Thursday, November 05, 2009

From Insulin to Symlin

When I first started my diabetes life I was taught to take all shots of insulin in my thighs. I was told I could take them in my stomach and arms but was shown the thigh method from a nurse who came to my house once, two days after I was diagnosed.

One day after we received a welcome packet from the American Diabetes Association, I watched this VHS tape that came in it with my dad. The host of the Welcome to Diabetes video was none other then dLife's Jim Turner. I remembered seeing his face in movies and TV shows and was surprised  to learn that he was a type 1 like me! Wow!

In the video as he is discussing living with diabetes, he drew up a dose of insulin in a syringe and unbuttoned one button near the bottom of his shirt, moved it to the side to expose his stomach and took the shot in a matter of seconds. The whole time still talking except for the second he bit his lower lip and punched the syringe in.

"Did you see that?" My dad paused the tape and we watched the quick shot several times. "You should try that. Did you see how easy that is?"

The next morning my dad talked me into trying it and after the 30 minutes it took just staring at the tip of the needle and my tummy, I found the courage to plunge that needle into my gut and it was fine. Thanks Dad and J.T..

So now that I started using Symlin and have to inject that, I find my stomach is the place of choice. One thing I have read about is people taking shots through their clothes. I had never done this before and honestly, it sort of freaked me out. It goes back that bizarre fear that a needle is going to break off inside of me and float around destroying my innards. Yeah right.

The first time I did it I was nervous of course. I always wear an undershirt so I figure I should probably make it easier on mister needle and lift the outer shirt and just dose through my t-shirt. As I held the Symlin pen in my hand I looked at my stomach, the t-shirt, the needle, my hand, and I could hear my heart beating. It took me back to that morning at my dads house. I felt that fear. I remembered Dad cheering me on. And Jim Turners flannel shirt. It all came swirling back and then I did it.

And it was fine.


Kelly Rawling said...

Where's your stunt tummy? Here's mine:

Sarah Jane said...

hmm i saw one of my resident assistants who had T1 do that through his shirt once and I never looked back...I do it through hoodies now even.

Bad Decision Maker said...

that's great it worked for you!

i've always wanted to try through a shirt but am worried about it bleeding and staining my shirt! i'm always ready to dab the blood with a tissue or at least wipe it with my finger for damage control. mine bleed fairly often, probably 1/4 of the time.

i have no worries about a needle breaking off inside me, but to be honest, i'm a little worried about germs. probably i should get over that though. it's not like i use alcohol swabs on my skin, so what's doing it through the clothes?

Megan said...

Great post! I didn't build up the nerve to do shots in my tummy until I had diabetes for 20 years!

Bob Fenton said...

Thanks George, We all have needlephobia of some type. While I am T2, I am on insulin and thankful to have that as oral was not helping control BG. After many bad sticks in the soft part of my arm, I changed to the stomach area. I too have done it thru clothing when I needed to, but do prefer not having small blood spots on clothing. Does not happen often, but every now and them. Keep up the good blogging. Bob

Nicole P said...

OK, my dear George, but I'm going to give you a warning... and maybe scare you. I used to inject through my clothes. When I was eighteen, I did that one day. A week later, I had a raging infection on my belly. I had, according to a doctor, pushed a piece of my clothing through my skin while injecting, which had caused said infection... Yuck!

Please be careful.

:) - N

Rachel said...

love this post, made me cry...

G does the through-the-shirt thing when we're eating out, just easier. His endo suggested it a few years ago after years of button-down shirts or choosing an arm instead and he's never looked back for dinners out.

Chris Stocker said...

Hmm, I never tried that and never thought about it when I was using an insulin pen and syringe for my Lantus. My endo is talking about putting me on Symlin to try and get me to lose weight, so I'll be following to see how your doing with it.

j.b. said...


I shoot Symlin through clothes only when I'm out and don't want to get up to excuse myself.

Usually, I lean up to the table and work my injection magic beneath the surface while not looking! For me, it's all about not making a scene and not inconveniencing anyone else. Stupid, I know.

I'm glad you worked up the nerve to do it. Good luck with Symlin.

Crystal said...

Back in the day, up, through the clothes, no big deal, never had a problem. It was fine. ;-)

Glad it's all working out for you.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Holy scary info Nic!

I do my symlin hits through my shirt most of the time.