Is is possible to change settings somewhere and prevent the slideshow options appear on every post or page backend?
Nope. Because every post can be potentially be added to the slideshow.
I only use the slideshow on my front page, so is it possible to turn it off, from appearing in every backend page or post?
Again, for the same reason, nope. It is not where you are displaying the slider that determines where the is displayed, but the way the slider works.
when I am creating a page, the slideshow insert options appear, and every image housed in "uploads" starts loading and takes forever.
That is not a normal behavior. To prevent this behavior, the images are loaded only if you need it, and only if you click on a link… so either you need to update the plugin to the latest version, or you need to update your wordpress… but I can tell you that it is not the way the plugin works…