Having Type 1 diabetes for over 22 years, I think I know a little bit about the condition. No, I’m not an expert. I didn’t go to medical school but 22 years of life experience has left with more knowledge about certain things than the average person might know. Sometimes my knowledge comes into play if I have been experiencing a high blood sugar for a little while. My husband will ask me if it is because I need a new infusion set or new insulin. He is trying to help and I am so thankful that he is knowledgeable enough to be able to “guess” with me as to why I might be running high. Usually though, I tell him no that’s not why I am high, it’s because of XX.
When it comes to diabetes, usually my intuition centers around carb-counting. Again, my husband trying to be helpful might tell me “Kelley, this food has a TON of carbs in it so make sure to bolus a lot”. True, the food I am eating probably does have a lot of carbs but it might have fiber to offset some of the carbs or it might have a lot of fat which could delay the absorption of the carbs. In these situations, I usually trust my intuition and even though it might have a lot of carbs, I might not bolus 100% for the carbs.
A perfect example is cheesecake. I made a cheesecake at Christmastime and the recipe said it had about 45 carbs for one slice. I thought that couldn’t be right because I don’t usually bolus that much when I am “swag”ing for cheesecake so I put in for 25 carbs and I luckily avoided a low during that situation. Trusting my gut feeling also helps when I go out to eat. Restaurants don’t usually include the carb counts on their menu so a lot of the time, I have to guess as to how many carbs might be in there. Sure, I could pull out my phone and look up the carbs in My Fitness Pal but I am the one that has to guess as to how big the portion size is to know how many carbs a meal might have. My husband might say this has a ton of carbs, but again it might not have 100 carbs like he is thinking, it might have 60 carbs and there is a huge difference when it comes to bolusing for a meal between 100 carbs and 60.
Lately, I’ve also been trusting my intuition when it comes to bolusing in the morning. I wake up around 6AM and I ate breakfast. My breakfast insulin to carb ratio is 1:8. Usually, around 9 or 9:30 I am hungry for a snack. My breakfast bolus rate goes until 10AM but the higher insulin to carb ratio is usually too high for when I eat a snack. So when I go to bolus for a snack, I end up overriding the bolus wizard and I put in less insulin. What I really should be doing though is changing the timing of the morning bolus so it ends by the time I have my morning snack. One of these days I will get around to adjusting the time.
A final example of when it’s better to trust that I trust my intuition is when I went to the emergency room last week. I will fill you in on the details of that visit soon but when I first got there and saw the nurse, she told me to turn my pump off so I wouldn’t get any insulin! I’m not sure she quite understood diabetes but that was not the right advice and I chose not to listen to her which was the right call on my part (my blood sugars stayed in range just fine).
It is usually good to listen to medical advice, but every now and then the 22 years of life experience give you a gut feeling that says to question the advice being given. It’s taken me 22 years to realize that I am my best advocate and I need to trust my experiences and sometimes question things. Do you ever question things? Do you ever listen to your gut feeling that something might not contain as many carbs as the label says?