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The same sorts of questions come up every time, from new pumpers and people considering adding a diabetes device to their management plan: “How do you deal with wearing a device when you’re trying to be, like, naked? Diabetes, for all its chaos, does bring a certain level of discussion comfort and camaraderie, and I love that.Love.) This was a tough hurdle for me, because I went so long without wearing any devices.
If I give the impression that these devices aren’t a big deal and should be taken as a small part of the bigger whole, then I hope my partner will follow suit. I don’t like having anything connected to me during those moments, because it becomes a distraction.Diagnosed as a kid and not pumping until 2004 or CGM’ing until 2006, I spent a big part of my diabetes life without any external “symptoms,” so to speak.Initially, I needed to be comfortable with my device(s) before I could expect anyone else to be, and that did take some time.But, I do wonder if diabetes is hindering my dating life.I was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 21, right in the middle of college.We knew he couldn’t have sugar, and that he had to give himself shots. Because managing his blood sugar levels without it was so difficult, poor kid actually died before he was 25.
Not to put too fine a point on it, just say you have diabetes, and that your body doesn’t process sugar very well, and that the pump keeps your blood sugar levels from going so high it kills you.The emotions about this sort of thing ebb and flow, just like emotions about diabetes in general, but it’s most important for me to be able to talk about it with Chris. Just don’t shag your actual pump, or you could end up with a different set of issues entirely.Being part of a team that allows for the emotional highs and lows helps keep devices from getting in the way, mentally. For the most part, wearing a pump and a CGM isn’t something I feel self-conscious about, but being honest, there are days when I want to rip them both off and throw them across the room in pursuit of feeling truly ‘naked.’ I don’t like having these artificial bits and pieces stuck to me all the time, but I try to keep tabs on the bigger picture, which is my overall health. I like feeling like diabetes is a back burner issue in the bedroom, or at least as much of one as I manage.When I first started pumping, disconnecting felt awkward because I didn’t know how to make it feel sexy (“Oh, let me just slip out of my medical device and into something more comfortable,” never had the right tone to it.) and it took me out of the mood a little bit.But once I was comfortable pumping, in all capacities, I was comfortable with this part, too.