Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Yesterday I read Kerri Morrone Sparling’s entry “A Diabetes Meme” at her blog Six Until Me. This morning, not really sure about what I should blog about, I decided to grab the questions from her blog and continue the internet meme.

What type of diabetes do you have?
Type 1

When were you diagnosed?
March of 2007

What’s your current blood sugar?
131 mg/dl

What kind of meter do you use?
I use the CoZmonitor Blood Glucose Module, which piggybacks on my Deltec Cozmo insulin pump and wirelessly sends my blood glucose information to the pump, creating an all-in-one system. This monitor uses the FreeStyle test strips. What lancing device do I use with this? I have about five different ones in use (different stations at home, work, in gym bag, etc.). At some point I plan to write about some of these different lancing devices, because I recently ordered samples of seven or eight different ones.

How many times a day do you test your blood sugar?
I’m prescribed by my endocrinologist to monitor my blood glucose up to ten times a day. Lately the average, according to the Cozmo pump’s calculation, is about six. That, however, doesn’t take into account the standalone FreeStyle meter that I keep in my gym bag. I check at least three or four times during a workout. So, yeah, probably, on average, seven or eight times daily.

What’s a “high” number for you?
I will start to think about what I need to do to bring my blood glucose down when I see a reading over 165 mg/dl. While I don’t worry about my blood glucose when I’m in the 160s or even 170s and 180s, I don’t want my readings to hang out in that area for long. Anything over 200 mg/dl, however, prompts me to tell my wife, “I’m high.”

What do you consider “low”?
If I see any reading below 90 mg/dl, I’ll treat that to start bringing the blood glucose back up. While I don’t consider it low — that’s something I won’t say until I’m under 70 mg/dl — the problem I’ve found is that when I check my glucose and it’s lower than 110 mg/dl or so, the chance is pretty much 100% that I’m trending downward, not up (unless I’m checking right after treating a low). Therefore, I go ahead and perform a preemptive carb-up.

What’s your favorite low blood sugar treatment?
I tend to favor juice boxes. The Minute Maid 100% Fruit Punch or the Juicy Juice Grape Juice both work really well for me. And they’re tasty.

Describe your dream endo.
I think I already have mine. I’ve written about him in previous blog entries, but yeah, since diagnosis I don’t believe I’ve ever wanted for better treatment of my diabetes.

What’s your biggest diabetes achievement?
Big picture? Learning how to live with Type 1 diabetes to the point where I feel, for most of my waking life, normal, unphased, and not hindered by this condition. While physically I do most of the right things, that pales in comparison to how I’ve learned to emotionally deal with being stuck with an uncureable, invisible, potentially life-threatening chronic illness.

What’s your biggest diabetes-related fear?
When I worry, I worry about a couple of things. Immediate worries are hypoglycemic episodes while asleep. So I’m extra cautious about blood glucose checks before I go to bed. Down the road, what scares me is if I develop insulin resistance, or other problems regulating my blood glucose. I’ve met some insulin-resistant people with Type 1 whose blood glucose throws them curveballs on a daily basis, and it seems like a most exhausting way to live.

Who’s on your support team?
My wife Kathryn. If you’ve read my blog, you’ve come across her name before. She’s the main reason I am able to say what my biggest diabetes achievement has been, and she’s been the best support I could ever imagine. I’m not sure how I’d have handled the diagnosis on my own.

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime?
Hope, yes. Think? A hesitant yes. And while I want to write pages to qualify that “yes” answer, I’ll just say that I’m dubious a cure will be found at any point soon. Would a septuagenarian really benefit from a cure? Ask me in 2045.

What is a “cure” to you?
Cure: “a complete or permanent solution or remedy.” I think of reversal of my Type 1 when I think of cure. I think of the way it was before diabetes: no pills, no insulin, no medical equipment.

The most annoying thing people say to you about your diabetes is…
What can really frustrate me — and this is probably part of my own crap I need to learn to deal with — is when people offer me advice or tips or suggest something about how to better live with Type 1 diabetes when they’re neither a medical professional nor anyone who has spent any time with Type 1. This advice is almost always well intentioned, but it almost always comes across as patronizing.

What is the most common misconception about diabetes?
What I encounter the most with my Type 1 diabetes is that, because I have an insulin pump, people think it’s probably a disease that’s relatively easy to live with. Because I have great blood glucose control and take good care of myself, it truly is an invisible disease to others. Not to me. Invisible? Hardly. Look at my infusion sites. Look in my medicine cabinet, or my workbag, or my gym bag, or my diabetes supplies drawer and closet. It’s so not invisible.

If you could say one thing to your pancreas, what would it be?
The editors at Diabetes Self-Management won’t allow me to print what I’d tell my pancreas.

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Comments
  1. Eric:

    Thanks for sharing. Most illuminating and helpful.

    As type 2 it is most interesting to see issues you struggle with.

    Nothing is easy with diabetes: 1 or 2.

    Good luck and thanks for direct answers

    jim snell

    Posted by jim snell |
  2. What is the most common misconception about diabetes?

    My answer: That most people think I somehow brought it onto myself. I eat healthy-(vegetarian). Watch sugar intake. I exercise. I have an average weight for my height. Take my meds. Constantly google the latest ideas.

    But people always want to second guess me. Sometimes it can be irritating.

    Posted by linda |
  3. Hi Eric, greatly enjoyed your latest post. My favorite mini carb pick up is the 4.23 box of Nestle’s Juicy Juice (Apple) (At Target, a box of 6 is about $2.) You may need two boxes for a major low. Anyone else out there reading in Michigan, I would like to recommend Davida Kruger, Diabetes Nurse Educator. My favorite endocrinologist moved to another state; Dr. Hendrix was the best and she told me that Davida taught her everything she knew about diabetes! Davida is at Henry Ford Hospital in the New Center Building. Her team is involved in diabetes research, so she is on the cutting edge of all new equipment and medications.

    Posted by sue d. |
  4. Providing your age and weight would help evaluate the credence of information you give.

    Posted by steve |
  5. Ialso have type 1 diabetes, an insulin pump and a cold the is morphing the flu. My clue: my eys ache in a darkened room.
    Thank you Eric, for your honesty. Most appreciative.
    Keep up the good work!!

    Posted by msktty |
  6. Eric,
    Thank you for sharing your story! I love the qustion you posed about what other people say about the disease: I actually had some Know-it-all tell me “I wasn’t REALLY diabetic”! (I was managing it with diet and exercise at the time.)
    Wht you said about it being an invisible disease to others really struck a chord with me. I get really frustrated and embarassed about how differently I HAVE to eat compared to other people around me in restaurants and especially at work. A dietician suggested that I take on the role of being a good role model for others, but I’m really not up to that level of nobility yet. I just want them to stop asking questions and offering me more food!

    Posted by Karen R. |

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