Saturday, June 22, 2013

Insulin Envy



This past week I had the distinct honor of attending the first-ever type 2 diabetes blogger summit.  It was an amazing opportunity to meet fellow bloggers and learn about a new insulin delivery system designed specifically with type 2 diabetics in mind.  I will definitely blog about the experience soon but today I want to focus on something I personally experienced during this trip: Insulin envy.

I found myself envying those who inject insulin!  First, because of this slick device that I got to see which makes insulin use so simple, and second, because if I did inject insulin I would be able to eat a larger variety of foods without fearing the spikes I now see.

I know that I may sound like I’m crazy for wanting to use insulin but consider my story and maybe you won’t think I’m in need of a padded cell.  (Besides, insulin should never be considered a punishment or last resort.  Insulin use gets a bad rap.)  Here are the facts:

·       I currently have decent glucose control, despite the fact that I’ve been continuing to struggle with higher fasting numbers.

·       I’m not yet on the maximum dosage of Metformin so there is apparently wiggle room there if things go south.

·       I’ve managed to lower my carb intake over the course of time and that has enabled me to keep my glucose more or less under control.

·       I have found that a small glass of red wine with dinner can sometimes allow me to eat more carbs with that meal.

·       I can no longer eat bread, cereal, potatoes, regular tortillas, and rice (even brown). 

·       I can still eat some fruit, beans, quinoa, and couscous but only in small amounts.

·       I can’t order at a restaurant without sweating over how many carbs are in any given meal.  I am very restricted when eating out (if I plan to be “good”).

·       Splurging at any time brings with it glucose spikes that ruin the entire experience. It’s no fun to splurge and then spend the next 4 hours regretting it. Case in point: I threw caution to the wind at lunch during the summit and paid for it with a glucose of 215 (when I started at 97) which made enjoying the remainder of the afternoon more difficult.

Just give me insulin…Please!  I have given up so many foods in order to control my glucose.  Most of the time this fact doesn’t bother me at all, but I occasionally get pouty and wish that I could just eat whatever I wanted.  I’m aware of the fact that, should I be able to eat whatever I wanted, I would now be making smart choices and not just eating junk.  I don’t really want junk any more, at least not very often.  But dammit, it would be nice to eat a couple of enchiladas once in a while.  How about oatmeal for breakfast?  Some strawberries would be nice. Is it unreasonable to desire a normal restaurant meal?  Why can’t I share a pizza with friends?  Because I can’t.  I’m one of those diabetics who can’t just eat anything.  I can’t.  I found myself thinking this past week that if I could just have some insulin I could eat more normally.  I even considered totally wrecking my glucose for a couple of weeks by eating a healthy diet with more carbs in it just so I could show my doctor what I’m talking about.  Sigh.

I’m fully aware that the grass can seem much greener wherever we aren’t.  I know that insulin use brings with it a whole other group of issues, including fear of lows, which I don’t deal with now.  But sometimes I just want to feel more normal, you know?  Is that too much to ask?

25 comments:

  1. Wow!

    I mean eating lower carb is good for everyone - diabetes or not - but looking at your list of 'nos' I just cannot even imagine cutting that much out!

    I'm not sure if I should feel impressed by your willpower or sad for your loss ;)

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    1. :) It's not all that impressive really, just what I have to do in order to have control. I've never been one who could ignore my D and the removal of these foods has been gradual until...they're gone! It's not easy. Thanks for the comment!

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    2. Kate:
      I am the exact same way. I could not eat anything that wouldn't spike my sugar levels way up there. Finally my doctor did put me on insulin and yes I can eat more of the things that I want to, but really, I would rather go back to not using insulin. I hate it. There are so many complications to it. Bruising, bleeding, hardness under the skin.

      Right now I am going back to eating like I used to (not that I am doing bad). I don't eat junk, or any sugar, nothing white, etc. You know the drill. But I'm going back to my limited diet to see if I can get myself off of insulin. I think I can. Maybe I'm delusional, but I don't want to give up hope.

      Take care.

