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I Hate Belly Sites.

I'm not sure what all the "rules" are when it comes to diabetes devices, but when it's about me making decisions for where to put my stuff, I do whatever works for me.  As far as I'm concerned, if I can pinch up the area and it's not covered in scar tissue, it's fair game.

For a long time, I used my abdomen for infusion sets.  During pump training at the Joslin Clinic, that's where they said to put it, so that's what I did.  Only I hated it.  I don't hate much about the diabetes day-to-day, but I hate abdomen sites.  I don't like when the waistband of my pants shifts against it.  I hate that I can sometimes feel the insulin going into my skin (grosses me out).  And since having my little Bird, I don't like when her feet kick against the site as I'm holding her, because it hurts and makes me squirmy as hell.  (There is the whole "second belly button" issue, as well, because when I wear my site on my abdomen, it looks like a second navel [academy?] underneath my shirt.  Not my favorite look.)

But the absorption is always good.  Predictable.  Even though it's my least favorite spot, it's a fail-safe for infusion set productivity. 

When I gave up on abdomen sites, I switched to my thighs.  This worked great for me, but once I started on the Dexcom back in 2006, I preferred saving my legs for the larger, more intrusive, changed-less-often sensors.  (It's just awkward, because even if I don't have the sensor on my leg, I take my pants off with this exaggerated motion, arcing my clothes out from where the sensor would be.  It looks like I'm pantomiming a lady from the 1930's, putting on bloomers.)

Which left me with the back of my hips and my arms.  The back of my hips works great, so long as it's well-above the waistline of my pants, and absorption is great, and I make sure to rotate regularly and comfortably.  My arms also work well for me (even though I get more reddish sites and little bumps after removing the infusion set), and gives me two areas of good absorption.  The only real problem with arm sites is that I snuggle Birdy all the time, and she always manages to grab me right at the site.  She's picked off more than a few.  

But, as with any site, it needs a rest. Which is why, after a string of gross high blood sugar days, and then some aggressive lows, not to mention a vampire cannula, I needed to switch up my sites for a few days.  I needed to give the back of my hips a rest.  I went back to the old standby:  frigging belly sites.

Rogue belly button frigging infusion set ARGHH

Six days of belly sites, two full rotations.  I wish I could say I loved it, but I didn't.  I hated it.  I still felt awkward.  Birdy still stepped on them when I picked her up.  I still felt like my belly button had gone rogue.  But the insulin absorbed nicely.  My blood sugars were stable.  And when I went to put a new infusion set in the back of my hip, the absorption there was great, too.  I needed just a few days to heal those bits of my over-poked skin.

Much better.

I'm hoping that this is what I needed to bring things back under control this week, because I was the Mayor of Crazytown for a while there.  If it takes going back to abdomen sites on occasion to keep things in range, I'm all in.

... I actually think I'd stick one to my forehead to get 105 mg/dL's all day long.


I want to print that picture of your belly site & use it as inspiration to work out. I'll never be as in shape as you are, but DAMN woman! You look good!

I totally get that!

I hate my arms and legs because I get close to zero absorption and I seem to bump my legs on my desk all the time (right on the site -OUCH!).

I actually really like my tummy because of the absorption and I somehow feel like I can protect it. I feel it more before it tugs out if the tubing gets caught on something. If my little one comes at me I can curl myself into the fetal position as a pump site buffer. But as a result I overuse my belly so much that it is scar tissue central. :{

My hip is my back up when my tummy needs a rest but I always manage to have a waistline/pant issue. My last hip site had rolled off of me onto my jammie pants and I only notice it because the loose tape would stick to me a little when I would sit back in my chair. I'm sure the high blood sugars would have warned me evetually too.

Thanks for sharing Kerri!

I use all of the above (not the forehead!!) except I haven't tried arm sites yet. Finally got rid of the buildup there from years of MDI! For me, ab sites seem to "give up" a little earlier than the other ones. Other than that, they're just okay.

I guess we should try this. Does it hurt more going in?

I can't get my daughter (9) to let me do anything but bottom and stomach. She let me do her arm one time just after starting to pump. I've gotten a few back of the hips in there but since the dexcom came along I feel like there isn't enough space. I'm hoping she comes back from camp next month ready to explore the thighs and arms after seeing and talking to all of the other kids.

I just took a picture of the perfect 100 on my meter, which I have hit twice in the last week. I realize how my life has turned upside down since being diagnosed a year and a half ago when a number makes me as happy as that did! Congrats on getting back into the realm of the normal, Kerry! We'll do anything to get there, won't we? Even add a second naval.

Good grief, woman, is that your actual belly? It's pancake flat.

My preference is my tummy and my hips and lastly my thighs. I save my arms for the Dexcom sensor....it's out of the way and doesn't seem to get dirty looking as quickly. And I leave it on until it is either nasty looking, or falling off. Those sensors are expensive! Diabetes is EXPENSIVE!

Hi Kerri, question....how do you insert the site into your own arm?

Julia - I use the Animas Insets, and I can deploy them one-handed. So it's pretty easy, but I usually use a mirror.

Oh my. When you look up pincushion in the dictionary there should be a picture of a T1! I just can't imagine but am so impressed with how tough you all are.

I've been using my tummy for 13 years. I'm scared to try another site. It gives my such anxiety just thinking about it. Any tips?

As a someone with little body fat... Diabetic SENSORS and INFUSION Sets do not work with me. The only place I can pinch one inch is maybe my stomach. But, It still Hurts(to much), and BLEEDS way toooo OFTEN(even on my stomach). I need more body fat for my sites to hurt less, and also to bleed less. These devices(for me) are also to Restrictive for any type of active life-style. So, these are a few reasons I use injection shots.

