Anxiety When Changing my Pump Site

By *Stephanie* Latest Reply 2014-06-13 20:45:39 -0500
Started 2014-03-13 16:12:17 -0500

Hi guys! I've been Type1 for awhile now and keep awesome numbers but for the last few months I have had major anxiety when it comes to changing my sites. I get really nervous, breathe funny and spend a few minutes giving myself a pep talk to just insert my new site. For years changing my site has never phased me but I assume now I've been getting so nervous and upset because lately I've had a lot of bleeding sites, bruising, and pain when the new site goes in. I talked to my doctor about it and he looked at me like I was from another planet. He told me that I can just have my husband put my new sites in if I'm nervous about it or scared. That's fine and all but my husband deploys a good deal and I travel alone a lot… plus I think it's ridiculous to rely on someone else for something so trivial. I've ordered a different angled infusion set to see if that changes anything. Have any of you felt anxious when it came to changing your sites? How did you get over it? Thanks!!

17 replies

Damon2003 2014-06-13 20:45:39 -0500 Report

I have anxiety as well, where are your insertion sites? I used to put them in my stomach and hated it. I could always feel them and they bothered me all the time. My doctor told me to try inserting them in my upper thigh in front just below the hip joint, I go three fingers below my hip joint. I started inserting there and I don't feel them going in, they don't bother me while they are in and I have a lot less anxiety when I have to change sites. I also rotate them from leg to leg. Also be careful not to go to low down you thigh if you try this because you want to avoid the thigh muscle, I inserted a little low one time and pulled it out as soon as I inserted it. I also insert on my back just above my belt line, I need my wife's help when my thighs need a break but I don't have any trouble there either.

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-03-15 10:24:33 -0500 Report

I went through this when I started, after a few times of getting anxious/scared, I got more PO'd that I kept kinking canulas and ruining sets. I've also had a massive bleeder when I removed once, it can be very unsettling, but weighing all my options, the control that I have with my pump is worth it.

thomas.wright 2014-03-15 01:57:39 -0500 Report

I can actually give some advice here. I don't have a pump - so I'm not experienced in that particularly, however I am quite a seasoned meditation practitioner, and I think I have a few small exercises that could be quite beneficial for you.
If you sit comfortably on the edge of a chair and take a few minutes to go from head to toe a few times - relaxing as many muscles as you can identify. Start with the top of your head, the muscles around your eyes, forehead, above and behind your ears, nostrils, lips, chin, neck, etc. Move on to your shoulders, back, abdomen, and continue on down until you get to your toes. Make sure to spend enough time on each muscle that you can feel that it is as relaxed and lose as possible. Do this a few times. In fact, for the more stressed people, it may take up to 10 repetitions before the muscles stop tightening right back up after you move your attention to a different area.
Keep your eyes closed, and really enjoy the experience - try not to think of anything else but how nice it feels to have your whole body sitting in a fully relaxed state.
Start off telling yourself in your mind that you feel great. Put a slight smile on and feel your heart swelling with happiness.
This alone is an extremely calming and beneficial exercise. However, we can add a layer on for your particular situation.
When you're at that sweet spot, nice and relaxed and just feeling happy and bright - think about switching sites as if it were a positive and rewarding experience. Picture the process, nice and slowly, and just re-write your response to the procedure. As you go over each movement and action in your mind, tell yourself, "this is easy, this is a good thing, I am relaxed, I actually enjoy this. This is something I need to do, this is helping me, and if it's helping me, it's making me happy." If you're a visual person, imagine that a soft relaxing white light is accompanying the process - and it's de-toxing the process from the anxiety and frustration. Just imagine the white removing the stress and fear from the procedure as you're performing it in your mind.
Now - this isn't something that you get max benefit from the very first time. Don't get me wrong, you'll get quite a lot of benefit the first time, for sure - but if you practice this regularly, after a month or so, you'll notice a drastic change in how you react to changing sites.
The last thing is, I would recommend doing from 10 to 30 minutes right before you change sites, as well as doing it at least once a day. Best times are either in the morning after you're awake, but still relaxed from sleep - or before bed time when you're nice and cozy for bed, but before you're so tired you're going to zonk out any second.
Anyway - if you decide to try this, I'd be interested to hear how it goes for you :)
Good luck!

diabeetle 2014-03-15 00:13:27 -0500 Report

I have had this many, many times before! It's really common! I always get nervous from thinking about if it will hurt or bleed, and then I sit there, just like you, taking as much time as I can with out That little sticky needle trying to poke at my nerves. I know it's really hard to finding good, painless places that don't have too many veins or nerves. Bruising is still a common occurrence for me even after 7 yrs with it! I'm not sure if they will work for you, and they will be a bit scary to try at first, but thy have been less painful for me and I've been able to ease off on the more painful and scarring places for a while:
On top of your arm, not all the way on the fatty back of it

Top of leg, but be careful of veins

Higher and lower of stomach, and around sides

On your bum…near the top though

I know they sound quite scary, and it's different for everyone, but I learned I could put them all in these places from my t1d buddies from camps and such. I hope this helped even a bit!!! Good luck! -diabeetle

jaydoubleyou23 2014-03-14 14:34:39 -0500 Report

When I first got my pump I almost passed out just getting it on. I don't know why but it scared me soooo much. And I was always scared to change my pump for the first few months actually! Now I have a fear of needles again! Haha. I don't even want to think about EVER going back to syringes. And when it comes to getting my blood drawn, forget that! Haha

