13 yo daughter, Omnipod, and self-conscious. Help!?

We have a 13 year old daughter who was diagnosed 4/1/2009.  After 6 or 7 months of shots, she went on the Omnipod.  So far, it has been a love/hate relationship.  The main problem is that she is very self-conscious about it.  Now that summer is here, she has decided she wants to go back to shots, or try a different pump.  Otherwise, I think the pump has been a success.  She used to hate the Lantus injections, and she is an all day grazer, which would make it a bit tougher on the injections.  Does anyone have any ideas how to ease a 13 year olds self-consciousness about the pod? 







Something quick, easy, and creative that I've seen some people do with their pods is to draw on them with markers. She can make it look more "pretty" or make it look however she wants to coordinate with her outfits or something. Also it would make her feel better when wearing a bathing suit if her pod was colorful and more feminine. Hopefully this will help her be more creative and also be less self conscious. Overall though you just have to make her realize that the omnipod is a tool that helps her survive this chronic disease, so she really shouldn't care what other people think! However, I know that is easier said than done with teenagers, as I was always self conscious about other things!

awesome idea!

Another suggestion to drawing on it with markers, which does get boring after a while, would be to stock up on temporary tattoos. My daughter "decorates" her pod when she is wearing it on her arm, or when she is wearing her bathing suit, as it is a 2 piece. They stick quite well, and if they do rub off, they are easy to replace the tattoos. She has also put the tattoo bandaids (i.e. Disney type bandaids) since she likes those characters, even though she is 11, going on 25.


Maybe when you go to the endo next, you can have her meet up with some other pod pumpers, and see what they suggest, let your endo know ahead of time, and they can probably arrange for someone her age, or a bit older, to talk with her. Sometimes knowing you are not the only one out there with this white egg looking thing, or "robot parts" as my daughter calls it, will help ease the self-consciouness issue. It sucks being one of a kind when you are that age, there is power in numbers, in their frame of mind.

Ahhhhh, the wonderful age of 13.  If I could write a letter to my 13 year old self, I would have so much advice for her.

As far as switching pumps - I think it would be more difficult to conceal any other kind of pump under a bathing suit with the tubing and whatnot.  I wear a MiniMed, so on the rare occasions that someone can convince me to wear a bathing suit, I put my site in my butt so it will be covered and out of view.  But of course, then I have to clip the pump itself somewhere...Does the omnipod allow you to hook it up in a place that would be covered? 

For "all day at the beach" situations, it is perfectly acceptable to disconnect from the Pod completely and use a long acting insulin for the day.  This might be the best starting off point with your daughter. 

Also, is there a way for her to get involved in diabetes camp?  At 13, she might be old enough to be a junior counselor.  Being a role model for younger kids with Type 1 diabetes could really improve her outlook on the whole situation. 

Lastly (and you may not want to hear this) consider allowing your daughter to take a "pump break."  Maybe 6 or 7 months was not enough time to adjust to the initial diagnosis...Being a teenager and coming to terms with diabetes can be overwhelming already, and then add a medical device to your body, and well...It can just all become too much to handle. 


I have to say that even though I am 24 yrs old I can see where your daughter is coming from. It is very uncomfortable to have people stare at you when you have the pod on your arm or anywhere that you can see it. I have found it easier to tell people when they are staring that it is an insulin pump and that I have type one diabetes and what it does. People don't mean to be rude they are just curious and I personally would rather have someone ask me about it than stare.

I would sit down with your daughter and explain to her that it is  "part of her" and that with out it she would not have as much flexibility with what she eats and when she eats. Although it makes her stick out a little bit, it is something that could bring awareness to people that are not familiar with our type of diabetes. It is not the most attractive thing and yes, you are definitely going to see it when you where a bathing suit, but it is a lot better than having to be on a stricked schedule with eating and not being able to eat as much foods. It also is better than injecting yourself several times of the day. You should look into a JDRF meeting for her with teens her age. Maybe meeting with other girls that are going through the same thing as her would make her feel less self conscious. I hope this helps !