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  2. As usual, I totally agree with your post. I have to do the same things as you to keep my bgs in normal range. It can get very old trying to figure out how to eat around all the carbs available in grocery stores, restaurants, etc. It's the price I pay to have normal bgs and to try to preserve my own insulin production as long as possible.

    But, just like you, sometimes I would just like to eat normally for a meal or two and not pay for it or have to take a long walk just to keep from having a high bg. Except for me, the solution is sitting in my fridge, my daughter's insulin! Have I ever used it? No, but wow, is it tempting sometimes!

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    1. Hi Amy, I can imagine how tempting that would be! Good for you for not doing it though. :) I know I'm not alone in my current struggles. We just have to keep on fighting the good fight, right? Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Could you just mix some wine w/ the oatmeal?
    Just kidding.
    When I was diagnosed w/ LADA, my endo used T2 methods for my treatment. As I took more and more pills..., I was the one who suggested that I start insulin. Started w/ just basal and it made a huge difference. The endo's philosophy was, "We'll keep you off shots for as long as possible." He's not the endo I see anymore.

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    1. Ha! Oatmeal w/wine...I love it! I've already asked to be put on insulin and was refused because my a1c is so good. It's almost like I'm being punished for being good. Thanks for the comment...made me laugh. :)

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  4. Kate... whenever I speak to a Type 2, this is why I tell them that living with Type 2 is far more difficult than living with Type 1. There are drawbacks to each side of the insulin/no insulin divider, but you've done a great job of describing what it's like to be on your side of the line. Thanks

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    1. Thanks Stephen. I've spent the days since writing this trying not to focus too much on the can'ts and enjoying the cans that I can! One day at a time.

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  5. It's been 2 months since my diagnosis and even with Metaforim I can't eat that much without seeing huge spikes in glucose. I'm very frustrated. Carbohydrates are no longer an option, I've had potatoes 5 times in 10 weeks. My self control is fading and I need help.

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    1. Hang in there, I know how difficult this is. Maybe you could try substituting something for your potatoes and see if that helps. For instance, a lot of people have mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. (they're good!). I found a recipe for oven fried zuchinni that sounds yummy and would replace fries. Try focusing on changing just one carby aspect of your diet. The most important thing to remember is to NOT beat yourself up! You didn't develop diabetes overnight so don't expect to be able to make the necessary changes quickly. It takes time. If you just need to vent to someone, just send me an email! (katecornell282@gmail.com)

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  6. I understand what you are saying. Since I love food so much, and yes, I miss carbs, I am tempted to use insulin. But then I think of the other things I have to consider (based on the experiences of our Type 1 online friends) and I have second thoughts. If over time I have to use insulin, I'm prepared to do so, but right now, I am not ready to do it. Your post is a good reminder that there is no single, correct, one-size-fits-all way of dealing with diabetes, and we have to decide which way to go, not just based on our fear of losing our limbs, but based on other factors that make our lives worth living. A specific way is not necessarily easier than another. It's just that each way has its own challenges and rewards.

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  7. Super interesting perspective, Kate! I'm so glad you got to attend that event.

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  8. When well meaning friends, families, strangers offer me sad faces and hugs because my kids have to take insulin and then tell me they wish my kids could just control it with diet and exersize I have to cringe a little. It means they (those not in the know) believe that there is a type of diabetes easier than another. I guess I should just be impressed that they have learned that there ARE different types of diabetes but still so much education is needed.
    no type is easier or better than another. Yes the grass may be greener sometimes but all types have their difficulties and frustrations and all are a pain in the butt.
    I get what you are saying about the insulin. I do think sometimes that HCP are too reluctant to start people with T2 on insulin. Is is an insurance thing? I don't get it. Why not prescribe some long lasting insulin or short acting or what ever type would be best suited for people with T2. The side effects - low blood sugars - but aren't those also possible with oral meds? Im not suggesting HCP immediately put people with T2 on insulin - Im saying they should discuss all management options and work as a team to chose the best option and be willing to make changes as necessary.
    IMHO

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    1. Hey Tina. Insulin use still carries a stigma that causes people to think that they've failed somehow. Even some doctors feel that it's a last resort when their patients would probably see better control earlier on if they just started on insulin. Not all oral meds cause lows. In fact, Metformin which is the most widely used oral drug doesn't cause lows. I don't feel that fear of lows is an adequate reason to avoid insulin use. I will jump all over it when the time comes for me!

