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Jack Frost Hates Me.

Over the last few weeks, the elements haven’t been particularly forgiving.  Arctic temperatures blasting their way through New England, feet of snow falling by the clump … my whole front yard looks sponsored by Frozen and I can’t let it go because I have to fucking shovel it.  Despite having a heavy winter coat and gloves and all the “right” clothes to keep my body warm and protected, my skin is still suffering in this winter wonderland.

Being skinned alive by Jack Frost is not good for diabetes device real estate.

Even though I do my best to mitigate the rash that blooms after wearing a Dexcom sensor, my sites still turn red and scaly (sometimes not for a few days, which makes for a fun surprise).  The Toughpad works to keep the blisters from cropping up, but it’s not a perfect system.  The winter weather makes it worse, causing the scales to go full-dragon and itch like mad.  Same goes for insulin pump sites.  Even though those are only stuck to me for three days (at most), they still leave a red ring and the aforementioned scales.

As far as diabetes crap goes, I love my insulin pump.  And my CGM data.  These two devices have put diabetes into context and have helped turn down the once-constantly-boiling back burner to more a simmer.

(the tools I usually use to keep my Dexcom from eating me)

Which is why it pisses me off when my skin makes wearing my devices uncomfortable.  The frigid air outside and the unnaturally dry, warm air inside has left my skin dry, scaly, uncomfortable, and unable to host invasive devices for their approved time frame.

So for the last few days, and for the next few coming, I’m taking a reluctant break from my Dexcom sensor, and will probably take a short pump break, too (though it’s less pressing since the sites are so much smaller).  I hate taking breaks that aren’t “by choice” but instead are forced by a lack of diabetes real estate.  (Yes.  Waaaaaaah waaah.)

Maybe this will be a good opportunity to tune back into relying more on my meter than my CGM.  Or maybe it will teach me a higher level of appreciation for the devices I have access to.  Maybe it will teach me to drink more water and to take colder showers and to moisturize more?  Maybe it will annoy the absolute fuck out of me?  And maybe I’ll do that to you by ranting about it?  😉

Regardless, at least I can itch madly and apply this smells-like-a-stick-of-chewing-gum lotion all day long until my skin stops hating me.


9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tim Steinert #

    Don’t make any rash decisions. Couldn’t resist. Have you talked to a dermatologist about whether your rash could be something more? I only say this because I have an autoimmune skin condition (the heartbreak of psoriasis). It wouldn’t be a shock that you JUST have contact dermatitis. I’m trying to combat my diabetes-pattern stomach hair baldness from having to lay down the Opsite-Flexfix on poorly adhesed infusion sets. Changing infusion sets is no fun when it also involves a haircut!

    02/4/15; 2:40 pm
    • I had a dermatologist take a look and their assessment was contact dermatitis. I hope that’s it. 😐

      02/4/15; 5:30 pm
  2. Martha #

    I don’t generally have a lot fo skin issues, although I do have other health issues, and I am hereby lodging a compliant with the Diabetes Gods that we diabetics DO NOT need any extra challenges, thank you very much. The disease on its own is plenty with no extra variables thrown in the mix.

    I sometimes do get a sensor itch, however, and it is kinda weird how it’s just like this hot feeling under the oval sticky pad, and then when you the rip the thing off it just blooms and is red and angry, and yes, a bit scaly.

    Have you ever tried Amlactin for regular moisturizing? Have recently started using the Ultra cream on my feet but the regular lotion is pretty hard-core too. Just throwing that out there if you feel that dry skin in general may be a factor.

    Hope it gets better soon!

    02/4/15; 4:04 pm
  3. No answers from you, but I can offer sympathy. I’ve got a nice vertical patch of missing skin on my belly from where I removed a CGM sensor — two weeks ago. I’ve got other marks from recent removals; and the left side of my body is just so completely overwhelmed by scar tissue that it’s pretty much useless. So I’m trying to find new un-tapped real-estate on my body because I can’t imagine going without these tools. I give you tons of admiration for giving your body a break when you know it needs it.

    And maybe I’ll get one of those whole-house humidifiers for next year, because forced-hot-air plus sticky-things-on-the-skin absolutely sucks. (Funny, I said the exact same thing last year…. and didn’t do it)

    02/4/15; 11:37 pm
  4. Kristine V. F. #

    I totally feel for you, Kerri. It’s so annoying when the weather can play such a huge part in diabetes management.. It’s another thing you can’t control. I also find it extremely annoying that I can’t have a normal hand-creme-lotion-routine as everyone else. I have to make sure I DO NOT get any lotion on my left ring finger and pinky because those are for testing.. And I somehow very often forget and then I have to go and wash my hands before I can test.. Which of course results in even more dry hands.. *ventilation-time*

    Anyways, luckily we have options and soon it will be spring and warmer 🙂

    Lots of love from Norway!

    02/5/15; 5:49 am
  5. Christine #

    I very much sympathize. Though my Dexcom is usually okay (I put the sensors on my arms, which tend to be more resilient than other parts of my body), my pump sites have been murder lately. Since I have to make sure the sticky part is actually sticking to my body, I smooth it out to make sure there are no bumpy parts where the adhesive is not sticking to my body. The problem with that is that any time I move, especially when my site is anywhere on my torso (but ESPECIALLY my back – oh dear gods, my back skin is hella sensitive), it pulls my skin and causes red rings, serious pain, and open sores. Not exactly the most fun. I’ve started putting lotion directly on the sticker (on top of it, so it soaks in – not on the sticky part) and directly around the sticker, which seems to help.

    02/5/15; 8:49 am
  6. Catherine #

    Try mixing 1 part olive oil, 1 part shea butter and 2 parts coconut oil. And if you aren’t allergic to it, add a few drops of lavender oil, mix this up and slather it on instead of lotion. Lotions contain alcohol and other drying ingredients.

    02/5/15; 10:19 am
  7. Martha #

    On the weather affecting diabetes topic: Several years ago I went on vacation to the amazing city of Merida, Mexico in June – the hottest, most humid place I have ever been. I came very close to running out of pump supplies because nothing would stick to my skin under those conditions. Stressful!

    02/5/15; 2:07 pm
  8. Last time I was at Wendy’s I showed her a red scaly infusion site ring on the back of my arm. She was surprised when I told her it was from the one I took off 3 days before. I guess I forgot it’s not normal to be part lizard.

    02/6/15; 3:16 am

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