Type 1 Diabetes

The Dark Side

joey eating cake
This boy loves cake!
pizza at jans
Aunt Jan’s pizza.

There is nothing more disheartening than when Joey takes his blood sugar at bedtime and it’s in perfect range!  I know that doesn’t make sense,  but we know it won’t stay perfect.

To me this is the dark side of type 1 diabetes, the constant struggle between food and healthy blood sugar numbers.  The struggle to let Joey eat what he wants, even when they aren’t the best choices, so that he doesn’t feel different, yet help him understand how food effects his blood sugar, even hours after he eats.

Perfect range for Joey is 80-125, but this changes depending on his activity level, time of day or night, school vs weekend.

When Joey was first diagnosed his A1C was 9.9, which meant his blood sugar was running an average of about 250. So when we started him on insulin, and his BS started to drop, he would feel like he was “low” because he had been used to running at 250!

It’s almost 4 years later and sometimes, Joey still feels low when he is in perfect range. This is a problem, because we want him to feel normal when he is in normal range. Otherwise it leads to eating at wacky times of the day and night, and often leads to eating disorders.

Take tonight. I’m writing this entry at 11:54 pm, because we’ve been fighting with his numbers since 9:00 pm. He was decent all day, he grabbed a quick breakfast before church, 2 hours later had ham and rolls, a Sunday staple, and a favorite of Joey’s. He didn’t eat anything before dinner, which was around 6:00, yet his number was 300! He and his brother had been playing basketball so he had an adrenaline high! He picked the dinner place, based on another favorite, pancakes, eggs, sausage and bacon. I knew we’d pay for that dinner long after we paid the bill!  Syrup is another one of those tricky foods to deal with later.

Fast forward to 9:00 pm, bedtime. He’s only 46! I think what happened was in addition to dosing him for dinner, his pump calculated a correction based on the 300 BS, which it should do, but we should have over rode it based on the adrenaline high! Correcting an adrenaline high can be tricky as to when it should be done!

So bedtime check at 9:00 pm he’s 46, and will take 2 juice pouches, at 17 carbs each. Check again half hour later and he’s 110.   There is no chocolate milk left so he grabs a bag of Doritos! I had asked him to eat a banana, as the potassium is supposed to help maintain his BS. To late, Doritos gone!

We recheck him at 11:15 and he’s still only 110! Back to a juice pouch and now the banana! He turns on his iPad to watch a show while he’s eating his midnight snack! I make him turn it off! “Why can’t I watch while I am eating?” “Because it’s a school night!!”  Signore aiutami!

All this juice and extra food is not good for him! But neither is a low blood sugar! It’s a constant battle!

We don’t like to tell Joey that he can’t have something for dinner, like pancakes and syrup, because he can have them, we just have to cover with insulin like everything else.   But there is something about syrup, that causes issues later.  We usually experience a low blood sugar.  Because it’s 100% sugar, it will shoot the blood sugar up fast, and then drop fast as well, sometimes leaving insulin “on board’ as we call it.  That’s when he still has insulin working through his body, from his dinner dosage.  It takes up to 2.5 hours for insulin to work its way through Joey’s system.  It’s the same thing with pizza, because it’s high in fat, and fat takes longer to digest, we can see a high 6 hours after eating a high carb/fat meal.  It’s different for everyone.

So on pancakes and syrup nights, we get up every couple of hours to check blood sugars and make sure that all is well with Joey.  I just reset my alarm for 1:30 am, I pray that I don’t have to feed him more sugar then. If I can think at all tomorrow due to being up all night, I’ll try to figure this all out! There has to be a better way!


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