Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Own It!

Yesterday at the gym a busy mother passed me by and even though she had three children running circles around her, I did notice that she had an insulin pump clipped to her hip. I didn't tap on her shoulder telling her about my blog, as per usual, I acknowledged that was super busy and although she probably would have appreciated me talking to her, I just let that one be.  However, that made me wish I had my insulin pump clipped to my shorts for her to spot mine as well. I began wondering if I always had my pump clipped to my hip would more diabetics come up to me?

Most of the time I keep my pump stuck in my bra or clipped to my underwear (if I am wearing a dress that comes out around that area).    No one really sees my insulin pump unless I am giving myself insulin or if it is tucked in my pocket - which is becoming less popular than when I first got my pump.  I feel like the majority of the population probably doesn't know what it is, and therefore when I don't want to 'look' diabetic I shove it in my bra.   I guess I just feel like sometimes it is an accessory that doesn't always go with my outfit.

However, as soon as you're around other diabetics with pumps you begin to want to pull yours out or wear it proudly.  You feel like wearing a pump is just accepted as wearing glasses or braces. It is something that is there to help you, but it is also something normal.   Since insulin pumps are rare to the general community - it is easy to feel different when it is hanging off your hip or the back of your shorts.

Today, just before I was about to leave for the grocery store I decided I was going to go out wearing my insulin pump proud. I clipped it to my pants and didn't cover it with my shirt.  I decided it was sort of like a social experiment - and yes I have worn my insulin pump visibly before, but I had never worn it with the intention of paying attention to what others did in response. When I first got out of my car and started to walk into the store, a couple guys sitting outside on their break seemed to glance at the pump, but other than that I was surprised to notice that no one else really made a big deal about checking it out.  At least I didn't notice.   Now, it doesn't matter what other people think, but I was curious to see if wearing an insulin pump openly draws curious eyes - of course people experience this all the time with all kinds of things, but to my surprise wearing an insulin pump wasn't a big neon sign screaming, "I HAVE DIABETES."

I was pretty aware that my pump was on when I had it on my hip.  Frankly, I enjoy wearing it in my bra because it doesn't get hit, tangled or dropped on anything.  I find when I wear it on my hip or pocket, more sites get ripped out and I feel more aware that I am wearing it. Whereas when it is tucked in my bra I hardly notice it is there until it vibrates.

But, it's all about how you feel and what you're comfortable with.  I don't care if people know I have diabetes or that I wear an insulin pump - in fact I enjoy telling the stories about diabetes and the insulin pump. I am proud of my accomplishments and proud to give diabetes credit for them. However, just because I am proud doesn't mean that I always feel comfortable displaying my insulin pump.  If I have to wear it 24/7 then I will wear it how I want!



  1. Thanks so much for posting this Kayla! I've been thinking of putting my pump "on display" lately too, to see what kind of reactions and new relationships it might bring. I've always kept the pump on my belt, but in a cell-phone case which covers the whole thing (except the tuning) up.

    Last weekend, I was playing hockey and used the same clip you have in your photo to clip the pump to the inside of my hockey pants. Afterwards, I kept that clip on and put the pump on my belt for all to see. Ultimately, I switched back to my old case (where the pump slides out, rather than having to unclip the whole thing). But I'm looking forward to putting it out there again for the world to see, once I find the right clip.

  2. I don't use a pump, but then I've never cared who watched when I check my blood sugar or when I fill up my syringe and inject myself. Actually I laugh whenever I'm filling up my syringe in the car and people in the next car are watching me with BIG eyes. I've yet to have anyone ask me what I'm doing or if I'm a diabetic