Tag Archives: balancing act

When Giving Advice

I’ve been reading post on twitter for a while now. A lot currently are on political issues. I kind of take these on a side note. They are people opinions of the facts they are presented and most of all believe and trust. The election and subsequent statements in speeches and on twitter are a good point. Some believe the president’s points and other do not. I’m not here to chat about those problems though. My issue is the diabetic on diabetic degradation and giving advice and the seeming hurt feeling when someone doesn’t accept it. This may seem a little blunt but get over it. I’ve both given and taken advice from more people than I can possibly remember. There are two things one needs to keep in mind when either giving are receiving this advice.

First, you must remember that everyone is not created equal. Therefore, what works for one does not necessarily work for all. It may work but not as well. Take the advice and decide if you want to try it or not. Does it seem to fit your lifestyle? Does the science seem sound? OK science is the same for everyone but do the facts seem to agree with what you know? Can a diet cure a genetic issue? What I know of, it does not. Are you willing to try it and experiment with it to see if it is a fit for you? I have heard so much on cutting back carbs to prevent needing more insulin instead of rationing your supplies or to stabilize your sugar levels. If you cut back on carbs can you sustain your lifestyle? I work hard and on an average day will consume about 3400 calories. That is more than twice the amount most people I talk either do or will admit to eating. I used to eat about 4100 when I was younger and more active. I looked at a few sites for average calorie intake and was very surprised. One stated men could eat about 2200 a day and maintain their weight. Almost all the ones after adding the words diabetic to calories intake said from 1200 to 1800 calories a day. 50% of those calories should be from carbs. The math came out to 195 grams a day. I eat about 280 grams a day and have not lost or gained much in about 20 years. SO I consider myself maintaining my weight at 3400 calories a day and 280 grams of carbs each day. Low carb? What I can see tells me it just is not a sustainable issue for me. Will I loose weight? Oh without a doubt. Problem is what happens when your body gets a point where you have little to no fat left? Most people call it starvation. Your body will start to consume its own muscle to power itself. My point is that I could loose weight by going on one of these diet but I will need to come back off of it when I reach my goal. It is not a lifetime permanent diet for me. A metabolic endocrinologist told me during a consultation that a ketogenic diet was not a good fit for me since I was so active. It was more for office people than factory floor workers.

And most of all, if you are the one giving any advice, don’t get upset if the person says they aren’t going to try it or posts a different opinion on the subject. God gave us all free will to decide our own fate and it just seems wrong for man to try and take that power from us. Even if you firmly believe the person is wrong and will do damage to themselves, all you can do is try and give reasons to support your point of view. PLEASE do not stoop to name calling or other bullying tactics. It shows a grand display of insecurity about your own point of view. When I get it, I really take a good look at what was posted because I am immediately suspicious. I get a big kick out of someone who says “you should read this article it says (blank) and proves my point”. I read the mentioned article and low and behold it does say what they say it does. It also goes on to mention other issues that need to be looked at for it to work as well. One of the biggest offenders of this are articles on cures for diabetes. One if I have to change your lifestyle to prevent needing insulin I can’t call it a cure since the cause is still there. I am simply treating the symptom with a diet change or exercise change. If I stop, I go right back to where I was. As for the article itself, quite a few times somewhere in the article it actually says not tested on type 1 or not recommended for type 1 diabetes. IF your type 2 then by all means I do hope it works for you but I am not type 2 so it is not likely to give me the same results. I tolerate people who do not agree with me on a variety of subjects nor do I try to force them to adopt my views. Someone telling me I’m wrong and should be doing things their ways to live better is not going to earn them any points in my book. Will I listen? Of course. From my point in life I have this to say. A wise man is quiet and listens to everything said, a fool keeps talking to make his point heard. Listen to what the other person is saying, don’t just ignore them all together. On the other side of that is that you do not have to follow their advice. Take or leave it is commonly said in these situations. It fits perfectly.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

I read a post from a fellow diabetic this morning and after possibly breaking her site with a lengthy comment, I though why not continue it here on my own blog.  A polite way of describing the people I want to talk about are back seat diabetics or armchair diabetics. These are people who either are not diabetic and think they know what is best for us/me or they are diabetic and think their solution is the absolute cure to this disease so everyone needs to follow their advice.

Molly, at huggingthecactus.com (hope I got that right Molly), was talking about a recent experience she had while out to eat and her sugar dropped. Been there, done that. I loved her approach. It mirrored mine so much, great minds think alike. She used common easily obtainable items to prevent a low.

I have been for years told by my, now former, endocrinologist that I should carry a glucotab bottle or get some of the paste to keep with me for any lows I get. I just laugh. I had tried that years ago and found it very not my style. One, they taste terrible. They are very strong sugar substances that use sour flavors to try and conceal the very sweet  taste. Yes, I used the term TRY. It does not work in my opinion. Second is the low sugar content of each pill/tablet. Each one when I bought them was about 3 grams of sugar and 3 grams of carbs. Duh, sugar is a carb. I would down the entire 10 tabs and still have to get candy from a machine to get back to normal. 30 grams plus to get back to normal.

I currently, like Molly did, use regular soda to boost my sugar level when it gets low. A Mountain Dew has 46 grams of carbs in a 12 oz can. Some days it only stalls my drops instead of reverse it and then at other times it will send me into low earth orbit, well at least my blood sugar.

My point here is there are no two identical people on this planet. Even identical twins are not doing the exact same things at the exact same times hence what may work for one would not work the other. There are about 8 billion people on this planet so even if they all were diabetic, thank God they are not, there would be 8 billion different treatments for lows. Every person is different so every person must find their own fix to each incident. Let’s be honest about it, the same fix does work every time even with the same person. Just go back and re-read the last paragraph.

