FUDiabetes

Feeling less attractive since wearing CGM

Just got a Dexcom G6. My husband loves to see my glucose readings. He’s told me he thinks it makes me bionic and I’m still beautiful but I’m having a hard time getting used to this sensor attached to me. I know it’s a small thing but when dressing for our anniversary dinner I cried because all my dresses showed the sensor. I covered it with a wide belt but still feel less attractive now. I’m even flinching when my husband touches me near the sensor. Not sure what to do about this. Am I alone here?

10 Likes

Until recently I always placed my sensor on my love handle area. I started with the G4 and always hid it there. Now I wear it on my arm and do not even care. It took me a long time to let it go and stop hiding. You are not alone.

9 Likes

Nope! I totally get it!! You are in good company!

I’m not sure how recently you were diagnosed and where you might be in adjusting to diabetes, let alone adjusting to the real estate it takes up on our bodies…but regardless of those things, it can cause hiccups in our body image welllllllll after when we were “supposed” to get used to it.

I wear an Omnipod pump and a G5 sensor and have for years. I still don’t love it. I was very self-conscious about it in front of my husband for a longgggggg time no matter how much he said it made less than no difference to him and that I was still beautiful. To me, they were visual reminders of ALL the way diabetes made my daily life (and my family’s life) different. It ran pretty deep for me.

I don’t have a great solution or recommendation for you. I really wish I did. But I can tell you that you are not alone. It is not vanity. And even if it doesn’t tap into deeper feelings about your diabetes, it can still be just as upsetting from an aesthetic standpoint. That is reasonable, real and understandable.

I’ve somehow gotten more “okay” with these reminders/tools on my body in the last year. My husband told me out of the blue about six months ago that it is so freaking sexy that I’m confident about my body now and don’t apologize to him for my bionic-ness anymore.

It’s okay to be uncomfortable with it for now. But I think you will eventually feel more and more okay with it even though it’s something that we all probably wish was different. I’m wearing an outfit today that hugs and people can plainly see my pod and sensor through my clothes. Now it starts conversations with people and gives me an opening to help them bc more and more people know what these items are given the current reach of diabetes today.

You are more than your diabetes or your diabetes tools. Your sensor doesn’t change your attractiveness. But it is COMPLETELY okay to not feel great about just yet.

10 Likes

I got my sensor right after diagnosis, so my feelings about it diminished in comparison to my feelings about having diabetes in general. Still, it did serve as a constant reminder. I tried to focus on the positive things, and that helped. After all, it’s a great tool that provides a lot of valuable data. While the physical presence is a negative, the overall experience of managing diabetes is improved.

I think you will discover the advantages of a CGM more and more. Also, you will physically get used to the presence of the sensor over time. I was very nervous about anything touching the area in the beginning, but it gets better.

As for the visual aspects, I haven’t considered it much in terms of attractiveness, but I was self-concious in the beginning. The first time I wore a t-shirt at work I got a little nervous about it, but it actually turned out to be a great conversation starter. The best advice I can give is to let this take some time. It will get better, not overnight, but eventually. Nowadays I will sometimes wear short sleeves specifically to let people see it and ask about it. It really is a cool piece of technology and people are curious by nature. Also, people who know me and have seen it before are sometimes confused when I’m wearing two at the same time because I’m in the middle of a sensor change. I find that a bit funny.

Finally, from a practical point of view, I think it might be worth trying some different spots. I’ve always used the back of my upper arm, which is the recommended position for the system I’m using, the Freestyle Libre, but I know other people put these things in all kinds of different places. If I remember correctly, the G6 is replaced every week, right? That should make if possible to select every spot based on what activities you anticipate in the coming week. One thing I like about placement on the back of the body is that it’s never visible to anyone I’m directly interacting with. It doesn’t distract during a conversation and I don’t have to deal with people starting at it when they really should be looking a my eyes. I think it applies to attractiveness and intimacy as well when you’re facing each other.

That was a lot of random ideas off the top of my head; take them for what they are :slight_smile:

Oh, there’s one caveat: the placement may affect the readings, and I would advice that you get used to the CGM for some time before experimenting with moving it. Also, I think there may be some warranty issues worth looking up beforehand.

8 Likes

Not alone, @Tallredmrs. Before I was diagnosed at 27 years old, I loved everything fashion. It was one of my favorite things to do to go through thrift stores and put together outfits. It was truly something that brought me joy. Then I was diagnosed and was sporting a pump maybe 2 years later. I slowly (at first) got rid of dresses… then skirts and pants and anything that felt “dressy”. I began to dress for my pump and for my diabetes since, with the way I would sweat when I crashed, there was no reason to put on anything nice.

