For No Reason
Waiting for the storm to pass and to regain the comfort of control.
By Kerri Sparling
October 2007 — Over the last few months, it's been pretty mellow in the land of my diabetes management. I've been testing faithfully, eating healthy meals, and exercising with a frightening regularity, but there hadn't been too many lows or highs peeking in to keep me company.
This went on for months. Several months. I was starting to get cocky about it.
Out to dinner with my fianc, I took the plunge and ordered chocolate cake one night. He and I enjoyed the decadent dessert and the accompanying cappuccinos. My bolus was spot-on, clocking me in at a tidy 112 mg/dl two and a half hours after indulging. The next night, I cranked up my cardio workout at the gym and spent an extra 20 minutes in the weight room. My holding pattern throughout this activity? A steady 160 mg/dl. And for about six weeks straight, my morning blood sugars fluctuated between 88 mg/dl and 130 mg/dl. And my A1C came back at a very solid number – under 7 % for the first time in a few years – so I was feeling quite fine indeed.
Ah, the comfort of control. Oh how I miss it.
Because now, after a few months of easy numbers and healthy living, I'm tossing around like a kite in a hurricane. It started a few days before I went to Los Angeles for a quick stint. I'm not much of a flyer (my arms do get tired, from clenching the armrests out of panic), so the days before the flight had my adrenaline pumping. The stress of travel and the nerves due to flying had my blood sugars on the high shelf, averaging close to 200 mg/dl.
Couple this with tangled sleeping patterns, too much time on the highway between my office and my hometown in RI, and some skipped nights at the gym and I was feeling crummy. Crumbs Morrone.
This feeling of unsettledness and chaos was reflected in my diabetes control. But sometimes with no cause.
Yesterday morning, I woke up with a blood sugar of 321 mg/dl. It was as though a small, fluffy bird had built a nest in my mouth – I couldn't drink down the water on the bedside table fast enough. After a correction bolus big enough to cover dinner at the Olive Garden, I wracked my brain for the cause of this high. My insulin pump site was properly connected and didn't ache. My blood sugar was fine before bed, and I didn't eat anything before bed.
"No reason." I muttered to myself, draining the last of the water in the glass.
The day surged on, my blood sugars held steady-ish, and I hit the gym later that night. No issues at the gym. Low-carb dinner choices and a cup of blueberry tea finished out my night and I checked my blood sugar before bed.
201 mg/dl, which was very out of the ordinary considering my unchanged routine. No reason once again.
So I took a correction bolus and went to sleep.
And woke up this morning at 374 mg/dl. No reason.
I ripped out the infusion set from my thigh, tossed the last of the insulin in the bottle I was using, and changed the set, using fresh insulin, new tubing, and a bevy of curse words. As the correction bolus entered my new site, I examined the old cannula for a kink or clot. Nothing.
Sometimes it feels like there is no reason for these spikes. I feel like I'm playing by the proverbial "rule book" and there are times when the rules just don't apply. Testing, bolusing, calculating carbs, exercising, paying rapt attention to trends in numbers, lather, rinse, and repeat – but even with all this information, there are moments when blood sugars simply don't comply.
I'm back down to 112 mg/dl. I'm hopeful that this little storm has passed and my body will ease back into good control. I'm eager to be comfortable again.
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dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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