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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Phantom Sites

I have been on the pump for over 3 years now and wearing a CGM for 4 months.  I am incredibly grateful for both of these little devices for how they help me manage my diabetes.  But there's a mental aspect to wearing two devices that has developed into a weird habit:  catering to phantom sites. 

I've been trying to be really diligent in rotating my sites around my body, which is hard to do on a body that's only 5'2".  I've been using my stomach, thighs, and (since it's cooler outside) the arms.  At the very least, a site will stay in one place for 3 days (Arnold) or up to 2 weeks (Constance).  Once that site is removed, though, my mind still thinks it's there. 

Case Example:  Getting dressed.  Especially if I use my thighs for a site (hello, pear-shapedness), I am really careful when pulling up my pants so as to not pull on the site (sorry, I know this is way TMI).  This causes me to do sort of a snake-like dance when getting dressed, shifting my legs from one side and my pants to the other as they go up.  All I need is some Indian music and a basket.  Or if a site is on my lower stomach, I make sure that my pants don't fold over the site pushing it down further into my skin (ow!).  And if I have a site on my arm, I make sure that my bra and shirt don't graze that side of my arm.  It's like getting dressed with a cast on that arm.  I look like I'm injured, but I'm not. 

But over the course of 3 days or 2 weeks is enough time for my mind to automatically do these things regardless if I have a site in that area or not.  I caught myself doing it yesterday, after moving my pump site from my arm to my thigh.  I was still moving my shirt ever so delicately over my arm so as to not disturb the site that wasn't there.  I actually stopped and thought, "What am I doing?!  The site is not there anymore.  It's on your thigh, Sweetie."  Then I proceeded to get dressed at a faster pace, forcing myself to go over my arms while telling myself the site isn't there anymore. 

Then there's the times when I graze the edges of hallways or doorways.  I immediately stop in my tracks, touch my arm where nothing is there except my fabric and flesh, and think, "Oh fiddle sticks, what was I thinking?" except in a slightly more PG-13 tone.  What is going on with me?  I fear I am losing my mind! 


  1. OH goodness, this is too funny! I do the EXACT same thing! So if you are losing your mind, so am I. :) I had a CGM site on my lower back and with my maternity pants (which go up over my belly and thus my lower back) I've been really careful about pulling them down. Well the site is on my arm now, but I still continue to think it's on my back when I carefully pull my pants off. It really does make you feel crazy. :)

  2. I do the same thing... I don't think we're crazy!! Sometimes I can still "feel" a site after I've taken it out from skin irritation/scarring/etc. I think that's why it happens. :)

  3. My friend was just talking to me about this this weekend. "I think I'm going crazy Briley. I have a no-site pain." As we were walking through NYC my first thought was that she went blind all of a sudden (Stupid homonyms playing tricks on me). And I get that too, where I can "feel" the insulin going in, until I touch the site to make sure it still feels okay, and realize it's not there anymore. And I also participate in the snake like dance. But my college roommate also does the snake dance, and she is not diabetic, so we aren't the only ones!


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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.