If you are on multiple daily injections or use an insulin pump, you are all too familiar with scar tissue. We’re taught to rotate injection sites to avoid scar tissue, but somehow it still seems to occur when you’re talking about constant needles piercing your skin.
Within the first few years of my teenage diagnosis, I had hard lumps on the outside of my thighs that occurred after frequent injections in the same favorite general area. I was quite thin then, so they stuck out pretty noticeably. My ex used to mention the abnormally large bumps and tell me to lay off the area with my injections to see if they’d go down. Not only were they unsightly, but the insulin also didn’t absorb well once scar tissue built up. I put on a brave face and tried using my stomach which was a previously forbidden area since my stomach is a sensitive spot for me. I found that it wasn’t as scary as I thought and that I didn’t mind using my stomach. The problem there was that I don’t need a large hard bump on my stomach either. The last thing I wanted was for people to start inquiring about a due date from what resembled a baby bump. “No, nothing is in there. It’s just scar tissue–thanks, diabetes!”
The bumps that accumulate in the vicinity of insulin injections can be maddening, but I thought I figured it out. I decided to inject in my rear. I mean, that area already had some padding so that it would be quite comfortable and who doesn’t want a nice round backside anyway? The Kardashians made it popular to have extra cushioning in the rear so why not? Well, scar tissue beat me once again. After some time, I noticed that the injections in my butt did nothing for enhancing the view and the area still became harder, and my insulin absorption was nil. Well played, scar tissue.
If you are squeamish, you might want to skip this paragraph. I discovered a few women with diabetes that have used their chest to inject. One blogger posted a video and shared that she injects into the chest area right above her breasts. I’m all for rotating sites, but there is absolutely no way I’m doing that! I am way too chicken and freaked out by the mere idea of that to ever go near my chest with my syringes. It did make me wonder, though: would they grow larger because of the scar tissue if used often enough? You would have to use the area equally so you wouldn’t end up with one enlarged breast. That is one experiment that I won’t be trying!
I know that some sites are recommended by doctors as safe injection sites (Note: chests are not on the list!). I currently use my arms, legs, stomach, and rear to try to avoid the scar tissue build up that up to seven daily injections bring. I do have my favorites, though. When you are attempting to keep things painless, you tend to favor the areas that don’t hurt. Life with 21 years of type 1 diabetes sure teaches you some crazy lessons. We see what works for us and what doesn’t. I’ll just keep rotating in the safe zones and hoping for the best!
If you want some guidance as to where you can safely inject, here is a link to an injection site guide that is recommended by the makers of BD syringes: http://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/page.aspx?cat=7001&id=7261