Blood Sugar Trampoline

Spring is in the air.. and here come the hypos

Spring in my garden

Has anyone noticed their blood sugar/glucose numbers dropping lately as the Spring temperatures tease us?

Welcome to Spring, where it’s hot, it’s cold, it’s summer one day and winter the next.

We are having our first spell of warm weather this year. It is gloriously sunny and warm… and no rain. This little bit of sunshine gives everybody all sorts of excuses to be outdoors because we have been hiding away from the rain and greyness for months.

The temperature increased by more than a couple of degrees. And then … So did the number of low blood glucose events/hypos I’ve been having.

Not only that but I took a figary to spring clean during this warmness. I didn’t planned it, of course, and on this rare occasion, I didn’t think about my diabetes. It needed to be done and I had the motivation, so I just did it.

I don’t know how many glucose sweets I topped up by or how much chocolate I ate to prevent hypos. Or how many extra centimeters I added to my hips:-(

Temperatures go Up, so insulin doses should come Down.

Blood Glucose Diary Faker

Renza from Diabetogenic wrote this piece on “fudging” our bg numbers in our blood glucose diaries and it fuelled my fire. It’s such a coincidence that we both attended conferences where the “Fake” blood glucose diary of a person with diabetes was held as an example of a “bad” patient! Renza’s piece is well worth a read on how she handled the situation and spoke up for all of us. She rocks!!

My experience was more of the sitting quietly at the back in disbelief that this was how this conference was beginning. The conference I attended focused on changing the way care is delivered to young adults with diabetes.

I was diagnosed as a young adult – age 20. The instant I saw that photo and heard those words I had vivid flashbacks. I remember doing that! I even remember why! I remember that every out of range blood glucose number in my diary was questioned, I felt interrogated and I never knew the answer. Back then, there was no carb counting and no one told me that if I ate more food but still took the same amount of insulin that my blood glucose levels would be higher. It wasn’t bad behaviour or poor choices – it was ignorance. I remembered being lost, feeling so isolated and not knowing anything about diabetes, let alone how to manage it. I remember that I never felt I could ask for help with my diabetes from my health care team.

I did it because I didn’t want to be judged or reprimanded for something I thought had no control over. I was letting my diabetes team down.

This conference, supposedly, about health care professionals finding a better way to deliver care but this made me feel like the reason young people with diabetes were not doing well was their own fault.

What should have been said, and said clearly, was that if a person with diabetes feels they have to hide their blood glucose numbers from their diabetes team the patient is the one being failed. That the diabetes team are to ones letting the patient down. That your reaction to people’s blood glucose diarys need some work. That the fact that a patient has actually written down their blood glucose numbers at all is an achievement to be celebrated. That you, despite your best intentions, are being judgemental.

Thankfully, these days, I am much older and wiser and more assertive these days. And of course, there’s the fact that I don’t care very much what other people think of me. I do ask for help – it’s not always available but I keep asking. I also have a team that seem to be a bit more open to conversation about what I need. But I am a little perturbed that 20+ years later, young people with diabetes STILL feel that they have to cheat to pass their diabetes test?

Oh and BTW, I ALWAYS use the same pen to write down my BG numbers cos I keep the same pen in the case with my bg meter!! So this is not an effective way to flush out or prove a diary is being faked.

Pen stored inside Blood Glucose meter case. Photo credit Blood Sugar Trampoline
Pen stored inside Blood Glucose meter case. Photo credit Blood Sugar Trampoline

How many people actually use a written diary these days not anyway? Aren’t we all uploading to software programmes or using Apps?

Diabetes gone Wild on Holiday

Diabetes on Holiday

It’s summer, which means for a lot of people it’s holiday time. “They” say that diabetes never takes a holiday but what “they” don’t tell you is that when you take a holiday you should be warned that your diabetes will behave as if it’s gone wild in Ibiza and partying like it’s 1999.

I took a holiday for the last couple of weeks. I didn’t go anywhere though. My brother in law and his family were visiting from America, hubby took ten days off work and the kids are on their summer break, so I decided it was a good idea to take a break too. No emails, no posting, very little facebook and twitter (let’s be honest – zero facebook while FFL was going on in Florida was just out of the question:-)

We did lots of day trips, lots of sightseeing, lots of driving, lots of eating out and almost no downtime. One day there could be lots of walking, the next was lots of time in the car. This is my diabetes worst nightmare!