I’ve had diabetes almost 16 years now, and it was only about 6 months ago I put on a skirt. Since then, I’ve realized it’s not too much to wear something nice as a diabetic. I wear my CGM on my arm and field questions whenever I feel like it. If I don’t feel like it, I give a short, vague answer and pretend like I have to make a phone call. :grin: My pump is worn wherever it will clip (neckline, waistline, arm, or thigh), and I have stopped thinking about it. Thinking about it meant not getting dressed up (actually, not wearing anything but exercise clothes), and I knew that didn’t feel good. I’m happy to say I’m finally back to enjoying clothes again and can’t believe how long it took me to just try.

I hope you learn to embrace it, and I hope you don’t let it hold you back. Your husband is right. You’re beautiful because you’re beautiful, and your CGM just helps you to remain healthy.

7 Likes

Thanks for your input. I’m very vain and this whole thing has been a lesson in self care. It means a lot to talk to other people going through this. I’ve felt very alone since my diagnosis.

**Mod edit - Removed personal information

5 Likes

Hi Amy

I can totally relate to feeling, and I’m sorry that you’ve been feeling less attractive from wearing the CGM. Some days I’m proud and excited to wear my cgm out and about, and other days I tend to cover it up. I think everyone processes this new and strange extra bionic limb differently, but across the board it is certainly an adjustment and isn’t always easy.

One of the most inspiring things for me has been seeing others wearing their medical devices proudly. I’m not sure if you’re on instagram, but there is a decently sized community that advocates for normalizing and celebrating wearing T1 gear (I’m happy to share usernames for accounts I recommend!) Even just seeing others go through the struggle has helped me feel less alone. And certainly hearing others’ stories here at FUD and IG posts has changed my perspective on it all.

Something I’ve done to kind of treat my diabetic self is buy different tapes and stickers for my dexcom. Just to make it a little cuter and something fresh/new to look forward to when putting a new one on. I think that pump peelz and pimp my diabetes have some really cute stuff!

6 Likes

I am not an authority on fashion. So don’t listen to me.

But the receptionist where I used to work many years ago was going through chemo, and was totally bald. And I’d always tell her, “I love your hairstyle! It makes you look like a survivor!”

I think a woman with an insulin pump or CGM stuck on her is sexy, because toughness and self-confidence are extremely hot.

Hide it if you want to, but I say show the world. So everyone will know how truly awesome you are.

9 Likes

I try not to show mine at work. Not from a perspective of being attractive but more from a concern over showing any sort of frailty or uncertainty. At home it doesn’t bother me at all. I can tell you from a mans perspective that it wouldn’t be an issue to me for my female partner to have one and I wouldn’t find it unattractive at all. It really wouldn’t even enter the thought processes other than to be careful not to disturb it.

4 Likes

I was so excited when I was going on the pump. the idea that I was less attractive didn’t even dawn on me until I was first naked in front of my husband. then I felt like some kind of bio-tech machine. fortunately, I wear a tethered pump, so I can disconnect anytime I want to, like those intimate moments. I slowly started getting use to it.

then I began to have better control over my D Bgs, and I felt strong and competent. I owed it to the pump; so, I started to love that I had this badge of honer to show off my accomplishments, and I became proud. I started wearing my bikinis at the beach again, showing it off with pride. I found that it became a sure fire conversation starter, and I thought that it made me sound interesting :wink:

then I went on the sensor. I wear it on the back of my arm(s). when I am at the pool people come up too me with dozens of questions. I get so excited to explain to them what it is, what its for and how it works. I have met some wonderful people this way.

I will pray for you that you can make some peace with yourself. perhaps, IMHO, you might try to look at the glass as 1/2 full; wearing it only makes you a stronger woman, and perhaps that might be sexy to your husband (???)

DM

7 Likes

After 50 years, 30 years or pumping and 5 years of cgm use it has been quite the evolution of acceptance. In the beginning I was a teenager and didn’t want to be different in any way so no one even knew I had T1. Then it evolved into viewing it as a weakness or people would see me as an unhealthy person. I still didn’t share it with anyone, didn’t know any other T1"s and avoided all Dr offices etc. It was mixed with a fear of a future of horrible complications and an early death which was how they manipulated “compliance” back then. Wearing a pump was a big HELL NO. It would make it all real and people would know. I was very into fitness and how I looked was (way too) important to me.The clothes I wore were not conducive to say the least to an insulin pump lol. When I finally decided to stick my toe in the water and start pumping I had amazing ways to conceal the pump. Slowly, as I had 3 children, cesarean scars, stretch marks and complications began I finally began to change my perspective. Slowly, my focus was on what was really important. By the time I started using Dexcom I had evolved into a place of gratitude for this amazing tool. I have always worn it on my arm and usually exposed with all kinds of decorative attention getting patches haha. As I look back at it all, it was not a healthy way of coping but it was the only way I knew and I did what I knew at the time. It is what it is. I guess I’m sharing this to say yes, I totally relate to the feeling of being less attractive and I think it’s more common for us as women. It’s something you will come to terms with in time. Personally for me, it was all wrapped up in my road to acceptance of the fact that I have a chronic, life long, progressive disease. Luckily for those diagnosed more recently, due to social media etc. it is more out in the open and more support to help them get to this place of acceptance sooner. :blue_heart:

10 Likes

Thanks. I hope it doesn’t take me that long to embrace it.

