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Hungry Like the Wolf.

We went arrived at the festival in Boston around 4 o’clock, after driving from RI.  Hours later, I felt the churning, swirling ache in my stomach.  That irritability and emptiness, making the railing of the theater’s chair almost ... chewy.

“When did we eat last?”  I whispered to Chris as the fifteenth short film started.Hungry

“At 3 o’clock.”

My stomach rumbled.

“And what time is it now?”

“I don’t know.  Check your pump.”  Quick hit of the button to illuminate the screen.  “It’s 9:30.”

A little bit shaky.  Kind of weak.  What was going on?  I must be like 50 mg/dl.  I pulled my meter from my purse and, by the backlight of my pump and meter, watched the countdown from 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

174 mg/dl.

Okay, not even close to low.  I bolused a unit and a half to bring me back towards 100 mg/dl and sat back in my seat to watch the rest of the film.  My stomach ached in protest.  “Hey lady.  Go eat something.  It’s been like seven hours.  I’m empty.  Whahh.”

Is this what hungry feels like?

Before I went on an insulin pump, I never really knew how “being hungry” felt.  Back when I was using NPH and Lente and UltraLente insulins, I kept to an eating schedule that protected me from the peaks and valleys of my insulin.  Even transitioning to Lantus had me eating on a scheduled basis, as the insulin seemed to peak a bit in my body.  Going more than three hours without a little snack was unheard of. 

Flash forward 17 years to the insulin pump.  At the age of 25, I started using my Paradigm 512 and it allowed me, for the first time in my life as a diabetic, to eat when I felt like it.  I could sleep until noon and not have to worry about blood sugar fluctuations.  I could go to bed at 3 in the morning and my A1c didn’t suffer the consequences.  (Though the bags under my eyes were impressive.)  And I didn’t have to eat every three hours to ensure that my sugars would remain range-ish.

For the first time that I could remember, I felt “hungry”.  And the feeling was so new and startling yet familiar and uncomfortable that I couldn’t help but associate it with being low.

We finally left the film festival and wandered towards the car.  “Eat something,” Stomach pleaded, lurching and trying to turn itself inside out. 

"Let's eat," said Chris, almost in answer to my hungry belly.

“One quick thing,” I murmured, reaching for my kit again.  144 mg/dl. 

Damn tricky hunger.  I would have bet money on the fact that I was low.    


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Yes. Yes. Yes.

Real Life Conversation:

Me: I'm so hungry... I think I must be low.
Pili: Why don't you test?(oh isn't she smart)
Me: Okay. (tests) 180? huh? But I feel LOW.
Pili: You didn't eat breakfast. Perhaps you're HUNGRY.

And y'know, I thought I was the only one?

I love it that I'm not the only person who has this trouble! This happens to me all the time. Especially when I am at work because I am usually the busiest at lunch time so I can't always stop and eat. It is easy to tell when I am really high or really low...but trying to determine if I am just mildly low or just hungry without testing is tough.

What you've described is so frustrating. And especially when you're trying to describe it. I'm always hungry when I'm in the 300s, and it's very hard to communicate that there is a "blood sugar hungry" (the GIVE ME SUGAR hungry) and the "stomach hungry").

Well, now you have my curiousity going. Will pumping affect my hunger at all? Hmmm...

Isn't it crazy how those signals get crossed? We used to feel that "hungry" when we were heading low.

With pumping, we can be hungry just because we really are actually hungry - independent of BG level!

As Nic mentioned too - I get a confusing sensation when my BG is at or crossing that 200 mg/dl threshold. So, yes, I too feel that "blood sugar hungry" and "stomach hungry".

I totally hear you on this one. Since I started pumping I have found that hunger pain so strange. It had been so long that I forget what it felt like.

That's exactly it! I'm completely confused by the feeling of hunger. I always think I'm low because I've never associated that miserable, empty, sort of lost feeling with anything other than a low bloodsugar. Even though I've been pumping for over two years, that feeling still confuses the hell out of me. :)

Isn't it amazing, how sensitive we become to our body's language? After years listening to my body for low blood sugar warnings, I too find I forget that my body can be uncomfortable in a way that doesn't require immediate action. Though I'm a hearty eater, sometimes I like to just embrace the hunger. It makes me feel so diabetically balanced, in control, healthy, and normal.
Thanks for another terrific post.

Food is no longer medicine!!! I loved that new found freedom........

Wow, I totally do the same thing! I seem to only think I am low if I am hungry too. I could be full and 30mg/dl and not feel low, but if I am hungry, I definitely think I am low!

Every time I get hungry at I assume I'm low too. When I am thirsty I assume I'm high. Never do I assume that I am just simply hungry or thirsty.

"Though I'm a hearty eater, sometimes I like to just embrace the hunger. It makes me feel so diabetically balanced, in control, healthy, and normal."

Me too! When I was diagnosed almost three years ago, for some STUPID reason (they thought it would be "easier" for me because it is only 2 shots/day) I was put on a R/NPH regimen, even though I'm a college student with a very erratic schedule. Needless to say, I swtiched to Lantus/Humalog (against the wishes of my primary endo) in less than six months. The Lantus doesn't really peak for me, so I can sometimes skip BOTH breakfast and lunch if I'm having a really hectic day...and I don't really mind the hunger because I feel more free...

And its rather impossible/rare to feel real hunger-when you're on a R/NPH/ 3 meals-and-two snacks a day diet. I didn't get hungry back in those days, just low.
I'd rather be hungry anyday..

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