The Perfect World: Counting Carbs

Count your carbs – take your insulin. This is the mirage we chase tirelessly every day.

Here’s how the situation usually places out. Tuesday I wake up and my blood sugar is say 80. Not where I like to wake up but not a low blood sugar that slows down my mind all morning. I make a blueberry banana smoothie with a scoop of protein powder. Looking at bolusing for about 45-50 carbs by my count. I send 3 units in through the pump. Feel great all morning. Blood sugar looks good at lunch. I OWN THIS DISEASE!

Flash forward to Wednesday. I wake up. Make the exact same smoothie. Blood sugar is at 123 this time. Given the higher blood sugar, I take 3.5 units of insulin. By 9AM, in mid-lesson, I feel that wave of anxiety and insecurity move through me. Words and coherent thought escape me. You guys know how that sweat feels. Here we go – blood sugar is at 70. What just happened? Continue reading

The Cortisol Conundrum

Before high school football games, my blood sugar was manic – 110 during warm-ups and then 315 by gametime (I used to pee at least 10 times in the two hours before a game. Great for in-game hydration). Intuitively, I knew stress/adrenaline/anxiety/excitement was responsible, but honestly I just read the number and reacted as best I could. Physicians would always mention adrenaline as the culprit. Was I ever given resources to reign in my excitement? Not exactly.

When I began taking medical school prerequisite courses in college, the dots connected. Cortisol is the X factor of diabetes management. Responsible for the random highs. Responsible for the sugar issues with the flu. Responsible for the elevated sugars before the big presentation.Responsible for elevated sugar after your cup of coffee.Responsible for the 300 number after a two hour run. Continue reading

SHOT #1

2nd

It was my first day home and my mom looks wicked stressed. It was time to take my first shot and I recall her shaking while drawing out the insulin. I sat on the steps in our dining room and she came in for the kill. I don’t remember freaking out because I knew what was going down, we had done this in the hospital a few times.

She began to sweat and I thought she might pass out. She splashed water on her face and came back. I took the needle from her and gave my first shot in my thigh. She was relieved and I am free, free from having to rely on anyone else. Continue reading

Cheez-It Trauma

Cheez-It

I believe I was in the 4th grade and had a pretty good handle on what was expected in this new life with diabetes.  I kept Cheez-It’s in my desk and a secret stash of graham crackers in the office.  Cheez-It’s were for my afternoon snack and the grahams were to be eaten before PE or in an emergency.  I tried to keep these things on the “down-low” because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.

Well – word got out that I had snacks in my desk.  The class bully/jackass, Blaine, made it a point to bring this to everyone’s attention. I was humiliated. The teacher figured out what was going on and quickly shut down the hurtful comments. Later that day or maybe later that week, I chose to no longer be embarrassed about my snacks. Continue reading