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Integrated Diabetes Services

Alicia: UnLeashed! November 2017 monthly article: Attack of the Pod People! My In-Depth Review of Omnipod.


One of the spiffy side benefits of working at Integrated Diabetes Services is getting access to all the diabetes tech a person could ever try.

In the last couple of months I’ve been on three different pumps, used a couple different sensors and swapped infusion sets. This isn’t for my fun and benefit, but so I can better relate to my clients, assess their needs and meet them with real world knowledge, not just what is printed in the corporate FDA approved literature. I’m a person with type 1 diabetes, helping people with type 1 diabetes, it is that real world and firsthand experience that makes a big difference. So, with that in mind I am also honest about my experiences. When I find something that works for me, I let others know. When I find something that does not work for me I let others know. The common thread here is FOR ME! But put that information into the world and people come unglued like I’d told them I’m going to come and take their favorite products away from them!

attack of the pod peopleMy In-Depth Review of the Omnipod:

Most recently I’ve been trying the Omnipod for the second time. I had tried the “pod” briefly when I first started pumping about 10 years ago. It was an unmitigated disaster back then. The higher profile pod ended up getting ripped off daily, I had one beep at me at 3 am until I threw it in the freezer so I wouldn’t have to hear it, and I lost the PDM for a day and a half. So I went for a “tubed” pump.  But here I am, older, wiser, and a lot less prone to tears when my blood sugar takes a sudden and unexpected left turn. (Ah the peace that comes with knowledge) So I wanted to give the Omnipod another try, to see if the advancements, reduced size and my life now would be a good fit.

I’m finding that the Omnipod is an amazing product!

The PDM is flexible, gives TONS of really useful presets and even has carb listings built in!! I have sincerely enjoyed not catching myself on door knobs or having to pry my tubing from the gummy grip of my 6 month old son. And I am really looking forward to the DASH controller that will be touch screen and also serve as a Dexcom receiver. I gave myself two weeks to put the Omnipod through its paces. It’s been mashed under a corset at the renaissance faire, it’s been to the gym, it’s been a foot hold for my son’s attempts to climb me like a tree, and held tight through my endless tossing and turning at night. I’m quite happy with the lower profile. My sensitive skin has gotten a little itchy, but with mild adhesive allergies, it’s part of the price I pay for pumping.

That said, I cannot WAIT for the two week mark so I can rip this thing off for the last time and never look back!!!

My blood sugar starts to creep up at the end of day two, so I have to basal and bolus more so the pod doesn’t last the full 3 days, I seem to keep putting it in places that are comfortable everywhere except in the car, and I have close to 3 hours of commute time every weekday! I lose my PDM daily and walk the length of my house twice before I can finally bolus, and there goes my prebolus time. It also won’t let me set an extended basal until after it delivers my bolus, so when I ate Chinese food yesterday at a meeting I looked like a noob checking my PDM every couple of minutes to be done delivering, because if I don’t keep looking I will forget to enter the extended basal and that Chinese food will leave me high all afternoon! OH! and that temp basal, it’s going to beep at me to remind me that it’s temp basaling, but I forget that and go running to the PDM to see what’s wrong. Ok, rant over.

Woah! Did you feel that?! It was the feeling of hundreds of people preparing to throw their PDMs at me! Attack of the pod people!!! HOLD YOUR FIRE! I just said the Omnipod is amazing. And, goodness knows, I love my brothers and sisters in arms in this battle that is diabetes. I know you’re not alien pod people out to dominate mankind.  But say that someone else’s therapy choice doesn’t work for you and people are ready to get not only defensive, but downright belligerent! I have had people question my education because I switch from Medtronic, I have had people question my politics because I ever used a Medtronic!  We really need to stop judging people based on their therapy choices. I know we can get a bit tribal about our brand loyalty in the USA (which is a brand unto itself these days!). My phone has a picture of a fruit on it, as does most the tech in my house. But, I’m typing this on a PC. Why? Because, it is a better fit for where I work. Why have options if we don’t use the one that fits best?  We just lost a pump company, we just lost an option. As our options get fewer and fewer the rules of capitalism dictate that we will have fewer and fewer really meaningful innovations. Remember when smart phones first came out? Every new generation had amazing new features that changed how we interacted. This year we are getting facial recognition……yeah that’s about it. Companies know that if you only have a few options they do not have to wow you to win you, they just have to show up and be slightly different. Omnipod is pretty different in the market. It is the only tubeless, real-time programmable insulin infusion pump. I am so glad we have that option. I recommend it all the time for young people who want to keep their diabetes treatment less intrusive. I recommend it for people who swim a lot, and who like to be able to bolus their kids at night without a tangle of tubes.  I am also really glad I can go to a different pump that fits my life, my body and my goals a little better.  I’ve used Medtronic pumps and have things I like and dislike about them. I’ve used Tandem pumps and have things I like and dislike about them. I’m pretty sure if AliciaDownsRN  Medical Inc designed, engineered, styled, and produced an insulin pump, I’d figure out something to complain about and something else that would make me never give it up.

