Basal and Bolus

Basal and Bolus are my lifeline, but they’ve recently hit puberty, and their hormones and emotions are all over the place. This does not make life easier for me, and no matter what I do, they don’t listen. I guess I should respect their independence, but sometimes I miss the obedient rates that never questioned me.

I try to be the healthiest person I can be, but there are days when the diabetes takes over. It’s not necessarily a result of anything wrong I’ve done in managing it, but whether it’s stress or hormones, sometimes my blood sugar levels have a mind of their own.

In a State of Flux

Blacktip Reef with wavy blue lineYesterday was one of those days. Since I went off birth control six months ago, I’ve struggled to balance my basal and bolus rates (basal is the long-lasting insulin I take continuously throughout the day; bolus is the fast-acting insulin I take before meals). My insulin sensitivity is constantly fluctuating. Continue reading

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Say Hello To Cosmo, My New CGM

The vibrating wakes me up for the third time this night. It’s 3 a.m., and my new continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM) says my blood sugar reads 55. I know it’s a lie. I recently checked my blood sugar, and it was stable at 93. I have no active insulin in my system, but I just started this CGM, which I have decided to call “Cosmo,” and the nurse said it may take a few days to reflect my actual blood sugar. It’s a shame, but in the few weeks that I’ve had Cosmo, I still won’t give it up.

In the almost five years that I’ve had Type 1 diabetes, I’ve thought about investing in a CGM, which uses a sensor to monitor my blood sugar 24/7, but there can be a 20-minute delay since it’s reading my glucose levels from the interstitial fluid (a thin layer of fluid that surrounds the body’s cells), as opposed to a glucometer that reads it from a blood sample. I’ve always erred on the hypoglycemic side – two seizures in my short history as a result.

But in addition to the added expense of a CGM (my health insurance history has not been very consistent), I didn’t know if I wanted a 24/7 reminder of my diabetes. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to know how much two pieces of bread or pasta or ice cream affected my blood sugar in the three hours I didn’t check it with my glucometer. Even though by the time that three-hour period had passed, my blood sugar returned to a normal state of 80-120, it didn’t mean that in that time, it hadn’t spiked to 300 and come back down. Did I really want to know that? Continue reading

The Whole ‘Diabetes’ Situation

It’s as simple as walking around the block, running to catch the bus, screaming at insurance companies on the phone–I never know when it’s going to hit, but suddenly it’s there like a bat in your hair (actually my experience with bats has been positive; I watched them fly seamlessly from the dock overhang of my boyfriend’s place in Florida).

Anyway, it’s that moment when you feel weak, like your body is giving out. Your arms start to go limb. Your mouth feels dry. You’ve lost sensation in your feet. Taking a step requires effort. And then it hits you. Your blood sugar is low. But who wants to eat another glucose tablet? The nasty powdery aftertaste they leave does not coincide with my hygiene routine. I already brush my teeth more than the recommended two times per day.

I even started using this “natural” toothpaste because I figure if I’m going to brush my teeth that much, I might well as safeguard my health. Well, that’s another story. But do I carry juice on me? Not like my former roommate, another type 1 (coincidentally I might add–we met her through Craigslist) who carries juice boxes around for those “low” moments, something her mom started doing when she was diagnosed at 13. Some habits never change. Continue reading