I seem to scar very easily. Cuts and scrapes that would heal pretty quickly on most people either take me 4 times as long to heal from, or end up leaving a scar. I honestly don’t know if this is diabetes related, if anyone reading happens to know, please let me know.
What this does mean though, is that I have a collection of scars from over the years, a few with some pretty great stories attached. I have this visual of me sitting at the equivalent of a biker bar, recounting the stories of my “battle scars”, feeling pretty badass.
See this one here on my knee, I got this one when I went skydiving. Man, it was awesome, what a rush! Nothing like falling through the air at 14,000 feet. Anyways, I didn’t quite nail the landing and I ended up with this scar right here.
This one on my arm, oh this one is a great story. It was my 18th birthday, my boyfriend at the time surprised me with a bike trip and picnic lunch. We were 10 minutes into our bike ride when I completely wiped out going down a hill. I cracked my helmet, hit my chin, road rash on both my legs, the palm of my hand, and the inside of my arm. We called an ambulance and get this, since I turned 18 that day, I could decide if I wanted to take the ambulance or not. I decided it wasn’t really necessary once they verified that I didn’t have a concussion. Everything healed pretty well except for my arm, which now resembles something between a birthmark and a burn. Not quite the type of birthday surprise we had in mind.
And this scar on my foot, this one I got at a club in Chicago. My friends and I were out dancing and this drunk girl wasn’t watching where she was going and her stiletto impaled the top of my foot. Holy crap that hurt! I could barely hobble off the dance floor, and the girl was completely oblivious to what she had just done. When the bruises faded, I was left with this nice scar.
(I’m realizing that these stories are doing more to highlight my clumsiness than anything else)
With all these scars, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise that I’m starting to have little scars on my stomach from my infusion set and/or CGM sensor. I never really noticed them before in the 12 years that I’ve had my pump, so I think my CGM sensor is the cause. The scars are small, some darker than others and some bigger than others, but they are there and honestly, I wish they weren’t. I know I’m being vain. However, if the scattering of scars that I see on my stomach is the result of wearing my sensor for 8 months, I wonder what it will look like in 5 years, in 10 years, in 20 years…
I think it’s time that I take my own advice. I have a few options:
1. I can face my fears.
If I don’t want scars on my stomach, I can begin to rotate my sensor to other parts of my body. I’ve already moved my infusion set to a new site, so I’m sure I would get used to the sensor being somewhere different, like on my arm. It’s just working up the courage to try somewhere new.
2. I can work on not being self-conscious.
Just like the other scars on my body, those small scars also tell a story. They tell a story of living with diabetes for close to 13 years. They are nothing to hide or be embarrassed about, they are part of who I am and I should work on accepting that fact.
3. I can focus on the positives
. I have little scars, but luckily I don’t have lipohypertrophy or scar tissue that can affect insulin absorption. Lipohypertrophy is a medical term for a lump under the skin from an accumulation of fat at the site of many insulin injections. These are both possible side effects of insulin injections. I can choose to focus on the fact that right now, I just have little scars.
4. Other? I can try to put some mederma or something on the scars to see if they will fade or wait and see if they naturally fade with time (although in the meantime I’m just making more scars). Or I can take a break from wearing my CGM for awhile (but I’m starting to feel blind without it and really rather not).
So which one will it be? What am I going to do?
I don’t know yet.
I know that it takes people with diabetes more time to heal from injuries (I'm not sure why), and I would think the longer healing time…in anyone… could lead to more scarring.
No, it's not vain. Scars tell a story, but those are spontaneous, unintended ones. “I wore a CGM for 8 years” isn't particularly exciting, is it?
I'd suggest trying other sites, and letting your existing ones — perhaps just bruises — heal. Personally, I'm the type to rotate between a couple of sites for a long time before giving up altogether and moving somewhere else for a year. I find the longer “time off” from a site gives it a better chance to recover than a week-on, week-off approach.
Thanks Scott, that does make sense. Now I just need to figure out where I want to switch the site to. The infusion set seems easier to move around since it's not as bulky and doesn't catch on clothing, maybe I'll give my arm another try.