Find what works for you, find the features you don’t want to live without, and the irritations that will drive you batty. And when you’ve found those things, make the best choice for you, and be glad you have choices!  Then find someone who made a different choice and give them a high five for supporting diversity and help them find what they love about pens, or pills, or pumps, or therapy modes that don’t even begin with “P”!

If you need help sorting through the multitude of therapy options out there, check out our blogs and newsletters and schedule an appointment with Integrated Diabetes Services. We will listen to your needs and goals, your limitations and expectations and help you find the right pump for you. We will be honest; we don’t subscribe to brand loyalty. In something as frivolous as a phone it’s fine, but this is your LIFE. And that is far too important to be a question of brand loyalty or sales.

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  1. Valerie Weber November 21, 2017 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    Your comparisons and thoughtful insights are greatly appreciated. I was on Medtronic for about 20 years before switching to Omnipod. I love being tubeless and look forward to future innovations in the diabetes world.

  2. Amber Carmona December 29, 2017 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I’ve tried Minimed, Animas (several versions), and Omnipod. I can’t say I like any of them, really. But I like shots less. Since Animas is no longer an option, and I refuse to use Minimed, I guess that leaves going back to Omnipod for me. The biggest issue with them wasn’t the pod placement or their wonky bolus calculations, but the fact that it nearly killed me when trying to travel by plane (twice). There is no way to safely fly when wearing a pod, because you can’t detach it to allow for expansion. I’d love to see a pod version that detaches at the site like a typical infusion set, but leaves a “landing pad” or something similar to be able to reattach later. A two piece pod that has a base would be my ideal setup. That way my insulin wouldn’t cook in the shower, I wouldn’t have a super hypo after flying, I could just take it off if I feel like it without wasting so much insulin, etc. But sadly, I’m not a pump designer either. 😀

    • alicia downs January 3, 2018 at 5:49 pm - Reply

      Tandem is the other pump option available at this time, a tubed pump available, complete with the ability to fully detach.

    • Trevor Sutter February 23, 2018 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      Great insights Amber. I’ve got an Aminos One Touch Ping and I’m hoping something as good will be available by the time I have to switch over to something else.

  3. Robyn Renee September 13, 2018 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Well now four years ago I was diagnosed with LADA Laten Autoimmune diabetes adult which turns out to be a 1.5 diabetic I trend just like a type one diabetic
    I started with the med Tronic pump which of course made my life easier Then Medicare finally approved The OMNIPOD ??. I’m 75 years old and never in my lifetime did I expect this …… but this is my second day on the Omni pod and already I’m in love with it. May I also say I have a Dexcon 5GMS which is my first miracle. Truthfully I would walk across hot coals to get my Dexcon 5GMS ??. Things can only get better and better combination Dexcon five and an Omni pod and your life will be easier once you could actually have a life once again!

  4. John Bradley September 22, 2018 at 4:06 am - Reply

    Thanks. I am currently using an Animas/One-TouchPing/DexCom G6 set-up. And because Animas has gone out of business I have begun looking for an option that will serve me for at least the next 4 years. Your review helps me in my search.

