Climbing My Way Out of Hypoglycemia (Finally!)

After a visit to the endocrinologist last week, I feel as if I’m finally getting a handle on my blood glucose — thanks to a good doctor who knows what he’s doing and can commit math!

As an insulin-resistant[1] Type 2, I use a lot of insulin. My basal rate[2] alone had been in the 150-unit-per-day range. Then I began running low. This has been happening lately. I run low for a while, then BOOM! I go high. I get the basal rates on my insulin pump[3] adjusted to take care of the highs. That works for a while, then BOOM! I go low. I don’t recall that anything much changes in terms of diet or activity.

Does anybody else do that? I kind of get the impression my endo is puzzled, too.

At any rate, I’d gotten my basal rates down into the 130’s. He lowered them into the 120’s while I was at my visit.

Are we finished? Are you kidding? I’m in the throes of keeping a record of every gram of carbohydrate I put into my mouth, every unit of insulin I infuse into my body, and the times I do each.

I have three more days of that, then I’ll fax that page to him, along with a week’s printout from my continuous glucose monitor (CGM)[4]. He can overlay the two — mentally if not physically — and tighten up my basal rates along with figuring out if my insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio[5] and correction factor need to be adjusted.

All that translates to is that I need to be as precise as possible in counting my carbs. I’ve not done a lot of guesstimating the past few days. I’d say…oh…only the one when my husband made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner one night. When your Sweet Baboo tells you he has the ingredients and is making one of your favorite dishes, you don’t say “no.” I just pulled a number out of the air, put a question mark after it and put “pasta” in the comments section.

Then it’ll be Passover, my whole diet will change for eight days, and who knows what will happen.

What would we do for excitement if we didn’t have diabetes?

As I’ve been writing, I’ve been thinking, “this doesn’t sound a lot like the way somebody with Type 2 diabetes acts!” Aren’t we supposed to be clueless, non-caring idiots who did this to ourselves?

And I’ve been thinking about a comment I got, years ago, on a column I wrote about Type 2. “I wish,” the writer huffed, “that all my daughter had to do was take a pill and not eat cheesecake.”

Yeah. I wish, too! Although cheesecake is good. I have a slice or two — a year.

Admittedly, I was once clueless and non-caring. That was when my diabetes self-management “education” consisted of: “Here. Follow this. Don’t eat any sugar.”

Nine years later, when I got to a place where I had some real education knocked into my skull, my HbA1c[6] was 17.4%. As a comparison, now that I know about diabetes, my HbA1c last week was 6.2%. That was the same as the time before. I told the lab person that it was getting boring and we should perhaps tell Doc the next time that it was 10.6% or something and get his heart pumping.

So, being taught about diabetes and how different things affect control was a big help in lowering my HbA1c. Probably more important was teaching me how to fit diabetes into my lifestyle. There are people who can fit their lifestyles into diabetes. I’m not one of those people.

My fault? Sorry, but I have too many family members with Type 2 diabetes to fall for that old story. Plus, there are the numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that only about half[7] of those considered overweight or obese have diabetes. Why don’t the rest? No genes?

Now, there are studies saying that Type 2 diabetes has a genetic component. Still, I find myself yelling at the television set when national news folks regurgitate the old “get fat, get diabetes” standard instead of the more recent “genetics combined with lifestyle” blurb.

But that’s a topic for another blog. In the meantime, I need to figure out what else is going on with me. I just got my lab results yesterday and haven’t yet had time to figure out what the highs and lows are.

  1. insulin-resistant:
  2. basal rate:
  3. insulin pump:
  4. continuous glucose monitor (CGM):
  5. insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio:
  6. HbA1c:
  7. only about half:

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Jan Chait: Jan Chait was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January 1986. Since then, she has run the gamut of treatments, beginning with diet and exercise. She now uses an insulin pump to help treat her diabetes. (Jan Chait is not a medical professional.)

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