Insulin Pump as a Circus Performer?

I'm hoping to get some insight from others that are using the pump and may be in a similar situation to me.

I am a type 1 diabetic and have been offered the pump a few times, but have always turned it down as I'm a circus performer and have always thought it wouldnt work having it connected to me while training and performing. After doing some research, I can see that the pump would be so much better for my health as it acts more like a pancreas and you have so much more control.

I am an acrobat and so my job is very similar to gymnasts and cheerleaders. I also do aerial work, where i often have to wrap the silk around my body and waist and hang from it. This is what I am most concerned about. I know that you can disconnect the pump for about an hour, but that you still have the infusion part left in the body. When this is disconnected, is this easy to get ripped out if it is covered? Also would it be painful when pressure is applied to it (pressure from the material being wrapped around it and hanging from it). My thoughts are that this wouldnt work, but I have no experience with it and also dont have any diabetic friends to ask.

Another thing is about hiding the pump when wearing tight costumes, as sometimes I am required to be on stage for a whole show, not just my act.

I will try to answer some of your questions.

Infusion sites generally tend to stay in place especially when under clothing. Unless you physically peel away the adhesive and remove it, it should stay put no problem. They offer a small plastic plug that will prevent dirt or any other material from getting into the infusion site along with the box of infusion sets, so no worries about that while disconnected.

As to the matter of pain in an infusion site if pressure is applied, the short answer is yes.
Typically you won't notice an infusion site at all if you out it in an area that has at least a small layer of fat, but since you are a performer that does physically challenging work this in itself may be difficult for you.
Pressure being applied to a site may not immediately cause any pain or soreness, but constant pressure even overnight if you sleep on it, can make the surrounding tissue very tender the next day. It comes down to being creative in your placement and trying to figure out where it will be bothered the least.

For hiding the pump, I use a spandex runners belt that does a very nice job of keeping everything snug against my body and with no tubing visible or able to get snagged on things. Mine is a Flip Belt and can be had on Amazon in various sizes. I have been quite happy with it and it should do well in your circumstance should you choose to go with a pump. Visibility is a tough one especially if you are wearing a tight spandex uniform. You will see a bulge. You can minimize this somewhat by using the belt I mentioned and then positioning the pump to be on your lower back area. (The main infusion site can be elsewhere as the tubing does come in a couple different lengths to suit your needs)

I hope I was able to answer some of your questions and I sincerely hope you get a pump, it truly helps to get our blood sugars into a much more stable state and if you have the opportunity to get one and make good use of it, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment.

All the best,
- Mario

I have never had pain or discomfort from sleeping on the insertion site. So that may vary from person to person. Nor when pressing on it. I am not thin, however. Currently the site is exactly where I put a lot of pressure on it due to all my weight when I sleep on my side (most of the time). I use the QuickSet which has a tiny, but flexible, insertion tube.

Some women wear the pump in their bra. I have not tried that but I can see using special tape or putting it in a baby sock (yes, some do) and safety pinning it to the bra or in your case, the costume.

There are some very physically active folks on this forum so perhaps some of them can speak to the acrobatic issues.

please note, my keyboard is wearing out and switches to capital letters - I am not shouting should that happen here. . there ARE A COUPLE THINGS YOU CAN USE TO KEEP THINGS IN PLACE AND HIDDEN. depending ON THE COSTUME/LEOTARD, THE DIABETES MALL (WWW.DIABETESNET.COM) has a camisole for pumps. it has a shelf bra with a pocket for the pump. to nestle between the girls. I am fairly small chested and it is discrete. Also, Pumpwear has spandex bands that are like a bandeau bra for around your waist. They keeps things snug. You can use SkinTac ( a liquid medical adhesive availabew from Amazon) to secure the infusion set and tape about 2 inches away from the infusion site to keep things where you want them. I rarely experience any pain from the cannulas.

Thanks guys! You've been very helpful :) I have recently found that you can get a harness that fits the pump on your back in between the shoulders which would be perfect :) I don't know any other type 1 Diabetics, but my mum has arranged for me to meet with one of her friends who dances with an insulin pump so I think that will be helpful too.

You can also just take your pump off during your performance. Many pumpers take their pumps off during special activity. Some professional athletes also use a mixed insulin regiment, example: your pump would supply some of your basal insulin and all of your bolus insulin but you would supplement your basal with a basal insulin ( just enough to cover your workouts and or a performance and or competition).

Not being a circus performer, I still think you could make it work.

Your title is funny, it brought a whole image to my mind of swinging the pump through the air by its tubing, being released from the infusion set, doing a double flip (with a double twist, of course), and then "sticking" the landing, by clipping itself back into the infusion set! The crowd (of mostly insulin pump owners!) goes wild with applause!

If you decide to go with the harness where the pump is on your back, I would look into the Animas Ping pump. I think it is the only one with a remote control from the meter.

Haha that made me laugh! Never thought of it like that :)

Interesting discussion. I just saw this on Facebook and thought i would give my 5cents. Mostly agree with the said above, I am wondering whether you have heard about the OmniPod?
it is a tubeless pump and i could see that this might work for you, if you wear it on your arm you barely feel it and it might not get in conflict with your acros.
good luck on your journey, it is doable, i know you can do it! once you have adapted, you're gonna love the pump! :)

I use an Omnipod tubeless insulin pump. I like it because it is waterproof and can be stuck virtually any where on my body. Right now I have a pod on my back. But I have placed them on my breasts, thighs, arms, abdomen, calves and hips. I have had D for 40 years and this was the only pump I would consider since I swim often and just couldn't see the point of having to continually disconnect. I got it in May 2013 and absolutely love the control it has helped me achieve. I am not an acrobat but I do know of a few young gymnasts who use the pod to good result.