Alyssa's Journey with Type 1 Diabetes

An outlet, a diary of sorts, a place for thoughts, a place to connect,
an expression of feelings about Juvenile Diabetes......

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dawn Phenomenon and Pump News

Alyssa has experienced high blood sugars in the morning for the last two weeks or so.  High for her morning level is anything over 150.  As I have mentioned before, Alyssa's blood sugar usually drops about 100 over night.  So my goal is to have her sugar somewhere around 200 at bedtime.  If her glucose level is below 200, she'll have a bedtime snack and if it is close to 200 she will not.  What was odd, I was seeing high blood sugars in the mornings and even after the nights she didn't have a bedtime snack.  Could this be the 'dawn phenomenon' I've been hearing about?

Dawn phenomenon is the term used to describe early morning (usually between 2a-8a) high blood sugars in diabetics.  It is thought that the body releases hormones over night, like the growth hormone and cortisol, that cause insulin resistance.  Alyssa takes Lantus in addition to Novolog, which is a slow release insulin that normally works for 24 hours.  I've heard though it can often be unpredictable with schedule changes.  Of course other reasons can be incorrect dosing of insulin or eating too many grams of carbs before bed.  In my opinion, I think it is tied to activity level as well. 

What this means?  I will again be waking at 2 in the morning checking blood sugars to see if there is a rise in the middle of the night for a few days and see if adjustments need to be made to her diabetes plan.

Pump news: We looked at 4 insulin pumps the other night.  It was really cool because Alyssa got to touch them and see how they worked.  After the pump class, I read all the information and narrowed down to either the Omnipod or the Ping.  We have chosen to go with the One Touch Ping.  I really thought Lu was going to push for the Omnipod because it is tubeless and stays on, but she liked the Ping best.  The cool thing is that it is 100% waterproof and Alyssa also liked their infusion sets the best, which are easily inserted and come in different colors :).  So yesterday, I faxed all my insurance info over the the rep and we have started the process.  Next step will be to see how much they will cover!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Carb Counting Basics

I know I have written several posts about carb counting, but because diet is probably the most important aspect of managing diabetes, I don't think it can be covered too much.  Understanding carbohydrates helps determine which foods affect blood sugar and how much insulin should be given for the food eaten.

The 3 main nutrients in food: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates all affect blood sugar levels; however carbohydrates is the main effector.  After carbs are eaten and digested, they become glucose and enter the bloodstream.  This causes blood sugars to rise and insulin is required to move the sugar into the cells for energy.  Some might think that carbs are bad; but in reality, they are the body's main source of fuel.

Foods that contain carbs are: starches (Breads, starchy veggies), fruits, milk products, and sweets.

Estimating carbohydrates can be done based on serving sizes (some call carb choices).  On average 1 serving size will have about 15 grams of carbohydrate.  This method is best used when there are not any food labels or when eating at a restaurant.  Examples of carb choices are: 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of corn, 4 ounces of juice, small apple, 8 ounces of milk.  Each of these would be considered 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Counting grams of carbohydrate is much more precise.  Reading food labels and meal planning books are the best way to count grams of carbs.  I recommend the book, Calorie King.  When using this method, food is measured and then the carbohydrates are calculated.  When reading food labels, its important to determine how many servings you are going to eat and then multiply that by the grams of carbs per serving. 

*Watch out for products that say they are "Sugar-Free" or "No Sugar Added".  Just because a product is sugar-free doesn't mean its carb-free.  So always check the grams of carbohydrate.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pump Class

Looking forward to going to play with the different insulin pumps this afternoon with Alyssa. Look for a post about the experience as well as the next step, insurance :D

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Great Weekend

Riding 4 wheelers through trails and mud and puddles was not something I thought I would ever do. I wouldn't say I'm a girly girl, but I never really saw the need to play in the mud. Alyssa on the other hand is very versatile. She likes being a girl, playing with makeup, painting her nails; but she also likes playing with toy cars and out in the dirt.

So, yesterday, I agreed Lu and I would go with the boys to Busco Beach, an ATV park a couple hours from home. Alyssa love it and I have to say I had a lot of fun too! She rode a lot on her own and has gotten really good. My sons Phil and J are fearless and they got a kick out of mom's screams as we went over ramps and through the mud.

For the most part diabetes behaved. We had one low towards the end of the day and honestly four wheeling is a lot of work, so we checked periodically and stopped for extra snacks.

All in all, it was a great day with the family filled with some great memories!