Tuesday, April 17, 2012

YES, I Do Need To Take More Insulin To Eat That - SO WHAT.

I hate when people imply that taking more insulin to cover a certain food (let's say that food is a cupcake or a piece of fruit for that matter) is a bad thing.
Recently when I was having Brunch with friends, one of them saw me silently calculating (I guess I had the "math confuses me look" on my face) carbs of a fruit salad and she said:
Oh...., I guess you have to take more insulin to cover the fruit?? Maybe you could just ask for a side of veggies with your omelet instead of all that fruit.
In my head head I was like: Maybe you could ask for an extra side of Stupid with your oatmeal!
But I didn't. Instead I said: No, I like the fruit, no worries - I can figure it out.
Here's the thing: I (and by "I, " I mean "WE,") don't make insulin - At all.
the Bermuda Triangle of my body called The Islet of Langerhans was destroyed when I was 8 and has virtually disappeared. So in the most simple explanation that I can make re: insulin and food.
In order for me to turn food into energy, insulin (via my insulin pump) is needed. And without the elixir of life called insulin, I wouldn't be able to write this blog, because I'd be dead.
SO why should I, or anyone else for that matter equate taking more insulin to cover a certain meal or food item with being bad??
If I didn't have diabetes my pancreas would automatically secrete insulin to cover a pineapple or a cupcake, or a pineapple cupcake for that matter, so why is that considered OK?
Why is having to add your insulin externally for the very same meal as someone with a functioning pancreas a bad thing?
Insulin corrects our high blood sugars and insulin allows us to eat more than lettuce.
Insulin is not a cure for diabetes but it doesn't mean I'm not grateful to be able to inject insulin when my body needs it. Be it a bolus or a basal rate.

Plus, there's the whole getting mad ourselves when we need a correction bolus thing. Every person I know in the Diabetes On-line Community/ and off-line (including myself) beat themselves up for having to correct a high blood sugar with more insulin. I've literally been driven to tears because I've had to take many a correction bolus (for no reason except that diabetes was bitchy) to correct a stubborn blood sugar - And I know I'm not the only one.
Though, I will admit that being pissed about that sort of extra insulin intake is much more understandable to me. Still, I want us all to be grateful and acknowledge all or positive diabetes moments, instead of focusing on all our "perceived" diabetes FAILS.

Bottom Line: We need insulin to live, so let's not judge ourselves or others for the amount of insulin needed to cover a meal.

And if you have a working pancreas, why not actually learn how it works??? Then you might realize that your insulin production may vary according to all types of interesting internal and external issues. Including but not limited to; food intake, exercise, fighting infection, and whether or not the moon is in a Lunar Eclipse and the likes there of. So don't judge me or make me (and by ME, I mean US) feel bad because we have to take extra insulin to cover the occasional cupcake, couscous, or pineapple serving. Because in life, and life with diabetes, shit happens - And we deal with it, because we can and we MUST.


NeurosurgeryNP said...

Love this post! My favorite tag line to my non-D friends is "There's insulin for that!". Jen

Rachel said...

Love this!

Sometimes things don't seem worth it to me, but let me decide that. I wasn't served cake at a function because, "Wait, Rachel can't have this!"

I can have my cake and I plan on eating it (if I want)... with as much insulin as it takes.

Mike Hoskins said...

Thanks for the post, K2! That's an intriguing double-standard between those non-PWDs and us. As if having to think about it, do the little extra work makes eating this food not OK. Ridiculous. Maybe we "shouldn't," but neither should those others who still make their own insulin.

Unknown said...

From now on, I am absolutely going to add "Would you like a side of stupid with your oatmeal?" to my inner rager whenever the food police shows up.

Lynnette said...

But I like it when they DO get it: a co-worker invited me to her department to celebrate another co-worker's birthday. "You might want to do your 'thing'," she said, gesturing to my pump. "I made the cake and it's really yummy if you can have some." It made me smile.

Sarah @ Sarah Cooks the Books said...

"Maybe you could ask for an extra side of Stupid with your oatmeal!" is my new favorite thing that anyone has said ever.

I have a horrible, horrible cousin who thinks it's REALLY FUNNY to say, "You probably shouldn't be eating that," whenever I eat something that's not. . .like toast or vegetables.

Next time, I think I'm going to say, "And you probably shouldn't be allowed to speak."

RT said...

All of my Android loving, iPhone hating co-workers would look at my lunch, regardless of what was in front of me, and jokingly say, "I've got a shot for that...", or sometimes, "How's that insulin app working out for you...". With these guys, I took it in stride. They all knew about my diabetes, and knew what to do if there was a problem.

Val said...

My endo once said "you wouldn't tell a child with asthma to just use an inhaler enough to be able to barely breathe while sitting quietly, why would you not take insulin to match what you are eating?"

NeurosurgeryNP said...

I. Love. This.

Tricia said...

I really like this, Kelly! I have a diabetic friend who won't drink milk because she has to bolus a unit for a serving and felt it was too much insulin for something to drink. I was perplex. I did not understand what the big deal was about. It started to make me feel bad about taking insulin for certain foods (needless to say, that didn't last long) I've had diabetes for a long time and even though I know a lot about it, every so often something like this comes up and makes ne doubt myself. Thank you for this post, I appreciate it!!

Kristin said...

Love the asthma comment!
GI matters more than carb counts anyhow.
But a snappy comeback beats a lecture most times anyhow - stockpiling the comebacks!

Beeing Sophie said...

Brilliant post! I could relate to so much of this, especially the part about high blood sugars (I stupidly forgot to bolus after dinner today, and luckily it only went to 12.6, but it does fill you with guilt.)
And the whole insulin comments - sometimes it seems like people really don't have a clue! I'll just get in the car on the way to school and put in my breakfast insulin, and my mum will be like "what's wrong!? Is your BG high? Have you run out of insulin?" It drives me crazy!
I actually wrote a blog piece last night along the lines of the misconceptions towards diabetes etc.. which I'm posting tomorrow. This was really excellent - so glad i've read. I love your blog! It's so nice to finally here about other people's lives with dieabetes, because up until about a week ago I knew literally 0.

Take care, and keep posting!


Joe said...

As a type 2, I use a sliding scale believe it or not on my insulin. So I figure out my carbs too.

I do hate it when people who DON'T have diabetes look at me, with that look "should you really be eating that?" or say it out loud even.