I wish I could explain to people what living a type 1 Diabetes life is like and make them understand.
Some personal sad news threw me into a line of thinking from the past recently, and a door I had firmly closed, sort of got unlocked so I could re-hash and see again the stuff I so badly wanted to keep buried.
The result of this was a few days of kit-Kats and a large Cadburys Puddle, a new bar, big, and packing some serious comfort.
Yes I injected the appropriate amount of insulin to cover anything I'd eaten but because of the high fat content in my chosen treats, long after the novo rapid ( basel insulin ) had peeked and finished its job my blood sugar was
still climbing at a steady pace. Yes I corrected, but no I couldn't stop the climb.
Hitting an 18.2 is no joke at 3am when you've gone to bed on an 8 and no matter what I did I could'nt seem to fix it. The result ? A serious hangover feeling and all the effects and results of high blood sugar.
So my next day blood glucose started on 12.0 BG. Now I know this is self inflicted to a point, yes I fed myself but my Type 1 Diabetes wasn't self inflicted in any way.
This was how my day went :
- Injection no 1 was at 8am to correct that 12.0 and then it was back to bed to sleep it off after a coffee and some paracetamol for that bloody awful headache.
- Injection no 2 was at 11am to correct what had now become 12.2 BG, still no food yet, I'm determined to start the drop before i actually eat.
- Injection no 3 was at 2pm, 6.5 BG so its lunch time.
- Injection no 4 was at 5.30pm a correction for a 10.2 BG
- Injection no 5 was with dinner BG was 5.2 and holding steady.
- Injection no 6 was to cover supper
- Injection no 7 was lantus - Basel insulin.
All this was about 10 finger pricks, before my CGM (continuous glucose meter ) arrived, and 7 injections but this was a relatively good day because i knew what was causing the problem and i did manage to correct it.
Not being well, stress, upset and other medications means a much more difficult situation to try to control and manage, these things are not self inflicted, they are beyond our control and as long as they are actively playing a part in our lives, they continue to play a part in our diabetes and ultimately our blood glucose, making managing our diabetes and our daily routine more difficult.
The food planning, clock watching, and carb counting is relentless, the carbs & cals app is always with me ( on my iphone ) and my handbag and bedside locker stash of jelly beans is always kept topped up.
Leaving the house there's always a rice cake or two with an apple put in my handbag along with the BG meter pouch which carries my blood glucose meter, test strips, a finger pricker, lancets, an insulin pen, needle tips, and a small container (for the used strips, lancets and needle tips.)
The all important hypo kit, GlucoGen, is also brought, well it's no good in the fridge at home if I collapsed when I'm out.
No I don't bring a bottle of any kind of fluid because it doesn't fit in the handbag, I might leave it down, walk away and so get separated from it and that just wouldn't do at all.
I "TREAT" with jelly beans, now that's treat a hypo ( low blood glucose ) not treat, as in having a treat. Jelly beans are like tablets to me and I take :
- 1-3 if I'm in the high 4s.
- 3-5 if I'm in the low 4s.
- 5-6 if in in the high 3s,
- 6-9 if I'm in the low 3s
Basically the amount or dose differs and depends on what my BG (blood glucose) reading is. Any lower than those (3s) and it's party time, I just scoff rather than count.
Thinking is gone out the window so I have a tube that carries a certain amount of jelly beans so when I say scoff it's not a big bag or anything like it, it holds about 20 in total or (36 - 37 gms carbs) to a t1 like me.
12 jelly beans has aprox 22gms carbs in them so each 3 represents a treatment of 5.5 gms carbs.
- 6 = 11 gms
- 9 = 16.5 gms
- 12 = 22 gms
The aim of this is to catch it early and treat with no more than 6 jelly beans the overall effect is when
I'm very low, although in one sense I'm out of control, I'm actually still in control, if you see what i mean.
Back in the early days when I used fluid to treat, I'd just drink, and I would always drink too much,
carrying measured drinks was'nt an option, and seriously, who carries a fluid measure with them.
