It's (still) Prom Season, with all the hoopla that brings for high schoolers and their friends and families. The hair, the makeup, the dress, the tux, the picture-party, the after-party... whew! I just went through this myself with my two oldest daughters.
Last week, we featured the story of two teens with type 1 who prom-swapped to support each other through all this stressful fun. Today, we're happy to offer some practical tips for girls with type 1 diabetes direct from former Miss America herself, Nicole Johnson, and the young communications coordinator of her national Students with Diabetes organization, Paige Wagner.
A Guest Post by Nicole Johnson and Paige Wagner
Prom, weddings, galas… sometimes a girl just needs to wear a good dress! Wearing nice gowns with an insulin pump can be tricky, but where there's a will there's a way. We agree the best plan is to assess how you'll be wearing the pump in the dressing room before you buy.
Back of the dress
If your dress has the real estate, don't be afraid to wear your pump on the back of your dress. This is a no-brainer location! The downside? It might be a little hard to reach, so accessibility may be a minor issue. Nicole has done this many a time, and tend to run into other friends who have the same idea. See this photo of Nicole and Caroline Carter at the Miss America Pageant:
In the cleavage
One of our favorite place to keep the pump is on a bra between the cups. It's a relatively accessible place to keep the pump, while also secure throughout a lot of movement.
Downside? Your pump is going to get covered in some sweat and it can be a bit uncomfortable. Honestly, this is really only an option if you are able to mask the boxy device from the front of your top. If you top is loose or low cut, beware of your pump falling out. (Yes, this has happened to both of us before!) Also, beware of Iron Girl looks.
Here is a creative idea, sew a pump pocket in your dress!
Depending on the dress, sewing a pocket with a small hole for threading pump tubing may be a brilliant option! If you do not know how to sew, a tailor or seamstress can do this for your day-dresses, evening wear, even a bridal gown! A pocket is a safe place for your pump to be all night AND gives you the access to it that you need. Downside? It can be daunting to alter clothing and pockets will not work well with some fabrics (like chiffon, silk, and other lightweight materials).
Garters and leg bands are discrete and out of the way. Downside? Garters are very prone to sliding down your leg. Let’s face it, your pump in a garter at your knee is not exactly the look you are going for.
Belly bands and body tights
If you are wearing a free flowing dress, a belly band may be the most comfortable option. (These can sometimes be found in pregnancy stores.) There are also pump products that are waist bands and can prove useful. Downside? This really doesn’t work with any fitted piece.
If you are wearing something fitted, consider securing your pump on the inside of your “stronger than Spanx” shapewear. This is what Nicole did at Miss America and still does at most formal events today. It is low maintenance. Just remember, your shapewear needs to have some strength to it. If the shapewear lacks strength, your pump will not stay where you want it.
Buy a dress with pockets
Take it from us, a dress with pockets is a gift! Anytime we have a chance, you can bet this is what we purchase. It takes all the hassle out of figuring out what to do with the pump and sometimes the sensor too. Would you believe that is what Paige is wearing in this photo from our local diabetes gala? You bet her diabetes gear are in the pockets of her great A-line dress. (It was a 1960’s themed event. :)
Taking a break
Taking a pump break is a viable option. It can cause a little stress and involves a learning curve, but this too can work. Just be sure to check your blood sugar often and take into account how much insulin you have in your system as you correct for the few hours your off pump. Downside? You will have to check your blood sugar more often, which may distract you from your evening plans.
The bottom line is dressing up with diabetes and diabetes technology is possible! It takes a little planning, but it can be a lot of fun.
Thinking of your diabetes as a part of you, instead of an obstacle is half of the battle. We never think of diabetes as something that gets in the way, rather it is part of who we are and is something that allows us to feel proud of who we are. Feeling empowered is a big part of being beautiful. Remember, confidence is magnetic. If you feel confident, strong and proud of who you are, others will be attracted to you as well – pump and all!
Thank you, Ladies, for making parties and formals with type 1 diabetes that much easier to enjoy, with these great tips!