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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. I hope to share my struggles, my successes, and everything in between.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Disconnected

That term means something to us pumpers - as in "disconnected" from our pumps. But, that's not what I want to write about today.

Instead I'm talking about the disconnect we have in one of our very basic bodily systems.

The body is a fascinating machine. One that we probably don't give it's due credit and respect until something doesn't work as it should. For the diabetic that is all about trying to manually manage our blood sugars.

There are times when our blood sugars and bodies hunger levels don't quite jive.

I'd like to draw some attention to just how confusing that is to me.

I mean, I'm not confused by the concept of it, it does make sense - it's just that the body is not in tune with being out of sync on those two issues.

An example might serve here.

Lets say you make some miscalculation for your meal bolus (yes folks, it does happen). You take a larger bolus than your meal actually requires. You finish your meal, and are quite satisfied, feeling full, to a point, and content.

But then your over-bolus hits you, and your body is all of a sudden screaming for sugar. But wait - I'm FULL! According to my bodies natural systems, I'm supposed to be feeling full, satisfied, not-lacking in the sugar department!

You have this whole mess of conflicting signals - satiety & fullness vs. low blood sugar and the bodies signals demanding more energy. You see? Disconnected.

This might also happen if you get your timing such that your insulin is lowering blood sugar faster than your stomach is digesting what's there. Again, disconnected.

It can be very confusing, because the body will never know this situation when all of it's parts are working properly. But, when we are in charge of our insulin, things like this can happen. It's a combination of signals that the body does not know how to deal with.

It's not natural.

Granted, this situation usually does not happen often, but I thought it was worth giving credit to the natural order of things, and a nod of acknowledgement to the difficulties of things that happen when that natural order doesn't quite work right.

6 Comments:

Blogger Kevin said...

Yup,

The body is pretty amazing, and when it breaks down, the intricate nature of the beast comes into sharp focus. I joke with non-diabetics about how much they take their pancreas for granted (probably about as much as I take my liver for granted).

And the few times that I've had lows hit me just as I'm topping off my stomach at a meal have been some of the more frightening and certainly the most uncomfortable lows I've ever had to deal with.

The "Just one more waifer thin mint, sir?" scene from Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" takes on a whole new meaning after a low-blood sugar episode like that.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Kelsey said...

I used to always say, "The things I hate most about diabetes are: not being able to eat when you want to; and having to eat when you don't want to."

Having to injest more calories when you're full is the worst!

3:44 PM  
Blogger art-sweet said...

People keep asking me if I feel different, pumping. (Almost wrote pimping. Very different.)

The main difference I notice is that I don't feel these intense hunger surges at weird times when, I guess, my lantus was kicking in.
When I feel hungry, in general, I am hungry. Connected. I've had a hard time explaining that to PWODs. So it was really awesome and affirming to hear you talk about it, Scott.

I still have lows where I get really hungry, but I've been able to avoid some of those dinner/insulin absorbtion battles using square/dual boluses.

And I agree with Kelsey - eating when you don't want just plain sucks.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

You are so right, Scott! It is truly annoying not to be able to accomplish the same level of BG-control as the body can itself -i.e., when all its regulatory systems are working properly - even though that is impossible.

Personally, I find the inconsistency of BG-levels-hunger frustrating. Why is it that you are always in need of something to eat - e.g. to get a safe night's sleep - when you aren't really hungry? It doesn't always coincide with just haven eaten and thus being full, I am usually not hungry at all late at night, when I discover that the BG is too low to just go to bed.

12:40 AM  
Blogger J said...

AMEN! yet again you have managed to put into words what I am thinking thank you :-)

9:15 AM  
Blogger itesseract said...

Wow. It's interesting to get another perspective. I personally prefer the lows when I'm satieted because I find them very easy to recognize: "Oh, that feels like hunger but I just a lot of pizza, I must be low." Whereas when I haven't eaten in a while I always seem to get it wrong: when I am low I think I'm just hungry, and when I'm just hungry I think I'm low. Sometimes I even get a weak sensation when I'm just hungry and *not* low, which is really confusing.

This is not to say that I enjoy eating when I'm not hungry any more than the rest of you. Ditto with the late night snacks. I tend never to be hungry later in the day. I eat a hearty breakfast very early (around 7:30), an equally large lunch around 12 and usually a small dinner around 5-6, and then I strongly prefer not to eat again at all, and I go to bed quite late, usually after midnight. I'm a weird one, I know...

5:09 PM  

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