The lingerie department sales-woman stared at me as though I had proposed hiding a squirrel in my clothes. I tried again: I need to hide a 'pager' in my bra." Still incredulous, she asked, "Can't you just leave it at home for a while?"
OK, so my insulin pump isn't exactIy an iron lung, and yes, I technically could disconnect for a while. However, the convenience and control that the pump affords me make me hesitant to take it off.
I am fortunate, I know, to live in a cell-phone and pager era when most people I know have one or the other clipped to their belts. In fact, since getting my pump, anyone who has even noticed my newest accessory has just assumed it to be a pager.
So why hide it? Well, because I am 24 years old. I five in New York, and I am sometimes beset by vanity and a desire to wear tight clothes.
For example, that morning I had put on a favorite form-fittin-g sweater that hits at mid hip. There was nowhere to put the pump that didn't ruin the fine of my outfit. I couldn't clip it to my belt because it scrunched up the side of the sweater; I couldn't put it in my bra because the cor-ners poked through my clothes; and I couldn't even stick it in a pocket because I was wearing a pocketless skirt.
So, uninterested in leaving my pump at home and unwilling to give up the sweater, I had to come up with a way to hide my wonder appliance.
Two hours, eight kinds of bras, three sets of push-up inserts (also called "cookies"), and a very patient saleswoman later, I managed to successfully hide my "pancreas" in my underwear. And because I believe that I am not the only woman to want to face diabetes in style, I’m going to tell you how I did it.
I found two solutions, for two different kinds of outfits: For tight, low-ish neckline outfits, I bought a push-up bra (the padding help minimize the visi-bility of a hard, rectangular object), one cup size up from what I usually wear. I also bought a pair of 'Fashion Forms Water Wear Push-Up Pads," size A/B. By putting the pump in the bra, underneath one of my breasts. and then offsetting it with a single cookie under the other breast, I was able to hide the pump completely.
For other outfits that aren't so tight or aren't low-cut, I pur-chased a "Jockey Molded Soft Cup" bra in my normal size. (This hybrid sports bra and regu-lar bra uses a fairly large amount of material across the front, allowing for a natural pocket between your breasts.) Using both of the cookies this time (one under each breast), I found that I could stick the pump into my newly created (but not overly done) cleavage, and it wouldn't show up under flowing summer dresses, tunic sweaters, or any-thing else that drapes.
The solution to this problem will be different for everyone, as no one have the same wardrobe or the same shape and size breasts. But finding your own solution is worth it. The pump has been a wonderful addition to my life, freeing me from some of the constraints imposed by diabetes and improv-ing my health. "Me added bonus is that I have managed to have it do so without ever having to compromise my sense of style.
Yes, vanity is a silly thing, but I suspect that even Nobel Prize winners aren't immune. In fact, I would feel far more fool-ish telling you that I was too vain to get an insulin pump than telling you that I am vain enough to buy new underwear in order to wear it.