There was an announcement today (yesterday? I’ve just returned from diabetes camp and after minimal sleep and maximum shenanigans, time is an illusion!) that Animas is out of business, and it hit me like a slap in the face. I felt as though the breath had been pushed out of my lungs, and my heart has somehow moved its way from my chest to halfway up my throat.
In Australia, this doesn’t mean too much right now. We don’t have to suddenly make a super hard choice like our American and Canadian friends, but it does mean that the Animas pump will no longer be upgraded and will slowly fall into obsolescence. I don’t know what this means for Animas support – I’m guessing that awesome hotline will be gone? No Diasend? No lovely Cath on the end of the phone telling me how to stop that incessant beeping?
My reaction may seem a little out of proportion – I mean, it’s just a pump right? Some people don’t even have INSULIN, and you’re right! The fact I even have a pump is a blessing, however that doesn’t negate the fact that the drop out of Animas leaves Aussies with type 1 diabetes in a precarious position.
Australia is a small type 1 diabetes market, and an even smaller pump market. We don’t really have much of a choice anyway, and now there are two – the Combo, which looks like a pager from the 90s (and most likely has the same usability), and the Medtronic Veo. There’s a risk that without another viable competitor in the market, Medtronic will gain a monopoly, and that terrifies me. We need a choice, not a forced hand to the ‘less shit’ company.
Yeah, it’s ‘just a pump’, but this machine is on me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am constantly using this thing, my fingers know exactly how many down and up pushes I need to get to ezBolus and the best angle to hold the pump line at to prime it. I touch this machine as much as I touch my phone, and it constantly sits in the middle of my chest, becoming a part of me, like my tattoos or my freckles. When the pump comes off, I feel naked – I’ve become used to that slightly bulky and heavy feeling in the middle of my chest, and to lie in bed without the tiny weight of my pump dragging down my PJ pockets makes me feel as though I’m missing some sort of body part.
At the end of the day, pumps are so personal that choice is inherent in the selection of one. We all value different things – I went with Animas because of their fantastic customer service and upload app (unlike Medtronic and Carelink, they give you as much information as your HCP – funny to think that people with diabetes can be trusted with their own data?!). I’m not saying I’d never change, but with the closure of Animas it forces our hand, and with Canada and the U.S. completely destroys their hand! I’d love a TSlim in the future (people would stop asking why I still had a pager and why it was lighting up in my bra), but from my OWN choice. I want to choose a pump because I’m a fan of its design, its software, or its customer care – not because the other option is rubbish and I’m over syringes.
People with diabetes are not identical, and nor should their pumps be.