« Punctuate'd! | Main | Diabetes For The Day: Round Four »

New Thigh Thing?

At the JDRF Walk in Connecticut this year, I met with a woman named Joan Benz.  She was tending a table of her homemade wares:  specialty pump pouches and concealment cases.  Joan is the founder of T&J Design.

Joan is the creator of a fantastic little product called "the leg cuff," and it's the Thigh Thing 2.0, as far as I'm concerned.  I absolutely cannot STAND when I'm wearing my pump on some kind of strap around my thigh and it starts to FAIL.  Nothing is more embarrassing than walking down the sidewalk towards my office and feeling that thigh strap start to slip, then slide down towards my knee, then tumble out from under my hemline - making me look like my undergarments are falling off me as I walk. 

The leg cuff is different because it's a thicker piece of fabric and there's a lining that adds some extra grip to the whole thing.  Because it is a wider structure, it isn't as apt to slide down while you walk.  And because Joan makes these herself, specific to your measurements, the fit is precise and snug. You can get the leg cuff in black or white, which makes it pretty darn versatile.  And you know what a fan I am of keeping the pump concealed and quasi-fashionable!

And while this whole leg cuff thing is a wicked cool product, there is something else that Joan makes that really tugged at my heartstrings.  Joan creates these pump concealment pieces, ranging from the leg cuff to a more standard "pump pack."  But she also makes pump packs that are doll-sized, helping a little kid with diabetes to feel more accepted and less alone with their disease.  Each pack comes with a little cardboard, doll-sized pump.  It's just about perfect.

I think having a "diabetic doll" is crucial to that acceptance stage, growing up with diabetes.  I remember I had a Cabbage Patch Kid with blond yarn hair that I named "Carolyn," and she was diabetic.  Just like me.  Carolyn had to test before she ate.  She took "injections," and she accompanied me to many pediatric endocrinologist appointments at Joslin.  Even now, years later, I remember how Carolyn the Cabbage Patch Kid made me feel  like I was normal.  Or at least a new kind of normal.  So, to me, Joan's idea is fantastic.

If you are looking for a good "thigh thing," check out T&J Design and tell Joan I said hello!

Kerri Sparling's insulin pump ... and hands.

(Also, Joan was recently named the Outreach Coordinator for the Fairfield County JDRF Chapter - my local CT chapter - so hopefully she'll have a bigger outlet for her terrific product!  Congrats on your new position, Joan!)


First let me say that I love your blog and have been reading it faithfully for a while now...the timing on this post is crazy! I'm starting on the Animas Ping today, and I was getting nervous because I wear a lot of skirts and I hadn't found a good enough 'concealment accessory' and then I read your post - thanks so much, going to order the thigh thing now!

My wife's favorite place is still in her bra, tucked in her cleavage. She hates it on her waist (not fashionable), but I don't think she's ever heard of a thigh cuff. The only thing she doesn't like about her chosen method of concealment is having to take the pump out in public, especially in church. =]

OMG Kerri! Those doll pumps are the coolest :) Kacey would LOVE one of those. What a great present for her once she gets her pump. Thanks for sharing and I'll be sure to let them know you referred us!

Take care :)

It is funny that she has a doll pump I was just thinking of it a couple of weeks ago when I took my cousins to the American Girl Doll store. I thought they should make a diabetic American Girl Doll with a little pump!

Just keep in mind that Unique Accessories sells a "Thigh Thing" with a detachable garter grip... clips to your undies & to the spandex thigh thing. It does tug down the undies after a while, but the thing NEVER falls down my leg. I love it. I used to secure it with the pump toward the inside, but finally realized that "pump bump" reveals itself when you walk in a skirt or dress. Better to place the pump on the outside of the thigh... fewer weird looks from people wondering if I'm actually a woman!

The T&J bra pouch looks great, though. I'm going to try that.

Hi Kerri,

Thanks so very much for your wonderful recommendation. I'm thrilled to hear that you're using the Leg Cuff with great success. I have been filling quite a few orders for it and once in a great while, I do have a customer that finds it doesn't stay up as well as they thought. Generally, it's just a matter of remeasuring the leg circumference where placement is most comfortable. That's hard to do without actually having one to try on, like in a department store. So, I am always happy to make a new one at the revised measurement. When I send that new one, I include a mailer for the return of the first one.

I've made so many doll-pouches in the past couple of months. Every parent or grandparent has emailed me with lovely stories about their children taking over the role of "care-giver". Each story is a delight and so heart-warming, but I've had to stop forwarding them to my sister because they always make her cry.

Also, thank you for your congrats on my post at JDRF. I look forward to seeing you at our local events. And as always, I can wait to get put out of business by a cure! Talk with you soon,
All the best,

My Thigh Thing is stretched out and disgusting and on the verge of unwearable after 5 years of use. I think I might give this one a shot because it sounds better than the original TT. First I think I'm getting a couple of those swivel hook vertical cases though. I'm always on the look-out for well made, fashionable cases so my pump looks as good as a I do. (That was a joke, but I haven't figured out how to effectively insert sarcasm into my writing...)

In response to Suzanne, I've used the TT for 5 years, and it was fine for the first year or two, but since then, it constantly slides down. The garter was useless, IMO. That just made both my undies and my TT start heading south. Awkward!! You have to wear industrial-strength granny panties for that garter to work, as far as I can tell. It's great when it's new, but wear it enough and wash it a couple of times, and all it's good for is sleeping because then you have gravity working in your favor. I look forward to trying out Joan's design improvements. I might actually go back to wearing dresses this summer because I adore sundresses, but gave them up a few years ago!

although I dont wear a pump they are cute and very stylish and god bless this lady for thinking of this wonderfull idea . great blog as usual keri.

Joan is by far one of the nicest people. She is a mom who just tries to make her daughter accept diabetes. She is down to earth, and is a fabulous advocate for diabetes. I know her from the Rainbow Club down in Greenwich, CT.

I am a faithful reader and I am so excited about the doll pump packs! My 3 year old little boy is going to do a saline trial in a few weeks and would love one for a stuffed animal! I had never seen one before and wanted to thank you for posting it!

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)