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Holy Itch, Batman!
I have 24 units of insulin and 7 hours left on my current pod, yet I’m about 5 seconds away from yanking the thing for the freaking itch that it’s causing. Sometimes, okay, all the time, I really hate my sensitive skin. It’s moments like these that I want to scream and throw things. The biggest irritation is that the itch is INSIDE my skin. I can’t even scratch it!
Since starting the Omnipod in June, I’ve been dealing with allergic reactions to the pod off and on. It seems to be largely dependent on placement. For instance, earlier this week, I pulled a pod in the middle of the night because of the overwhelming itchiness. It was placed on my stomach, on the left side. The current itchy contender is also on my stomach, but to the right side. My sides and “love handle” area don’t seem to itch the same way.
Not in the “Oh my gosh, can someone please douse me in anti-itch cream and pull this pod before I claw through my skin?!?!” kind of way. When the pods are on my stomach, the cannula seems to be the problem. I can feel right where it’s injected and it itches almost immediately from placement. I tried giving my stomach a “long” break as the adhesive was also bothering me a month or so ago. That seems to have resolved the adhesive issue for now, but this cannula problem is a whole other breed.
When the pod is placed elsewhere, the only irritation is from the adhesive. Often it’s aggravated by heat, sweat, or clothing. I’ve been able to control a lot of the flare ups with Bio-oil and baby oil when I remove the pods. If I keep that on there for a day or so, the redness goes away quickly and it doesn’t itch or hurt. That helps relieve some of the cannula irritation but not enough to make a large difference. Pulling the site is the only solution.
On the Minimed pump, I also had skin irritation but I don’t recall the cannula ever bothering me. I do know that I switched cannulas towards the end of the pump but I don’t know the reason. I know the adhesive gave me severe rashes that I couldn’t seem to resolve. At least the Omnipod goes away quickly enough so I’m not constantly covered in red circles. I like to feel somewhat normal when I remove a pod.
As far as the Omnipod goes though, I am still enjoying its ease of use. I love that I can bolus at any time including a training seminar for work or in the middle of a dinner date with friends and never once wonder what they’re thinking or why they’re staring. I’m very grateful that I’m also in a relationship with someone who is never bothered by the pump or the fact that I’m “bionic.” That is enough motivation to stay on it if I can keep my control.
Lately, I don’t feel very controlled though and I’ve set some goals to get back on track. My averages are way too high and I’m not even checking my blood sugar consistently. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do. I cannot wait for a break of some sort- maybe when I’ve finished my master’s degree. Only 7 more months!
My goals are to check at least 5 times per day, run two times per week, and do another activity (yoga, walking, DVDs) two times per week. I set the goal on Monday and already I feel significantly better about the numbers I’m seeing. I still see spikes, especially in the morning which is unusual, so I’m working to keep those down as well. But overall, I just feel more on top of things and less like a D zombie getting by on the bare minimum. I am very mindful that I don’t have a lot of time to get this under control and know it’ll be slow process. My focus has switched to getting my A1c under 7% and then under 6.5% in the next 12 months. The expectation is that 6 months of that type of control will then bring me to a comfort level to start trying for pregnancy. I just have to keep my motivation front and center and stop thinking I have all the time in the world.
Nobody does. And I want all the time at the end to enjoy with my family. So now, if I could just resolve this itch factor, that’d be excellent!
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)