If you told me last October that I’d be having a second honeymoon within a year I wouldn’t have believed you. But here I am enjoying the “honeymoon period” in type 1 diabetes. The photo above is from my first honeymoon to Patagonia. I put it in the post cos it’s more interesting to look at than all the charts!

When I first got diabetes, I thought I’d be able to do loads of clever things with my data to get good at managing it. I’ve been collecting data enthusiastically, but making sense of the mountain of data I’ve produced is difficult. Plus I spent two weeks not recording anything at the start of November because I was sulking. Sulking because my smartphone app which I use to record all my data was bought by another company and they seriously dis-improved the user experience as a result. I was shocked at the emotions I experienced when something I use and depend upon every day was changed: I was more angry and upset about that than I was about being diagnosed with diabetes in the first place! So were many other users if the number of horrendous reviews on Google Play were anything to go by. Luckily they fixed the problems, but that explains the gap in my data below.

The Torres del Paine national park is some of the most beautiful and impressive scenery I've ever seen

The Torres del Paine national park has some of the most beautiful and impressive scenery I’ve ever seen

Because I still have some insulin production (until my immune system kills of the rest of my beta cells), I am less dependent on insulin than I will be in the future. The interesting thing is that I am becoming increasingly less dependent on insulin at the moment. The body can’t reproduce the lost beta producing cells so I don’t really understand it. I’m involved in a clinical trial whereby I am being injected with a “vaccine” which may halt the body’s autoimmune response. So that may prolong the honeymoon period.

The chart below shows how many of grams of carbohydrate I eat per unit of fast acting insulin I take before my meals. It also shows how many minutes of running I do per day on average. From the chart you can see that:

  • I really am doing a LOT of running!
  • My insulin sensitivity tends to increase when I do more running.
  • My insulin sensitivity in general has increased. In September, I gave myself a unit of insulin for every 20g of carbohydrate I ate. Now I eat 80 to 100g of carbohydrate per unit, and have been skipping insulin before smaller meals.
The read line shows how many grams of carbs I eat (on average over three days) for each unit of fast acting insulin I take before food. It doesn't include food eaten before or just before exercise. The blue line is the grams of carbs I eat for each unit of insulin I take - this isn't an average, so is more "spikey". The green bars show how many minutes of running I do per day on average.

The red line going up is GOOD! It shows how many grams of carbs I eat (on average over three days) for each unit of fast acting insulin I take before food. It doesn’t include food eaten during or just before exercise. The blue line is the grams of carbs I eat for each unit of insulin I take – this isn’t an average, so is more “spikey”. The green bars show how many minutes of running I do per day on average.

If I’m eating more carbohydrate per unit of insulin one outcome may be that my blood sugar is higher, on average. But that hasn’t happened – see the chart below (well done me by the way! that blood sugar control is not too much worse than a healthy person). So I think I am becoming more sensitive to insulin.

The black line shows my average blood sugar. If my blood sugar readings were normally distributed, 90% of the readings would be between within the shaded area and 50% would be within the red/maroon shaded area. I think that this chart overstates how low my blood sugar can get because it only rarely goes below 4

The black line shows my average blood sugar. If my blood sugar readings were normally distributed, 90% of the readings would be between within the shaded area and 50% would be within the red/maroon shaded area. I think that this chart overstates how low my blood sugar can get because it only rarely goes below 4

I spend a lot of time counting carbs, and thinking about what exercise I’m likely to be doing etc etc, but in my current state, managing diabetes is actually quite easy. This is why studies like the one I’m participating in are so important. If medicine could halt the destruction of beta cells upon diagnosis then patients lives would be so much better. If you think that sounds like a sales pitch for JDRF, who fund diabetes research, then you’re right! I’m raising money for them through sponsorship for running this ultra next weekend. Let me know if you’d like to contribute!!

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