Insulin Pump Wearing Fashion Model

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By Nick Gogel

For the majority of my life I have been told by doctors, nurses, and peers how switching from injections to an insulin pump would be a life changer.  I would hear about how life becomes easier by not having to take shots for everything you eat (made sense to me).  I would no longer have to worry about the “pre-dawn effect” and morning highs due to the ability to change basal insulin depending on the time of day (awesome).  I no longer would have to be a mathematician and calculate the amount of insulin I needed in my head based on what I was about to eat, what my blood sugar was, and the carb ratio I needed for that meal (sigh of relief).  These were three of the huge list of positive life changes people constantly told me would happen by switching from injections to a pump and in all honestly it should have been a no-brainer to make the switch, but I faced one huge obstacle that prevented me from making this decision.

I work in New York City as a fashion model.  How on earth could I ever be attached to some bulky device with wires or tubes sticking everywhere when I am supposed to be in a pair of Calvin Klein underwear or a Giorgio Armani suit?  I will tell you how…I will have to buy the underwear and suit to wear because no way would a top designer want to have that distraction on their billboard, commercial, or runway.  Please do not take that the wrong way, as I am not bashing or saying anything negative about fashion designers, but let’s face it.  When there are thousands of people competing for a job where the whole point is to make clothes look their best so consumers buy it, it has to be a perfect fit.  The model should not bring about any distractions to the clothes because that would hurt the designer’s business.  So I had always told myself that as long as this is the career path I was following, I would accept the inconveniences and hardships of injections.

This all changed for me the summer of 2013 when I was introduced to the tSlim pump.   I was on a job in the Upper Eastside of New York City and had to check my blood sugar.  James Lartin, a chef and now dear friend of mine, noticed and informed me he was also a type 1 diabetic.  Conversation ensued and he showed me his insulin pump.  It was unlike any pump I had seen or read about before and I was floored.  It is a petite, sleek, touch screen device that looked like an iPhone.  It was small enough to be tucked into a pocket or underwear so when I went on castings/jobs, nobody would notice.  It didn’t bulge out of pockets, look ugly, or have wires hanging everywhere.  I realized this was what I had been waiting for.  Finally an insulin pump that looked cool and was tiny enough to be hidden no matter what I would have to wear.

All I could think about the rest of the night was how I could make this work.  As soon as I was home I remember emailing my doctor to ask for her opinion on the tSlim, searching the internet to read about the device and the more I read and learned, the more excited I was about changing to the pump.  It was something I knew for years I should have done, but never was able to until now.

By October 2013 I was up and running on the tSlim.  No more injections, no more being a mathematician, and no more “pre-dawn effect” for me.  My A1C and overall quality of life improved.  Career-wise the pump has been everything I hoped for, as not once have I had an issue with it being noticed.  I have not missed out on any auditions, castings, or jobs because nobody can tell that I am even wearing it.

Today I have an easier time managing my diabetes than ever before.  I can safely say this is because of the tSlim pump. 

Photo Cred: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2697783/An-insulin-pump-doesnt-make-beautiful-Meet-pageant-queen-crowned-Miss-Idaho-proudly-wearing-medical-device-swimsuit-contest.html

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