Pricey Dad: Right here’s What 24 Hours of Diabetes Administration Feels Like

It’s been prompt that individuals with kind 1 diabetes make as much as 180 additional health-related choices every single day. Even when blood sugar is in vary and beneath management, the fixed mindfulness and choice making demanded by the situation might be anxious and exhausting.

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


Pricey Dad,

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

On daily basis is completely different, and more often than not nothing is sensible. I spend my days, 24/7/365, attempting to regulate one thing that can’t be managed. However I do the very best I can with what information I’ve. 

When issues go flawed, I attempt to not beat myself up about it. I attempt to keep in mind that I may get hit by a truck tomorrow, so I have to reside for immediately. However typically I fail, and I confuse my self-worth with how nicely I’m managing my blood glucose. It’s mentally and emotionally draining. 

Whereas my low-carb approach of consuming helps, it definitely 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 components. 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 laborious as I attempt, issues don’t go my approach and it actually messes with my psychological state.

Blood sugar highs scare you for the long run, and lows are scary short-term. After I’m low typically I received’t even know and received’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 may even move out. And but typically I’ll really feel shaky and tremendous irritable at 60 mg/dL.

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

Listed here are my final 24 hours, starting after dinner at an Italian restaurant final evening. I believed this might offer you a glimpse into my world. Take into account that for most individuals with diabetes, this might be a relatively uneventful 24 hours. No scary lows and no loopy highs, but you’ll see I’m nonetheless scuffling with 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 convey it down, which may 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

Instantly after dinner – no pasta for me, I ordered hen 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 correct name two hours earlier. If I had taken a correction shot at that time I’d have fully 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 at all times agree.

10:05 pm

My blood sugar is steady 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 lively. 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 the reason it’s vital 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 presupposed 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 good friend taught me how you can use Pores and skin Tac wipes.

Now I’ve to determine if I’m going to insert an entire new sensor, which might defend me in a single day, or if I ought to danger a break from alarms and a extra comfy sleep. If I insert the sensor now, I would like to remain up previous midnight to calibrate it. [editor’s note: Allison had a Dexcom G5, which requires immediate calibration. Newer models don’t need to be calibrated in the same way.]

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 reveals 80 mg/dL. That’s an ideal quantity for me in the course of the day, however at evening I want a little bit cushion to keep away from going low. I determine to set an alarm so I can verify my blood sugar in the course 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 reveals 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 good feeling!

7 am

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

My morning blood sugar is 170 mg/dL, which is taken into account “in vary” however positively greater 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. Within 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’d have taken insulin to counteract the rise. 

I’ll take a correction shot now, however should additionally think about my consuming and train plans over the subsequent few hours. I choose 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 convey me again down from the pure morning rise. However that’s okay: I need to be a little bit excessive earlier than my exercise. Cardio can convey blood sugar down and likewise makes me extra insulin-sensitive. This offers me a great 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 great 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 rapidly 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 rapidly earlier than my assembly.

2 pm

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

3:30 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 precisely 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 hen and shrimp, a meal that ought to let me keep away from a spike. I take 1.5 items of fast-acting insulin, which needs to be excellent for the protein and sauce.

7 pm

My Dexcom presently says 130 mg/dL. Appears like I bought my insulin-to-carb ratio proper this time. I make a psychological observe to myself for subsequent time. Each meal is one other knowledge level, and an opportunity to enhance my management.

7:45 pm

Abruptly my CGM alarm goes off — my blood sugar is at 158 mg/dL with a diagonal arrow up, which means that it’s going to most likely proceed to rise. I ate plenty of protein at dinner, and protein rises are delayed, so I’m seemingly spiking from the hen and shrimp.

Earlier than 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 at all times correct, particularly within the first 24 hours. No insulin is important.

8:30 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. Usually 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 protected, I’ll wait for a minimum of 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, imagine it or not, this was truly a stellar day for an individual with kind 1 diabetes. Regardless of the lows and highs, the corrections and the false alarms, I spent many of the day in a wholesome vary. 

As you possibly can see, plenty of time and thought went into this present day. Some days don’t go so nicely and might be very scary — however I carry on plugging away! Hope that is useful! 




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