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Feeling of failure when testing blood sugar

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by claremiggle, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. claremiggle

    claremiggle Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm Hannah and I was diagnosed as type one just over four years ago. I've been trying to be better at managing my diabetes after discovering my hba1c was 128 (terrible, I know!) - and I've written this blog post for Diabetes Week about a couple of the things I've struggled with most when trying to manage my diabetes: hannahpostles.wordpress.com - namely coping with the numbers and feelings of failure. I'd be really interested to know if anyone else feels the same way and if anyone has any advice.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Expert
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    Hey @claremiggle Welcome to the forum, I really don't believe there is such a thing as failure with type 1, I personally call it 'work in progress' which has been my motto since being diagnosed 4 years ago, I've had great HbA1c's and some absolutely shocking ones, and although the shockers have thrown me, I just do a mental check remind myself what I have to do and get back in it again. It's not always easy but try to learn from the times when things are not going well and see what went wrong to help yourself in the future. Remember it really is 'work in progress' and it is only ourselves which can make this worse or better, staying positive is the key ;)
     
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  3. KevinPotts

    KevinPotts Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi welcome and thanks for having the courage to share the challenges on your journey:)


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  4. davidhcarlisle

    davidhcarlisle Type 1 · Member

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    Hi Hannah, I've been Type 1 for 37 years (maybe you're Type 2), so in my experience, the feeling of failure with blood sugar numbers is real. I'd like to offer this - I few years ago on my own initiative, I started eating low carb as a three-week experiment, and I haven't stopped since (no bread, pasta, rice, potatoes or fruit, and if I go to restaurants, I'll get a salad with dressing on the side). Amazingly, my A1c went from the low 7s to low 5s (I don't understand your value of 128, maybe you meant 12.8, but I live in the USA, so you might have a different unit of measurement). Eating low carb has been a big adjustment, but it has also meant better numbers. Now when my numbers get out of range, I don't take them personally, instead I use them as data to get me back in range. This has been a huge psychological shift in blood testing - now I want the data, whereas before I dreaded testing. It's been a lot of work to get there.

    I've since discovered "Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution," which has been a huge education in the last 2 years. I recommend his book for both Type 1s and 2s, and I wish I'd known about his approaches when I was younger. His book has been a big learning curve for about two years, but I now feel way better (like I did when I wasn't diabetic), and whatever complications I had (frozen shoulder, frozen knee, trigger finger) have been totally reversed. He also posts many youtube videos. Sugarfreemom.com has a bunch of great ways to make low carb deserts that really taste great. I hope this note helps.
     
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  5. tonyjr

    tonyjr Type 2 · Member

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    Hi Hannah , as long as you are trying there's no failure ! Keep low carb , watch portion size , watch your weight and keep a diary to refer back to. Good luck.
     
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  6. KevinPotts

    KevinPotts Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    The diary advice is so good:)

    I've kept a meticulous diary from day one and keep adding to it as I get access to more metabolic and physical markers and that enables me to ensure I take personal responsibility:)


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  7. The Village

    The Village Type 2 · Newbie

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    David - no bread, pasta, rice, potatoes or fruit, and if I go to restaurants, I'll get a salad with dressing on the side. What carbs do you eat? Do you exercise? I need carbs when I am in the garden or doing any exercise. However I admire how strict you are with yourself. Don't you miss anything or have any days when you want potatoes rice etc?
     
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  8. ChrisSamsDad

    ChrisSamsDad Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    You really don't need carbs to exercise - I have very few (I'm aiming for under 50g of carbs a day) my BG is usually 5-7 and I go to the gym at least 5 times per week and regularly burn off 400+ calories, so I'm clearly burning fat instead, which I eat quite a lot of - full fat yoghurt, cheese, olive oil, nuts, cream, butter in place of carbs.

    Personally I don't miss most carbs - mostly when it do it's toast and jam at the weekend (we have cupboards full of home-made jams and marmalade as we love to go foraging), but there are low-carb breads and you can scrape jam quite thin. Generally the carb content of a meal is pretty flavourless - pasta and rice especially so. When it comes to potatoes, I miss roast potatoes, but it's actually the crunchy fat-soaked outsides that I miss most, so I make very flat ones which are all outside and not much inside. 2 or 3 of those don't spike my BG much. If we have baked potatoes, I trade the starchy inside of mine for the tasty skins that my kids won't eat.
     
