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Robot Warrior.

Diabetes hardware is FUN!  ;)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.

But.

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. 

Comments

It is always nice to read your blog and see that someone else goes through the same things I do! The location of the pump issues is something a non diabetic can never truly understand. When I go shopping with friends and see a cute dress my first thought it where is my pump going to go??

Oh, I feel your anger, having grappled with the same issue. Jason had a fancy work function last May, and I bought this slinky Calvin Klein dress that left little to the imagination. It too was a bargain, having been marked down a couple of times. I think I ended up wearing a thigh thing maybe, and turned the pump toward the inside. If it wasn't the Thigh Thing, it was a garter pouch from Pump Wear Inc., although the ones I have would have been noticeable, so I'm pretty sure it was the Thigh Thing.

My favorite solution is Victoria's Secret stay-up thigh highs though - but that's only if you plan to wear stockings obviously. They have a super wide band so they don't cut into your thigh, and the rubber strips that keep them up, also help keep the pump in place. Again, turn it as far as you can toward your inner thigh. Not sure if any of those suggestions will help - those knit dresses are a royal pain when it comes to hiding cyborg parts :(

I feel for you Kerri ... I had a christening to go to yesterday so I was in the mood to wear a dress. After putting it on, I took it right back off because I didn't want to have to worry about how to get to my pump while eating. I wanted to be comfortable and have my pump easily accessible (for the multiple courses we ere going to be eating) so I stuck with jeans & a blazer. I too was a bit annoyed that I had this to worry about. We should just be able to wear dresses if we want, when we want, not having to worry about where we are going to put our portable pancreas'. I definitely feel for you Kerri but I do hope another day you will have a much better fit!

Great post...Isn't it funny how it's the little frustrations that get you? Last weekend, I had my pod at the top of my butt and then was driving two hours to a dinner party--And of course the thing was digging into my back the whole ride so I wanted to scream. I spent the whole party dreading the ride back.

But if I know anything about your personality, this isn't going to bother you for all that long. Stick the pump wherever it fits best and don't even think about it. You'll look gorgeous regardless.

Okay, change of subject. To make yourself feel better about the world, you might want to take a look at what your toys are doing while you're away. Indiana Jones has issues, and Wall-E apparently wears Eve’s lingerie. And once you see what happened to Kermit? The problems with your dress will seem inconsequential.

http://weburbanist.com/2008/12/06/private-lives-toys/

Clothing/pump issues put me in a foul mood moreso than most other D issues. My solution has been to avoid wearing dresses except for weddings, funerals (maybe), and fancy parties (few). I don't know why, but I cry or almost cry every time I try it. Sorry you had a dress "down" day.

First off,
I have to thank you for sharing that you use your thigh for your insertion site. I tried it AND LOVED IT (although I almost ripped it off towards the end with some slightly tight jeans.) It's great to be able to slide the pump into the top of my tall boots.

I certainly haven't been wearing the pump long enough to give advice, but I have done what Lee Ann did, and put the thigh thing on and positioned the pump on the inside of my thigh. The only negative, was the slight annoyance when I wanted to cross my legs.

Anyway, If you are indeed a diabetes robot warrior, I do believe you can win any battle!

I wonder if there are any retail return departments out there that have a return code for "Didn't work with insulin pump."

Hi Kerri,
I've been reading your blog since I was diagnosed with type one a year and a half ago. As another twenty-something newlywed who doesn't want to have to give up on fashion because of a few silly machines attached to me, I totally understand the frustration. I really appreciate the fact that you share your experiences so openly because it reminds us all that we are dealing with the same obstacles. It's the "little things" like not being able to wear your favorite dress that sometimes cause the biggest emotional road blocks and are the things that a non-diabetic can never truly understand. So, thanks for making me feel like I'm not alone here! Also, I finally tried your sock trick at work today and hid my pump on one leg and my dexcom on the other. It was great! And it's a lot less embarrassing when my ankles start singing rather than my cleavage!!

Nobody wants pity and if you're like my daughter, you don't even really want sympathy that much, but this story turns on the mom genes (never mom jeans - those are horrid!) and I just want to cry for you. It's hard enough getting dressed up for a big event or a night out without the worries that go with hiding a pump or having access to an injection site. Personally,I'd be worried about a little belly flab, but that's something I am 100% in control of fixing, should I decide to. ;-) Diabetes just sucks.

Reason 3294 that the pump just didn't work for me. ;-)

I had about 6 years of that (and other) pump nonsense before I gave it up. Now I am happily (and healthily) on injections.

Kerri,

((hug))

I feel sad reading this post! I bet that dress looks awesome on you. ; ) This gives me some insight into what my two girls will be dealing with as they get older and their wardrobes change.

I like the suggestion of using the thigh thing or the thigh-high stockings. But the tubing from the pump to the site will still show on a dress that clingy....could you put your site on the inside of your thigh and then put the pump inside the band of the thigh-high stockings, and wrap all the extra tubing around the pump? Maybe then nothing would show??

Good luck! And when you do wear the dress, I want to see a pic, pretty girl!

Lori

spanx.

A pair of spanx that are mid-thigh and another to the ankle will hold the pump under most revealing clothes.

It's not the most comfortable, but it works.

I love reading your blog.

I was able myself to afford a BCBG dress I bought online on Twenga and ran into the same issues for other health related problems.

Thanks for sharing your positiveness about that!

I've only had my pump for about a month and I love it, my diabetes is doing so much better. But when I go dress shopping I find myself almost screaming in the dressing room! Feels good to know I'm not the only one having this issue.

I know this is an old blog, but this is the first time I've ever read anyone's personal blog regarding diabetes and life. I love it and feel so much better that someone feels EXACTLY the same I do about so many things, specifically concealing your pump in dresses bc I wear dresses all the time and get sad and frustrated and cry all the time! Thank you for sharing :) I'm wearing my new Dex Com sensor for the first time today and wanted to do some research. That's how I came across this.

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