Diabetes gone Wild on Holiday
Diabetes gone Wild on Holiday

My high and low blood glucose alarms went off a lot! Food that I thought might be low carb turned out not to be. Trying to schedule bathroom breaks around optimal blood glucose checking times was challenging. It was all exhausting. My diabetes broke all of the rules, even the ones that I had it well trained in. It decided that all bets were off.

For the biggest part, the holiday was soo much fun with fun people. But I’m ever so glad to be chillin’ at home with the kids for the rest of the summer.

The Blood Sugar Train Wreck

This train wreck started with a decision to skip the spud at dinner, in my opinion. We were having Chicken Maryland and so there was enough carb on the breading to double my usual dinner carb count and I decided to forego the mash potato.new doc 86_1

This middle/2nd dip below the blue line in my photo opposite shows the low blood sugar after dinner.

I, mostly, eat low to moderate carbs to help maintain good blood glucose management. It’s a decision that I made for myself and I would never try to make it for anyone else.

Having said that, the real, real reason I skipped the spud was to have an ice cream. :-S It was a Saturday and I like to have a special treat on the weekends. Being a stay at home mum, it kind of lets me know there is something different between weekdays and the weekends.

I feel like I’m digging a bigger hole for myself here!

Anyway, here comes the second questionable decision. My blood sugars plummeted after dinner and I was so SICK TO DEATH of eating glucose tablets that I opted for chocolate and jellies instead. I know! I know! Not the smartest idea. (Another big hole) I can’t even use the fact that my hypo was affecting rational decision making because it didn’t.

Lots of jellies!

Ok, now the predictable happen. ↑↑ Yep, blood sugars doing the opposite of plummeting, which eventually lead to rage bolusing because insulin does NOT work as fast as I would like it too.

Next up, the rocket train down again. At this point, I took 5 glucose tablets, I usually only take 2-3, to make sure it was well and truly taken care of and that I would not wake up again before I was suppose to.

There is no lesson in this post. I’m just frustrated!!!

But I survived! I learned! And I shall not beat myself up over it:-)

The Sneaky Low

I hate when the hypo just comes out of nowhere and hits you hard!

It a very rare occasion that I have a hypo around lunch time. But yesterday, totally unexpected and without hardly any warning a 2.6 mmol/l (46.8 mg/dl) knocked me for 6.

I had been working upstairs doing light household chores. I decided to take a break and make some lunch because my CGM alarmed telling me that my blood sugars were 4.3 mmol/l (77.4 mg/dl) and I felt a bit on the shaky side but not much.

I threw a lunch together and sat down to check, dose & eat. WHAT!!! 2.6!!!!!! Then I realised not only was I actually shaking but I was sweating profusely. I decided to hold off on my lunch, which was low carb and protein – not a good start to treating a hypo, and I quickly chewed 3 glucose tablets.

I stepped away from my lunch to allow the glucose to kick in without obstruction from protein. I can’t believe I was that rational!!! Then again, I couldn’t figure out what I should do with my insulin dose – I should obviously reduce it a little. But should I include the glucose tablets in my carb count.

Fifteen minutes later I was still shaky but I think my brain was pulling itself together again. I checked my blood sugars again and I was 3.9 mmol/l (70.2 mg/dl), the food was sitting there waiting for me. I decided to put it out of its misery.

I took my reduced insulin dose at this point. It seemed like the right thing to do to avoid the low blood sugar rebound. I knew that the sweating had stopped because I got the chills but the shakes were still there and didn’t quite go away for about 30 minutes.

I did have to top the carbs up twice over the next two hours to keep my blood sugars in the safe zone which was another unusual circumstance for me.

The lesson learned today is to not to try to sneak household chores in before lunch! And always use diabetes lessons to avoid household chores 😀

A Day of Diabetes – A Good Day!

I wrote this post on Saturday 10th January because it was such a good day and worth recording. Don’t worry though I will balance it with A Day of Diabetes – A Not-So-Good Day! And be assured that I do have many of those too:-D It’s also written before I got hooked up to my continuous glucose monitoring system.

