Breaking the (Diabetes) Law

Know what’s a fun trick?

Go to your neighborhood nail spa, get nice and comfy in the pedicure chair — hot, soapy water, vibrating seat back — wait until the nice lady is about 2/3 of the way through executing your pedicure, and then take out your glucose monitor as you announce that, due to your Type 1 diabetes, you need to check your blood sugar. It’s like a hypodermic needle scratching a record.

I did this a few months ago, but not on purpose. I was simply trying to enjoy a relaxing afternoon ritual with a friend when I needed to calibrate my CGM. I pulled out my OneTouch, and you’d have thought I’d extracted a unicorn head from my bag.

I know that, technically, I have no business getting a pedicure. I could get a cut. Develop a revolting toe-eating fungus. Lose a foot. (Would I get a 50% discount on pedicures then?) But on the sliding scale of diabetes rules, I put the anti-pedicure thing over there with not wearing sandals and changing the lancet with each test. (I will say that I draw the line at the scary razor thing they inflict on some clients’ feet. I’m all about the loofah and the nail polish — not so much the weapons-masquerading-as-grooming-tools.)

This is my before picture.

If I have to get up in the middle of the night to eat and/or bolus, stab my fingers 6 times a day, count carbohydrates, pay for insulin and test strips and pump supplies and fight with insurance companies, I can risk the dangers of the loofah, right? Maybe the pedicure is my last bastion of denial and rebellion. Diabetes comes with so many “can’t do”s and “must do”s — and I need a little self-inflicted danger in my life. Maybe it’s the grown-up diabetic equivalent of bingeing on cake and pizza at a middle school birthday party, or leaving your logbook blank until the morning of your endocrinologist appointment.

Or maybe I just like the way my toes look with OPI Big Apple Red on the tips.

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13 comments on “Breaking the (Diabetes) Law

  1. Lauren says:

    I get pedicures every months or so and I swear by them. I believe if I don’t get pedicures my feed get more infected! I bring my own sanitizer to put in the water and they don’t care. I have never had a problem and I have been getting pedicures for 7 years with diabetes.

  2. 1littleprick says:

    Haha, I love your before picture! I am with you – I think a pedicure is well worth the risk.

  3. Sysy Morales says:

    I thought the only time there was a risk was when a diabetic already had some numbness or circulation problems in their feet.

  4. Kaitake says:

    Cool pic! Livin’ wild 😛

  5. Jonah says:

    IMHO, anything that makes you pay more attention to your feet will probably prevent any wounds from getting ignored and festering is a good thing.
    Let’s see a study on pedicures and foot wounds!

  6. I love OPIs St Petersburgundy!

    I think pedicure’s done by a proper beauty therapist will be great – they should be fully trained to know about being gentle with diabetic’s feet (and if not, then definitely tell them!)

  7. Holly says:

    I once went to a pedicure place that actually had a sign on their door saying they would not treat diabetics. How exactly they would know (unless I did what you did) is beyond me.

    At the current place I go to, I once had a bad low towards the end of a pedicure. The technician got up to go check on another client, and I scarfed down 5 glucose tabs while she was gone. I felt so bad, like I was sneaking candy during the middle of grade school while the teacher was out of the classroom. I’ve yet to tell my technician that I’m diabetic, and I don’t plan to. 😉

  8. Scully says:

    You mean us diabetics aren’t supposed to get pedicures?! Guess I missed that memo. I will just continue in ignorance. I love my pedicures.

  9. Trev says:

    Starts with Pedicures and before you know it you’ll be jumping out of planes. Slippery Slope you’re on…Good for you!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Apparently, EVERYTHING maims or kills people with diabetes.

    My CDE told me, in my first session, that pedicures are fine as long as you don’t let them use the scary razor thing.

    I’ve never ever in my LIFE been cut during a pedicure. I figure, worst case scenario, one day I’ll get a cut… and I’ll go to the 24 hour clinic for antibiotics just to be sure. Then everything will be just fine, my feet will be pretty, and I’ll continue getting pedicures.

  11. Y’all have made me feel a billion times better about my pedicure habit.

    Thank you! This is why I keep the DOC around!

  12. Stacey says:

    I’m also all about the pedicure but, like you, I draw the line at the razor. Soap me up, lotion me down, massage the holy hell out of my legs/feet and make my toes presentable but come near with me with that razor business – a razor used on a million other people, no less – and a I swear a diabetic force field suddenly appears around my feet.

  13. Swerds says:

    I’m with the others. I get pedicures as regularly as I can afford them but I always, always turn away the razor. Besides, keeping those callouses in check helps prevent your heels from cracking which is something else we’re supposed to prevent. Right?

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