I am at a stage in life where caring for my Type 1 Diabetes is easier than it has been for most of my life. I initially titled this post as “It Gets Easier”. I decided that to use the word “easy” anywhere on the same page as diabetes was a total travesty. Diabetes of any type at any time is always hard. Hard as rocks. Hard as nails. Hard as anything you can think of. But right now for me it’s not as hard as it used to be.
Partial hypo-unawareness makes it easier for me not to over-correct. No more sitting at the kitchen table in the middle of the night eating bowl after bowl of Frosted Flakes in a soaking wet nightgown. No more drinking an appropriate glass of orange juice followed by just one Wheat Thin that turns into half a box. Most of my nighttime lows are taken care of by one or two glucose tabs eaten from the stash on my bedside table. (Note to self: don’t tell your readers how often you silence Dex alarms to roll over and go back to sleep.)
I am currently retired from my part-time job and I am able to walk my dog every morning right after breakfast. Through most of my years with diabetes, breakfast has been my most problematic meal. The same meal could have post-prandial readings that varied by a hundred or more points from day to day. By walking immediately after eating, I usually prevent the extreme spikes that require large doses of insulin to bring me back to an in-range reading. Although I occasionally have an outrageous high with no discernible reason, most of my mornings are somewhat level and predictable now.
I am lucky to be able to escape Minnesota winters and spend several months in Arizona. This means that my exercise level can be consistent throughout the year rather than taking a nosedive in the endless dark, cold, and ice of winter in the Upper Midwest. I am a true believer that exercise is the key to a successful life with diabetes and consistency in exercise helps for stable basal rates.
My newest continuous glucose monitor, the Dexcom G4 Platinum, has improved my physical and mental health in almost immeasurable amounts. This is my 3rd CGM system (after the Medtronic CGM and the Dexcom 7+), but it is the first one that has been life-changing. Occasionally it will cry wolf for non-existent lows, but in general it is incredibly accurate and alerts me to lows before I reach the 50’s and 40’s. I can go about my day with the confidence that it will alert me when I’m out of range and it lets me forget diabetes sometimes.
At age 61, I’m past those pesky hormones that can wreak havoc with BG levels throughout the month. There are some definite downsides to having fewer hormones, but blood sugar control is not one of them.
I eat fewer carbs than I used to and average about 100 grams per day. In the old days, that was considered Low Carb. Because there are so many people who go much lower than that these days, I think I’m now on the low end of Moderate Carb. I believe that each one of us has to make our own choices when it comes to our diet, but I have never been able to match insulin to high carb meals and snacks. By reducing the post-meal peaks, I’ve gotten rid of many of the lows that result from preventing or treating those highs.
I think the reason I’m feeling good these days is that my hard work seems to be having good results. We’ve all had spells where we do the “right” things and diabetes just laughs at us. But right now it’s smiling. How long will it last? Probably not long.
So do I have Type 1 Diabetes figured out? Nope. I still love sweets and struggle with evening carbfests that lead to bad overnight highs and lows. I still have highs that make no sense at all. When I go high, I can’t seem to take enough insulin to bring my BG back to normal. I have daily lows in the 60’s and 70’s. I am fighting my third frozen shoulder despite having good A1c’s. I have to take diabetes into account for almost every activity in my life.
But most of the time, I’m doing okay. And that’s a win in my book.