It was sunny out last week… in Seattle that’s a big deal. I was so excited that it was sunny that I sat outside all day and worked from a coffee shop… and burnt the shit out of my forearms. No regrets… I have however since purchased some sunblock.
My friend Dani laughed so hard when I showed her my tan lines I thought she was going to fall off of chair… I know it’s funny, but she thought it was REALLY funny. It started a conversation about how the choice to wear diabetes devices can affect you differently in the summer. I bring up Dani as a counter example because she uses insulin pens and does not wear a Dexcom, on the other hand I use an insulin pump and a Dexcom. What this means is that I have at least two spots on my body covered by some type of bandage all the time… which means very interesting tan lines. I am comfortable with my diabetes and have made peace with the fact that I will most likely never have a tan without a Dexcom or pump site outline somewhere on my body, but this is not something anyone talked to me about before starting on the Dexcom or the pump. It was all pros and a few carefully worded cons. Not a mention of the fact that as you rotate sites, if you’re in the sun, you’ll have a new tan line around each new site… this has made for some amusing comparisons to a Dalmatian, but all jokes aside I was not happy when I first figured this out. I was living in Southern California and spent a significant amount of time outside in the sun… I was told about all the good stuff… no shots, less to carry, more flexibility… but no one talked about how having something attached to your body might feel like you’re being invaded. Or that even when you remove a site and put it somewhere else it could still leave a mark… a new hidden patch of skin making an appearance at each site change. I could stop going out into the sun, avoid tanning, and by which I mean avoid the sun hitting my skin rather than being out in the sun with a purpose of darkening my skin… but wasn’t going out and being more active outside one of the great new things I was going to be able to do?
This is one of the many ways I have felt “marked” by diabetes… a new way, even after I’ve removed a site, it’s still there. If I choose to take a day off of wearing a sensor, in the winter I’m free… in the summer I have a phantom sensor tan line… it’s like not being free in the first place. I know this might sound crazy to someone who isn’t living attached to medical devices, but the feeling of dependence is enough all by itself, the last thing I want to see is a consistent reminder of not only where a device is, but also where it was 1, 2, 3 placements ago… that’s cool, I totally wanted to look like a Dalmatian, that’s what I was going for when I got dressed today… said. no one. ever.