Dear Diabetes, you suck.

a front end developer who also happens to have type 1 diabetes

If I eat, I have to do math.

Image Taken from diabetesmine.com, as part of a really useful article on honeymooning

Image Taken from diabetesmine.com, as part of a really useful article on honeymooning

I’ve been pretty stressed lately, mostly due to some personal drama, but work doesn’t help. At any rate, sometimes my reaction to stress is complete loss of hunger — the other day, I made my breakfast, only to sit down at the table and just stare at it, I choked it down, but I was literally forcing myself to eat because of diabetes, if I didn’t have to worry about my blood sugar I would have skipped it altogether. It wasn’t just breakfast, it’s been a few days now, and I’m just not hungry. It seems when I do get hungry, and eat a normal portion, then I feel sick, and then I don’t want to eat again. I thought I would have bounced back by now. I’m not dropping too much weight, only a few pounds, but after dropping so much weight pre-diagnosis, I am weary of any weight loss.

My relationship with food has morphed into this awful science experiment of carbs, hunger, emotion, sickness, dehydration… sometimes I’m starving, but my blood sugar is stable or high, so I skip a meal. sometimes it’s low, but I don’t feel like eating, so I don’t — the low either goes away on it’s own, or I end up having to treat it with fast-acting sugar (usually a sprite or a juice box). It seems that whatever the problem, my answer is to just not to eat. If I don’t eat at least the situation won’t change — too much. If I eat, I have to do math. And that math may or may not be correct, and there’s no way for me to figure it out. it’s a formula with an unknown variable — and no way to solve for it. in short, I’m fucked. So my answer is “no input = minimal change” — while this is true, it’s not healthy. I know this. but I’m tired of doing math. I don’t want to deal with this. I don’t even want to consider the other implications — ketones, hospitals, exhaustion, mental fog… not to mention the longer term diabetic “complications.” I’m just tired. I’m done. Fuck this.

2 Comments

  1. Great blog – really enjoying your bluntness and frustration that we all have with this crazy lifestyle.

    Ok so yes, not eating is not healthy – absolutely true. However, what’s awesome is that you’re actually onto something very few Type 1s ever figure out their entire lives! Most diabetics get over this resistance to eating thing by doing exactly what the ADA recommends – eating like normal people (non-diabetics) do, carb counting and then using their pump or math with a needle to figure out how much insulin they need. Problem is that it’s much much more complicated than that.

    In a simple world, you simply calculate your carbs and inject for the right amount and poof – you’re blood sugar stays nice and even. I can tell you that after 17+ years of trying this, it rarely works out so well.

    As you put it: “If I eat, I have to do math. And that math may or may not be correct, and there’s no way for me to figure it out. it’s a formula with an unknown variable — and no way to solve for it.”
    Precisely. A diabetic must calculate insulin for carbs. Yet the larger the number of carbs you eat, the larger your insulin dosage will need to be, and thus statistically your range for error in your mathematical calculation also increases the more carbs you eat. In short, eating the amount of carbs most non-diabetic people eat, will result in the likelihood of you miscalculating your dosage by ether over-dosing or under-dosing by a large amount. This equals a bad day as you’ll soon finding yourself having to correct to bring your blood sugar down or drinking lots of Sprite to get it back to normal.

    What’s the solution? No, it’s not to starve yourself. A big part of the solution is to reduce your meal carbs and increase your consumption of foods that don’t raise your blood sugar as quickly – namely fibers, proteins, and (healthy) fats. Rather than a sandwich (35-50+ grams of carbs), have a salad with chicken, beef, or tufu (8-12 grams carbs). By drastically reducing the number of carbs in your meals, you’ll drastically reduce the amount you inject for and thus reduce the margin of error you’re likely to make by being human and thus not that great at carb counting. Lower margins of error mean, less harsh consequences – thus if you’re too high you’ll be too high or too low by 20-30 points not 50-100. More importantly, you can eat until you’re full and satisfied and not have your BG get into the 200s within 30 minutes.

    I’ll have a longer post on the mathematical myths of carb counting this within the week on my blog, but for now, hope this is at least interesting to consider. Remember, you don’t have to starve yourself to have more normal blood sugar.

    • I love this — “the larger the number of carbs you eat, the larger your insulin dosage will need to be, and thus statistically your range for error in your mathematical calculation also increases the more carbs you eat” — we are like minded. I will definitely check out your blog, I have eaten paleo before and am working to find a diabetic balance with that type of diet/fuel, to stay healthy and fit, with and despite diabetes.

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