Mental Jui-Jitsu

As my endocrinologist appointment approaches later this summer and I prepare to start wearing an insulin pump for the first time, I’ve noticed a new range of thoughts and emotions around the upcoming change to my diabetes management. I’ll try to lay it out, but I must warn you: my mind works in mysterious ways.

It goes something like this:

  • Wearing an insulin pump is an open display of my diabetes
  • This isn’t exactly new to me as I’ve been wearing my Dexcom sensor on my arms for years now
  • But this will be different in that it will not be as easy to contain the visibility of the pump, the tubing, or other components I’m forgetting
  • On one hand, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – see #showmeyourpump
  • But this will still be new to me
  • I don’t care
  • But I do
  • To be more specific, I don’t care what people will say or think if they see my insulin pump
  • But I have to actively not care about caring what people will say or think if they see my insulin pump

I’m not anticipating ridicule or persecution or anything like that, but I think I’m going to need some emotional training to go along with my technical training when I start using this thing. Thus, the mental jui-jitsu referenced in the title…this could get tricky.

I remember when I used to go to the bathroom to take my insulin injections when I was first diagnosed. I remember injecting insulin under the dinner table so no one had to see my insulin pens. I remember going out of my way to make my diabetes comfortable for everyone else to be around instead of putting my health above all. Yes, things will be easier with a pump now that insulin will be a few button presses away, but I’m still anticipating/dreading…dreanticipating? all of the new adjustments I’m going to need to make to my life to get along with this new device.

In other news, today has been designated as a day for everyone who reads a diabetes blog to leave a comment, no matter how simple, on every post read. There’s a hashtag to go with it, as these types of events are wont to do: #dblogcheck. You can read all about the inspiration, reaction, and experience the animated gifs to celebrate the day here.

I’ve also created a Storify post listing every diabetes blog I could find that shared a post with #dblogcheck, in case you want to simplify your reading excursions.

My suggestion to you, after your comment spree is done, is to not let this momentum stop you. Update your feedly lists. Follow new people with diabetes on Twitter. Seek inspiration in other blog designs and make an update to your own layout. Keep these conversations going.

The point of today isn’t to see how many comments you can give or receive – it’s about strengthening the community through these kinds of interactions.


27 thoughts on “Mental Jui-Jitsu

  1. Transitions and change are always challenging simply by virtue of the fact that they are unknowable until you get there. It’s the anticipation that, there’s a better word for this BUT, haunts you. I’m glad you are giving a pump a try. I’ll look forward to your first and continued impressions. I know in our Just Talking you said you didn’t read back to previous posts often, but mark this one somewhere with a link for six months from now. This will be a post worth revisiting. Thank you for the Storify post listing. That was VERY kind of you to pull together <3.


  2. With each day you wear your pump, the easier the mental jui-jitsu of it all will become. However, tubing getting caught on doorknobs & yanking out your infusion site will sneak up on you just when you thought you’ve figured it all out! 🙂
    #check #dblogcheck!


  3. I love my pump, even with all the extra hazards (door knobs, seat belts, pant zippers, etc) that are around me. Lately my youngest cat has decided that my tubing is something that needs to be batted at, attacked, and bit. She hasn’t (yet) actually bitten through the tubing requiring a site change, but I’m not holding my breath that it won’t happen some day.

    Thanks again for organizing the “tribe” for another successful #DBlogCheck day.


  4. Carrying on with the list of things to get the tubing caught on: kitchen drawer knobs (daily), your cat’s (my dog’s) paws, and itself (it can tie itself up into double knots and you will never know why). You will also find that it just slips out of its belt holster and it just dangles around your leg as you are walking…that’s always fun! One last thing, if you take it off during sex, put it under your pillow so that it doesn’t get lost…and don’t forget to reattach it afterward…or if you choose to, you can just hold it in your hand…
    Of my 28 years having T1DM, I’ve only been pumping 3 years. I don’t know how I survived those years of once daily and then multiple daily shots (and over time, I’m sure you will feel the same way). I’m eternally thankful for the pump, even as I grump about having to change it every 3 days. My grumpiness is likely based on my making my way into my 5th decade of life, being pre-menopausal, and basically getting older and a little bit crotchety.


  5. Check!
    I just started on the pump a month ago (I too have been wearing a Dex for a while). So let me know if you wanna share stories on pump starting/wearing with me :). Also basal testing and parameter setting (that’s what I’m working on now!)


  6. I definitely struggled with a lot of these concerns (fears, for me) before I began pumping too. However, the minute I was hooked up they all pretty much melted away. I hope the same happens for you.



  7. I was interviewed today about the #showmeyourpump trend for a french news site. Now I wish I had read your post first. You put it so well. I agree that there is a lot of mental contortion with actively not caring that a pump (or CGM) make your invisible disease visible.


  8. When I switched to the pump three years ago, I was pretty well prepared for what was about to come, having read tips & tricks from the DOC. Still, the first nights I had nightmares about the infusion set getting bent or me ripping it off by mistake. I got used to it very quickly and people hardly notice it. I never really ripped off the site or dropped the pump in the toilet or caught the tubing in the doorknobs or zippers or my cat’s teeth or claws. The pump and clip and the tubing leave indents in my skin that stay on for a few hours, especially in the summer. And sometimes, when I think that being attached to and having my life depending on that tiny piece of technology is too much, I just take a pump vacation, even for an evening. #dblogcheck


  9. I think almost all of us who wear a pump have gone through what you’re going through. My guess is it won’t be a big deal after a while. Also, and I don’t know if this will help, but when I think of outward things to visibly show whatever I’m dealing with, wearing an insulin pump that most people don’t notice is a pretty easy thing. Good luck!


  10. Displaying your insulin pump “with pride” because you’re “supposed to” … that isn’t really being comfortable in displaying your pump. Just because Miss Idaho stood up on stage with a bikini and a pump doesn’t mean people with diabetes around the world suddenly lose their inhibitions. It’s a process, and it takes time. Give it time, and display it when YOU’RE comfortable doing so, not when someone else says you SHOULD be.


  11. When I first got my pump (14 years ago…whaaaat? When did I get this old?) I was terrified. I knew it was going to be a huge help but worried it’d be a huge adjustment. And it was a huge adjustment, but it came pretty easily.
    Now, there are days I wonder what MDI might be like. I haven’t been on MDI in 14 years. I’ve never taken Lantus or Levemir. Sometimes I forget to bolus and I wonder if I’d forget injections. The idea of a pump vacation causes me some anxiety, but I bet I’d get used to it, just like I did with pumping. Just like with my Dexcom.
    I think you’re going to be just fine–just watch out for kittehs! My friend’s cat once chewed through her pump tubing at night, and she woke to insulin-dampened sheets and a lot of that Band-aid smell.
    Oh, and check. Bringin’ blogging back (yeah!)…


  12. Love this.
    You capture the emotion clearly.
    Maybe it stems from the hey I can do this but I really don’t want to but I don’t have any choice, still I want to be normal, and I approach it, i do, I tell myself I do, yet I gotta do this different not normal stuff and really I just hate reminding myself of that….
    Best. BD



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