Friday, July 29, 2011

Small Changes Equals Fewer Changes

Diabetes is anything but predictable.  Everyone who has it reacts differently to insulin, carbs, exercise, hormones, weather, moods, stress, illness (shall I go on?).  An even bigger pain in the pancreas is that each person's reaction to all of these factors (and more) changes too.  What works this week might not work next week etc etc ad nauseum.

Sometimes, these changes are frustrating. Exasperating. Cause for mini-meltdowns in the kitchen. 

Other times, they're kinda neat.  And occasionally, they even save me money.

Today was pump changing day.  My pump woke me in the middle of the night with its lovely singsong voice.  Boop beep boop.  Only 20 units of insulin left.  I thanked it for the warning, acknowledged it by pressing the right combination of buttons and rolled back over for a few more hours of sleep.  Before breakfast, the pump changing routine started.  I took the insulin vial out of the fridge, pulled out all my supplies from my diabetes cupboard and layed everything out on the counter.  Strange - it felt like it had been longer than usual between pump changes.  I thought back on the last time I had changed it and was shocked.

Typically, I change my pump every four to four and a half days.  Which means that if I changed it on a Saturday morning, I would either change it again on a Wednesday morning or, at the latest, on a Wednesday evening.  That's been the pattern pretty much since I started pumping. 

The last time I changed my pump was on Saturday morning, right after my long run.  It's Friday today.  Somehow, I got an extra day and a half out of the insulin supply I had in there. 

Coming from someone who has changed a lot of pump sites - that's a pretty significant difference.

I can guarantee that I did not put any more insulin in there than usual because I always fill it to the max.  So I'm using less - way less - than I normally would. 

What's up with that?

I figure it's one of several things. 

I'm exercising more regularly and for longer periods than I ever have in my life.  Hardly a day goes by when I'm not doing something.  This regular, consistent activity is probably keeping my blood sugar levels a little lower so I'm not taking extra insulin to correct for highs. 

I've also been having, on average, less lows than I usually do which means I don't have the rebound highs that often accompany lows.  Which means I don't have to correct with extra insulin.

It's summer and I typically need a little less insulin than I do in the winter.

Doug and I are making an effort to eat even healthier than we normally do.  I'm eating more veggies which don't require insulin and they are probably crowding out things that do like pasta and bread.  Not that those things are bad, they're just taking up a little less room on my plate.  Which means I'm having less insulin with meals.

Small changes that resulted in my insulin supply lasting an extra day and half. Crazy.

Between the pump supplies and the insulin, I'm guessing that it costs about $30 every time I change my pump. If I get an extra few days out of each change, that adds up after a while. If this pattern holds, the money I'll save on pump supplies can go towards a new pair of running shoes. 

Which is good because I seem to be going through those at a rather alarming rate.


  1. As someone who does not have to deal with diabetes, I can only imagine what a huge deal this must mean to you! Congrats!
    For what it's worth, again, coming from someone who doesn't have diabetes, I remember my grandpa always telling people that the absolute KEY to managing his diabetes was diet and exercise ... back in the day when almost everyone looked at him like he was a complete fool for doing so! It sure worked for him!
    Thank you for sharing your good news!
    Hope to see you soon ... now that the walking is finished and I'm back to running!

  2. Such a mellowing feeling eh?
    an extra day and a half is huge in the diabetes world. That's a big difference in insulin, like almost 25% less... did I do the math right?!
    meh. Good for you! its a good sign

  3. Whoa, is is so interesting and motivating! I am gonna see how far I SAFELY stretch mine lol

  4. Ha! Yup, you'll need the $ for them shoes. With Benny's sale we just spent about $600 on shoes for Nancy and I. 2 pairs each. Plus the pair I'm currently using that have 1/2 their life left. I feel like a shoe whore.