The alarm went off at 8:28am, I feel well rested but still want another snooze. My husband’s alarm went off at 8:30am and I was afraid that I would actually fall back to sleep so I rolled out of bed. I use the term rolled because that is actually what I do. I roll over and off the edge of the bed – it’s very effective!

I went downstairs, said good morning to my already fed and dressed daughter on her laptop. I filled the kettle to make tea and she had already made it! How lucky am I? ;-D I popped two slices of wholemeal slice pan into the toaster. While waiting for the toast I did my first blood glucose test of the day. 7.3mmol/l (131.4 mg/dl), what a nice way to start the day. I gave myself insulin to cover the toast and 3 mugs of tea with skimmed milk.

Not my mug! But it's the size required for my morning cuppa.
Not my mug! But it’s the size required for my morning cuppa.

 After breakfast, it’s time to drop the family off to Coderdojo and for me to get the weeks grocery shopping done.

What seemed like a short time later, my insulin pump vibrates to remind me that it’s been 2 hours since I took my breakfast bolus and that it’s time to check my blood sugars again. 4.4 mmol/l (79.2 mg/dl), a bit on the low side because there is still active insulin in my body so I ate half a granola bar to keep my levels up until lunch and went about collecting the family from Coderdojo and home.

After all the groceries have been put away and both children had been fed, it was time for my own lunch. I decided to have a two egg omelette with smoked salmon and cheese, one slice of wholemeal slice pan again and two perfectly ripe kiwis. While my omelette was cooking I tested my blood glucose and it was 5.2 mmols/l (93.6 mg/dl).

I’m having such a good day. It feels so nice to have good numbers and no crisis hypos getting in the way.

By mid afternoon, I decided that all major household tasks were done for the day and I was going to have about three cups of coffee, read the newspaper and some internet articles. My insulin pump had perfect timing; it vibrated to remind me to test again before I made it to the comfy chair. My blood glucose test revealed 6.0 mmols/l (108 mg/dl). You should have seen my happy face!

Roll on the coffee and two small McVities chocolate biscuits. I know I shouldn’t have them. So I’ve estimated that they work out to be 15 grams and I bolus 1.15 units of insulin. I wonder to myself if the biscuits are more like 20 grams but I decide that the next blood glucose test will reveal it.

Dinner at 7pm and my blood glucose is 7.8 mmols/l (140.4 mg/dl). It’s sooooo nice for the things to go right for a change.

The two hour post meal check revealed a 5.8 mmols (104.4 mg/dl) – this is a normal reading for someone without diabetes but for me it’s a bit too low for an after meal and with active insulin still in my body I give it a snack to work on. What can I have for a snack? Ohh I haven’t had a packet of crisps in months, double ohhh, Salt and vinegar. Sold! So 14g of carbs and a lot of fat later my blood glucose dream comes back to reality with an 11.2 mmols (201.6 mg/dl) result.

Well, it wasn’t going to last forever, was it? But when the good days come they should be celebrated. httpsc1.staticflickr.com3289110094390044_aff1fd98a4.jpg

Undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes Kills – please share

Up to 5 Children and teenagers are diagnosed every week with type 1 diabetes in Ireland, according to Diabetes Ireland.

In 2014, 1 in 6 children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes were admitted to hospital with a potentially life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which can occur if a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis is delayed.

The purpose of Diabetes Ireland’s Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Campaign is two-fold.

The first is to encourage GPs to consider Type 1 diabetes first, as a potential diagnosis when a child presents feeling generally unwell by performing a simple finger prick glucose test to lead to prompt diagnosis.

A delay in diagnosis usually means repeated visits to the GP and can result in diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) which is potentially fatal.

And secondly, to raise awareness among the general population of Type 1 Diabetes signs and symptoms (The 4T’s; Toilet, Thirsty, Tired and Thinner) which can attack completely at random.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 20 years old, I have no family history and my lifestyle was quite healthy. I cycled to college and I ate relatively healthy for a student with no money.  *** A healthy lifestyle or not having a family history of diabetes does not protect you from Type 1 Diabetes. Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason.

T1D Awarness 2016

 
 The following are just a few of the tragic stories that have made news headlines;
 You might be fooled into thinking that we are protected in Ireland and that these cases only happen in other countries.  But, seriously, how can we be different?
 
