Friday, April 15, 2011

Paying Attention

The other day on twitter, Kim asked if anyone noticed a change in BGs when they have a sunburn.  I wanted to answer, but this is the thing, I couldn't.  Not because I haven't been sunburned, I know that I have.  But it's because throughout college and a few years beyond, I didn't pay attention to my diabetes.  So the answer that popped into my head was "I wish I knew."  And then, "In the theme of honesty, I'm going to have to write about this."

This is the thing.  I know diabetes.  And I sound like I know it, so when I went to the endo all throughout college, I was able to talk my way into paying attention to diabetes.  And it worked.  At the time, fortunately, but ultimately, unfortunately.  But even if it hadn't worked, would I have changed?  Probably not, because I wasn't ready.  Sure, I paid attention, and I always had insulin with me and tabs, but I wouldn't always test.  And then, paying attention to things like "do blood sugars have a different pattern when you're sunburnt?"  The thought of paying attention to a different pattern when I couldn't even pay attention to my regular patterns is a little intimidating, and right now, embarrassing.

But now.  Now I'm ready for this.  I've been paying attention and changing basals and asking questions not only of my medical team, but also of PWDs and Caregivers.  And I have a list of things to pay attention to.  (Being sunburnt is at the top).  I've been researching, investigating, and feeling better than I've felt in years.

Does anyone else have any other things that may cause a change in the amount of insulin they need?  (Besides exercise & illness)  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated :)


  1. Great blog and topic, Briley. I can't speak to the sunburn, but do relate on the "knowing enough to get by" mentality and just not paying attention to those things when I was younger in my teens and even early 20s. Yes, I am like you and agree there is a trend - but just haven't paid enough attention to it in those times the situation was happening. That happened with me a few years ago with coffee, recognizing for the first time (on a pump break, actually) that it truly does screw with me. But, we are we are today. So, good luck in recognizing and finding the sunburn trends when you do!

  2. This really resonates with me. Until I had my kids, I had no idea what pizza did to me. Or coffee. I didn't realize until this year that I my blood sugar spikes if I have milk in my coffee, even though I heard people talk about that happening, it wasn't until I was paying attention for myself that I really started to see all the little things diabetes affects. And sometimes it's hard for me to admit that this disease really does affect me...I've spent so long trying to prove that I'm just like everyone else!
    I think I spent my first 25-30 years living with diabetes on the side and now I'm living with diabetes as a partner.
    Good choice for today. :o)

  3. The only thing I've ever been able to quantifiably say changes my blood sugar is PMS and menstruation (sorry guys). Sometimes it's really noticeable, other times I don't notice it until I start and think "Oh, so that's why I was in the 200s twice yesterday even though I corrected."

    Certain foods will do different things to me. Even different exercise does different things to me. It's one of the annoyances of diabetes to have to pay attention to all this stuff, but it really does help.

    As for sunburns, I imagine it's a bit of an illness. You have a burn on your skin that your body is trying to repair and heal. I wouldn't be surprised if you became a little insulin resistant, as if you were sick.

    Of course, being sun burnt (for most people) is such a rarity that it probably doesn't matter too much if you notice a pattern.

  4. Hmm... I get sunburned a lot (Florida girl). I think I may need a bit more insulin but I think it is because when I get sunburned I am also headed toward dehydration because I have spent the day in the sun :)

    Not sure though!