In Which I Have a Huge Crush on Insulin
Insulin, and pregnancy, can change just about everything.
By Kathryn Foss
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
January 2009 — I come to you this month as a transformed woman. For my entire diabetic journey, I have been dreading the possibility of one day having to take insulin. I don't know why - I guess it just represented the end of the road for me. I had fallen victim to believing all the various myths about insulin. I envisioned myself with huge syringes of insulin squirting dramatically into the air to get rid of the air bubbles that would get into my blood stream and kill me in seconds. I always thought about Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias and how her type 1 diabetic character is found in a diabetic coma and eventually dies in a very emotional scene involving a hysterical Sally Field. I wasn't positive, but I somehow knew her tragic death was insulin related. Did she have too much? Did she not have enough? Why didn't she drink any orange juice? I didn't know, but it scared me.
I am normally a very smart person who does research on stuff, but to me, reading about insulin and pregnancy just brought me one step closer to actually taking it. In my mind, my diabetes wasn't as serious if I was managing it with diet and exercise. I was ok with that. Then my doctor put me on metformin. That was a mental hurdle for me, but doable because lots of ‘normal' people took pills. So, I took metformin for three years. Honestly, my numbers weren't awesome, but my A1C never went above 7; however, I spent several years being sick, catching every cold and flu bug that came around. Feeling ‘good' became a constant struggle. I didn't have a lot of energy and continually felt tired, especially after meals. I was at the end of my rope. I began having conversations with my doctor about the possibility of my trying insulin to see if it would help improve my numbers and my overall health, but still, I could never bring myself to make the commitment that taking insulin required.
Then, about a month ago, everything changed. Trust me when I tell you, that being a pregnant diabetic will rock your world. Your diabetes management shifts into high gear. You suddenly have a team of several highly specialized doctors monitoring your every move, who want to know every detail of your lifestyle and seem to need hourly blood sugar readings. Insulin and pregnancy became part of the discussion. I am NOT complaining, not in the least. I feel blessed to be receiving so much care, especially for the sake of this little girl (yes, it's a girl!!) camping out inside of me.
And so it was, that for the sake of a healthy pregnancy, I began taking insulin. I am taking fast-acting insulin before every meal and long acting insulin before bed. I have bruises and marks all over my belly and thighs, but I have never felt better! When I say I am shocked at how good I feel, I am not exaggerating. I am shocked. I cannot remember feeling as good as I do today. In fact, it has been years since I felt this good. I have high levels of energy, and most of the time my blood sugar is between 95 and 130 two hours after meals. My fasting numbers have fallen to about 100. My doctors are thrilled with my progress, and my A1C has been dropping steadily every 2 weeks and is down to 6!
So, yea, I have a major crush on insulin these days. I tell everyone who will listen how much it has changed my life, and if only I had done a little research sooner, I might have discovered the true freedom that insulin therapy can bring.
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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