Pin the Tail on the Blood Sugar

Donkey KissI think most of us have played Pin the Tail on the Donkey as a kid, and if we haven’t played, we certainly know what the game is – we try to pin the tail on a donkey while blindfolded. Sometimes I think trying to manage blood sugar is kind of like that game. I think some medical and non-D people think that all there is to having good blood sugar is eating right and taking the right amount of insulin. Maybe in a perfect world it would be that easy, but so many things throw off our blood sugar it can drive you nuts trying to figure out which is the “right” thing.

Eating Face in PlateThis past week has been like that for me. My blood sugar started creeping up and kept creeping up higher even though I was taking more insulin. I haven’t had any Christmas treats so it wasn’t like I was eating stuff that I don’t normally eat. I am someone that pretty much eats the same thing every day. I eat about 60 grams of carbs a day. I know that food can safely be crossed off the problem list.

For a couple weeks prior to this last week, I was having more problems with lows than highs. I lost 10 pounds and had to cut back on insulin. I seemed to be at a point with my Levemir that it would be nice to have ½ unit pens because if I cut back a full unit, I would run higher but not cutting back was too much insulin. It didn’t make sense that I had to all of a sudden start taking more and more Levemir and kept going higher.

What changed? The weather is getting colder so that usually means an adjustment in basal rates. However, my adjustment in basals because of weather is usually just a slight adjustment. This didn’t seem like the usual winter weather adjustment.

Another thing that changed was that I switched brands of thyroid meds. I normally use the Canadian desiccated thyroid but switched to an American brand. Could that really screw up my blood sugar that much?

TreadmillMy treadmill broke and I haven’t been exercising. I still couldn’t see that as a huge impact because last winter I had zero energy and if I hadn’t cleaned occasionally, there could have easily been 5 inches of dust on my treadmill. I was now taking more insulin than I did last winter while weighing less and my blood sugar was on the high side.

Although I was very tired and because I was tired, I wasn’t moving around much and creating more of a vicious cycle. Last winter I was so tired if it wasn’t for the dog, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed. Was I tired because my blood sugar was running higher or was it something else?

Levemir FlexPenI kept coming back to my Levemir. I had started a new Levemir pen but I couldn’t remember what day. Normally if I start a new pen that is bad, I know right away. There was nothing that sent big red flags up to warn me there was a problem with the insulin. That pen was the fourth pen in a box of five. Surely there can’t be a problem with that particular pen.

After going round and round trying to figure out what it could be and it seemed like every day, my blood sugar kept going higher, I decided to open a new Levemir pen yesterday afternoon. I could kick myself for not trying that sooner. By dinner time, my blood sugar was back in normal range and stayed good all evening. When I went to bed last night, I decided to risk it and go back to my old Levemir dose. I woke up to this on my meter this morning:

Blood sugar 90

Although I am happy that my blood sugar is back to normal, it makes me angry that there can be one bad pen in a box of five pens. How in the world does that make sense if they are from the same lot number?

Comments

  1. Oh, the sense it doesn’t make. Yes, I think we’re the donkeys…. for thinking we can stay in range more often than not. Or, maybe more so: it’s the docs who are the donkeys for trying to pin the tail on what they see as textbook D-management. Oh, well. Hope you find some BG balance before long, regardless of the weather outside!

    • Thanks Mike! I agree that the doctors are the donkeys for only sticking to textbook D-management. Since I opened the new Levemir pen, my BS has been much better – at least until I dip into Christmas cookies tomorrow!

  2. Oh man, Kelly. What a lot of deciphering to get to the solution.
    Merry Christmas Kelly! No snow here (yay) and temp in the high 30’s – a little freaky, but I’ll take it!

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