If this post has stirred something in you and you want to do something to create more awareness of Type 1 Diabetes, please share this post or share the facebook post from Diabetes Ireland‘s Facebook page to whatever social media platform you use.
 
Please share.

Just in case you’re wondering; what is DKA?

” Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening problem that affects people with diabetes. It occurs when the body cannot use sugar (glucose) as a fuel source because there is no insulin or not enough insulin. Fat is used for fuel instead.
When fat breaks down, waste products called ketones build up in the body.” Find out more here and there is more information on Diabetic Ketoacidosis Explained at DiaTribe
 

To know or not to know? A CGM Story

I’m so, so tired!

Yesterday afternoon we visited some friends. It was a family-style event where everyone brought something to feast on. The food was sooo good.

The diabetic downside is that while the food is really good I had no idea what the carb count was and therefore, no idea what my blood sugar was going to do.

I’ve been using a CGM since last November and this has been really beneficial with reigning in those blood glucose numbers.

I could track my BG’s while I was eating and even afterwards while talking to people using my CGM and I was quite impressed at how well my blood glucose levels were doing.

However, it was late at night, heading towards the wee hours when my BG’s started to climb, and climb. Oh and climb.

If I didn’t have a CGM I would have taken a little insulin and just gone to bed assuming that this action would have taken care of the elevated levels perfectly.

This is not what happened at all. I have my High Glucose Alert on my CGM set to alarm when my blood glucose levels are above 15.5 mmol/l. And this alarm will continue to go off every 30 minutes until my BG’s come back below this level.

My first indication that my blood sugars were rising came at 10pm when my alarm went off. I calculated some correction insulin and hoped for the best.

The arrow on my CGM fibbed and said that my BG’s were holding at 15 mmols (279 mg/dL) leading me to believe that they were done going up but this was definately not the case for 2 hours.

It’s so difficult to sit and wait. I know that my insulin takes AT LEAST 20 minutes to start working.

11.20pm alarm indicating a higher BG. More insulin
11:40pm more
12:30am more
1:40am some more

A CGM Story

Would I have been better off living in ignorance where I took an insufficient amount of insulin and just slept through the night spending 6 hours til morning way above a good BG?

Or was it worth it to spend those 4 hours (2 of them trying to sleep) to get it down to a more reasonable number and start a new day well?

I feel I did the right thing for me on this occasion. I felt that I learned something more about my diabetes because of it and I felt that I prevented a blood glucose reading of above 20 mmols/l

I’m tired today but the next time I know what to do to get to sleep. 🙂

A Shout Out to My Home Team

I am a huge champion for peer support to help us live with type 1 diabetes. My type 1 diabetes friend in Clare and around the country have kept me positive and fighting for almost 10 years now.

But, as it’s Valentine’s Day and the month of his birthday, this post is a tribute to my home team. My husband has been my very biggest supporter and cheerleader for over 15 years. Intel-Headshot

From that very first day, when he asked me for books on type 1 diabetes so that he could learn something about it, to every day I have to use the code words “low”, “hypo”, “help” or “I’m fine” (biggest codeword ever for I’m not fine). Thankfully, that’s not too often.

He came to my most recent hospital appointment so that he could learn to insert my Continuous Glucose Monitoring sensor for me. 

He shares research articles he finds in The New York Times- he actually brought my attention to the Bionic Pancreas first all of those years ago.

He does 90% of the cooking (yes I know how lucky I am) and is always considerate of my carbohydrate, mmm, sensitivity.

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All of my best ideas get bounced off him and therefore improved by his input.

He is constantly reminding me of what I can do.

He volunteers with Diabetes Ireland on their national council, even though he does not have diabetes. He even got to meet President Higgins on his first official act as president, but that’s another story.

He makes me feel like there are two of us working hard to keep me healthy.

He is my Type 3 and my Valentine.

By the way, hun, I have a feeling I’m going to suck again this year for your birthday – sorry! #SpareaRose and post on a blog:-D 

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Welcome to Blood Sugar Trampoline

A combination of my personal blog about living with type 1 diabetes in Ireland and sharing information I collect along the way.

I feel that living with type 1 diabetes is sometimes like being on a trampoline, except you can never get off. It doesn’t take long for us to get tired of all that bouncing. It’s not any fun.

Here, we can bounce together, keep each other steady, and cheer each other on when we get tired and want to get off the trampoline.

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