  5. MK October 23, 2018 at 2:18 am - Reply

    I think that if you wore it longer—as in a more realistic test period, rather than a limited period—you would become used to carrying your PDM around with you. Thank you for trying it. Try again one day, perhaps for four to six weeks, and I bet you’ll be hooked.

  6. Susan LeMar January 7, 2019 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    I have to switch because on Animas but have been told only Medtronic is covered by Medicare. I have read so many negative comments also on other type 1 websites. Has anyone tried to get other pumps covered. I am 75 and don’t want something so complicated I can’t figure out. A friend has the tandems slim and loves it. But is not on Medicare.

    • alicia downs January 21, 2019 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      Hi Susan,
      all three FDA insulin pumps are currently covered by medicare. One possible issue with Omnipod may be HOW it is covered, Whether it is under medical benefits, or pharmacy benefits.
      We have many users of the Tandem X2 who are on medicare. The new Basal IQ feature is not yet available for medicare users as Medicare covers the Dexcom G5 but not yet the Dexcom G6 (Approval is actually through, logistics of billing and shipping just have not been worked out yet, we anticipate this to roll out in the spring of 2019)
      But Medicare users can get the x2 pump and use it with the G5, then upgrade to the G6 and upgrade their pump software when able.

  7. Lu C January 16, 2019 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for your expertise. It is great to be able to read options available. I, too, have an Animas One Touch Ping. I am not sure what I will do when I need to get a new pump after we cannot get supplies this year. Medtronic has purchased Animas and is pushing their pumps which I do not want. I am on Medicare and my Ping has warranty on it until next year…another hassle to figure out. Would like Omnipod or T-Slim x2. I have been wearing Dexcom G5 and it certainly has made life so much easier. Diagnosed with Type 1 at age 47…local medical professionals originally diagnosed and treated me for Type 2 for 10 years… until I was passing out from too much insulin (I’m insulin sensitive..found different doctor out of town who basically saved my life). Suggestion…if your doctor is not helping you seek a new one with a good diabetes educator. I learned the hard way.

    • alicia downs January 21, 2019 at 7:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much Lu, we strive to share knowledge to help everyone make the best choices they can!
      Feel free to call our office to make an appointment to discuss your needs and how to match the right pump and CGM technologies to meet them.

  8. Treicha C January 17, 2019 at 12:19 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for your honesty! My daughter is 9 and a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic who uses Omnipod and I must say we loved it at first, and still do, but once we started diving into the advanced options such as extended bolus, temp bolus etc things just kind of went haywire. We are actually going to go back to the basics of the Omnipod because well quite frankly it just seemed like it was so much easier for all of us and her blood glucose was a heck of a lot more stable before we tried all the advanced options. I literally am researching trends etc on the Pod because her blood glucose levels the past few days have been getting lower more frequently and well that just was not the case when we just used it basically. My version or idea of basic meaning using it 15 minutes before meals for bolus and just giving her the set reccomendations on her basal dosing. All the other extended temp etc just threw us all off. She also has a dexcom G6 and Hates it and refuses to put it back on. She said between me,her dad, and the school nurse she feels like we are checking it way too much and trying to correct her way too often whereas when she uses her “pricker” (her name for it) we aren’t all over her like “white in rice”. So overall, we love Omnipod and are stuck with it for four years, and I’m hoping we will have figured out all the kinks just in time for her to use the integrated Omnipod/Dexcom option when our insurance allows us to get a new updated one. Luckily, I am a newly licensed RN in Texas and I understand all the snazzy terms associated with the beast of diabetes type 1 but even for me I can still get thrown from time to time. I can’t even imagine what it would be like for my baby girl and the rest of my family if I wasn’t there explaining it to them in understandable ways. Ok. Comment done. Thank you again for your feedback. It is helpful and useful!
    Mom of a PodGirl
    PS. Diabetes does Bite! But we all will fight!

    • alicia downs January 21, 2019 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience as well!
      Advanced feature usage can be a real brier patch without the right education and guidance. It is actually my favorite thing to teach here at IDS! We would love to work with you to unlock and master these features! From foods that digest differently, to high fat meals, to take out, these features often help us combat some of those times that leave us scratching our head wondering how it all went sideways.

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