Pumps, Pockets and Lessons in Life

WRITTEN BY: Corinne Logan

To put it simply, my pump is a lifesaver.

Days are too hectic (and my purse too small) to be on the strict schedule of shots. Who has the time or patience to keep track of all of the small, necessary details that injections entail?

However, the pump also has its fair share of faults. I feel like I am constantly having to tell people I am not a reality contestant or an undercover cop with a microphone (it’s happened), not still rocking a beeper, or nicely explain that, no, it is not an iPod or radio, and no, you cannot listen to a song. On top of the endless misidentification, there is also the problem of discretion.

As a 20-year-old girl I am not ashamed of my diabetes, but I am also not trying to broadcast it to the world. I do not want to think about my pump when I am not using it – isn’t that the point of having one? On a day-to-day basis this is not a huge problem. I can clip it or tuck it into my waistband with little issue. However, it is when I am doing activities other than going to class and hanging out with friends that the issues begin.

Everything from school dances, to lacrosse games, to even basic business-casual events become a major cause of stress. I have a whole assortment of different “pump wear” at home: fanny packs, waist and thigh bands, cell phone cases, arm cases – this list goes on.

But I found that however creative I got, each concoction presented their own difficulties. Fanny packs were never going to happen after age 12, cellphone and iPod cases never seemed to be the right size, thigh bands fell out of place whenever my dancing got a little crazy, and waistbands always added a little bulk to my stomach (every girl’s dream!).

Many ripped out sites, runs cut short, and dresses with a lump on the hip later, I came to a promising solution: spandex.

As a lacrosse player, I wore spandex for every game and most of the time at practice as well. When dressing up, I usually wore them under my dress or skirt to avoid the embarrassment of any clothing malfunction. I started to notice that tucking my pump into the side of my spandex worked pretty well, but there was still something missing. The ultimate dream was to be able to wear unconventional clothes while my pump remained secure, discrete, and in an accessible place.

IMG_1335 copyBy putting a pocket in the back of the spandex, I fulfilled all of these requirements. The pump is more accessible because the tubing does not get caught or wrapped around different clothing. It is comfortable and doesn’t bounce around while moving or get in the way while sitting down. Also, because of where it falls in the small of the back, the infamous “pump bump” is minimal. Finally the additional pocket in the front allows another option for pump storage, sensor storage, or even emergency glucose, needles or insulin. To make these spandex suitable for more diabetics, the pocket is designed to comfortably fit an Animas, T-Slim, and MiniMed pump.

As an 18-year veteran of diabetes, advancements in research and product development are very important to me. While making the lives of diabetics easier is close to my heart, so is the research and creation of technology that can potentially save lives and find a cure. Because of this, 10% of proceeds from my Pumpstash wear will be donated to aid the advancement of Type 1 diabetes research.

I have learned so much over the last year or so while working on Pumpstash. I’ve learned about business and fashion, networking and budgeting, but more than anything, I’ve realized how connected everything in my life is. Diabetes can be endlessly frustrating and makes my life significantly more difficult to manage on a day-to-day basis. It has, however, given me skills and experiences that have motivated me to start my own business as a college student. To begin with, Pumpstash shorts would not exist if I didn’t have diabetes. Diabetes has taught me the importance of responsibility from a young age, I’ve learned to count money and expenses like I do carbs (every single one matters!), and the impact small adjustments can have on the big picture. I’ve learned the importance of looking and reflecting on patterns and outliers, and connecting a cause and effect and how to use that to my own advantage. The importance of donating funds, or being part of a larger impact, would have never occurred to me if I hadn’t seen and lived through the impact such organizations have on individuals with diabetes. While diabetes brings many challenges, it is also important to remember the opportunities it can bring as well.

Corinne Logan

Corinne is a junior at Fordham University studying Sustainable Business. She's had T1D for over 19 years which has lead to a love-hate relationship with juice boxes and doctor's offices. She recently launched Pumpstash shorts, spandex shorts for insulin pumps, after letting tangled tubing ruin one too many workouts. She blogs about diabetes, school, and starting a business at www.pumpstash.com/blog. When Corinne's not studying or working on Pumpstash she loves dancing to Taylor Swift, listening to Podcasts and exploring NYC.