Friday, August 30, 2013

Jumping ship to Animas

My Animas Ping arrived a little over two weeks ago, and I finally had my pump start on Monday. I'm still waiting for a few more days to pass before tossing out any opinions on the system - learning curves are hard, and four years on the Minimed Paradigm has made the Ping seem like work. But until I have a few more set changes under my belt, I thought I'd tackle a question Scott threw out there: Tell me, what made you leave Medtronic?

It's a good question.

When I first decided to try pump therapy, I did a bunch of research, read a bunch of blogs, and asked my CDE for her opinion. (The DOC and Twitter were not such a ready resource for me in 2009, alas.) The big bonuses to Minimed seemed to be 90% the integrated CGM and 10% the ability to upload records easily for my CDE - an important perk, as the whole point was to prep for pregnancy and I knew there would be a lot of data flying north to 168th Street. But...I had an incredible crush on the Animas pump. Everything seemed so much more slick, so polished! And it was waterproof! And had a loaner program for travel! And! And! And! But I didn't want to be swayed by fantastic visuals or well-done marketing or bells and whistles that didn't speak to basic needs. I wanted the pump that worked best for my self-care, and that was CGM and data transmission. So, Minimed Paradigm it was.

But picking a pump after nearly 16 years on MDI - without personally knowing a pumper, or having the advantage of trial use - is kind of akin to buying your first car without ever having driven one. How could I possibly know what I wanted the pump to do? How could I know what features would be useless and what would drive me crazy? I couldn't, obviously. So I picked and crossed my fingers that I'd made the right choice.

I knew I'd made a horrible mistake roughly a week after first using their CGM. Inserting a sensor was like harpooning myself. There was a lot of blood, and blood jacked up the sensor. The calibration was frustrating. The taping of the little shell was annoying. The data was inaccurate. For me, the Minimed CGM was an abysmal failure. And it was 90% of the reason I'd decided to get that brand of pump...

I started Dexcom 6 months after I went on the Paradigm (i.e., as soon as the CGM warranty was up and I was eligible to apply again to my insurance). Such a different experience! I was in LOVE with my Dexcom. SO in love. I was sad it wasn't integrated, but it worked so much better for me that I didn't mind having to go through some extra hoops or carry an extra piece of gear. I started the countdown to pump warranty expiration shortly thereafter.

So that's the biggie, I think. I'd decided to do the Minimed because of features it had that the Animas didn't, and then those features kind of sucked. But after four years of pumping, I can also tell you that there are a few other items that have been added to the list of why I jumped ship for the Animas:
  • remote bolusing option (a HUGE plus when you're wearing a dress)
  • IOB displayed right on the pump - no need to do a BG, or fake one, to get the bolus wizard to tell you how much active you still have
  • waterproof (bigger deal now that I have a toddler - they're walking cyclones, and better safe than sorry)
  • better/less-painful insertion (confirmed after 2 set changes, but prior to that I just KNEW any other option had to be better than the brutal Sil-Serter)
Beyond that awesomeness, there are still beautiful things on the horizon! In April, Animas submitted the Vibe - which is integrated with Dexcom! - to the FDA. And rumor has it that the folks at Animas really do like their Verio IQ meter, as do I. Who knows what could happen there? My dream is to have a magical pump with Dexcom integration AND the Verio IQ as the pump's radio-synced meter. A girl can dream, can't she?

Like most things diabetes related, picking a pump - and sticking with it year after year after year - boils down to what works for each person. (And, for me, what my insurance has to say about it.) For me, I've wished for the Animas for 3.5 of my 4 years with Minimed. Minimed was great, and I can't complain about anything but their CGM system. But it was never the right pump for me.

So, Scott, that's why I jumped ship! Rest assured, though, that I'm still running on an Energizer battery - albeit AA - just like you are.


  1. I will also be jumping ship but wanted to note:
    a. it's ping or cgms integration: translation, when the vibe lands, you won't be able to remote bolus
    b. if you do a manual bolus, the IOB is displayed in the lower left of the screen on the minimed

    I've never used the silserter, preferring a manual insertion for that set. My preferred set is actually the quickset, but alas, I need more padding to use that one!

    congrats on making the switch. May I suggest your next topic? What do you miss from Minimed?

    I'm not jumping ship until the vibe is approved ;)

  2. OK, it's a week late, but I'm here (and thanks for the post!). I think you did a lot more research in choosing a pump before I did. I basically said "here's the standard that's been around forever, and here's the new untested one. I'll go with the standard". That was it. No real thought.

    The CGM integration wasn't an issue for me in choosing my pump 7-some-odd years ago; there was no such thing. (It was introduced between the time I received my first pump and the time I was trained on it - oh well). But I have to say that is a big reason I still use it. Since I don't carry around a purse (or a "murse"), there's simply no place to put a receiver. When the Vibe comes out, I'll have some serious thinking to do. But not being one to wear a dress, the Ping's remote bolus option is irrelevant to me.

    There are definitely some attractive features with the Animas. (Every time I've fumbled with the Aquapac this summer I've wished for waterproofness), but I'm not so sure I'm prepared to give up what I've grown accustomed to and to like. I second the previous comment when I say I look forward to (when the time comes) hearing what you miss from Minimed.

  3. I will tell you why I switched from MiniMed after 8 (happy) years. Dexcom.