Molly talked about working out earlier, before her incident, and that brings up another issue, exercise. Everyone reacts differently to it and does it in different amounts and intensities. Please do not tell me I’m correcting it wrong simply because I’m not following my “prescribed” treatment to the letter. I have had 40 plus years learning my body and how it responds to my environment. I can probably tell you what will drop my sugar level or raise it and how fast before I even touch a food or weight.

I tried an insulin pump (twice), one that was supposed to be fully automatic. That means it decided how much basal insulin it was going to give me with no input from me such as having to set a specific basal rate at a specific time. It would read my sugar level and make the changes on the fly. It works great for a lot of people but not for me. My diagnosis as a type 1 diabetic was called into question because of the settings we were using and the way I reacted to it. The results are yes, I am most definitely a type 1 diabetic. You know what the kicker was for getting a C-peptide test (a test of whether your body makes any or enough insulin of its own)? When I was going to start the pump I ran out of Toujeo insulin (basal) and the insurance company did not authorize a refill. I don’t blame them. They just paid for an $11,000 pump. I ended up going for 3 almost 4 weeks without my basal insulin. I can hear the gasps out there. Relax. You really could not tell I wasn’t on any. Sugar level were higher at times but not nearly as high as they should have been.

The pump suspended my insulin for nearly 4 hours (insulin half live was 5 hours) at times and I still had to eat to get it back up. Here’s a trick if you have enough will power, Skittles are like little sugar pills (they taste far better though). First, don’t swallow them as soon as you get them in your mouth. Chew on them until they just don’t seem as sweet. My opinion was it got the sugar into my system much faster. Second don’t eat the whole bag. A small bag from the vending machine has 56 grams of carbs in it. I just did about 3 to 4 of them at a time to slowly get it back up, unless it was crashing hard. They are very easy to scale to my need at the time. That whole bag is like a meal in a bag when referring to the carb count.

Like I started out saying, everyone is different and what work for one person may not work for another. I do listen to others for advice but please don’t expect me to blindly follow your example. I may use part of it or none of it. I listen learn and adapt it to my needs and wants. You should to. I will willingly tell you what I do, have done, or would do but you need to see what if anything actually works for you. I don’t think most people could get by eating 3,400 calories a day without gaining weight. I’ve eaten like this for at least 20 years and not gained (or sadly lost) any more than 5 or 10 pounds in that time.

While I was on the pump the doctor kept telling me I was eating to many carbs. I needed to cut back on them and eat more protein and fats. Hey I’d do it if I wasn’t already cramming cars to stop lows. That 150 gram “magic” carb count number is based off a 1200 or 1500 calorie diet. So at 3400 calories if you do the math, I should be up to about 310 or 320 depending on which base number you use. When I started the pump I was at about 420 carbs a day and had dropped it to about 280 to 290 a day by the end so I actually did cut them down. Using the original numbers, I was under the carb count persentage. She didn’t see it that way. It’s one the reasons I decided to leave her and go another route.

Here’s the basics of this speech. Don’t feel you have to follow the path of another find diabetic bliss. Make your own path, it is the only one YOU can follow. Listen to others who are experienced, be it more or less, with this disease. They may give you an answer or least a clue to help you find your path, just don’t feel obligated to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Doctor or no doctor, you decide what does or does not work for you. They can look at your Dexcom or Medtronic sensor log but they are seeing only part of the story. You have lived it. Like I said listen but be realistic about how and if it will work. I argued with my former endo about said reading and won the argument, well at least I got her to agree to me trying my idea. A good doctor will listen to their patients as much as the patients should listen to the doctor. Tell them your fears and goals. Tell them why your sugar shot up because 2 hours earlier on that same graph your sugar was at 80 and falling fast. You over corrected. Look for patterns on the graphs. Again you know if you were working hard or chilling in front of the TV. It can affect that graph just as much as what you eat. Blaze your own path in this world, just be smart about it.

The Balance

Ever tries to balance a see saw when you we are a kid? Maybe some you reading this are kids still. The thing is you had to match the weights on the end of the beam to get it to balance. Those of you who have been a diabetic for while will already know it is more than a simple two way balance. There is a complex three way balance in diabetic control that a lot of people don’t understand, The two best known components are food (carbs to be specific) and insulin. Usually the first thing someone asks when I get a low blood sugar is “Did you forget to eat?” or next is “Did you accidentally take too much insulin?”. This is were I love this new pump, it remembers everything. OK first, I don’t take insulin unless I am sitting at the table ready to eat so no I didn’t forget to eat after taking the insulin. Second, here is the recorded amount of insulin I took and no there are not any mistakes. I have noticed over the, oh only 36 years of being a diabetic, that my body is very sensitive to the exercise level it gets each day and week. If I increase my level to just 30 minutes a day I will find my insulin need will drop, how much depends on the intensity of the exercise. I used to work out a lot but have cut back since I had to let my YMCA membership go. The formula for a good steady diabetic plan is not how much food, insulin, and exercise you do but the proper balance of it all. If you increase or decrease any one part you must balance it in one of the other areas. If I want to loose weight I can cut back on the food (best method by the way) or I can increase my exercise level. Either way I will now have to balance this by decreasing the insulin I take. This first step is not really that hard since I count carbs anyway and the insulin  I use is dependent on the amount of carbs I eat each meal. My supper ratio is 1 unit for every 5grams of carbs so a meal with 60 grams is 60 divided by 5 which is 12 units. I eat more I take more, I eat less I take less. Confused yet? It’s about to get worse. Once I’ve lost some weight the basal insulin will have to be cut back. Love this pump! As I loose fat it will allow the insulin to work more efficiently and I will need less between meals. More later folks!