What’s it like having type 1 diabetes? Like having a part-time job on top of everything else…
I’m like most people – sometimes I manage great control. Sometimes, through no fault of my own, I don’t. And sometimes the fault is my own. My blood sugars go haywire, and I spend the day yawning, wishing people wouldn’t talk to me because it’s too much effort to talk back.
Sorry if you’ve met me when I’m like that.
Anyway, here’s what a day of living with diabetes looks like…
8am. Up and at ‘em! Or something like that. I’m self-employed, and I work from home, so I don’t have to commute. Or go to an office – thanks be to all the stars above. My cat likes to sleep on top of me, so sometimes it takes me ten minutes to get up because I don’t like to shift him…
Blood sugar – 6.6mmol. Oh no, is this going to be one of those terrible goodie two-shoes posts where people show off about their brilliant control?
I take my long-term insulin when I get up – 13 units of Levemir. I give the dose in two injections because I think it works better that way. Being an impatient sort, I need to count to 20 to stop me removing the needle too quickly. (You might not get the full dose if you take the needle out too soon.)
I don’t bother with breakfast. Up and at ‘em feels more do-able when I don’t. I’m accidentally doing the trendy 16-8 thing, where you only eat within an eight-hour window.
I work from 9am to 1 pm. I’m a freelance writer, so I write blogs, website contents, video scripts and more for clients, mainly small businesses that are trying to improve their SEO. Some years ago, my husband built me a standing desk. Once you get used to standing for work, it feels much more comfortable than sitting all day.
Blood sugar – 4.2mmol. Oh, no! It IS going to be a humble-brag blog.
1.30pm-2pm. Lunchtime. Today, I had chilli, salad and some green beans on the side and I finished with some peanuts. I took half a unit of Humalog to cover roughly 20g net carbs. I didn’t take it until after the meal because my blood was low beforehand and because I was planning a walk afterwards.
2pm. I usually go for a walk. I use a Jawbone app to track my sleep and activity. About an hour of walking a day takes you to 10,000 steps.
3.30pm – a bit more work. I write dog blogs for a client, and as I love animals these are my favourite ones to do.
5.30pm – 3.9. I had a banana to cover the low blood sugar, and then I went to a spin class. The instructor LOVES Lady Gaga. I’m beginning to hate her, as I associate the poor woman with nasty hill climbs.
7.30pm. Blood sugar, 11.1. Not so goodie two-shoes now, eh?! Huffing and puffing exercise sometimes does that to me – sends my body into a panic. ARGH, this is hard! Find sugar! Walking doesn’t do this.
I made myself a cheese and onion omelette. Other omelettes are available, but why would you bother?! It was more like cheese, with a bit of onion and egg on the side. I had one unit of Humalog to cover the net carbs.
8pm – oops, how did that get in there? A cheeky little glass of pink fizz… It was so nice, I had another one. And er… maybe another one after that. I reckoned it would help lower blood sugars ;)*
10pm – second dose of Levemir, 6 units. I try to find a spot on my abdomen that doesn’t look too punctured. Medical staff stress the importance of changing injection sites regularly. I’ve got a lump on my belly that’s been there 20 years because I overused the same spot. I don’t go near it now.
10.30pm. I had an Atkins fudge bar. I didn’t take any insulin with it because I’d had a few glasses of wine. Atkins chocolate bars aren’t as carb-free as they boast – but they do contain fewer carbs than a standard chocolate bar.
Bed time. And that was my Friday.
*Usual rules apply – as a condition, type 1 diabetes will vary widely between individuals. What I do isn’t a recommendation or prescription for anyone else.