There is an intern who works with me who asked me to explain to her what it’s like having Type 1 Diabetes on a daily basis. She has never met anyone with T1 and wanted to know more about what causes it and what I do to treat it. I thought I would share this with others, as they may be wondering too. 

Every three days I insert an IV looking device into my side, attached to my pump that I click onto my clothes like a pager. Before I do this, I fill a vile with insulin from a small, glass bottle. I keep these in the refrigerator so that they don’t expire. I put the insulin vile into my pump attached to the IV, and insert the soft needle. 

Every day I check my blood sugar by pricking my finger and using a test strip, which I insert into a machine that reads my levels. I do this; when I wake up, before breakfast, 2 hours after breakfast, before lunch, 2 hours after lunch, before dinner, 2 hours after dinner and before bed. I also do this when I feel a low coming on, or I don’t feel well. I also check my blood sugar before and after exercise. Altogether, I usually test my sugar between 10-12 times per day.

After I test my sugar, it reads to my insulin pump which administers insulin if my sugar is not within a healthy range. When I am about to eat a meal, I manually enter the carbs I am going to eat and my pump knows how much insulin I already have going through my body so it adjusts for the carbs I am going to eat and administers the correct dosage of insulin.

Basal is the term used for the background insulin that is administered into my body 24-hours a day because I don’t have a working pancreas that delivers insulin on its own. Bolus is the extra insulin inserted for meals or to bring my blood sugars into a healthy range throughout the day.

I have a journal and I write down; what I eat and how many carbs I’ve consumed, my blood sugar before the meal and my
blood sugar 2 hours after the meal. I use my “notes” on my IPhone if I’m out with friends because I don’t like to carry a bulky journal around and then I write it in later. This basically helps me focus on what I’m eating, but it also helps me track what I’ve eaten if my sugars are not in range. I have to adjust
my diet or portions accordingly.

Many factors can alter my blood sugars that are non-food/drink related. These include; stress, exercise, fatigue, sickness and changes in time zones.

During exercise or after, my blood sugar might raise initially because my body realizes I need energy and starts to send signals for more glucose. A little while after exercise, however, my blood sugar can drastically drop because glucose is the quickest metabolized form of energy. Strenuous exercise uses glucose as the main way to release energy to the body, rather than fat. My body uses glucose quickly during my exercise, and I can get a mild to severe low- depending on many factors.  

In order to avoid issues with exercise, I follow a chart given to me by Mary Ellen Grady, my diabetic nurse. It tells me how many carbs I should take in depending on my blood sugar level before exercise and how long I am planning on exercising. I check my blood sugar and eat however many carbs I need a half hour before I do any sort of exercise.

 If I have a really bad low, I need to take a shot with a glucagon pen that raises my blood sugar immediately.

For normal lows, I take glucose tablets. 

A day in the life :)

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    Kris Fergus is training to run Red White and Blue 26.2 in Findlay, Ohio on October 7th, 2012. Though this is not her first marathon, it is the first race in which she will run after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Training began on Monday, June 18th, and Kris will be keeping a blog to bring you with her on her journey and she will be raising money for Lakewood Hospital during the process.

    donate to Lakewood Hospital

    Please click the Give button to help patients at Lakewood Hospital who cannot pay for their insulin.
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