Insulin Pump Sets: Moving Location

**This isn’t necessarily an information post, it is my own  experience and learning tips.

I think I have probably worn a set or a sensor everywhere you possibly could. I’ve worn cannulas on my arm, stomach and bum whilst having sensors on my thigh, stomach, bum, lower back and arm. Obviously not all at the same time.

I first got my insulin pump aged 6, starting on sof sensors the very same day. I can proudly say I will have been pumping for 10 years on the 14th of December this year!! When I started I had both my sensors and cannulas in my bum, always along the very top because I was a creature of habit and would never, EVER rotate.

It took me years to finally pluck up the courage to ask to try a set in my stomach. I’d gotten to the point where I was embarrassed to say where my set actually was when my friends tried to follow the tubing and I had just started high school, so aged 11 I bravely decided to change the location of my set.

Best decision of my life!

It was a big change, but suddenly I had so much more tubing to spare! I also got more confident about telling people what my pump really did, I wasn’t afraid to even show them the set if they were interested. A year after this I learnt how to do my own set change because of course it was now so much easier to do as its in front of me. Although I struggled with this, a diabetic friend of mine sat down with me, taught me and encouraged me. He’d put one in himself only 1/2 an hour before that so it was a really good method of learning for me because he had experience in this. (Because it is very different learning it from a parent who puts the set in someone else).

Although I then didn’t do a set change myself for about 18 months so I had to relearn it which was terrifying. This time we had another method of learning because I didn’t have another diabetic to help me, but it was just as effective. (This must’ve been ages 13 now?) We started off with my mum doing it all and I put my hand over hers when she pressed the button. Then I held the button/indents myself but she pressed it (her hand over my hand). After a few set changes like this I found it less scary to put one in myself. I did like my mum to supervise me setting it up though as this was one of the most nerve wracking parts for me, if I got it wrong I was worried it would be a painful set and everything would go wrong! But that didn’t last for long. Now I have no issues doing any of my set change myself. (We used a similar method for learning how it do my own sensors).

I also have tried many different types of sets and sensors over the years. I’ve done silouhettes (45 degrees), quick sets (right angle), mios (right angle) and mio 30s (30 degrees). Sensors wise I’ve had the sof sensors which were the old Medtronic ones and honestly were horrific…… I now have enlites but have trialled the dexcom too.

I’m still a creature of habit but I’m definitely a lot more open to trying new areas. Since then, I changed site location again to my arm which I now prefer to any of the others! For some reason I just find it easier to press the buttons with my arm, probably because it is just muscle in my arm, so how could it possibly hurt? I use the mios still because of their all in one packaging and ease of insertion. Then for now I have my enlite sensors in my thigh, using the original inserter instead of the newest one-serter (rather than press the button and then unpress it to release and then press the button to free the sensor from the inserter, you have a button either side you press to fire the sensor in and simply pull the inserter off. I have to say I prefer my original one because of clunkiness but the newer one is simpler to use). I don’t believe the enlite sensors are actually licensed for the thigh, however I find that it is not painful there, it’s out of the way on my thigh and the readings are very accurate in comparison to other places for me.

But one of the most important things about learning how to do sets, sensors and moving the location of any of them is I chose when we did all of it. And in fact I sometimes still ask my mum to do it and I’m 16! Just mostly because I’m sick of doing it myself and need a break. I know some adults ask their friends or family to do thier sets for them still, for exactly the same reason as me.

Why I’m writing a post about all this is because I wish I had the opportunity to give my younger self some advice –

Change may be scary, but you never know what you might be missing.

Where do you wear your set and/or sensor? If you have any tips or tricks of your own please share them in the comments! And feel free to ask me any questions about anything in this post or parts of this I haven’t covered.

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