Special to the â€˜Mine by Amanda Cedrone
Like most people, Iâ€™m not always as hyper-aware of my diabetes as I should be. While I feel like I have pretty decent control, there are times when my diabetes takes the back seat to graduate school, my friends, my workout routineâ€¦You get the picture.
As most PWDs are aware, it doesnâ€™t matter if things are in control â€œmostâ€ of the time â€” we still suffer the consequences of the small fraction of time when they arenâ€™t.
For me, when my busy life gets in the way, I slack on my pump sites.
I admit it â€” I sometimes donâ€™t change my infusion sites often enough, donâ€™t take the time to thoroughly disinfect them before applying or after taking them off, and I tend to use the same areas of my body ALL the time. Cue the looks of disapproval.
Because the two seconds it would take to apply some anti-biotic cream to my pump sites is obviously too much of my precious time, I have a nice collection of little red bumps in the most-used areas of my body.
I am working on being better at this â€” disinfecting my sites before and after use, applying antibiotic cream, and rotating where I put my infusion sets. But the red reminders that I was lazy (and probably running late) remain.
This is not as serious or as permanent a problem as lipohypertrophy, the long- term fat accumulation under the skin that Amy wrote about recently; my red bumps generally go away within a few weeks to a few months. But they do bother me â€” especially on my bottom!
Yes, I use my behind as a pump infusion siteâ€¦. When I started using a pump at age 13, I was really skinny and muscular. Every place I tried inserting my infusion set immediately turned black-and-blue. My butt was the only part of my body that had fat on it, and was also where I was injecting a majority of my shots, so my parents and I opted to use that as my main site. My tubing runs up and around my thigh and I clip my pump to the waistline of my pants, or if Iâ€™m wearing a dress, to my underwear.
Itâ€™s kind of stuck. Iâ€™ve never had any problems with absorption there, and though I have more fat on my body now and more places to pump, I still use my butt fairly frequently. As a result, this is where I have the most/worst red lumps and bumps. (Imagine the bumps in the photo of my leg times 100!)
I searched to see if others have experienced these bumps as well, and sure enough, they have.
Amyâ€™s post got me thinking â€” while there may not be much that we can do right now to get rid of the lumps under our skin short of plastic surgery, thereâ€™s got to be something we can do to get rid of the bumps that are on top of our skin other than waiting around for months in the hopes theyâ€™ll subside. Especially with bathing suit season approaching â€” who wants little red bumps anywhere on their body? Been there, done that during my teenage years.
I did some searching and found at least a couple remedies that have worked for PWDs in the past.
Tea Tree Cream:
The Diabetes Education Networkâ€™s Insulin Pump Workbook, other insulin pump guides and fellow PWDs onvarious forums suggest that tea tree cream is helpful in healing scars caused by insulin pumps.
What it is: Tea tree cream is made from tea tree oil, which comes from a tree in Australia called the Narrow-leaved Paperbark, and thereâ€™s evidence that itâ€™s beneficial for several skin-related ailments.
Where to get it: A quick search shows that you should be able to get it at your local pharmacy or health food store. Or, you can order it online.
Cost: Depending on where you live, or where you purchase it, around $13 for four ounces.
Another suggestion by fellow PWDs is Maderma.
What it is: A line of products designed to decrease the visibility of scars. I bought the scar gel a few months ago but have yet to try it. (Another one of those things that tacks a few extra seconds onto my daily morning routine. It needs to be applied once every day, so thatâ€™s a big commitment.)
Itâ€™s worth noting that, like most products, there are several generics to choose from as well.
Where to get it: Again, online or at your local pharmacy.
Cost: With 0.7 ounces costing $22.99 at a pharmacy, itâ€™s fairly pricey. But the generic version is less, costing $16.49 for the same amount at a pharmacy, and only $6.86 on Amazon.
Apparently some pediatric endocrinologists recommend this. Itâ€™s mostly used as an anti-itch remedy for hives.
What it is: apowdercompound that has to be mixed into a cream by a pharmacist, or you can buy over-the-counter products containing this ingredient and make a homemade lotion. It is applied to the skin before the pump site is placed.
Where to get it: Youâ€™ll need to ask your doctor for a prescription, and then have the local pharmacy prepare the cream. Or, I found various online recipes to make it yourself using nose spray or eye drops containing cromolyn.
Cost: Depends on your copay, but for mixing it yourself, the eye drops orNasalCrom spray each cost about $9.99.
Unfortunately, these are the only solutions I found that several PWDs actually testified had helped them. Not much to work with, but itâ€™s something.
Any other PWDs have suggestions on how to help fade unsightly battle scars?
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