MarkS 2014-03-14 07:40:08 -0500 Report

Hi Stephanie, I can relate to your anxiety when inserting your infusion set. I have been on the pump (Medtronic) for about 12 years and sometimes I both feel sorry for myself that "I have to stick this damn thing in me" or feel like "I really don't want to do this anymore." However, when considering the alternative (i.e., multiple daily injections of basal and bolus insulin as well as corresponding crappy A1c's) I just "suck it up!" Occasionally when inserting the needle for the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) sensor I do bleed like a stuck pig! It just depends upon what site I use, how deep the needle goes, and probably even the phase of the moon. If I knew the particular spots that result in "bleeders" I would most definitely avoid that spot. However, that has not happened. But just to let you know, you are not alone in the emotions you feel when needing to start a new infusion site. Probably, what gets me through it is by doing this (i.e., using the pump) my health will remain and I will be looking down at the flowers for a long time as opposed to looking up at them sooner than I want! Take care, good luck, and hang in there!

Harlen 2014-03-13 22:27:52 -0500 Report

For me I had that at first now I just stick it in , I do have a spot 3 inches on the right side that I have to use it always stings a lot lol

KG66 2014-03-13 19:43:01 -0500 Report

Oh yes I have! I am no longer on the pump but when I was I often felt nervous and often had to count to 3 before putting in the site. When I tried my first angled site it took me a good 10 minutes to finally but the site in since I was so nervous.

harry1 2014-03-13 18:54:29 -0500 Report

I'm glad people are posting about this. I'm starting on the pump next month and I'm nervous as heck. The more post that I read of other people experience the more helpful it is for me.

*Stephanie* 2014-03-13 19:32:16 -0500 Report

Congrats on getting a pump! I hope I didn't scare you with my post (for years I've never had a single issue until this). The pump has been great for me- it's convenient and it's helped me get my numbers down. My last A1C was 5.2 which I NEVER thought I'd reach lol. What pump are you getting and why did you pick that one? I'm planning to get a new pump this summer so I'd be interested in your feedback.

harry1 2014-03-14 05:14:59 -0500 Report

It didn't my A1C test has been over 10.3 for the last couple of years. This is the last resort for me. I'm taking over 300 plus units and 5-8 shots a day. I'm hoping to get control of it soon. Diabetes cost me my job driving tanker.

*Stephanie* 2014-03-13 18:43:35 -0500 Report

Thanks so much for the insights! I'll most likely be contacting my rep tomorrow! I have an animas ping and I have been using the inset 30 infusion set for the last two or three years. I rotate my site locations pretty well. I have never bled or bruised until the last few months and psychologically it's really bothered me. I'm looking to find a new doctor- I just moved here and judging from my last visit I don't want to stay with that guy. Once I find a new place and get labs done I'll see if the doctor can help me figure out if I have any dietary influences causing this. I didn't even think of dietary until your post, so thanks! I don't take any medications, so I just might add extra vitamins in the meantime. Thank you!

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 19:37:44 -0500 Report

God luck with finding another option on sets. I agree with Dr's. I have built a great team of Dr's for my self. This includes, endo, primary, ophthalmologist, cardio, I feel comfortable and trust each of them. This was not always the case. If a Dr is not working for you make the change. I have learned you have to stick up for yourself in our current health care system. When I am unable to speak for myself during an operation or in an ER, my wife has learned to take care. Look for the right Dr for yourself. Don't wait. Good luck with the new infusion sets. Lot's of options, just have the find the right on for you.

ashley50 2014-03-13 19:30:51 -0500 Report

I also have the animas ping pump. I love the pump. But i too do also get a little bit of anxiety when i am inserting it into my skin. I think its normal. I just want to let you know you were not the only one haha.

GabbyPA 2014-03-13 18:41:51 -0500 Report

I don't have a pump, but sometimes my insulin shot does that to me. I get touchy about it and when my skin feels the needle sometimes I stop and find another spot that doesn't feel it. I think it's kind of natural when you bleed or bruise (as I tend to also) that you want to find that magic spot that doesn't do any of those things. I hate having bruises on my tummy. It looks like someone beats me up.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 18:19:10 -0500 Report

I am not sure what of kind pump you are on. I know I was interested in trying some new infusion sets. I contacted medtronic and they had one of their field/training nurses contact me. We briefly met up, and she later fedex'd me a bunch of different infusion sets to try out. She followed up by email to ask how they were going. I did not get changed because they were just sample pack's. Some interesting sets out there, maybe you can find something easier to put it. Good luck.

Type1Lou 2014-03-13 17:35:11 -0500 Report

What kind of pump are you using and what kind of infusion sets? I'm on a Medtronic Minimed Revel 523 pump and use their Quick-Set infusion sets. I do occasionally get bleeding/bruising at a site which affects insulin absorption and forces me to change it out earlier…it's a bummer. I also freaked the first time I was removing the old cannula and blood just gushed out. I had to apply pressure to make it stop but it's scary…luckily, that doesn't happen too too often…maybe 5 times in the last 2.5 years that I've been pumping. I've tried to be really conscientious about rotating sites but have found that I'm most likely to have problems when I try to infuse on my inner or outer thighs. I've recently begun to use my upper arms with good results but that could become a problem when I begin to wear sleeveless. I'm not ashamed of being a diabetic and don't hide it but I also don't necessarily broadcast it to the world. I also connect on my hips and abdomen. Have you had changes in medications that would make you bleed/bruise more? There also might be some foods you need to avoid which could increase your tendency to bleed or bruise? Try contacting your pump supplier as they may be able to give you some insight and direction. Personally, I find your doctor's response quite insensitive at best and perhaps negligent at worst. I hope you find a solution.