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Site Unseen.

About 90% of the time, I do not mind wearing an insulin pump.

Yes, of course, I would much prefer to be cured of this disease and I don't enjoy the day-to-day maintenance of a chronic condition, but for me, pumping these past four years has been far superior to multiple injections.   I can hide it in the folds of my clothes.  I can disconnect for exercise, intimacy, and beachin' it.  And it delivers my insulin with a precision and stealth unrivaled by my orange-capped syringes.

However, the past few days have been holy hell.

Instead of sticking the infusion set on my thigh, like I usually do, I opted to give my legs a rest and revert back to my abdomen.  I originally started using my thighs because I thought stomach sites burned and felt like fire in my sensitive, nerve-riddled skin.  I liked having the tubing snaking down my leg instead of jutting out from underneath my shirts, and I preferred to have my infusion set nested on my out-of-the-way leg instead of my front-and-center abdomen.

But, in the interests of site rotation and absorption tests, I stuck the site in my stomach and went about my merry way.  Unfortunately, it was far less merry than usual.

The site is currently about three inches to the right of my naval, about two inches down.  While wearing sweat pants, this site location is not an issue because the waistband of the pants rests about two inches below the site.  HOWEVER.  The waistband of my jeans rest, with precision, where the infusion set sits, rubbing and pressing and making the site incredibly sore.  Every time my arm brushes against it, here on its third day, it's as though the cannula has made its home in a pile of ultra-sensitive nerves.

We're out at dinner the other night, and one big laugh had me squirming because the site had caught against the edge of my pants.  Driving home to RI was entirely uncomfortable because my seatbelt was snug against the bulge of the site.  Every bolus has a bit of a burn to it.  The sweater I wore to work today shows the faint outline of the infusion hub orbiting near my naval.  Even sleeping has me rolling over, folding my arm underneath myself, and mashing up against the site. 

For the last three days, that infusion set has gone from "something I barely notice" to "alien in my belly."  An alien in my belly has been a bit of a startling enterprise, to say theNow he's wearing an infusion set.  Gotcha. least.

I admire people who can do a full site rotation, hitting places like their rear ends, their arms, and even their breasts.  (Note:  I will never, ever use my breast as an infusion set site.  I cannot imagine that kind of ouch.)   But I officially hate the belly sites.  I can't stand them.  I feel like a stubborn kid, crossing my arms over my chest and pouting, "No more belly sites.  I'm going home."

So, in efforts to be more of a grown-up, I'm going to give an arm site a pass.  Once I'm home from the gym and neat and clean from the shower, I'll be trying out the back of my left arm as a home for my infusion set.  You guys have given me the confidence I needed to at least give it a whirl.

If an alien takes up residence in my arm, I'll be back to legs by Friday.   

Comments

I used to do most of my sites in my abdomen, but when I started having absorption problems I switched to my legs. And I had all the same problems you are having when I did! I put it on a spot on my thigh where the side seam of my jeans rubbed it constantly, and the next one was too high and the waistband of my jeans rubbed against it, and then I finally figured out where all the irritating clothes spots are and now I know to avoid them.

As a true abdomen fan, I think you should give it one more shot (below the belt line, in the "gut" area was my preferred area) before calling it quits altogether. But I do want to hear how the arm works out! Especially what nooks and crannies you use to hide the pump when the site is that high on the body.

Let us know how it goes. I've yet to be brave enough for the arm site. Maybe you will make me braver like you did for my thigh site....

Hi Kerri,
Sorry you're having so much irritation with yours in your abdomen. I've never tried mine anywhere else. It's worked well for me (mostly). But everybody's different. I'm glad we have choices, aren't you?

But, oh, I checked out that link you gave where the woman put hers in her breast. I can't even imagine! I promise I will never, ever do that either. But I might get brave & try my thigh one of these days.

Good luck with the arm. : )

We rotate Brendon sites between his stomach and his butt.

He has yet to give us approval to insert into his thigh although he's had it there once.

Maybe I'll broach an arm site to him in the very near future.

I've been thinking about an arm site, but haven't tried it yet... I am not a fan of change. I always use my thigh (after getting tired of all the comfort problems that came along with using my stomach). Hope the site adventure goes well .... and i'd be interested to know how difficult it is to insert.

i actually have never tried anything but my abdomin area. when i was on shots i would always bleed everywhere else and it hurt so bad...so i am timid in trying those places again...maybe one day. sorry your having so much irritation with ur stomach area. good luck with the arm! tell us how it goes :)

I can't use my arms OR my thighs. Without trying to sound like a pig, there isn't an ounce of fat on my thighs, and my arms are just too muscular. I'm kind of stuck with the abdomen, and it's getting old.

Ouch. Breast. ouch.

