Like your shadow, diabetes is always following you. It never takes a holiday or sick day (other than making you sick), and it certainly doesn’t take a day off for all those important moments in your life. So when my boyfriend asked me to marry him on a sunny day in May last year, I knew that on top of sorting through wedding colors, choosing vendors, and slimming down to wear that pretty white dress, I also needed to figure out what to do with my diabetes.
My main concern was my insulin pump. Earlier in the spring I wrote about all my options for what to do with that pager on a string, but it wasn’t until the day before my wedding that I actually knew for sure what I was doing.
The most common suggestion was creating a pocket inside my dress for my pump to chill. Unfortunately, my dress was made from material that wouldn’t allow it to be cut into. My dress was made from a layer of organza covered with lace, beads and sequins, which was sewn in various places to a layer of silk. A slit in the organza would have been very noticeable, so the pocket options was tossed out as soon as I knew this was my dress. And ladies, you know how it is when you find The One. Nothing can stand in your way. Not even diabetes.
Once the pocket option was nixed, I immediately started devising ways to incorporate the Spanx I knew I’d be wearing. I’m a large-ish girl, and despite my twenty-pound weight loss since last summer, I was not prepared to forgo the Spanx. I asked my seamstress to create a pocket on them that could hold my insulin pump. I wasn’t entirely sure how I would get to my insulin pump, but needless to say, the insulin pump needed to be somewhat accessible and close enough to my insertion site for the tubing.
One idea I had was to try the Animas Ping. With its remote bolusing glucose meter, I thought it would be the perfect temporary pump. It would be my “something borrowed” so to speak. I managed to secure one with the help of my diabetes educator, but I didn’t have any time to get properly trained on setting it up. Using the Animas pump is something I’ve done with children I babysit for. Setting it up for myself? Surprisingly different! Who would have thought that setting up an Animas Ping would be so different from the Medtronic Minimed? But I couldn’t get the darn thing to prime to save my life — literally!
Sadly, the Animas Ping Project ended up not working so well. In the end, I wore my Medtronic Minimed insulin pump, which actually worked out just fine. By sitting down and carefully lifting up my dress, I bolused twice in the privacy of my bridal suite (well, as private as someone can get on their wedding day), and once while sitting at our sweetheart table. Since the pocket was at my thigh, it was easily reachable while sitting. The rest of the time? Didn’t touch it. Didn’t even think about it.
Here I am. Hiking up my dress for all the world to see how I carried my insulin pump. You’re welcome.
Funny story: When I walked out of the dressing room for the first time with my Spanx on under the dress and lifted up the dress to ask my mother and the seamstress if they thought the pocket was in a good location, one of her co-workers asked me what the pocket was for. I said, “It’s to hold my insulin pump!” and she replied, “Oh! I thought it was maybe for a flask of whiskey or something.” I totally think there could be a market for a flask-slash-insulin pump pocket, don’t you?
And here I am with my dress down. The dress, an A-line, had enough tulle and layers that it completely covered any hint of an insulin pump.
Testing my blood sugar, on the other hand, ended up being more trouble. Although I had my blood glucose meter with me, I never ended up finding a bag to carry my things. I left my glucose meter in the bridal suite after testing before walking down the aisle (to a comfortable 197 mg/dl). I never did bring it down with me to the reception tent (a mere 200 feet away), because I thought, “Of course I’ll come back to the bridal suite. I’ll have to use the bathroom at least once tonight!” Nope. I didn’t. Lessons learned. Of course, even if I did have it with me, I probably wouldn’t have thought to stop dancing, chatting with my guests or taking crazy photos at our photobooth to check my blood sugar. My mother, armed with a purse, did have a can of Sprite at the ready during the ceremony.
My back-up emergency supplies were also on-site at the wedding, since we were leaving immediately for our hotel after the reception. All my insulin and pump supplies were safely in my suitcase in the event of an emergency.
Was I the perfect PWD on my wedding day? Hardly. But the day itself was perfect and diabetes stayed as far back on the burner as I could get it without spontaneously regenerating islet cells. I think that’s as much as any pancreatically-challenged bride can ask for.
(Thanks to my photographer, Paul Rich, and his assistant Alexis for helping to document diabetes on my wedding day!)