Tag Archives: diabetes management

You do You.

Some years ago, I was taught that everyone’s diabetes is different. On top of that, what works for your diabetes may not work for me, and vice versa.

That’s a great concept… but what does it really mean?

Well, they’re separate sentences, so let’s treat them separately, shall we?

Everyone’s diabetes is different.
Of course everyone’s diabetes is different! We come in all types. Non-insulin producing, insulin resistant, honeymooning, gestationally-high-BGing, and so on and so on. Diabetes comes in many flavors, all extra sweet (I couldn’t resist).

We also look at our diabetes differently. We refer to ourselves as a diabetic, or a person with diabetes. We see our diagnosis as a curse, or as a challenge, or as the greatest blessing we’ve ever received. Not sure I understand that last one, but if people are going to have to live with this the rest of their lives, they should be free to feel how they want about it.

What works for your diabetes may not work for me, and vice versa.
There are now officially more ways than ever to treat and live with this disease. If you’re living with type 2 diabetes, you may be taking something like Metformin or Victoza. Or you might be taking insulin, or some combination of all three.

If you’re living with type 1 diabetes, you’re definitely on an insulin regimen. But maybe you’re getting say, 70 units per day via a syringe or an insulin pump. Someone else living with type 1 might only be injecting 35 units per day. And the reasons for the differences aren’t always as clear as you might think.

We might also be taking additional medications or even hormones to help us manage our condition. Some people who have gastric emptying issues may be taking Amylin, which helps with that sort of thing. Or you may be like me and be taking a high blood pressure medication. Nothing to do with diabetes, except for the fact that when you have a compromised immune system, other health issues pop up from time to time too.

In addition to all that, there are many other additional tools that people use to help them find their best diabetes selves. Some rely on a continuous glucose monitor to help keep track of blood sugar trends, or even to help inform insulin dosing through a closed loop system. Many rely on platforms like mySugr or Tidepool to help them track everything in one place.

And if you’re reading this right now, you’re engaging in self care by participating in the Diabetes Online Community. You can check Facebook groups or Twitter chats almost daily to see how others are doing, and find out if there’s something you can learn about your own diabetes by reading about someone else’s experience.

All of this is why, whenever someone asks me ”What should I do?”, I first ask them about themselves and their experiences. Then, I might provide a couple of resources they could use to learn more. And then I tell them the most important thing:

You do You.

I’m not saying you’re on your own… I’m saying that your individual approach is the one that will be best able to handle the unique form of diabetes that inhabits your endocrine system. Nobody should have to figure out how to do this alone. But once we get ideas and guidance from those we trust, we should be free to personalize our own diabetes priorities.

The proof of success is in the many people living better and longer lives with diabetes, even though they’re each living them in a different way.

You do you. I’ve got your back.

Do People With Diabetes obsess too much? Or is it just me?

I was in the grocery store a few weeks back, in the aisle where the boxed juices sit on the shelf.

As I stood there looking at the flavors (because rule #1 for hypo supplies: taste good), I was also checking out the carb count of every single juice box in the aisle.

“Well, this one looks good, but it’s 22g of carbs per box. This one is 12g… how do I count/bolus for that? Each box of this juice is 15g, which I want. But the flavor is… not my favorite”.

After standing in front of these shelves for over five minutes, I asked myself (out loud—good thing I like to shop early in the morning) whether it really mattered if a juice box had exactly 15 grams of carbohydrates per box. I mean, if I’m in the middle of an overnight low, and I need to treat with a juice box, I don’t think an extra 7 grams is going to make a huge difference. So I wound up picking the juice with the flavor I liked (fruit punch), but 22 grams of carbs.
This is just my viewpoint on the subject… I completely understand if you are into exact measurements and precise management of your diabetes to get to, and remain in, a good glucose range all the time. In fact, I admire you for that level of dedication.

But you know, I just wonder if years of exchange diets, A1cs, and carb counting has made me obsessive about a gram of carbohydrate here and a couple of BG points there. It was brought into focus for me about a year or so back when I visited my endocrinologist, she relayed my lowest A1c result ever, and in the next breath wondered herself if I had been obsessing too much. Her very words were “You know, it’s not the end of the world if your meter reads 140 mg/dL before dinner once in a while”.

Plus, and I don’t think this happens to everyone, but it happened to me: As I experienced more success with my A1c results, I became more and more of a micromanager about my numbers. I mean, it’s great when you get good results from it, but I don’t think I can keep it up forever. And mostly, I need to remember that I don’t know everything, or even much, about day to day management of my diabetes. You may disagree with that, but there’s no denying that I could stand to learn a lot more.

The other side to this is what happens if something unexpected happens when your numbers are so tight. And something unexpected is bound to happen once in a while. I’m fond of reminding people that the better your numbers are, the closer you are to hypoglycemia all the time. It’s a lot scarier to go from 100 to 50 than it is to go from 200 to 150.

If I’m obsessing over anything right now, it’s probably my basal rates and my insulin to carb ratio. Over the past two years, I’ve also cut down a lot on my daily caloric intake. So if I can get the basal and insulin to carb ratio numbers right, I think I will be in a good place with my diabetes about 80 percent of the time. And if you told me six or seven years ago that I could be on top of my diabetes 80 percent of the time, I wouldn’t have believed you.

How about you? Are you a control freak about your diabetes? Or are you more of a rounded, but nice, edges Person With Diabetes?

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