I have a question for those who use metal sets.
For those of you who follow my blogs or forum posts, you'll know I have a lot of issues with allergies. I developed allergies to the plastic cannula sets that got to the point where sets would become incredibly irritated and just stop working after less than 24 hours, and I was changing sets almost daily.
So I switched to metal sets, despite the fact that I am allergic to most jewellry (I'm guessing nickel, though I've never been officially tested). They worked really well up until a month or two ago (I switched about a year ago, last August or so). They sometimes got a bit itchy, but the sets never just outright died. In fact, I thought the metals sets *couldn't* really outright die.
Well, lately I think they have been. What I've noticed lately is that sets, like before, often appear to be dying after only a day - or if not outright dying, at least not working well. Today, for example, I've had great numbers for hte past few days (for me, meaning no highs much over 200) when I suddenly found myself at 400 after lunch. After five hours of corrections and still being over 200, I removed my set because it was feeling a bit sore - it had been in for 24 hours and up until that point had seemed fine, no pain and good blood sugars. I tried inserting it in another place but it hurt twice, and at that point I switched to a new set because I figured that one was dull and therefore making insertion hurt. I just did a correction with the new set and, judging from what's been happening lately, my blood sugar will start falling shortly.
I notice the sets aren't horribly itchy like the cannula ones, but they get simultaneously a bit itchy and a bit sore/painful after about a day when they seem to just give out. Incidentally, I've also noticed my tolerance for wearing jewellry has plummeted - I used to be able to wear earrings for about half a day before they were so itchy/irritated I removed them. Now I can't even wear them for five minutes without my ears getting hot and itchy, and if I ignore it and persist in wearing them, my earlobes stay irritated for days afterward.
I reaaally don't want to be allergic to plastic and metal sets. I already take an antihistamine year-round because I'm allergic to everything. I'm interested in starting a CGM and if I'm allergic to metal sets after only a day I don't think there's any way I'll be able to wear a sensor for two weeks (although at least that doesn't affect insulin delivery). So I'm wondering if this - a site being fine at first but getting slightly itchy and sore/painful after about a day - is normal or if it might be an allergy. I do know that if I don't take an antihistamine my siets get very itchy and hive-y, and the adhesive patch without the needle also gets itchy, so I try not to forget to take that. Also, I had a blood test last week and the spot where the lady poked me got red and itchy about a day later and stayed itchy for a few days. I'm not sure if blood draw needles are made of the same metal as infusion set needles.
I think I have answered my own question in writing out this post, but ... hoping someone might still say this is normal and not an allergy getting worse?! These sets were working so well, but if it gets to the point that I'm having crazy highs (and "crazy" for me isn't like 200, more like 400 ...) or needing to change them on a daily basis, I'm seriously going to consider ditching the pump and seeing how I do on MDI, though I think the lack of flexibility would cause other problems ...
EDIT: As predicted, after correcting with the new set I dropped from 221 to 120 in an hour and a half, and woke up in the morning at 94.