Diabetes experiment: FAIL

I knew when I got pregnant having a baby would be expensive. I knew we’d have to make sacrifices, trips would be postponed, hair appointments wouldn’t be as regular, and my obsession with expensive jeans would have to be put on the back burner. But what I didn’t realize is how much of a struggle it would be living on a maternity leave pittance with a take home that is more than 50 per cent less than what I’d be making if I were working.

Every month I feel like I’m struggling, I feel poor, like I’m on the edge of living out of a cardboard box. But, in reality, I’m not. It’s just Big Ring and I refuse to live off credit cards and lines of credit, and we’re not wanting to dip into our travel fund or savings accounts, but rather live within our means. And because of that we are always on the lookout for new ways of creating savings. We’ve been clipping coupons like nobody’s business, using cloth diapers instead of disposables, getting new (to me) winter and summer wardrobes at clothing swaps where all clothes are free, switching from super expensive shampoo, face wash, and makeup to cheapo brands, etc..

And recently, I stepped up the savings – with diabetes! On average, every two months, I spend over $1,000 on supplies, which I get back 100 per cent, but off the hop, it’s a HUGE hit to the bank account. The majority of that cost is my infusions which are $330 for a box of 12 that lasts about a month.

Since getting the pump, I’ve been pretty diligent about changing my infusion every 3 days, but I’ve read about how other bloggers let theirs go for 5 or more days. They fill the pump’s reservoir to the brim, and let their insulin dosage dictate when they change out the infusion. And so, I figured hey, why not give it a go.

My reservoirs (which cost around $70 a box) hold 200 units of insulin. After loading the cartridge, and priming and filling the canula, I’m left with around 185 units. My total daily dose averages around 22.71 units a day. Simple math tells me that I can get 8 days out of that reservoir/infusion give or take. How about that for savings 😀

Yeah. Simple math was on board with the savings cause. My body, however, not so much.

Infusions, canulas and test strips = the most expensive parts of this disease.

A couple months ago, Little Ring discovered my insulin pump, and unlike his little buddies who also discovered it around the same time, he doesn’t just punch the buttons, which would be no big deal as he’d have to go through a bunch of steps before the insulin is administered, nope, my boy likes to pull on the cord – attached to my body! Ouch! After a few painful tugs, I decided it high time to change the infusion location from my belly to my legs.

However, I’ve had issues in the past with accidentally ripping the infusions out of my legs when I’m either changing or going to the washroom, and so I knew I’d have to be extra careful, I knew I’d have to remind myself not to whip my pants down with no regard. I thought I could do it. But no, four hours in when changing into my running gear, the cord was yanked and half of the infusion sticky came up off my leg. But the infusion itself was still inserted.

I had 2 choices here: I could either change the infusion and waste money, or get out the good old medical tape, and hope for the best. I chose the latter. The infusion stayed put, it was in that leg for days, and the insulin seemed to be working just fine. But gradually, I began to see blood in the canula, the site became itchy, then red, then angry. By the time I finally took it out, the location had swelled on my leg, there was blood, there was puss, and the canula was bent to beat all hell! Oh freak 🙁


I guess there’s just some things my body refuses to go on the cheap with. Diabetes experiment: FAIL!


  • 5 a.m. BG before: 11.1
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) with bolus and BG correction
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Distance: 5.09 km 5′ warmup/5x 200m with 1’easy/3x 400m with 1’easy/5′ cool down
  • Average pace: 5:39 min/km
  • Average interval pace: 4.33 min/km
  • 6:15 a.m. BG after: 12.4
  • Temp. basal: +50%


7 thoughts on “Diabetes experiment: FAIL”

  1. Yo, this was classic penny wise, pound foolish experiment. If anything goes wrong with your health, meaning in addition to what you already deal with, it will cost you much more than the diabetes supplies. Promise that you won’t do that kind of experiment again.

    I applaud your living-within-your-means financial strategy. Smart, smart, smart strategy to take the bull by the horns now, reduce expenses, not fool yourself into thinking it will all work out later. But you have to continue on with the old fashioned method, going line by line through the budget and separating needs and wants. Having been there, there are always things we don’t want to cut, but can.

    But y’all can do it.

  2. A tip: find credit-cards that offer lots of rewards. When I was on a medical plan that made me pay-now, get-reimbursed-later, I racked up all sorts of cash-back on my credit cards, not to mention CVS ExtraCare bucks.

    Diabetes is a pain — we deserve to be rewarded for it in any way we can find them…

    1. Yeah, I do Airmiles! We’ve gone to Europe once on those Airmiles, and have more than enough for another Europe vacation 🙂

  3. Heck I’ve lived very cheaply with diabetes for awhile. It was easy on the pump (I do get ontario coverage) so I would be thrifty in order to “collect” supplies. It was not uncommon for me to refill reservoirs and use infusion sets for 2 rounds. Sometimes up to 10-12 days!
    However, I definitely don’t recommend that because it left me with some NASTY sites and horrid insulin absorption. BUUUT… pushing a set a bit longer as long as it seems to be functioning okay is under-rated. 🙂

    do you take advantage of Shoppers Drugmart? Right now I’ve got almost 400,000 points which is a LOT of free stuff 🙂

    1. Nah, I have bitterness towards Shoppers Drug Mart from like 4 years ago and still haven’t got over it. What can I say, I dwell 😉 And, I just really love getting (semi) free flights through Airmiles! However, now that Sobey’s has bought Safeway, who knows if Airmiles will continue to be the loyalty program of choice. And if that changes, I’m out of there!

  4. Good for you guys for living in your means. When I was making next to nothing on mat leave I also made better use of my credit card to max out the rewards. Especially since I could use the rewards for stuff like groceries etc. I also went through my house and tried to sell every last thing I could!

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