Imaging measuring out fluid in a moving car while disoriented during a hypo, or carrying several small containers of fluid, Ridiculous right ?
Once I'm all packed, then il do one last BG check to see am I ok to head out and how long I have before the next action plan of food and insulin.
Ah yes i remember the days when i just walked out of the house without a second thought about food, or anything else for that matter. Every moment of every day is a decision now that has to be made.
- Will I have that scone and coffee with friends?
- Will i go for that nice long walk?
- Will i get get into spring cleaning ?
So its prick, check, calculate, decide, then either inject, treat or leave for the moment......
Some days everything goes to plan, but on other days it doesn't and for no obvious reason. There are also days when I just get sick of it all and just do what I want regardless of the numbers, but yes still inject the insulin, just not be quite so strict.
On these days I always end up regretting it because that sick feeling is so hard to shift and once iv upset the delicate balance of blood glucose numbers and insulin it's so hard to get it all back on track and even when I do it takes even longer to actually feel well again.
Bedtime is another tricky one, 8 is a good number for me to go to bed on ( its what was recommended to me ) by my diabetes team.
- any lower and I might go low through the night,
- any higher and il wake high in the morning and start the day correcting from the day before.
So it's check about an hour before bedtime, if I'm below 8 il work out just how much to eat to bring my blood glucose (BG) up to 8 + ish, then inject my lantus ( that's Basel, or long acting insulin ) and go to bed.
However if I check an hour before bedtime and I'm over 8 already it's either no supper, or I can eat supper and inject ( bolus ) for that food. Still taking the lantus (Basel) at bedtime..
Either too low or too high going to bed is not a good idea.
- High has long term risks and makes me feel really awful with the addition of a blinding headache.
- Low, I could hypo through the night and wake up feeling really awful, or worse again just sleep through it.
Its always on my mind that a bad hypo could kill me so my fear of sleepingthrough a hypo is very real.
This was just going on a sort of typical day, but absolutely everything we do and go through any day effects what our blood glucose readings will be.
- If your trying to lose weight.
- If your training for a marathon, orsome other event that involves physical exercise.
- If the weather is very hot or very cold.
- If your pregnant.
- If your going through hormone changes.
- If your ill in any way.
- If your stressed or upset.
- If you'v had a bad shock.
- If you'v had a couple of glasses of any kind of alcohol the night before.
- If your extremely tired for any reason.
- If your routine is broken.
- If you have an anesthetic even a local one for a dental procedure.
- If your taking medication for an illness ( ex steroids ).
- If you change your diet.
After living as a Type 1 Diabetic for a period of time these things become sort of automatically thought of, as we cruise on through any day in our lives. It becomes our normal, still a challenge every day, but a little less mentally time consuming. No im not complaining or even looking for any kind of sympathic groan........
However what i would like is for :
- Consideration when i say no thanks.
- Id like understanding when i say im tired.
- Id like not to have to explain why i need to stay home sometimes.
- Id like, not to be thought of as fussy, when i insist on a bottle of diet 7up as a mixer for my drink and when i wont eat high sugar foods and deserts.
- Id like not to be called unsociable for living the life i must live.
Id really love if people understood why my brain gets so tired sometimes that it just cant cope with any more stuff.
I wish they could see a plate of food like i do with, portion size and carb content first, calculations and insulin second, and then see that plate of truly delicious, lip smacking, finger licking food that i finally see when theirs is half gone already.
I also wish they didn't rob the food off my plate because they have finished theirs already, because that food they are robbing has already been accounted for with the insulin iv injected. Seriously some day someone will lose a finger and Im guessing nobody will understand when it happens........
This is how a meal looks to someone with Type 1 Diabetes:
Dinner as i see it 34gms Carbs
And for Desert as i see it: 36 gms Carbs
Total for this meal, calculated before eating, if i was to eat this it is 70gms carbs and now id work about how much insulin it will take to deal with it.
Just my thoughts on a day in life, living with Type 1 Diabetes.