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Diabetic Fashionista.

Fashionista, I am not.  (Confirmed by my lack of understanding as to what ‘couture’ means, my love for the white-bra-under-white-shirt combo, and my undying affection for the skort.)  But even I realize that nothing ruins the fit of a nice dress sometimes more than the bulky mess of medical devices.

During a presentation I gave recently, I wore a dress that had a snugger (not Snuggie) fit, and even though the neckline was high, stuffing the insulin pump into my bra made it look like I had a third, and unreasonably boxy, breast.  Pump in a “thigh thing” looked like a cell phone gone rogue, and clipping it to the inside of my bra (near the crook of my arm) made me feel like I couldn’t put my arm down, a la Ralphie’s brother from A Christmas Story.  (You’ll pump your eye out?)  Couple up this awkwardness with the Dexcom sensor jutting out on my leg and I felt like I was mostly made of robot parts.

Having a pump backup plan is important, in the event that your pump breaks.  I have my trusty bottle of Levemir and insulin pens armed with Humalog to see me through any hiccups with technology.  But for me, a pump back-up plan isn’t solely for unplanned pump vacations.  Sometimes it’s nice to go device-free, even for just the sake of wearing one stupid dress.

Which is exactly what I did.  The morning of my presentation, I disconnected the pump site and took a shot of Levemir (with a pre-practiced dose, knowing that I’d need to take another dose before bed, having practiced splitting my Levemir dose a few times in the past).  Insulin pens with fresh needle tips hidden in my purse and the Dexcom ready to BEEEP! if I screwed something up, I was ready to have a mini pump vacation.

I did 36 hours without the pump (9 am – 9 am, and then reconnecting at 9 pm when I was scheduled to take the second dose of Levemir for that day) and it was no big deal.  The Dexcom let me know when I wasn’t bolusing early enough, and I used my Timesulin pen cap to make sure I didn’t stack my boluses (because I rely heavily on the IOB data on my pump).  And overall, it was a smooth break, as proven by the Dexcom graph that stayed steady (albeit higher than normal, but still steady), thanks to some careful monitoring.

Is pumping easier?  For me, it is because I love micro-dosing (Correcting a blood sugar of 140 mg/dL back down to 100 without having to pierce my skin?  Party time.) and I appreciate the convenience of fluctuating basal rates and precision dosing.  But it’s nice to have options.  I like knowing that, if I want to take a little bit of a break, for whatever reason, I’m armed with the tools and the data to go back and forth as I see fit.  Diabetes doesn’t afford me a lot of options (as in, “I’d love the option to send you the hell back to wherever you came from”), but I do have a choice in how I deliver my synthetic insulin, or what finger I prick for a blood sugar result, or which meter fits best into my life.  And I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to juggle.

Because sometimes you just want to wear the skort dress.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. BettyAnn #

    Fashionista a Go-Go!

    Great blog! I’m going to be pumping soon and it’s weird to think about giving up my pen regimen. I know how It works! It’s nice to know that I can do both (not at the same time) if I want.

    06/17/13; 12:58 pm
  2. So comforting to know that on “special” occasions I won’t have to take health over fashion! I can “have my cake, and eat it too!”… But really I probably shouldn’t… eat cake that is!

    06/17/13; 1:19 pm
  3. Taylor Inman #

    I really enjoyed this post…I do the same thing sometimes! I have discovered that for a day of drinking at the beach my blood sugars will not be ideal anyway, so I might as well have some fun and go pump free and hopefully the beer/sun/playing in the ocean combo all balance out. Also, I discovered a new “dress hiding spot for the pump”. I use medical tape and wrap it around my mid thigh a couple times (not too tight or you get an indent in your leg) and clip the pump clip onto the tape in my inner thigh (you have to find the right spot so that you can still walk but you can see the pump) :)

    06/17/13; 2:28 pm
  4. As someone who’s suffered the indignity of device bulges and a “thigh thing” that slides down my leg when I walk, thank you for this post.
    I’ve resorted to buying A-lines and having my tailor sew a pocket in the seam, but somehow a pump break for fashion reasons never occurred to me. Now maybe my pencil skirts can see the light of day!

    06/17/13; 9:47 pm
  5. Amanda #

    I love the pump vacation too but I do have a new suggestion that i’m in love with for the pump hiding:
    http://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?vid=1&pid=581412002

    Since they’re tennis shorts, they’re meant to be worn under a skirt so they conceal pretty well and the ball pocket on the left side holds a pump well. It seems a little loose in there but I haven’t had it fall out once.

    06/18/13; 10:38 am
  6. Alanna #

    I can’t agree more about the challenges of pumping with dresses! Although the ‘thigh-things’ do hide the pump well, nothing is more awkward than dancing at a wedding with a pump sliding down!
    About 2 years ago I discovered the ‘boogie shorts’ from Lululemon. They have a small pocket that sits just below the hip bone and it holds/hides the pump beautifully. The placement is great for allowing most dresses to just flow over it….and they are comfy!
    They are not cheap, but last a long time!: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/women-shorts/Boogie-Short-Luxtreme?cc=0001&skuId=3499099&catId=women-shorts

    06/20/13; 5:12 pm
  7. Nicole #

    I love this post. I can totally relate. I am very concious of my pump in my bra, there are not a lot of other options. I haven’t taken a pump break ever. It may be something to start trying once in a while.

    07/29/13; 11:59 am

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