LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

My Photo
Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


OK. So this is odd. Not that I haven’t done it before… but yet… well, call me old-fashioned, but shaving my legs just doesn’t feel quite “right.”

How un-modern of me.

For background: I’m not as hairy as my caveman (and cavewomen) ancestors; but I do have a fair amount of body hair. I’m probably biased, but I think “real men” should have chest hair, arm hair, and leg hair. Hairless male bodies look like Greek statues to me: pretty, but not the real thing. Of course, I’m a hypocrite, as I prefer women’s skin to be like Greek statues…

But I digress.

Chip-n-Dale dancers, weight lifters, and assorted other on-display manly-men were either universally cheated by nature, or shave their bodies. I think shaving is a hassle and would never consider any more than is strictly necessary, except for one little problem: having diabetes makes having body hair highly inconvenient in the extreme.

For years I’ve been using an electric razor to keep a nice swath of skin on either side of my belly button hair-free so the insulin pump infusion sets stick to my hide well. For the last few years I’ve worn my DexCom CGM sensors on my upper arm, so I use the same electric razor to keep my upper arms free of hair, too.

Luckily for my ego, the natural patterns of my chest hair are heavier over my sternum and thinner on my stomach anyway, and my arm hair is thin and light-colored. God forbid I ended up naked in public somehow, I don’t think my hairless patches would attract much undue attention.

But Med-T Sof-Sensors have a quite a bit larger bore guide needle than the Dex. They’re also longer. Oh, and the sensor inserter made by Med-T is a piece of crap. All of that adds up to one thing for me: no wearing of sensors on the arm. My arms are too skinny and I only have two hands (it would take three to manually insert a sensor in your own arm).

I don’t like wearing sensors on my stomach for several reasons. First, the landscape is limited. I wear my infusion sets on my stomach. Second, CGM guide needles are pretty big. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tear up the skin and tissue below quite a bit more than modern infusion sets do. I don’t want to develop any more scar tissue than necessary in the prime zone for delivering insulin into my carcass because I don’t foresee a cure anytime soon, and scar tissue is erratic in how it absorbs insulin. And third, I’ve found over the years that stomach-planted sensors are less accurate than ones planted elsewhere on the bod. I have no idea why this is, but my theory is that they get jostled around more than sensors on the limbs.

When I wore the Med-T sensors before (Nov 2005-Dec 2009) I found that my thigh was the best place for me: about four inches above the knee, on the lateral side of the body. So back then, I routinely ran a razor over my legs. But since ’09 the trees have grown back. Today it was time to cut them down. Thought I should do it early to give the skin a few days to un-freak out.

Besides, it’ll give me a head-start. If this whole writer/diabetes educator thing doesn’t work out; I can always become a Chip-n-Dale dancer.


Blogger Mike Hoskins said...

I'm not a naturally hairy guy, so this whole on-display Greek statue look could be a career move for me... Anyhow. You've convinced me that stomach-CGM sites isn't what I want to do anymore, because I am on the same page. Arm sites work best and I do like legs, except the latter sites don't stay in place as long. Just wish I had a couple more to rotate for extra use and real state. Oh well, maybe in the next life. I'll be a diabetic spider or something.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Jonah said...

I'm hairy enough to need to cut the hair off of wherever I'm gonna put a sensor, although usually I use a scissors. The sensors (Dexcom) didn't seem to perform well on my legs, where I have no fat anyways, and I gave up after four sensors on my legs- two ripped off (one probably because of hair, one because I was moving furniture), one failed early, and one actually working.

8:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home