Beginning a year (or less) of discovery.

That noise you hear is the sound of my pump warranty expiring. Didn’t think it sounded like that, did you?

My insulin pump is the Medtronic Minimed Paradigm® Revel 723 pump. It’s the only pump I’ve ever worn. It’s still going strong, pretty much like it was back in August of 2012 when I wrote this post. I’ve been more than satisfied with its performance.

That’s why I plan on keeping it for a while. Probably about a year. There are a few reasons why:

First, I have about a year’s worth of infusion sets and reservoirs to use up. I should have stopped that automatic 90 day refill of supplies, but I didn’t until now. Even if I go to Med-Ts newest offering, the 530g with Enlite, and I can use the same stuff (I think I can use the same stuff… anyone? Bueller?), I would like to start over with a clean slate of durable medical supplies. And if I don’t move to the latest Minimed product, I would hate to waste all of those reservoirs and sets. I don’t think that would be fair to my insurance plan, my employer (who pays most of the cost for that plan), or the larger cost of care for a chronic condition in America.

Which brings me to my second reason: Unlike the last time I chose a pump, I’d really like to do some shopping around to see if there’s a better option for me. Maybe the new Medtronic pump/CGM/With the Threshold Suspend Feature is just what I need. But I won’t know unless I try out other pumps too. If I give myself six to nine months to do some deep dives into functionality, ease of use, etc., I think I should be able to cover everything the market has to offer (and has available in the USA) right now.

Third reason: Giving myself that long to make a decision also gives me a little more time to get feedback on more recent entries into the market. Hopefully, several more months of reports and anecdotal evidence from my DOC peeps will help me make a more informed choice. You can’t always time these things out perfectly (where are you, Animas Vibe?), but if I see someone who’s recently chosen a product talking about how things are better or worse for them than when they started on said product, I’ll feel better about my choice.

The sales effort has already started with my current pump maker. I received a call from Leslie from Medtronic on Tuesday. She reminded me that the 530g “is the first pump moving toward the artificial pancreas with the threshold suspend feature”.
I thought I heard back in January that Medtronic heard the Diabetes Community when they expressed concern that the term Artificial Pancreas was a bridge too far. My conversation with Leslie (where I heard that phrase twice), a check to their website twice (in December and this week), and a call to their main diabetes line (1-800-Minimed) twice tells me there is still a disconnect. Not a good start.

Despite that, I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’m still listening.

Ideally, I’d like to actually try out each pump for a couple of days. My guess is that’s not possible. I was told by Leslie from Medtronic that I can’t do that, but if I want to have them submit the paperwork to my insurance, they can help me get the 530g system, and if I don’t like it, I can always send it back within 30 days. Sorry, but paying people to do lots of paperwork, get a prescription from my endocrinologist, package the goods, send it to me, and possibly pay to have me send it back is too much money just for one person to try it out.

Again, I would feel incredibly guilty about that. I just want to try it out for a few days before I make a commitment.

I’m hoping to try out everyone. Medtronic, Asante, Animas, Tandem, the whole works. Don’t worry, I’ll be reaching out to you. I don’t expect special consideration. According to The Great Spousal Unit, I have a highly-placed sense of fairness that I don’t relinquish easily. I suspect you’ll say I can’t try it out without a lot of money being spent either by you, or me, or my insurance, or all three. But understand this too:

I will not make my next insulin pump choice without at least seeing it in person. I want to touch it, see how the bolus feature works, see how the basal feature functions, how the reservoirs are filled, and what the infusion sets are like. I want to examine the cost, investigate the customer service, government recent recall notices, and anticipated FDA approvals.

And I want to read and hear present, and future feedback from my fellow members of the Diabetes Community.

The clock begins now. It ends when I make a decision.

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  • Laddie  On April 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Sounds like you have a good plan. When my warranty was up in October 2013, I did not want to postpone the decision because I am in my 60’s and wanted to be able to buy one more pump before Medicare. I would probably buy a different pump today than I selected then. (Still waiting for the Animas Vibe….) I don’t think that there is a perfect pump out there and fortunately they all do the job well. I look forward to reading about your journey to a decision.


  • Kelley  On April 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    You sound just like me! I also am a Medtronic user and because of my year stock pile, I’m hesitant to switch. I’ve requested the 530G but I was told there is a 90 day wait. I hope I hear sooner! Can’t wait to hear about which one you go with. I’m a loyal Medtronic user like you so if you switch and are happy, I’d love to know!


  • Nikki  On April 11, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    My new Animas Ping will arrive Monday. I hope that the Vibe will be available later this year (I can upgrade for $99). That’s the rumor, but we’ll see. You know how that goes… Pump shopping is a big deal. It is smart that you are going to take your time, try things out.


    • StephenS  On April 11, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Nikki, I’m dying to hear about your experiences with the Ping, and hopefully, the Vibe later. Thanks for stopping by!


  • Scott E  On April 11, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    It’s a tough decision indeed. For a long time, I was hoping for the Animas Vibe, but over time grew to read things about the Ping that I wasn’t entirely pleased with. The Tandem, for me, was never a serious consideration, and though the Asante Snap (the only one I know of who will give a trial just for the asking) is intriguing, it misses some of the basic interactions with the meters and CGMs that I’ve grown to love.

    I’ve been fortunate to have been offered a trial of the 530G (why? I dunno) but I probably would have gone with that one anyway. And from my trial experience thus far (under two weeks), I’m impressed with the sensor accuracy — it’s better than expected. Other than that, the backlight seems a little more bluish than green, and the buttons have a slightly different feel (possibly related to the recent button-announcement) but it’s pretty much the same. Yes, the little annoyances and things that were missing are still there, but it’s something I’m comfortable with.

    I’ll share more in the coming weeks, but that’s my initial two cents worth. (Oh, and I kept my original Medtronic pump, the 515, well beyond the end of warranty…)


    • StephenS  On April 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks Scott… I’m really looking forward to reading about your trial.


  • Sara  On April 12, 2014 at 3:00 am

    I have noticed that in the past few years it has gotten harder and harder to trial a pump and even harder and harder to try/sample a new brand of sets. I do think that any pump trainer/rep who is serious about their job will do whatever it takes to get you that sample. You probably would have to wait a while for the Medtronic trial though. Their trainers can’t get a lot of demos considering they are still trying to fill actual customer orders.


    • StephenS  On April 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      I think you’re right Sara. I want to at least hold it in my hand and see how it works, even if I can’t test-drive a new model. No more buying sight unseen for me.


  • seejendance  On April 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Good luck! I did the whole “trial and error thing” myself, as you read, but still ended up back at Med-T. Purely for functionality purposes though – if they all worked exactly the same, I could have gone anywhere and paid about the same. So far, my Revel is working fine, as is Dex.


  • Karen  On April 14, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I think taking your time and trialing all of the pumps out there is the smartest way to go. But FYI, yes, the 530G does use the same sites and reservoirs. I’m happy to answer any questions and can show you my 530G with Enlite at the DSMA Live Meetup (SO excited for that!!). But I say, keep pushing for a trial from Medtronic . . . and everyone else. It’s a huge decision and they really should all let us do a test drive before we commit.


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