2 Likes

I will check those out soon. Thanks

Thanks for responding. It means so much that someone understands.

2 Likes

By the the time I started using a CGM I had been doing diabetes too long to care. However, I remember being somewhat self conscious about the pump when I started on it. I can’t tell you how long it took took me to get past that, but I can tell you the moment that defined my apathy.

I was sleeping with someone and realized in the middle of the night they just moved the pump. I wasn’t woken up to move it myself. There was no trepidation on anyone else’s part to touch it. It was simply moved the same as if my arm was in the way, and they needed to move it to be comfortable.

I will say, I still flinch when the CGM or insertion site is touched. I don’t think that will ever go away. At this point though, it is much more because 99% of the time, when I am not consciously touching it myself, my brain automatically jumps to “careful you idiot. You’re catching on a doorway or clothes, etc., and you’re going to rip it out!”

3 Likes

It took me a couple of years to get over the visibility aspect of the Dexcom. It helped that I ditched the pump around the same time that I started the G5. The G5 was easy to forget about compared to the pump because there wasn’t any tubing to deal with.

After a couple of years of benefiting from the G5, its visibility bothered me less and less. My D control is better than it has ever been, and now I barely noticed the G6 most of the time. Since the G6 has played a huge role in getting my diabetes under control, I’m just grateful that it’s there. My life is so much easier now, and I feel like I can easily do things that seemed very daunting a few years ago.

In addition, I’m in a committed relationship with a wonderful man. I found the dating phase where I had to explain diabetes to a new date to be quite unpleasant. Having a partner that understands the nuances a bit and doesn’t need much of an explanation really makes life a lot easier.

Sometimes I pick my clothing with this in mind, sometimes I don’t. Since my partner knows to expect the G6 on the back of my arm, it wouldn’t really factor into my clothing choices on a nice night out with him. As we’ve gotten closer and our relationship has become more important in our lives, I would now suspect that when he does notice my sensor, he’s grateful that it is there because it means that I’m safe. My sensor means that we’ll get an alarm in the middle of the night if I drop too low. I had a low a couple of weeks ago that I went into the other room to treat, and I clumsily knocked something over making a loud noise (not because I was low… just because I can be clumsy :grin:). My partner immediately came running, concerned that I was having trouble with the low bg. His concern was really touching. After that experience, I can’t really imagine him being bothered by seeing the G6 on my arm.

I do choose to keep my G6 covered at work because I don’t really want to have that conversation with new people I’m meeting professionally. I also don’t want my diabetes to be a focus of my work environment. How someone approaches this probably depends a lot on their work environment and their role in that environment.

I hope this gets easier for you with time.

5 Likes

So as someone who is decidedly curvy, I usually place my sensor below the curve of my belly, so unless I’m wearing something skin tight, it wouldn’t show (whereas if I place it right on top of my belly, it would show a lot under dresses especially, and I definitely do not like that). Not going to lie, I once messed up sensor placement before a big event, and ripped out a brand new sensor to try again, which I was thankfully able to do because I use mine for 2-3 weeks each, so I always have a backlog of them. I think on a very skinny person, it would be harder to find spots to hide it, but I saw someone with one showing on her arm the other day, and my only thought was ohhh cool another Dexcom user, I wonder if it would be weird to talk to her about it, haha. I don’t think anyone else around us probably registered it much at all.

Re: flinching when you are touched near there, I might suggest trying to take some time to deliberately have some extended sensual touching around that area, and know that you are likely to feel uncomfortable esp at first, and that’s ok!! but just to try to approach it with openness and curiosity. Don’t try to force yourself to be ok with it or to find it appealing, just to be aware of and observe the sensation and get used to it a bit. Maybe also get feedback from your husband about what he likes about touching you. I think if you do that a number of times, it will start to feel like your body again, even with the Dexcom there, but you may need to be patient with and kind toward yourself as this is a big adjustment!

4 Likes

Thanks. I feel better knowing I’m not alone.

4 Likes

Hi…
One time I stopped at a Chic-Filet for a late evening meal while traveling. I asked one young waiter/clerk about the carb count, and had my glucometer out. The clerk instantly KNEW I was diabetic, the reason for asking. The clerk whipped out and PROUDLY showed off their insulin pump. Then another young clerk came over and showed me their insulin pump, as well. The were not busy at the time.

I was very impressed by their great attitudes and pride in their diabetes hardware. The were both probably in their late teens, maybe very early 20s. With their great attitudes, they should both do very well.

Gomer, (aka Dr. Joe)

5 Likes

In more ways than one :rofl::joy::upside_down_face::joy:

2 Likes