Talk about adding insult to injury! It was bad enough when my Type 1 diabetes ushered in a new era of being allergic to wheat. But now I've received some equally upsetting news: it seems I am also allergic to medical adhesives. Would you believe...?
"You're the only one in the family who needs medical adhesives, and now you're allergic to them. Isn't that ironic or something?" my 11-year-old blurted out on the way home from the dermatologist late last week.
We were actually there for her, for goodness' sake (she had a minor irritation around her mouth that wouldn't heal). But in my infinite wisdom, I thought I'd ask the good doc what was going on with the swollen, red-speckled spot on my belly where my Navigator had recently been.
We had to exit the exam room first, to register me as a separate appointment, and call my primary care physician for a referral before the dermatologist could legally tell me a thing. Then they escorted us back in to the same exam room and we waited another requisite 20 minutes, only to have the same doctor open the door and tell me I was allergic. There's a co-pay well spent.
According to this doctor, it's not just the latex, but some sort of gel used in the type of adhesive that comes with the Navigator (the same type as those DexCom shower patches, which used to irritate me so). She took a look at my OmniPod site as well, which wasn't acting up at the moment but certainly does irritate me sometimes, especially on the belly. The adhesive used with that one contains more cotton, she said, so less like to irritate as quickly or as severely.
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Me: "So what can I do about it?
Dr. Derm: "I can prescribe a Triamcinolone cream for that pretty severe allergic reaction you're having right now."
Me: "OK, but I mean preemptively — what can I smear on there in advance to make it less sensitive? Or can't I pop a pill or something?"
That got chuckles.
Dr. Derm: "`Fraid not. And it's probably going to keep getting worse. You may not have been so allergic the first few times you wore it, but you build up a reaction to something like that."
Me (in my head) : "WtF? Isn't it resistance that's supposed to build up?!"
I am, in a word, simply incensed. I consider this the further wrath of my already rebellious immune system. I shall persevere!
Me: "Well, this thing here is a new technology called a Continuous Glucose Monitor. It has the potential to change my life and the lives of many other diabetics. Wearing it requires medical adhesive. So I'm going ahead and trying it on my arm next, no matter what."
Dr. Derm: "Well, that's your choice."
Me (in my head): "Don't talk to me about choices! I never asked for any of this."
So... how many of you out there have been blindsided by allergies on top of your diabetes? Speak up, won't you? Misery loves company.