Baby Got Back (For 24 Hours)

In an effort to give my tummy a break and a little healing time, I tried a “flank” pump site Monday morning.  Yep, my back.  I know people wear insulin pump sites there.  Its an approved spot on those pump site diagrams.  I have attempted this before without success.  Animas (Unimedical) blue 6mm cannula and I was ready to go.  It’s a little strange to rotate around to do the insertion BUT it’s a spring loaded site inserter and I suspect that makes it a hell-of-a-mucho more manageable.

*BAM*.  I was good to go and made sure to wear jeans yesterday that were far lower than the site spot.  I was aware that the site hurt.  It didn’t hurt like a tummy site that gets all crazy stabby immediately upon insertion and you just know you have to yank it out and then you’re either prepared for a geyser or your cursing at yourself because you have blood tie-dying your clothing AND you SHOULD have been prepared.  Nope, the flank was not that kind of pain.  Just irritating.

back site 2


Mind over matter?  I was busy all day but it hurt.  A bit stingy.  A bit itchy.  The insulin absorption from the site seemed off, but eventually worked (although slower than usual).  I went out to dinner and sat on a bench type seat (I happened to be on a boat which was lovely) so my back was never pressed against the back of a chair and I avoided that irritation completely.  Getting ready for bed, I kept thinking it felt stingy-itchy, but I needed to stick (pun intended) it out.

I woke up in the wee morning hours when I felt the Dexcom site pull off my thigh.  Seriously? I had IV3000’d the hell out of it right before my Gilligan’s Island dinner tour and the IV tape somehow dislodged from me in bed, got slightly stuck on the sheets and when I rolled to the side, I ripped that Dexcom site right out.  BG was in the 120s, so back to sleep.

Early gym morning.  Replaced Dexcom and slathered the new one with SkinTac.  Good to go.  Pulled on my gym pants and felt something move on my back.  Well those gym pants are tough.  So incredibly tough that they *flicked* the pump site right off me.  Put a new site on my tummy and was off to the gym.  My phantom back site still hurt.  Ouch.

back site re

So what’s the deal?  Am I really the only one who can’t get these flank sites to work?  The pant flicking was unfortunate BUT that site was still hurting and I don’t think I would have made it the full day with that stabby site.  Thank you gym pants.  Well done.  All sarcasm aside (there is no such thing, so some sarcasm aside), does anyone have a flank site recommendation?  I had previously tried the 9mm and thought the 6mm would be the solution.  Nope.  Does this need to be a two man operation and I just need to get further back on my back?  Should I be going to yoga to get better contortionist moves?  Do I just have it in the wrong spot?  Anyone?

9 thoughts on “Baby Got Back (For 24 Hours)

  1. I wear the OmniPod on my flank all the time, but I also always get those tinny red dots (from your last picture). Basically, the flank always seems to hurt/be more annoying than the stomach, but I still use it because I get tired of the stomach.

    • Thanks Katie. I’m wondering if I have the right spot. I was definitely able to pinch-an-inch and I SO want this to be a viable site for me. If I went much lower I think i’d have problems with waistbands. Hmmmmm. The spot where the site was is sore now to the touch now. More hmmmmm. thanks! xo

  2. I’ve use the flank site before, and come to think of it, it bothered me more there than elsewhere. But not so much that I really thought about it until now, so maybe it’s just my imagination.

    I’ve been using a spot (on either side) just below my belt line. About two inches. I hardly feel it, and as long as I remember to be careful taking everything off, it really works great. I hardly notice it’s there. I realize that belt lines are often different between genders, and I can’t validate that this would work with yoga pants, YDMV.

  3. The answer is angled sets and the ugly reality is that you will get the best results with self-inserted Comfort Shorts. The insertion needle is daunting, but you can insert your sets at a very shallow angle and even not all of the way in. I have flunked all straight-in sets such as Medtronic Quick-Sets/Mios and Animas Insets and Smith Medical Cleos.

    You might want to try Inset30’s which have an insertion device. I found it overly complicated and went back to self-inserted sets. (I used self-inserted Silhouettes with Medtronic for 8 years and although I keep experimenting with other sets, I mostly use Comfort Shorts which are identical to Silhouettes.)

    I do my best to avoid locations that will be a problem with slacks. The problem is that I have a huge range of waistbands for different slacks/jeans. (Men have it so much easier….)

    If you can’t get Animas to send you some samples, email me and I’ll send you a couple of Comfort Shorts along with a bottle of wine to give you courage for the initial insertion. On my next order I am going to order one box of Comfort Detach which are the metal sets. I’ve never tried them but many on TuDiabetes swear that they are the best.

    • THANKS Laddie! I DO have a 1/2 box of Inset30s (5) in my office (with the inserter device) which I keep for emergencies. I “may” need to pony up and give them a try. As a righty, I wonder which side is my best bet….

      I truly have no idea how I used Silhouettes for so long in my early pumping days. My hands would shake the entire time! Now, time to build up my courage! xoxox

  4. Laddie made me squirm with that crazy talk about using the Comfort/Silhouette in the back (just kidding, Laddie, I’m glad it works for you and everyone’s different!…but I did squirm).

    But I do endorse the use of metal Comfort Detach/Sure-T for that area. It’s the lowest-profile of all infusion sets – the tubing itself is thicker than the actual plastic that’s stuck to your body – and since I wear it with the pigtail wrapped around my side and the connector in front, I can always see it and there are no surprises. It’s not so great for other parts of the body, but it’s the only one I’ll use on my back. (And I’ve found great absorption there, too!)

  5. back when i was flexible enough to turn myself inside out to insert it, I too used the comfort/silhouette/tender set…at a very shallow angle. There is also an inserter for this set, but I don’t like it. YOu might try that and see how it works for ya. back in the olden days, I also used the Bent Needle set which worked well too. Lots of virgin territory back there

    • This is how I figure out “flank steak” too. it occurred to me 2 years ago in a doctor’s office and I completely stopped paying attention to the convo when the light bulb turned on in my mind. Yep. I didn’t tell anyone my sudden discovery!

What do you think?