Reviewed: Kaplan-Mayer


My desire to start insulin pumping led me to seek out some expanded information on the subject. I felt like I knew the basics… the cannula site goes under the skin, the tubing feeds to the pump and fills up with rapid-acting insulin, and the pump sets the stage to deliver the desired amount. A carb count here… a bolus wizard calculation there, and all is good. Right?

Well, Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer delves deeper into the expanded world of pumping in her book, “Insulin Pump Therapy Demystified“. For the better part of seven years, Kaplan-Mayer herself has been on insulin pump therapy. She takes her experiences and knowledge, along with many testimonials from other pumpers, diabetes experts and other health professionals and puts them in this book. The goal- to make insulin pumping less confusing and much more relatable to those possible pump candidates out there.

Insulin Pump Therapy Demystified by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Select sections include: Sex with the pump, cost of pumping, help choosing the right pump, sleeping with the pump on, and even airport security checkpoints…and the pump.  Most sections begin with just a brief overview of the topic at hand and widen into more detail with lists, tips, asides, and relatable info. A lot of the pages are written in question/answer format also. As if written coming from the mind of a to-be pumper, questions are formed in bold print and promptly answered by easy to read and to-the-point succinct paragraphs.

This book is for the pumping novice. It is for those who like their answers in no-nonsense form, free from jargon or lengthy additives. It is for this reason that I found myself wanting more after my paper bound excursion. I was fairly adept to the grand pumping scheme of things. I knew the “nuts and bolts”. And through my expansive blog network on all things diabetes, I had read first hand a lot of tidbits from OC pumpers themselves. What I was hoping to find was more detail on the mechanics of the pump and deeper interpretation of the menus and functions that await inside. What exactly does a square-wave bolus do? A dual-wave? How are basal rates determined and what ease is there to programming them into the pump? These kinds of things are not discussed in the book and must be searched out in other places.

Overall, “Insulin Pump Therapy Demystified” was a short and easy read that helped organize and answer those curious questions about life with a pump. I felt there was room for more elaboration on pump types and a further expanded list of manufacturers.  Also, somehow overlooked, there was a small bolus calculation example towards the end- with an error in the math. Small things like this may have taken away, a small fraction, from the overall satisfaction for me, but I do not regret the time I put into the pages.

I mostly appreciated the authors interviews and real life success stories from high, and low, profile pumpers. It definitely showed how beneficial pumping is to a majority of insulin dependant people with diabetes.  Kaplan-Mayer is a highly positive writer with a knack for making the reader feel at ease about pumping. I am looking forward to my journey of pumping insulin and I will say that the $15.95 Barnes and Noble price tag was worth the added comfort and excitement it brought about my new upcoming venture.

In part: buy this book if you are a true novice to what insulin pumps are and how they affect daily life.



  1. While I have not read the book, I’ve been a big fan of her blog (http://insulinpumpdemystified.blogspot.com/index.html) for a long time!

    I would expect nothing less of a marvelous book based on her marvelous blog!

  2. Once you’re on the pump, I recommend reading either Pumping Insulin by John Walsh and Ruth Roberts or Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner… or both! :-D They’re both excellent, more in-depth books about actual management using the pumps.

  3. Allison- Great! Thanks for the suggestions, I will look them up.

    Scott- I didn’t realize she had a blog also, I have no doubt it is as marvelous as you say. I will definitely check it out. Thanks.

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