I too hate the belly site, especially when I'm at the gym, I'm constantly fearful the infusion site will pop out when I'm doing something (never happened but still a fear). I however am a huge fan of my butt, two nice large areas for me to use as a pin cushion. Although from time to time my stomach gives my butt a break.

Ha, my sister had the same forehead thought as you. In my site list she wrote 'Middle of Forehead' :)

I hate wearing it in my stomach, too - I have so much scar tissue built up from 20 years that it always hurts more, and the tape doesn't stick well for some reason. But I do get the best absorption (ironically enough, considering the scar tissue.)

I have used up my hips but occasionally go back there if I need to.

Just recently started using my thighs. They are fine, but I hate pulling down my pants - I either forget it's there and it pulls, or like your analogy, I pull them way far away from me and I'm sure I'd look ridiculous if anyone saw me.

I haven't tried my back or arms yet.

As always, I enjoyed your relatable post!

My husband always uses his thigh for the infusion site. He is a bit overweight, so his stomach just didn't absorb the insulin as well.

I have only used my upper and lower belly and hips. How do you hide the tubing and clip on the pump when you insert into your arms? I like to wear my pump on my pant pocket.

i used my belly exclusively for site for so long that i can't use it anymore. too much scar tissue.

now i'm a side, back, and arms girl. ;)

I Love your blog its nice reading about someone dealing with the same things I do, but i like my stomach more then my back or arms or thighs. I also im lucky and dont have to deal with tubing the Omnipod is amazing. Def recomend it to many people.

Reading your blog tonight just makes us feel guilty. My husband has been T1 since 1978, in his early 30's. He too wears a pump and a Dexcom and is quickly running out of "material". Just to hear others talk of their struggles makes us feel so blessed to have all of you. Together we can make a difference!

I use only my stomach. Do you inject on the side of your thighs or the top?

I get those little bumps from Dexcom sensors in my arm! They are super annoying. I haven't been brave enough to try a Dexcom in my leg yet...

I wish I had the habit of silly-taking-off-pants motion like you do... I don't use leg sites that often, so when I do, I tend to forget, and I rip leg sites off *all* the time.

I used my upper ab and tops of my legs for 62 years, before pumping. I was never told to rotate sites, and never heard about scar tissue. I have permanent scar tissue now on my upper ab and can never use it again. My pumping sites are on the sides of my legs, and my lower ab. My lower ab is my favorite. I learned about scar tissue in Dec, 2007, whwn I called Medtronic and complained about highs. I thought it was pump failure. The young lady at MM talked with me for almost 20 minutes, and decided I had scar tissue. So why didn't my doctors tell me about this?

My daughter is 2 weeks away from her pumping anniversary and this whole time she's only let us put it in her belly. But when we went to her new Endo in Jan he told her to start thinking about her arms, legs, and upper bum. She said she would, then we went back in April and was still only using the belly, so he told her that if she would try her arm he'd fill our her D-Camp form, so she agreed (he would have filled it out anyway he told me privatly, but he also did say that he put it on her D-Camp form that new sites is something she needs to talk about at camp). Anyways, now she's using her arms and belly...next up the upper bum. Poor little girl, only has so much real estate on her!

What meter is that?

Really appreciate advice here - don't pump but use DExcom and can't get it to work anywhere other than belly, despite really not liking it there and having only 2 rotation slots not being enough re scar tissue etc.

Anywhere else and it hits muscle, goes haywire after a day or 2. I don't have a lot of fat tissue in the arms or legs - tried upper buttock/ hip area but again doesn't last more than 48hrs, expensive for a Dex sensor.

Anyway, how do any other lean folks (inc Kerri judging by that photo!) make other sites work, if i pinch way up and insert it seems when i release the sensor sits in the wrong type of tissue.

Any advice appreciated!

I laughed so hard (and maybe snorted some wine up my nose as I was drinking) when I read the part about arching your pants out to avoid the thigh site. I use my thighs exclusively for my Dexcom and I totally do that too, even when it's not there. And new site days means I arch on the wrong side. I'm glad it's not just me! :)

Can you imagine a Pod insertion on the forehead?! ouch!

(and I say Pod because you definitely need an auto-insertion to pull off something like that!)

I've always been a belly-site girl. Actually, from the time I was diagnosed at 14 to getting pregnant at 28, I didn't know you COULD use another area of the body! I got used to the back of my hips or my sides during pregnancy, and now I have the same issues with belly sites you have - they're constantly getting pulled at or bumped when I'm nursing, when my boy is climbing all over me, when he's tugging at my pants and trying to pull himself up... I can't imagine using my thighs - maybe I'll get brave and try. It sounds like a pretty out-of-the-way spot!

This is an old post, but I used to weigh about 138 pounds. I'm now 110-115 pounds. I used to wear my insulin pod on my belly, but the more weight I lost.. the less effective it became! That or the insulin just could no longer 'absorb' in those areas.

I tried my back but it was impossible with all the moving I do. I would rip it out just getting into the car or subway. I HATE having a pod showing, so arms haven't been an option since I started. Thighs don't 'stick'.

So you must be thinking.. what did I do?! Those are all the effing options right?!

Well.. luckily I'm quite small chested. Tiny b cup. I insert my pods in the direct center of my chest under my breasts, where there is just enough fat above my stomach. NEVER had a failure so long as I pinch the skin. My endo and pod people were shocked to see that as my sight but couldn't believe how clever it was!

Try it!!

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