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  9. As I read this post I couldn't help think back to our dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. I remember trying to look up the carbs in our salads and not being sure if the count was right. I remember I underbolused because I was afraid the carb count wasn't as high as the website listed and I didn't want to be low while driving home. But I also remember worrying about you and if the carb count really was that high what it could do to someone who doesn't have the luxury of correcting a high with an injection or bolus. :( I think as much as I can, I understand. And I remain impressed by you and all you do!!

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  10. Please do yourself a favor and watch "Hungary for Change". I can't understand why you just won't give up simple carbs, or "dead" food as it is referred to in the documentary. Man was not meant to eat processed foods, period! Why on earth do you think we have an epidemic of obesity and diabetes? Start living, start juicing.

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    1. Dear Ms./Mr. Anonymous,

      Congratulations, you have won the award for the most condescending and rude comment I’ve ever gotten on my blog. I could have chosen not to publish this but I felt compelled to respond; not that you’ll ever come back and read this since you’ve dumped your opinion on me and moved on, no doubt. I’m hoping I’ll feel less angry after venting here.

      Your words plainly tell me that you haven’t spent much time reading my blog and, in fact, you obviously didn’t read this post very closely. I very clearly said that I have given up simple carbs and have also been forced to give up lots of healthy carbs like fruit. I eat a moderately low carb diet (60-100 carbs per day) and I don’t eat much processed foods at all.

      You tell me that you can’t “understand why you just won't give up simple carbs”. Really? “just” give them up? I HAVE given them up. I also continue to stop eating healthy foods that my body can no longer tolerate. Not only that, how dare you make it sound “simple” for people to give up eating foods that are likely addicting and have been part of their diet for many years. It’s NOT simple and I’m offended on behalf of every person with type 2 diabetes and other folks who are struggling with weight loss.

      We cannot “juice” our way to health. We have a chronic disease, one that is progressive which means that many of us will eventually need to inject insulin. I have not watched the documentary, nor do I intend to. I know how to handle my diabetes, thank you very much.

      I have no idea if you have diabetes or not, dear Anonymous. I hope that if you do, you are caring for yourself in a way that will allow you to live a long and healthy life. I also hope that the next time you feel compelled to dispense your rude opinions about someone else’s life, that you’ll stop to consider that you don’t know everything. You don’t know me, nor do you know what struggles I face. You also don’t know that I rock my diabetes most of the time. You obviously don’t know that there is more to dealing with diabetes than “giving something up”. People who deal with diabetes on a daily basis not only have to watch what they eat and add daily exercise, but we have to deal with insensitive know-it-alls like you.

      There, I do feel a bit better.

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    2. I did a search for "Hungary for Change" but all I could find was something called "Hungry for Change".... :) lol

      Thanks for responding to this post, Kathy! I am learning so much from your blog!

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    3. Good for you! I've had people tell me also to juice and the juice drink would consist of a cup of pineapple, cup of strawberries, etc. Wow! If they want to haul me off to the ER, sure I'll drink it. :)

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    4. Kate! Lol tell it like it is! I've been very low carb for 6yrs to control my bg. I hate it too. My fear and it is a fear that I'll gain weight and I really don't want to. I'm so glad I accidentally found you and see there are other bloggers of T2!

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    5. Hi Karen, I'm glad you found me too!

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  11. Great reply Kate !!!!!!!
    Unfortunately there are too many of Mr./Mrs. Anonymous out there and all we can do is continue to educate the masses in hopes that we can stomp out the ignorance. Too many people don't take the time to educate themselves by looking beyond the "headlines". I have more than enough medical articles saved showing the genetics involved in type 2 diabetes but I dare to guess this person wouldn't even look at them, much less understand them.

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  12. Dear "Anonymous": It sure is easy to give your opinion when you don't have to put your name on it and stand by it. Coward.

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