Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Crap List

One thing that's been surprising for us to learn since entering the land of diabetes is how many foods affect blood sugar adversely that I wouldn't have guessed. That whole misconception about diabetics not being able to have sugar? Table sugar is actually just ONE of the many foods that affect blood sugar, and we don't have much of a problem with cookies or normal sized treats (add a big blob of frosting, and then it gets tricky). Most of it boils down to having an accurate carb count.

What we've learned is that high carbohydrates mixed with high fat is where the real problems begin. French fries. Deep dish pizza. Fried chicken fingers. Restaurant style grilled cheese and mac & cheese. Those foods pretty much guarantee us a night of blood sugars in the 300s that won't budge at all despite giving multiple corrections. We didn't really see this until Leah started wearing her Continuous Glucose Monitor, which allows us to see in real time just how high things go and how long it takes to come down.

For lack of a better term, I've decided to call these foods the "Crap List." Crappy, because they aren't good for us anyway, and crappy because they literally make Leah feel like crap. Today I officially added Jimmy Johns to that list. Which is highly unfortunate considering how much I love to eat it.

We were running errands and stopped for lunch there, despite the fact that we normally avoid it due to seeing high numbers after eating that yummy french bread. I thought today could be test day, since there's no school and we didn't have much else going on. All other diabetes things were lining up perfectly--woke up at 132, didn't spike too bad after breakfast, and her CGM read in the 120s when we started eating. Leah and Lukas split the Slim 1 and we finished our errands.

By the time we got home, less than an hour and a half later, the graph on her CGM was climbing and an Up arrow accompanied that rising number. Two corrections later over the course of 4 hours, and she finally came down from the stubborn 300s. All that from a silly little 4 inch sandwich. Bummer.

So it doesn't mean we'll never eat JJ again, just like we'll still have Mexican food from time to time, and mac & cheese and pizza. But we definitely need a game plan to try to prevent those high numbers from getting too bad, and hopefully come up with a decent solution for times we want to indulge. It would be nice to have pizza night without setting ourselves up for 6-8 hours of high alarms and extra finger pokes. So we keep trying.

The problem is, there's only so much you can do when you're trying to make up for the loss of a vital bodily function. We can try a dual wave, or deliver the insulin in other ways, or be overly aggressive with corrections. But it's awfully hard to mimic a healthy pancreas when you're manually dosing insulin for tricky foods. There are definitely times it's not worth the battle, and you do just have to chalk it up to life with an unforgiving disease.

Of course, the moral of the story is that the Crap List is not good for any of us. We just get to ignore that fact a little easier because our body will make up for that rise in blood sugar by spewing out more insulin, which is not a good thing.

Leah takes most of it in stride. We try our best not to make it about restricting, but just about making the right choice at the right time.The last thing we want to do is make a food a bigger issue--it's hard enough with counting and weighing and never being able to put something in your mouth without thinking about it. We ALL need to live moderately, and trying to be her pancreas is a good reminder for that.

1 comment: