Why My Wardrobe is Limited by Diabetes

My parents always told me that diabetes was not going to hold me back from doing what my friends were doing, and I believed them. Their can do attitude shaped the way I faced my life with chronic illness. I took on a lot of challenges and had a lot of adventures that looking back, I can’t imagine doing now 26 years later! And now, as a 41 year old woman, most of the time (especially now that I am wearing the Omnipod) diabetes still doesn’t hold me back, except when it comes to buying clothes. Damn that big pod!

I had to return a dress the other day, a gorgeous, sleeveless, chocolate brown dress that would have been comfortable and perfect for running around town and going to art walks this spring, because it didn’t work with my omnipod.

I’d been admiring the dress for weeks, maybe even longer, and after the holidays, when I saw the tell-tale “Sale” sign go up in the window of one of my favorite boutiques, I hurried in, hoping to find the dress on sale. And it was! Almost 50% off! I was so excited I bought it without trying it on and stuck in my closet at home, waiting for the next art walk to come around.

The next art walk came around 2 weeks later and when I pulled out the dress and slipped it on my pump stood out through the thin, body hugging material like a brick. This was not an empire waist kind of dress, this was a hip hugging dress, the kind that made me look like I had hips and actually, with the pump made me look like I had some kind of deformed hips. Not cool. I could have worn the dress with the pump on my arm if, and only if, I was willing to wear a wrap to cover my arms. The pump would have been obvious on my legs too…there was no place to hide so sadly (and feeling guilty and making up excuses about it not fitting right), I returned the dress.

I constantly struggle to accept the visibility of wearing the pump, after living “invisibally” with diabetes for most of my life. I want to wear my pump with pride because I am not ashamed of having diabetes (and because it makes my life so much easier!) but still. I can’t help being vain and the pump looks funny. Plain and simple. It can be disguised, especially in the winter, with sweaters and under jackets, but I live in the south and winter doesn’t last long. I’ve written before about my desire to get over my vanity, especially during swim suit season, but I’d like to meet someone who doesn’t feel self conscious walking down the beach with the pump stuck on your body.

I’m thankful that my parents instilled in me that understanding that diabetes wasn’t going to define or hold me back and maybe one day I’ll get over this self consciousness, but for now, I will remember to try clothes on before I take them home. Until Omnipod comes up with a smaller design that is….come on already!

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