Dear Dad: Here’s What 24 Hours of Diabetes Management Feels Like

It’s been urged that folks with kind 1 diabetes make as much as 180 additional health-related selections day by day. Even when blood sugar is in vary and beneath management, the fixed mindfulness and resolution making demanded by the situation will be anxious and exhausting.

This is a letter that our Executive Editor Allison Caggia wrote to her father to assist him perceive a day within the life of kind 1 diabetes. She has shared it many instances with colleagues and associates.


Dear Dad,

I’m penning this letter that can assist you perceive how a lot of my time and psychological capability has to go to diabetes. This is what 24 hours seems like. It’s intricate and all around the map. A day within the life.

Every day is completely different, and most of the time nothing is smart. I spend my days, 24/7/365, making an attempt to regulate one thing that can not be managed. But I do the very best I can with what data I’ve. 

When issues go incorrect, I strive to not beat myself up about it. I attempt to do not forget that I might get hit by a truck tomorrow, so I have to reside for as we speak. But typically I fail, and I confuse my self-worth with how nicely I’m managing my blood glucose. It is mentally and emotionally draining. 

While my low-carb means of consuming helps, it actually isn’t a solution. There are over 42 variables that have an effect on your blood sugar – insulin and meals are simply two of the numerous elements. Add in stress, lack of sleep, train, hormones, and the magic unicorn on Mars (no actually, we are saying this as a result of it’s true), and typically as exhausting as I strive, issues don’t go my means and it actually messes with my psychological state.

Blood sugar highs scare you for the long-term, and lows are scary short-term. When I’m low typically I gained’t even know and gained’t really feel a 35 mg/dL! That’s not simply scary, it’s harmful. Some individuals will not be coherent at that stage, or might even move out. And but typically I’ll really feel shaky and tremendous irritable at 60 mg/dL.

Every low I really feel is a actuality verify of what I’m up towards.  

Here are my final 24 hours, starting after dinner at an Italian restaurant final evening. I believed this is able to offer you a glimpse into my world. Keep in thoughts that for most individuals with diabetes, this is able to be a relatively uneventful 24 hours. No scary lows and no loopy highs, but you’ll see I’m nonetheless combating numbers each inside and outdoors my consolation zone. 

I spent a lot of this present day excessive, and I’ve no clue why. It’s not straightforward to determine if I simply keep content material with excessive blood sugar, or take insulin to carry it down, which might wind up making me too low. 

In between all these logs are many glances at my Dexcom steady glucose monitor (CGM) and the fixed thought that I have to dedicate to managing this situation. 

7:30 pm

Immediately after dinner – no pasta for me, I ordered rooster in a mushroom sauce – my blood sugar is at 177 mg/dL and rising. I determine to not take a correction shot and belief that my mealtime insulin would ultimately take impact. 

9:30 pm

I’m at 110, which implies that I made the proper name two hours earlier. If I had taken a correction shot at that time I might have utterly tanked.

9:35 pm 

I determine to double-check the accuracy of my steady glucose monitor. My old-school glucose meter says 112 mg/dL, so my Dexcom appears correct. They don’t all the time agree.

10:05 pm

My blood sugar is secure at 100 mg/dL, and I need a snack. I’ve to watch out how a lot insulin I take as a result of the insulin in my physique from dinner continues to be energetic. If I take an excessive amount of I’ll be “stacking” insulin which might solely decrease me drastically. I did this simply yesterday and wound up with blood sugar within the 40s. Most individuals would really feel horrible when their sugar was so low, however typically I’ve hypo unawareness, a really harmful situation. This is why it’s essential that I put on my CGM, which sounds an alarm when my blood sugar will get too low.

10:30 pm

My CGM fell off! It had been on my physique for greater than two weeks, my longest session ever. They’re solely alleged to final 10 days, however I hacked mine (to economize – the sensors are very costly!) to increase its life. The adhesive lastly failed. It solely lasted so lengthy as a result of my diabetes pal taught me the way to use Skin Tac wipes.

Now I’ve to determine if I’m going to insert a complete new sensor, which might shield me in a single day, or if I ought to danger a break from alarms and a extra snug sleep. If I insert the sensor now, I would like to remain up previous midnight to calibrate it. [editor’s word: Allison had a Dexcom G5, which requires rapid calibration.]

I made a decision to take the evening off. I’ll insert a brand new CGM sensor tomorrow.

11:00 pm

I take my nightly Lantus injection. I check my blood and am again at 147 mg/dL, however since I simply had a snack and took some insulin, I determine to attend and see what occurs. 

11:45 pm

My bedtime finger prick verify exhibits 80 mg/dL. That’s an ideal quantity for me through the day, however at evening I choose a little bit cushion to keep away from going low. I determine to set an alarm so I can verify my blood sugar within the center of the evening. I arrange my nightstand with two check strips, my meter, and my pricker.

