Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What Diabetes (and our CDE) Taught Me Today

I'm a pretty smart person. I went to college. I read a lot. I like to learn new things and apply my knowledge.

So when something goes wrong, I'm the kind of person who blames myself. I feel like I should have foreseen the problem and fixed it beforehand. Or I get mad at myself for not fixing it sooner.

Take, for example, Grace's AWFUL numbers for the past 2 weeks. I blamed myself. I must have miscalculated her carbs at breakfast, which lead to the 328 an hour and a half later. I probably shouldn't let her be disconnected from the pump for so long during swimming, and that's why she's been so high during the day. I should've seen that she would crash down to 45 after a day of swimming, even though she spent most of the day in the 200s.

And then it hit me... email the craptastic logs to Grace's CDE and see what she thinks. I love our CDE - she's young, smart, funny, and a T1D since the age of 10. Maybe she could enlighten me as to how to get a handle on these summer numbers, and teach me how to keep them from pinging from high to low and back again.

And you know what she told me? "Let's change 2 of her basal rates, and lower her breakfast insulin:carb ratio."

I was so busy blaming myself for the bad numbers, I missed the simple fact that they could be addressed by adjusting some pump calculations. See, Grace is still honeymooning 17 months after diagnosis. And it seems like during every major "episode" she takes another step off the honeymoon. By "episode" I mean big changes to her schedule. It happened over Christmas vaca this year, and after our Florida trip, too. During both those times, schedule changes, food changes, travel, etc. all converged to produce horrific numbers for a week or two. And it's happening now. Ever since school got out (2 weeks ago today) her numbers have taken a swan dive off the diving board and into the deep end.

And I failed to notice the pattern.

But the good thing now is, I see it! I've learned something today. I've learned to spot the triggers to another big shift in her numbers. And I hope I've learned to stop expecting that I alone can force Grace's numbers into submission. That maybe it's easier to address the problem (change the pump calcs) instead of worrying about the symptoms (why is she so high during swimming? shouldn't she be on the lower end?)

So we changed the pump today. I'll send the numbers in on Thurs and see if there's more we need to do to stabilize her. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of our latest bout with yuck numbers.

What has diabetes taught you today?


  1. The D has taught me that there are great Moms in the world just like you Pam! It has taught me that a number is just a number and it tells me what to do. It has taught me humor, cause really, when the last blood sugar was 177 and the next one is 320 and she had NOTHING to eat, well, isn't that a tad humorous? :0) It has taught me to always be a learner. I applaud you Pam for stepping back and looking at what can be changed, to get better results. We so often need that reminder. Thanks.

  2. When I get to the point that I feel like I can't do anything right, I know it is time to call my endo. Usually I can adjust on my own, but sometimes I'm so entrenched with my emotions I can't take a step back and look at the big picture. I'm so glad you were able to find some answers. And especially glad you see that none of this, ever, is your fault. It is the diabetes. (((HUGS)))

  3. Sigh... diabetes is never the same two days in a row. An action today will have the completely opposite reaction than it did yesterday. This is why this disease so completely kicks my butt.

  4. Sometimes an extra set of eyes is all that it takes. It can be hard to spot the trends when you are focused on the emotions! I know!!

    I'm so glad you got it figured out!!


  5. first off nothing to do with diabetes is any of our faults it is a cross we have to bear so to speak and it is never the same every day for most of us or all of us . It stinks and there will be days when we just cannot think . so time to call in re inforcements and get busy . glad you called and hopefully this is all it takes to get over the trouble .

  6. Oh Pam, this is EXACTLY how I feel right now.

    Matthew is having these crazy late-night highs and I feel like I should be able to fix it. I'm pretty smart...I'm learning....I should have this all figured out!

    I'm calling our CDE again tomorrow. I hope she'll have the answers and I'm so glad you are getting Grace's numbers back in line! : )

  7. Diabetes has taught me that my sister is smarter and has more internal fortitude than I could ever have imagined. And I'm damn lucky to have such a wonderful rock to depend on.