Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How my son's DOG warned me of my own diabetes

I had been diagnosed with hypoglycemia for just over a year now. Given my own meter, etc. and let me tell you, I GET why my son eats us out of house and home when his blood sugar is low!
(Skip this red part if you are savvy)
  • FOOD & SUGAR are the ingredients that solve low blood sugar episodes. When under 70, a diabetic (or anyone, for that matter) need a combination of sugar and then food (good protein/carb ratio) to steady out from dropping again. Sugar bombs don't solve it alone, but they help keep BS (blood sugar) up.
  • When a diabetic is HIGH (like over 150) they must take insulin to help bring them back DOWN into a safe 80/90-120/150 range. That is what an INULIN PUMP does; it gives artificial insulin hourly into the blood stream to release blood sugar, because the tiny part of the pancreas that did that naturally is out of business, no more insulin.
  • Pumps deliver insulin, and some, with another added sensor piece under the skin, can tell one's blood sugar range at any moment. (This is a CGM- Constant Glucose Monitor). These need to be calibrated by one actually pricking their finger and drawing blood. This is done with a METER, and this METER is also used frequently throughout the day for diabetics (with & without CGM's) of all types (1, 2 and hypoglycemics).
  • Exercise naturally lowers blood sugar levels.
I am an over-protective, anxiety ridden basket case over my son's blood sugar levels. I'm in recovery, but still wear the badge. One night, as I went in to check his range (as he slept), his diabetic alert dog pawed me. Flint  kept pawing me. My son was fine. 117 to be exact. I thought to humor the dog and myself by checking my own level, and I was 58. 

Over the next few weekends of taking our DAD (in training) places, he would again let me know I was low. In the car, during my son's rugby practice...and a few times I'd "sugar up" to raise it but forget to eat and he'd paw me 20min later and I'd be back down to 70.

I am used to feeling crappy and out of sorts. I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, migraines, and my pituitary sac is flat in my brain stem, (Empty Sella); so I see my own Endocrinologist. I have been for years now, and so these consistent alerts began alarming me.
Then I got fat. Like instant fat. 
I had been steadily gaining, but credited it to my lack of exercise, energy, and need to eat small portions constantly to help from dropping from hypoglycemia. Yet within 10 days before flying back East for a wedding, I gained 14 pounds. And trust me, I was watching it. I had a lot of old friends to see! So I figured something was up and visited my Endo upon getting back in town.

The doc found was over-producing insulin and cortisone. What did that mean, exactly? Well his first idea was it could be a tumor (since my pituitary sac is already compromised). I cleared that test, (whew) and see my OB to rule out polycystic ovarian syndrome this week. (update: CLEAR) Now it's been solved on his end that I am "insulin resistant" and in the very early stages of PRE-DIABETES.

Say WHAT?! EFF me. EFF that. EFF. I will NOT do the "fat man's" diabeetus! (I know, not so nice, but that's the point of this blog).
Me at the biggest, then after 6 weeks of eating low glycemic diet

My dad & his brother both had been diagnosed with type 2 years before my son got his Type 1. I knew of them taking pills but being able to "reverse it" via diet and exercise. My dad and uncle (former football players) both did exactly this. We bonded over A1C numbers (that's when a test tells the blood sugar average over a 3month period), and I was very happy for their continued success. They are big guys; tall, strong, broad shoulders and big hearts. I never have, nor will see, "fat" when I picture them. But I knew it for myself. Last time I was this large I had my final baby ready to deliver.

So I cut out sugar and carbs and got on a low glycemic diet. I took this VERY seriously coz I know my son's life, and it is NOT easy; counting carbs for everything, checking his BS multiple times throughout the day.... Forget diet, diabetes is a life-style. 

I learned the OVER-PRODUCTION of insulin MAKES one fat and KEEPS one FAT. So this big body I now waddle around in is making so much it'll eventually exhaust itself from over-production, not make enough, and my blood sugar will SOAR. (go high)
Right now my blood sugar and A1C are aces. Gold Stars! But my lows are from the over-production and how I'm eating. It's a vicious cycle. So I have to be smart and am grateful to at least know there is something "fixable" in my life!

I do NOT have this because I suddenly ate myself or lazied myself into it. I got this from genetics, and we caught it early enough to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Type 2 Diabetes is genetic. I have friends heavier than myself, the same age, and not struggling with this issue. My Type 1 diabetic son has heavy friends who are not Type 1 OR 2.

  • You CAUSED this.
  • You could have AVOIDED THIS
  • You need to EXERCISE
  • LOSE weight
  • This is YOUR FAULT
Who gets these stereotypes? EVERY type. 
Is it fair? 

Fair enough to tell me "watch what you eat and get off your @$$ a bit more."
NOT FAIR to tell my Type 1 diabetic son. He needs to eat well and exercise, of course. Don't we all? 
You think this possesses any CONTROL or VARIABLE over his condition? You are WRONG.

We don't do fried or fast food, and I hardly ever finish a soda. I even was Gluten Free for 2yrs to boost my immune system. I always thought I should eat as mindful as my son does. Well now it's even more than him, coz he can have carbs, he can have sugar, he can eat a cookie! I can't. 
My son takes insulin to cover what he is ingesting. He can have a burger and bun, I will go "protein style."

Does this make sense? I hope my journey has enlightened this whole prejudice and unawareness of some differences between type 1 and type 2.

I still have much more to learn, I have 3 months of metformin (Update: didn't take afterall, made me way too sick), and yet WITH dietary changes ALONE my range (should be 3-11) went from 18 (too high!) to 6! 

I will beat this and "reverse" all I can, my son cannot. 
That is the bitter difference when Type 1 people hear about Type 2 things and associations. 

What say you?

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