Over the winter months it seemed to me that often, when I’d check my blood glucose, I was running 30–40 mg/dl higher than I’d have liked. I tweaked the basal rate on my insulin pump, and I worked some with my carbohydrate ratios, but from November through February the levels weren’t as consistent as I’d like, and my HbA1c at my endocrinologist’s visit indicated that I’d slipped some: I’d gone up almost one percentage point and was right around 7.0%.
Maybe it was the winter, or at least the late fall and early winter, which in our household was more sedentary and filled with more comfort and crap food than in previous years. Maybe it was my inability to latch onto a consistent bedtime. Or maybe it was my easing up on my blood glucose checks throughout the day and trusting that the numbers were okay.
It was probably a combination of all of these things.
So as the winter began to wane (here in Michigan it isn’t really over until sometime in April), I fell out of some bad habits and eased (and continue to ease) into some routines that seem to be working wonders for my blood glucose. Here are a few examples:
- I now, at least six nights a week, make it to bed between ten and eleven thirty. This is much better than the cold, dark winter nights when Netflix kept me in front of the TV with movies until one o’clock or later.
- I have pretty standard breakfast and lunch routines, breakfast consisting of Honey Nut Cheerios most of the time (and yogurt the rest of the time), and lunch during the week consisting of healthy subs from any of the local shops in downtown Ann Arbor (hold the mayo and cheese, please).
- The dog now gets at least a 40-minute walk from me a minimum of four mornings a week (my wife walks her the other times, because the dog is never without a morning and an evening walk).
- I try to go on the hour-long evening walks with my wife and the hound, but often — and this isn’t a bad thing — I’m out working in the garden.
- I spend time working in the garden for at least an hour each evening and for at least four hours a day on the weekends.
- I’m making a concerted effort to check my blood glucose in the morning and at that two-hour point following meals.
All of these things have helped contribute to better blood glucose averages (according to the history feature on my insulin pump). While I’ve not had an HbA1c test since January (my next endocrinologist visit is in June), I have a feeling I’ll be back down around 6.0%. (That is, unless I’ve just jinxed myself by predicting). I still want to add gym visits at least three times a week to this routine, and I see that happening within the next few weeks. Maybe. And I still have a bit too much love for Diet Coke, and at least half of my daily consumption of Diet Coke should be replaced with water (oh, I still drink water; I’m saying less Diet Coke and more water).
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lifestyle formula for steady blood glucose. Over Memorial Day weekend, with the routine only slightly interrupted, and with the weather getting much warmer, I saw my blood glucose dip to 55 mg/dl two times; I also felt a low and treated for it without checking (to my wife’s protestations) one other time. So, alas, vigilance must be ongoing.
Yet overall, my life’s pretty great. I derive so much joy from something as simple as sitting on the front porch with my wife and our dog (and a good beer) and just watching the garden and the neighborhood and the sky.