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  9. Salvia

    Salvia Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much @ChrisSamsDad, for the hint about the roast potatoes. They are the only thing that I really miss & like you, it is the crispy, crunchy outsides that I used to love. I shall have a go at making your 'flat ones' this weekend. :)
     
  10. davidhcarlisle

    davidhcarlisle Type 1 · Member

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    Village - For me as a Type 1, unfortunately Novolog isn't quick enough to deal with the conversion of potatoes, pasta, rice etc to sugar in the blood, even with pre-bolusing. When I used to eat toast, eggs and juice for breakfast (a normal breakfast), my blood sugar spiked, even with pre-bolused Novolog, and it took about 4-5 hours for my blood sugar to return back to range. I felt exhausted and foggy after every meal. Then I did a three-week experiment, eating mostly vegetables, beans and protein with a little 91% dark chocolate for dessert, and I was amazed how much better I felt. By sheer coincidence I did this experiment shortly after getting my first cgm, which clearly showed a better bg pattern from eating low carb. I continued with this, and my next HgA1c was 6.0% (sorry I don't know how to convert this), and I wasn't even trying to lower it - it just happened. Then I gradually lowered the Dexcom high alert from 200mg/dl (11.1 mol/l) down to 120 (6.7) over a few months - my next HgA1c was 5.3%, but more importantly, I felt really great. Then I discovered Dr. Bernstein's book, and with his further suggestions, I'm able to get even lower A1cs with no hypo episodes, but again the main thing is that I feel great.

    I don't miss high-carb foods (ChisSamsDad is good to point out that many of them taste bland anyway), especially when I've had to live out feeling terrible for so many hours after every meal: for decades. There's so many creative ways to prepare really delicious low-carb meals, which can also include low-carb desserts (e.g. try replacing wheat flour with almond flour, and replace sugar with Swerve and liquid Stevia). Restaurants add hidden sugar to everything including salad dressing, so I'm absolutely fine to order say a chicken salad with dressing on the side. I can have a bigger plate of food when I eat low carb vegetables and protein. As for hunger, having a lot of insulin in the blood makes us hungry: so with lower insulin from lower carb, I find I'm not hungry in between meals.

    I row on a rowing machine about 5 times per week with my heart rate at about 85-90% of maximum, and I do some situps and weights. Exercising this way around the time of a low-carb meal means I'll inject less insulin. If I do gardening for say 1.5-2 hours after a low carb meal, I may not need to inject any insulin at all for that meal. If I end up low, I'll use only glucose tabs cut in half to correct.

    So yes Village, it's discipline I guess (especially when I go to a pretty good grocery store and avoid most of what's in it), but I don't perceive it that way at all. It's just an issue of what's less trouble for me.
     
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  11. FolkyRose1

    FolkyRose1 Type 2 · Active Member

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    Can you tell me, how do you work out how many units of insulin you need to inject?


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  12. RuthW

    RuthW Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Start a new thread and I think you'll get lots of answers


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  13. KevinPotts

    KevinPotts Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Like Chris, I no longer miss the carbs.

    I run most days, do resistance in the gym 4 times a week on only 25g carbs per day and I have no probs training and this is further supported by the fact that I fast 18 hours every day, eating just lunch and dinner and still put in full training sessions with no negative impact:)


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  14. RuthW

    RuthW Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Hannah, I read your blog posts. It seems that you haven't really got a good grip on things like your correction factor, your carb to insulin ratio, how to vary doses for activity and possibly even your basal rate management is out. Have you ever systematically worked your way through all these systems?
    I ask because you are obviously a student. Two things come to mind: a) at your age things often change, b) you probably had more support from your parents until recently (possibly even a more regular meal schedule?).
    Have you got a copy of Think Like a Pancreas? That could help a lot. If your doctor could book you on a DAFNE course, that would make a big difference in a very short time. And maybe on online carb counting course would help.
    I know the feeling of failure. I lived with it for years until I learned all these things.


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