(Remember that you and I are built alike. Yeah. Uhhuh.)

I hope the back of the arm goes well. You are clearly a brave and adventurous woman.

I actually do all my shots there, and they hurt way less than my stomach.

Hi Kerri,

um, on the stomach I generally have better results staying above the umbilicus.

As for the burning sensation, is that the set, or the insulin, or just the mechanics of the set? I switched to the 13mm Sil which I insert such that the needle is horizontal, pointing towards the midline, and at a less than 30 degree angle. That did away with mechanical issues like the cannula hitting the muscle beneath the skin.

I know, Quicksets are so nice and easy to insert -- but the extra comfort of a Sil is well worth the added 15 seconds for manually emplacing it to me.

Cheers,
Felix.

Um - breast?! Just say no! I am not built like you so... yeah, just no.

How do you feel about hips? Too much like stomach?

There is no way in you know what I never knew that oh the breast !!! Oh that just makes me shutter !!! I have tried my thighs but way too many tiny blood vesseles and always get my site caught on something. Arm hurts too much so I just stick to my stomach area. I thought about the back area but when you live alone how in the heck do you do that ? Nice touch on the alien : )
Ive got lots of extra padding but stomach works best for me.

Sara - I did abdomen sites for the first year of pumping. I definitely gave it "the college try." But since I'm out of practice in that area, I'd need to figure out where all the irritating spots are and avoid them.

Cara - I did it! Posting about it today. :)

Donna - I'm very thankful for choices. I'd be all pin-pricked and spotty without them. :)

Shannon - How did you do one without his permission? I'm confused.

Randee - I'm not a fan of change either. But I needed to try this arm thing, just to prove to myself that I'm adventurous. ;)

Jenna - :( I'm sorry those spots were tricky for you. Stick with what works!

Nick - There aren't any other options for you? I know some little kids who use their rear ends as sites. Any chance that would work for you?

Rachel - Agreed. And more power to those women who can stand the breast site. Ouch ouch!

Mandy - My stomach has always been a sensitive area for me. I know the feeling.

Felix - I am not sure if it is the insulin. I've been using Humalog since I started pumping (actually, even before that), and the sites don't burn in my legs or so far in my arm. I'm wondering if I have some extra sensitivity in my stomach. And I've also never used a 45 degree set. That's next on my list to try. :)

Sara - Hips are a bit too similar to stomach, in that my clothes press against it relentlessly. Do you use your hips?

Joanna - I did the arm site myself last night, but used the Quick-Serter. Pulling out the needle was a bit tricky, though. I did enlist Chris's help, but I think I could have done it alone. I'll write about that today. :)

Joanna -

We talked him into getting in the thigh once, but after that, he didn't want it there. He gave no reason for why, he just said no, and we didn't fight it.

Yes. I use my hips almost exclusively. Let's just call me a pear as far as shape. I am pretty good at predicting where my pants are going to be and can aim for just above it.

I wonder though if I am making myself more of a pear by doing that because don't you get some extra lumpy-ness long term around sites?

Anyway, I tried leg once and butt once and I could not get absorption in either. Grr!

Great site.... I have been pumping for 6 years (MiniMed 508, but switching to a 722 next month) so I am also switching from Sof-sets (QR) to Quick Sets. I have always used my sides ranging from as far back as I can reach to as close to m navel as possible 2-3 inches switching sides every time. I am going to start using my thighs real soon, just to try. I never liked the "Pig Tail" in my side when I'm in swimming trunks. When using the Sof-set I would also use a 4" IV (3M) patch and never had a problem with a loose site. But with the Quick Set (no pig tail) I am hoping there is enough stickiness to hold it in place. Thanks to all. Lee

Hi Kerri,
I agree with you regarding the abdominal region for sites. I have started using the area an inch or so under my breasts. It took a few days to get used to but now I prefer it. I also started using my upper arms last winter and that usually works well. I would love to use my thighs but I think that the site would be bothered by jeans or nylons. I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

Kerri, sadly there is also not an iota of fat on my rear end, and so it's just not an option either.

For years I'd used my abdomen only. And I wasn't very disciplined about it. It got to where I had two swollen areas, one on each side.

Then Gary Scheiner suggested that I map out a matrix of sites focusing on my abdomen, my lower back, and my thighs. Now I'll use the matrix in one area before moving to a new area. This means that my right abdomen might not see any action for two months as I work through the 12 sites on my left abdomen, the 6 on my left back, 6 on my right back and the 3 on each thigh.

Mind you with the new infusion sets that I'm using with my Cozmo, my wife has had to do the insertions on my back, it's not a single handed operation. She winces more than I do! I figure it's good for her to know how to do this, but I hate to see her suffer.

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