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Shattered Confidence

May 5, 2014

A few weeks ago we had a warm day and the kids and I went for ice cream in T-shirts. We got out of the car and they yelled, “What is that?!” “That” is my Dexcom site and it was in my arm. Since they already know what the Dex is, I was able to explain it to them and #boymagine asked why I wasn’t wearing it in my leg anymore. I told them it was working better in my arm and off we went for ice cream.

It got me thinking about the upcoming warm weather and wearing it in my arm. The last time I tried this it only lasted a few days before a grocery bag yanked it out. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and tried it in on my butt last week. It drove me nuts the whole time and was not nearly as accurate as it has been in my arm. I know I’m only supposed to wear it in my stomach, but my stomach is one of the places where I actually don’t have scar tissue, so my stomach is being saved for pump sites. Also, whoever is developing inhalable insulin: those of us with scar tissue are very interested! 

For this sensor, I put it back in my arm knowing it was likely I’d be wearing a T shirt at some point. I went through the week without incident, but had a T shirt on for a Kentucky Derby fundraiser on Saturday. It’s at a bar/restaurant I’ve been going to since it opened when I was 6 years old (that’s what happens when your uncle owns it). I was with my dad & uncle and I saw a man about their age glancing at me. There are plenty of people in the area, especially there, who know who I am because I’m with my dad & uncle and I have no idea who they are. This is what I figured was happening. As my uncle stepped away and the Dexcom arm was closest to this other man, he stepped over and said, “There’s something on your arm. HAHAHAHA.” I wanted to explain, but he was walking away as he was laughing. I was stunned. I know it’s noticeable, but that doesn’t mean you need to be an asshole about it. It also effected the way I edited my instagram photo for the day.

Original

Original

I conveniently cropped out my Dexcom site on Instagram.

I conveniently cropped out my Dexcom site on Instagram.

Maybe it shouldn’t be a big deal and maybe I should get over it, but I was nervous the WHOLE day. Later when the race was about to start, a different guy (my age) leaned over and asked if it was for smoking. It was noticed and you asked a legitimate question?! Go you sir! Teach the rest of the world your ways! I replied that it was a glucose monitor that works 24/7 and he said “Wow, that must be new technology! Does it just make life with diabetes awesome?” If you’ll notice, I never mentioned that I have diabetes, but he knew. The race came on and we went our separate ways, but at least I left feeling a little bit better.

How do you guys do this?! I’ve worn T shirts 2 days this spring and been questioned on both about the Dexcom. I don’t know if I have the confidence to do this all spring and summer. But can my body work with Dex anywhere else? I just don’t know.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2014 9:29 PM

    I love my arm site so…, it will stay there. But, I’m a lot (a whole lot!) older than you and really don’t give a ____ what people think. Life is too, too short.

  2. May 5, 2014 9:38 PM

    I’m an arm wearer as well. It’s just too good. I wear it proudly – I think I had one “eww” comment once, but took it as a teachable moment (with a bit of anger and shaming, but hey, we can’t all be perfect). I guess I never thought people may think it’s a nicotine patch!

    In fact, looking back at a lot of my vacation photos the Dexcom features pretty prominently.

    Take heart and know that it’s helping you manage the disease that much better. It’s you that’s thriving with this disease. You could take it as a teachable moment, and then it’s one less ignorant person (like the second person in your story), or you could just realize that sometimes people are intoxicated idiots and tell them to sod-off. I know it’s not the polite thing to do, but sometimes it feels good. 😉

    Me, personally, I think your first photo is better!

  3. Katy permalink
    May 5, 2014 9:39 PM

    I think the laughter person is a very rare sort of jerk. I guess you could have a snappy answer ready if you ever run across one of these people again, but I don’t think you will.

    What a dick!

    You are so pretty. You could wear orthodontic headgear to a bar and be a hot ticket.

  4. Katy permalink
    May 5, 2014 9:39 PM

    (I mean: I don’t think you will run across one of these sorts of people again, not: I don’t think you will have a snappy answer ready)

  5. May 5, 2014 9:59 PM

    There’s a difference between feeling confident about yourself and having to explain and justify your confidence to others. I don’t think your confidence is shattered… just your patience and tolerance for idiots. It would be borderline-masochistic to want to set yourself up for another insult of that type, hence the reservations. I’m glad the second encounter happened to shift you back in the other direction.

  6. May 6, 2014 7:17 AM

    I find myself often treading this line too. Finding a balance between what works for you diabetes wise and what allows you to feel normal and carefree. I’ve worn many sensors on my arms over the years but I tend to gravitate to that site more often during long sleeve season or when I’m on vacation and the only people I’m likely to be communicating with already know the deal. I usually wear my sensors on my thigh and with shorts in the summer it tends to be out for all the work to see. Yet somehow I’ve never had anyone comment on it unless its on my arm.
    Anyway, I am all for D-empowerment and advocacy but your life is yours and its ok to keep your D technology under wraps if that’s what makes you comfortable. Your worth as a diabetes advocate has nothing to do with how often you fly your D-flag in public. Personally I think marginally better Dex numbers aren’t worth feeling uncomfortable in your own skin.

  7. May 6, 2014 10:04 AM

    I’d like to punch Laughing Man, or maybe I will just spill a drink on him so everyone can proceed to laugh at him. Anyhow… agreed: I like what Scott says about the difference between mentioning it and falling into that whole justification mode; in this case, Laughing Man was just a jerk and there’s certainly people like that. Especially in bar crowds. But I like to think more know how to behave socially like Leaning Man and can talk intelligently about these things. I think we’re at a point where these aren’t uncommon things (people wearing devices on them), and it’s probably more common than drunken Laughing Man might want to admit.

  8. Melissa permalink
    May 6, 2014 10:48 AM

    I think during work hours it’s easier to keep it covered but all other hours of the day I don’t care who see’s it or doesn’t.
    On another note I love your outfit in that picture!

  9. May 6, 2014 2:10 PM

    It’s tough sometimes to be on the receiving end of those comments.I got one last summer which made me feel all sorts of unconfident but I think that truly mean people are fortuently rare,and many more are just curious. You can also get covering(CGM,set) arm bands from Bands 4 life (website) which is what I’ve used when I didn’t feel like explaining diabetes all day.

  10. May 6, 2014 2:49 PM

    you know i wear it on my arms exclusively. some people are really just stupid. i get asked about it occasionally and i just tell them what it is in a simple way. most people don’t say anything else, or they ask an educated question because they’re interested. don’t stop wearing it where it works bests for you because of some jack ass!

  11. May 6, 2014 8:49 PM

    Unfortunately there’s no cure for stupid. Wear whatever you want with pride!

  12. May 7, 2014 2:46 PM

    Count on the fact that you know what you’re doing, and trust that laughing man couldn’t handle what you do every day. Hope your confidence is back very very soon.

  13. May 10, 2014 1:17 PM

    My son tells people it’s portable WiFi. My husband usually says robot parts. Of course, they explain if people are genuinely curious and not just being jerks. Wear it proudly…it helps you stay healthy and safe!

  14. May 18, 2014 6:43 PM

    I think the dumb guy was probably just drunk. If you want to wear it on your arm, wear it on your arm with pride!

    Full disclosure: I got tired of answering questions about it all the time, so I only wear Dex on my arm in the winter. Part of it is that I wear the thing for wayyy too long so the tape starts looking really gross.

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