About a month ago, my endocrinologist asked me to keep notes each day on my carb consumption so he or associates can get a better track on my glucose numbers. At the time, they were looking at my glucose history through Clarity, the online history of Dexcom — the continuous glucose monitor I use.
At the time, they were saying things like “Oh! You had a good day yesterday — what did you eat?”
“I don’t remember.”
I can understand their frustration. So, instead of logging just one week as requested, I started the next day jotting notes on my phone and have been doing so ever since. They’re only interested in the carby foods like potatoes, rice, bread, pasta etc. And, as often happens, the note-taking made me more mindful of what I ate. It also illuminated the bizarre response I can only describe as Emotional Diabetes. The change from one day to the next is bizarre. This week, another example:
Aug 12: Took 13 units long-acting insulin. Two short for a morning correction. Hamburger bun and condiments (six units). Ice cream sandwich (5 units). Green salad required no insulin. Took 14 units long-acting. Total short-term insulin: 13 units. End of day summary 71% in range. (Target is 7o%) Fantastic.
Aug 13: 4:46 am, Took 13 units long-acting insulin. Took 3 short-acting units for correction (awoke at 13 mmols and wanted to knock it down to single digits).
7:13 am, 12.6 mmols. Two eggs for breakfast (should be nil effect on glucose) 3 units correction.
8:40 am 12.9 mmols, 3 units correction.
10:10 am was at 11.4 mmols, took another 3 units
11:47 am, was at 16.1 mmols, 3 correction. (Green salad should have no effect).
12:43 pm, 18.3 mmols, took 5 units.
3:14 pm down slightly then to 13.5 mmols. 5 units.
4:09 pm 14.2 mmols, another 3 units.
4:45, took long-acting 14 units. 10.7 mmols
5:30 pm, had a small bag of popcorn and 5 units (8.9 mmols and rising).
8:16 pm, 10.4 mmols rising 3 units. bedtime.
End of day summary 12% in range. (target is 70%)
Total short term insulin: 35 units….And I are fewer carbs than the previous day.
Looking back, I have a similar event on July 31:
2 am at 16.6, took 5 units
6:36 am 13 units of long-acting insulin.
6:42am 12 mmols, 3 units
9:36 am 18, 5 units
1:28 pm, 12.7 mmols, 8 units
4:24 pm 14 units long acting insulin
5:16 12 mmols, 5 units
6:35 14.5 mmols. 6 units.
8:44 URGENT LOW
9:18 4.2 mmols.
Total short term: 32 units.
Awoke Aug 1 at 4 am at 6.5 mmols.
I made a note on July 31 that on days like this, it feels like the insulin isn’t working. I have to keep injecting until something happens. I’m reluctant to be too assertive with the dosage if I’m at work because I generally don’t feel the lows until they’re very low. I rely on the alarm on my phone to let me know I need sugar.
It makes me wonder how my body’s need for insulin can vary from one day to the next. Clearly, my pancreas is not about to rise from the dead. The other factor is insulin resistance, the body’s willingness or unwillingness to absorb glucose in to tissues. I’ve experienced sudden drops in glucose while meditating, and it has happened so often that I can only conclude that emotions affect blood glucose levels. It’s not like we’re aware of these particular feelings — they can be roiling around in the back of our minds, brought to life by a trigger we may or may not be consciously aware of.
I’m not a doctor but I like to think I know my own body. I can’t help but notice that both days where my glucose went awry were days I wasn’t at work. I had time to relax…or at least, my body had a rest. My home has many family photos on the walls, including some with whom I have no present-day relationship. I’m surrounded by emotional triggers, so is it any wonder my body responds to what I shut out of my mind?
It is, after all, how I got to be a type 1 diabetic. My pancreas became worn out after years of stress-related glucose spikes. I only became aware of the problem after the ongoing stress had done its damage. My hope is that my knowledge and observations will help others. And maybe, just maybe, the mainstream medical community will acknowledge that buried emotions can cause diabetes and other autoimmune illnesses.