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Diabetes Month: Ask Me About My Diabetes.

At 4 am, when I woke up to hang out with my little apple jack to feed him, my blood sugar was 108 mg/dL.  He ate and we both went back to bed.  When I woke up at 6.30 am, my blood sugar was somehow 221 mg/dL.

What the hell happened?!  Usually, breastfeeding makes my blood sugar drop, not rise.  Was there cortisol on board due to not sleeping?  Does my morning basal rate need to be tweaked again, now that I’m 10 weeks postpartum?  Did the potato salad go bad and exact revenge on me?  If two carbs left the station at 4 am, one going into my mouth and the other going into the baby, would they arrive on my meter at the same time?  Bonus point if you show your work.

Diabetes is the ultimate math problem.

This diabetes month, I want to make an effort to “show my work” so that folks both in and outside of the diabetes circle have a better sense of what it’s like to live day-to-day with diabetes.  Which brings me to this:

After posting this image as my Facebook profile picture, hoping people would ask questions about diabetes, my friend Chris Snider (<– always advocating, always inspiring) connected with me and after some quick back and forth, #amadiabetes came to be.

The hashtag stands for “ask me anything” about diabetes and in the spirit of spreading awareness and empathy, we’re encouraging our friends, family, and followers both with and without diabetes to ask whatever questions they have about the life with diabetes experience. The goal is to strengthen our community, educate others, and contribute to a culture of empathy. Check out #AMAdiabetes to see the variety of responses to questions, taking note that, as always, your diabetes may vary.

So feel free to ask away.  Ask me.  Ask Chris.  Ask others.  Ask yourself.  Be all ask-a-rama all over the place and let’s learn from one another and educate together.

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Martha #

    I wish people asked me more. Are they afraid that I don’t want to talk about it? Do they not know that it’s incredibly consuming and probably the most important thing about me? Bottom line: if you don’t know some basics about diabetes and if you don’t know something about how diabetes affects me, you don’t know me. And can someone explain to me why people don’t ask? I don’t get it.

    11/2/16; 3:17 pm
    • Ria #

      After having type 1 D for 45 yrs now, most ( not all) people have their own issues
      Unless it directly affects their personal lives, they don’t ask
      ( unless they’re a curious bird, like me, that likes asking questions )

      11/3/16; 1:13 pm
      • Martha #

        I know. I’m just kind of tired of it is all. I’m right behind you at 41 years and the more the years rack up the more I know what a big part of me it is. And I’m talking close friends and siblings and relatives and in-laws who mostly don’t ask, not co-worker types. Although I’d welcome it all 🙂

        I’m curious, too, so maybe I’m not normal? Damnit no, not apologizing for wanting more from people on this one!

        11/3/16; 4:58 pm
        • Ria #

          You are ” normal ”

          11/6/16; 5:15 pm
  2. Nan #

    All of this.

    11/2/16; 4:58 pm
  3. I have friends who do ask – and they’re good questions – and I appreciate that they want to know.
    I have a sister who asks, “How’s your diabetes?” Sigh…

    11/2/16; 6:45 pm
  4. Jillian #

    This is great! I posted it into my all of my diabetes groups online hoping more and more become involved! Thank you for creating this with others. Fantastic idea!

    11/2/16; 6:46 pm
  5. Shelley Page #

    Hi Kerri,
    I really like all your posts-just so you know, I can’t always find where to click – like!! I continue to tell others about your blogs. Thanks so much! Shelley Page

    11/2/16; 7:54 pm
  6. Great idea. I wonder if you or Chris will mind if others use the ask me graphic?

    This item has been referred to the TUDiabetes Blog page for the week of October 31, 2016

    11/2/16; 8:05 pm
    • Go ahead and use the graphic! 🙂

      11/2/16; 8:17 pm
      • Jennifer #

        Said graphic is hilarious!! And so incredibly true. I suck at math anyway – I’m an English major – so I typically sport Jack Sparrow’s look in that anyway.

        11/3/16; 9:19 am
        • Jack Sparrow is my math spirit animal … if that’s a thing. 😉

          11/3/16; 10:00 am
  7. Dan #

    Hi Kerri,

    I appreciate your post and have a suggestion. Please check out the following

    Baseball is a challenge and a battle between a pitcher and a batter. What worked before may not work again. What can we do to stay on top of our game.

    Most important we need to keep on fighting. As always have a great day.

    11/3/16; 11:33 am
  8. I have a theory about why your blood sugar went up instead of down during the overnight feed. Bear with me, because this is kind of long.

    First, and you already know this part, breastfeeding requires energy. Put another way, breastfeeding, like exercise, sucks energy out of your cells, which means your cells need more sugar, which means your cells suck more sugar up from your blood, which means there’s less sugar in your blood because it moved into your cells to become energy, which means your blood sugar level goes lower. So, the conclusion is that breastfeeding lowers blood sugar. This is mostly, and usually, true.


    Since I stopped breastfeeding, I started a high intensity fitness program to prophylactically prevent extra weight gain. During this time, I’ve collected a ton of data on the effects of high intensity interval training on blood glucose by experimenting with external stimuli and how they affect my pre-exercise and post-exercise blood sugar experience. All I was looking for was a consistent strategy that I could use to keep my blood sugar at a flatline during and after exercise.

    But what I found was even more valuable.

    I was surprised to discover something that I hadn’t even been looking for, and it really helped me reconcile why the heck my blood sugars sometimes went high after breastfeeding (I have a 10 month old, stopped bf-ing 3 months ago) instead of going low.

    Here’s the pattern I found: when my body is in a starving state (not the same as fasting), my blood sugar goes UP after breastfeeding or after exercise. When my body is NOT starving (meaning I’ve bolused insulin sometime within the last 6 hours or so), my blood sugar goes lower after breastfeeding or exercise.

    Essentially, if you deplete the energy in your cells and there’s no bolus insulin in your body to help move more glucose (more glucose than usual, that is, which is what needs to happen here to replenish the energy lost) from your blood into the cells, that’s when you get your super helpful hepatic glucose release and resultant high blood sugar. Your body is starving and needs to replace energy in your cells, your hypothalamus knows it, which triggers adrenal release of adrenaline and cortisol, and, well, you know what happens next. 🙂

    Basically, breastfeeding and exercise can trigger a liver dump and raise your blood sugar if your cells are starved of glucose AND you don’t have any bolus insulin on board.

    I’m still experimenting with my exercise and collecting data in a spreadsheet, and I just started taking Metformin to see if I can suppress that hepatic release and resultant high blood sugar that I’m getting after the exercise.

    11/10/16; 10:41 am

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