I love a good bargain. So when I saw the BCBG Max Azria gray sweater dress on the rack at Marshall's for $30, I had to grab it. (Consider it my economic stimulation effort.) The dress is a soft gray with a flattering A line cut and a nice V neck. Clingy fabric. Fun.
This dress doesn't hide much. And it definitely didn't hide anything diabetes-related.
Normally, I'm able to hide my diabetes hardware to the point where I feel comfortable - the sock trick lets me wear the pants I like and not have to worry about pockets, the bra trick works with most dresses, and when it's a big event, pockets can be created.
But this gray dress wasn't having it. The pump set on my outer thigh stuck out. The tubing snaking up the side of my body and into my bra (where the pump was clipped) was completely obvious. And the pump itself looked like a cell phone shoved in my shirt. Not okay. Nevermind the Dexcom sensor on my right arm that the clingy dress fabric was gathering around.
"For crying. Out. Loud." I shifted things around to see if I could get the dress to settle smoothly, but every piece of diabetes hardware was on display.
I don't care if anyone knows I have diabetes. I don't care at all because it's not this big deal that I want to hide from people. I am very open about diabetes and I don't mind explaining things to strangers and friends alike. This is evidenced by my blog, my job, my decision to network with others like me.
What bothers me is when I want to look "normal." I want to put on a dress and not grapple with wires. I want to grab a small clutch purse that doesn't howl with a "BEEEEEEEEEP!" when my blood sugar drops or rises. I want to be able to have a beer at the bar without fumbling to bolus. I felt frustrated and furious and like a diabetes robot warrior.
"But isn't the pump best for you? And the CGM? Isn't that best?"
I know what's best for me. I completely understand that using a pump with the help of a CGM and all the other technology I have access to is best for me, but in that moment, I wanted it to all be invisible. I wanted to be living with that version of diabetes that everyone on the outside thinks is so manageable. "Oh, you do so well with it! You seem so well-adjusted!" But inside I'm screaming.
Frustration got the better of me and I replaced the pretty dress with jeans and a black shirt. (This is the abridged version - the full version included me creating some unique curse word combinations and throwing the dress into my bag in a satisfying tangle.) Shoved the pump into my sock and hide the CGM receiver in my purse. Tried to forget that the pump on my thigh and on my arm wasn't natural. Tried to remind myself that this is part of diabetes and part of trying and part of my life. Tried to remind myself that tomorrow is another day, and it will be another day with diabetes, so rebelling against it won't do me any good. Acknowledge, accept, and move on.
The dress is balled up in my weekend travel bag, and I think I'll leave it there for a few weeks. Maybe I'll make another attempt. It could look different on a different day. I could feel differently about it. The emotional ebb and flow of chronic disease management is ongoing.
Some days, diabetes is a better fit than on other days.