Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dancing with a Feisty Insulin Pump!

Now that Marsha (my One Touch Ping insulin pump from Animas) and I have been dancing together for 4 months now I feel like I have a good story to tell concerning what it is like to dance with an insulin pump.  
Well, what can I’s rather...uneventful 80% of the time.  I use a tummitote belt and my pump and dexcom stay quiet and out of the way during class.  They don’t complain too much so I just ignore them and continue on with class and rehearsals.  I suppose I’ve gotten so used to that heavy feeling of electronics around my waist that if I dance without them it throws me off my game!   
For modern dance I keep it clipped into a pocket and during floor work you can hear it clunk as I roll across the floor.  It has never torn out or launched itself across the studio no matter how many turns I do.  Fingers crossed it never happens!
One of the 20% moments when my pump decides to not play fair happened last week.  Once in a while my site will hit a nerve or blood vessel and after that all bets are off.  I usually end up bleeding, in searing pain and I have change it in a very angry manner.  I had put in a new site in the morning and I must say I was pleased with how nicely I had arranged the tubing.  You know, those extra pretty sites that never get in the way of your pants and give you great absorption?  Ahh yes, one of those...sigh, where was I?  
I was rolling around on the floor loosening up my hips for class when I rolled over my new site and I felt a horrible, piercing pain go into my butt.  I rolled over, hyperventilating a little while holding my tush.  My company members didn’t seem to notice as they’re used to me doing weird things in the name of diabetes.  The pain faded and the little voice in my head popped up and said “change the site, dude.  It won’t get any better” (yes the voice calls me dude...don’t judge). I decided to power on through and see if somehow this time I wouldn’t need to change the site.  
Class began and certain movements hurt more than others.  What got me was a forward bend.  That was it, I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I got up and ran to the side of the studio my eyes getting misty from the pain.  You would think a tiny needle wouldn’t hurt so much, but it felt like I was sitting on a nail!  My coach ran over to help me and I immediately wanted to disappear.  I told her I was ok and that I just hit a nerve while I was digging through my tights to pull out my perfectly placed infusion set.  Nothing felt better than getting that evil device of torture out of my skin!  A huge bruise was left in its place but I didn’t care.  
The music continued to play and the company continued to dance.  I desperately didn’t want to miss more dancing than I had to so I decided to not put in a new set.  I fumbled around trying to find a syringe to replace the insulin I would be missing for the next hour.    I took a wild guess, filled the syringe and quickly injected myself through my blue leotard.  I pulled off my belt and ran back to the barre to continue with class.  It was strange and freeing to not dance with my pump but I am a creature of habit and as soon as the dance day was done my pump was back at my side.  I love my pump, but sometimes she can get quite feisty!   
-Exit Stage Left


  1. I also dance, and have this same issue. It's hard finding places to hide and not hit! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Hi Catherine. I used to dance with my pump on when I first got it and I know it can be tough.I thought you could use some advice. I don't know if this will work for you depending on how long you dance without a break per day, but what I do is I bolus myself for the basal I get for up to two hours and just take my pump off for that amount of time while I dance. After that 1 or 2 hour time period I test and give myself more insulin depending on if I have another class.

  3. You would think a tiny needle wouldn’t hurt so much, but it felt like I was sitting on a nail!Insulin Pump Belt