Awareness & advocacy · Vocabulary.

What is a site change?

I’ve mentioned the words “site change” several times throughout the blog. I realize many of you don’t know what I mean when I talk about a site change.

A site is the place where insulin enters Luke’s body through the tubing on his pump. Luke prefers putting his sites on his stomach, so he rotates sides there. Many other people choose to use arms, legs, or lower back/upper butt area. It’s important to rotate areas so scar tissue doesn’t build up as quickly.

Every three days, Luke needs to do a site change. This means he pulls out the old and inserts a new using an infusion set.

site change infusion set
Picture courtesy of Animas Corp.

 After filling a new cartridge with insulin and hooking up the tubing, Luke uses the infusion set (above) to place the new cannula (small tube) underneath the skin. When he does this, he pulls up on the white part of the infusion set to ready it. On the other side of the white part is the cannula with a needle on the inside of it. When released, the needle pushes the cannula through the skin where it stays & the needle quickly comes out.

site change site
Picture courtesy of Animas Corp.

What’s left is this little patch to hold the cannula in for the next three days. Luke can disconnect his tubing/pump when needed. He just squeezes the sides of the little plastic piece and slides the tubing out. He has to do this anytime he is in water- showering, swim practice & meets, etc., as his pump is not waterproof.

He’s done approximately 24 site changes since the start of the new year.

infusion sets

When people ask him if it hurts, he says, “It doesn’t feel good… there’s a needle going into my skin!” But he’s used to it. He realizes it’s a necessity in order to live. And that’s just one more reason this kid amazes me every day.


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