth sailing

Of course, transitioning to an insulin pump also has its downsides. As I said: Kaleido makes me forget I have diabetes at times. But when the device reminds me that it’s time for a new insulin cartridge, I often let out a sigh, because the timing always seems off. It was a bit of a rocky start as well. The battery didn’t work properly on my first pump and was replaced that first week. Fortunately, I received an emergency kit and I got my new pump quickly. Of course, itching infusion sets and the first blockage (and the chaos that followed) was no fun either. The beginning is always a bit of trial and error; from finding the perfect spot to wear the pump to choosing the right settings. My doctor and my diabetes nurse are always happy to help.

But I’m still happy with my choice for Kaleido. Trusting a new device is a bit scary at first, and you have to give yourself time to see what works for your body. People with diabetes tend to be great at figuring out how their body responds to certain things. This was more than worth the effort. Kaleido gave me the freedom I lacked with insulin pens.

About Marrit

I’m Marrit. I’m 21 years old and study health and society in Wageningen. Since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November 2017, I’ve increasingly felt the need to share my experience with others. I used an insulin pen the first year, and I’ve been happily using Kaleido for the past two months. In my day-to-day life, I enjoy reading, walking, cycling, and going for coffee with friends.