Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 15: Sometimes, Things Fall Apart

You may have noticed that I skipped week 14. That's because I don't remember what happened, and it probably wasn't that interesting.

At the end of week 14, however, we flew across the country to visit my husband's family. I always really enjoy seeing them, but it tends to be a blood sugar management crisis, especially at Christmas. In fact, it was so bad this year that it's a little painful to write about. In fact, it was so bad this year that I'm actually embarrassed to send my blood sugar numbers to my endocrinologist next week. I feel like writing a note in large letters on the fax cover sheet saying: "DON'T JUDGE ME. I'M MORE WORRIED ABOUT IT THAN YOU ARE. AND NO, YOUR HELP WOULD NOT HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE."

But that's clearly over-the-top, not to mention impossible to prove.

As an example of the fire I went through, take the following day.

On Christmas morning, I woke up at about 2 am with a coughing fit. I checked my blood sugar: 91. Great. But by the time I woke up just before 6:00a with another coughing fit? 223. Heck if I know...

I gave insulin and hoped that it would drop before we at breakfast. Unfortunately, at 7:30 when breakfast was ready, it was only at 159. I had this feeling that it was not going to drop quickly or easily. Breakfast was heavy on egg and cheese, and I usually find that if I avoid carbs altogether at breakfast, it makes the spike worse.

After breakfast, we went to mass. In my paranoia, I probably gave myself a total of 5 units extra bolus in the 2 hours after we'd eaten breakfast, just because I suspected my blood sugar was still going up. It wasn't terribly low at lunch (59), but I hate being on the defensive like that.

I needed to over-estimate my lunchtime carbs, but 2 hours later was fine.

Things were basically fine up to dinner, but then post-dinner (mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, turkey, and a roll) was 190. GAH! I had already given a generous bolus by purposefully overestimating my carbs.

I feel panicked and defeated. Of course, I would like to solve the problem and move forward to get those blood sugars down, but I also have a serious need to address the emotional upheaval these last 10 days have served upon me.

Breathe. It's happened before. A handful of high blood sugars don't kill your baby. Severe defects happen to mothers with completely normal pregnancies. Diabetic mothers who don't manage their blood sugars have healthy babies. Breathe. You're doing your best. You will get home, and you will get control over it once again. Did I mention that panic doesn't actually get you any closer to the blood sugars you want? Breathe. It might have helped to have your endocrinologist's input, but it rarely has before. Even if it had, there's no way to know. Besides, there was no way for you to send him your numbers and get his suggestions while you were gone. Breathe.

I hope it goes without saying that the emotional turmoil lingers even now, but I DID have to move on, so I tried to come up with some theories about what was happening.

I think the biggest problem was this: I didn't move at all in between meals. Seriously. My mother-in-law did all the cooking, there was nothing to clean, no laundry to do, no children to pack in or out of the car, and barely any children crying to attend to, since they were so well-amused by their grandparents. So what I did in between meals was SIT, and sit and sit.

In addition, the food itself was problematic. Holiday diets are always high in fat and carbohydrate, and combined with sitting and sitting and sitting, blood sugars are bound to be unpredictable.

Finally: unfamiliar foods take a while to get used to. At home, I have my standby blood sugar-raisers (gatorade, certain kinds of juices, etc) and breakfast foods (Cheerios, toast, etc). But when I'm gone, the choices are different and have different effects on my blood sugar. If I'd been there for another two weeks, I probably would have gotten it all figured out. As it was, though, I was just barely getting used to the new foods before we hopped back on a plane to fly home.

So I raised my bolus ratios, at least temporarily. I may have to reduce them again when we get home and into a normal routine, but for now, I think it's the only way to combat the highs. Heaven forbid I actually get up and do something on my vacation....

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