1:30 am

I roll over in mattress for my in a single day blood sugar check. My finger prick exhibits 100 mg/dL, which is sufficient cushion to not go too low in a single day. I can shut my eyes and never fear, which is a superb feeling!

7 am

This was my first time sleeping by means of the evening in weeks! Except for that one blood sugar verify, that’s.

My morning blood sugar is 170 mg/dL, which is taken into account “in range” however positively larger than I would like it to be. The small snack I had at 10pm can’t clarify this blood sugar rise. My daybreak phenomenon should have kicked in in a single day. In the morning, hormones and insulin resistance imply that my blood sugar naturally rises anyplace from 30-50 mg/dL upon waking. 

If I had been carrying my CGM, an alert would have woken me earlier, and I might have taken insulin to counteract the rise. 

I’ll take a correction shot now, however should additionally consider my consuming and train plans over the subsequent few hours. I decide on a conservative shot of 1.5 items, which will not be sufficient to counter my daybreak phenomenon and canopy my low-carb breakfast, however it would assist ensure I don’t go too low throughout my morning exercise. I additionally take my morning dose of Lantus. 

After making breakfast and packing lunch for the household, I ought to have simply sufficient time to place in a brand new CGM. It’ll be two hours earlier than it’s able to calibrate with two-finger pricks. 

9:10 am

Getting the children off to highschool was hectic, and I didn’t have time to placed on my CGM. I don’t have time now, both.

I check my blood sugar once more with a fingerstick, and I’m at 157 mg/dL. The insulin minimize the spike from my high-protein breakfast (two hard-boiled eggs), however wasn’t sufficient to carry me again down from the pure morning rise. But that’s okay: I need to be a little bit excessive earlier than my exercise. Cardio can carry blood sugar down and in addition makes me extra insulin delicate. This offers me a very good cushion.

10:15 am

After the gymnasium, I finger prick and my blood sugar is at 80 mg/dL and I’m lastly again within the completely wholesome vary! It’s a very good factor I didn’t take extra insulin earlier.

11 am

I lastly placed on a brand new Dexcom sensor.

12 pm

The sensor continues to be warming up. I have to shortly eat lunch earlier than a piece assembly, so I check my blood: 103 mg/dL. I take 1.5 items for the lunch I’m about to eat shortly earlier than my assembly.

2 pm

My new Dexcom sensor is able to be calibrated with two-finger pricks – 126 and 112 mg/dL. Those numbers are completely high quality by me after lunchtime.

three:30 pm

I’m hungry for a snack. My Dexcom reads regular at 102 mg/dL, and I don’t actually need to take one other shot and danger affecting my good outcomes. I determine to have some cheese, which won’t transfer my blood sugar a lot in any respect.

5:30 pm

Dexcom says 80 mg/dL which is strictly the place I need to be. I head out to dinner at a restaurant that I already know can accommodate my low-carb preferences. I order zucchini linguini with rooster and shrimp, a meal that ought to let me keep away from a spike. I take 1.5 items of fast-acting insulin, which ought to be good for the protein and sauce.

7 pm

My Dexcom at present says 130 mg/dL. Looks like I received my insulin to carb ratio proper this time. I make a psychological word to myself for subsequent time. Every meal is one other knowledge level, and an opportunity to enhance my management.

7:45 pm

Suddenly my CGM alarm goes off – my blood sugar is at 158 mg/dL with a diagonal arrow up, which means that it’ll most likely proceed to rise. I ate so much of protein at dinner, and protein rises are delayed, so I’m doubtless spiking from the rooster and shrimp.

Before I take a correction shot, I determine to double-check with my glucose monitor. The finger prick says 102 mg/dL! The CGM isn’t all the time correct, particularly within the first 24 hours. No insulin is critical.

eight:30 pm

Now my CGM is sounding an alarm that I’m low.  And now it craps out and reads no quantity. I check my blood and it’s 107 mg/dL, go determine.

9 pm

My CGM began to work once more and reads 94 mg/dL.

10:20 pm

My CGM alarms excessive … and this time it’s correct! My glucose meter confirms that my blood sugar goes up. I take 1 unit as a correction shot.

11 pm

I determine to have a late-night snack. Normally I’d take 1.5 items of fast-acting insulin, however I have already got 1 unit on board so I determine to be conservative with my dosing in order to not go low in a single day. To be secure, I’ll watch for not less than an hour to see the place I land earlier than going to sleep. I might have extra insulin, or I might have extra sugar. It’s actually anybody’s guess.


Dad, consider it or not, this was really a stellar day for an individual with kind 1 diabetes. Despite the lows and highs, the corrections and the false alarms, I spent most of the day in a wholesome vary. 

As you’ll be able to see, so much of time and thought went into this present day. Some days don’t go so nicely and will be very scary – however I carry on plugging away! Hope that is useful! 




Post Views: 22

Read extra about daybreak phenomenon, Dexcom, train, insulin, Intensive administration, Lantus, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), low-carb eating regimen, kind 1 diabetes.