Friday, February 9, 2018

Insulin: A Love Story

As I said in a previous post, I finally found a health care provider who was willing to prescribe insulin for use in combating my high fasting numbers. I began using Lantus on January 15th. It hasn't even been a month yet but I can tell you that, without any hesitation, I am in love with insulin! What a difference it has made in my life. Wow.

The doctor had me start out slowly at 10 units and then bump it up by 2 units every 2 days until my fasting numbers dropped below 130. I went up and down with dosage for a few days in the second week but I think I have found the correct dosage for me. I have no idea what this dosage is compared to others, and that doesn’t matter, but it feels as if it isn’t very high. I like that because I don’t want to use more insulin than necessary. So what is so miraculous you say? Here are my fasting numbers in the week before beginning Lantus: 160,170,168,170,182,168. Here are my fasting numbers within a weekish of beginning insulin: 110,114,113,130,128,122. It isn’t difficult to see a difference. Love!

The lower fasting numbers combined with the CDE’s Permission to Eat have made a huge difference in my mood, outlook and general happiness on a daily basis. One of the most poignant stories was the first time I went out to eat after beginning Lantus. I opened the menu and thought, “what do I want to eat?” not “what will do the least damage?”. That is a major shift in my thinking around food. Guess what? I chose a salad, not because it was the best choice for my health but because it sounded good and I wanted it. Score!

That brings up another thing I’ve been thinking about regarding insulin use. I touched on this a bit in my last post. Will I suddenly turn into this person who just eats whatever she wants and damn the torpedoes? Big, resounding NOPE! I know better. I have learned over my years living with diabetes that a lot of it is up to me and my choices. I still need to eat a healthy diet. I still need to add exercise to my day. I still need to pay attention. Insulin, and the better fasting numbers, have allowed me to relax and not freak out about food. I am still trying to eat a lowish carb diet but am willing to try adding some healthy carbs back into my life. I’m freer to eat out and actually eat a ½ sandwich or hash brown potatoes. I am not free to eat a whole sandwich with French fries. I still struggle with some foods (potato chips…gah!) but I am not going to eat something that I know isn’t good for me. For instance, we buy frozen popcorn chicken at Sam’s Club that you just have to zap in the microwave for 2 min. I adore it for its simplicity and taste. I mentioned to the CDE that I had such trouble with my bg after eating said chicken. Her response: “Let’s break it down. The only carbs are the bit in the breading. It shouldn’t be a problem.” I had some for dinner tonight. Before eating: 114. Woot! 2 hours later: 204. I’d call that a problem. Should I continue to eat the popcorn chicken just because it “only has a bit of carbs in the breading” or should I be realistic and realize that there are definitely foods I cannot eat, even in moderation? I choose the latter.

I am a much more relaxed person with diabetes these days. This small change has been life-changing. Really! I’m still a little concerned about weight gain, the price isn’t a huge issue at this level of insulin use combined with my insurance, and I’m not intimidated in the least by the ½” needle. No big deal (but DANG, a ½” needle looks ginormous the first time you have to poke it in your belly!) Here’s the biggest plus: I feel like I’m in control again. I know that diabetes will continue to rear it’s butt-ugly head from time to time and I will most likely have to make further adjustments down the road, but I took charge, I stood up for myself and I won. Kate is back!