Diabetes Doesn’t Give Holidays Off

Next week marks my 3rd year of using OmniPod to manage my type 1 diabetes. This isn’t really relevant to today’s story, but I wanted to point it out.

It’s sometimes hard to believe how much time has gone by since I was diagnosed with diabetes and since I started using an insulin pump. It’s an all-day, everyday condition that gives no time off for vacations, holidays or good behavior. In fact, I think that mine punishes me on vacation and during holidays!

I know it’s been a few weeks, but let me tell you about my very unthankful and unpleasant start to Thanksgiving. The evening before Thanksgiving Brad and I went down to his family’s house. We usually help prepare and cook the meal. My blood sugar was a little high, but I assumed it was from having lunch out with my coworkers. I took corrections and set temp basals, but got kind of wrapped up in the prep for the big dinner that I wasn’t as vigilant as I should have been.

I was over 200 before bed, so I corrected and set an alarm. I woke up to my alarm and was still high so I corrected again and set another alarm because no one really needs to sleep, right? I have no recollection of testing a second time but my PDM shows another reading and correction, it was lower but still too high. When I woke up the next morning and checked my Dexcom I almost had a heart attack, it read over 300. I immediate stuck my finger and sure enough, I was 302.

Its hard to be thankful when you start the day with a device failure, pod change and moderate ketones. #walkwithd

A photo posted by Rachel K (@probablyrachel) on

Something was clearly wrong so I took a manual injection from my brand new vial of insulin and started the pod change process, right there in my in-laws’ guest bed while Brad was just waking up. The old pod was starting day 3 and was the last of my previous vial of insulin, that coupled with the mystery food and my dysfunctional immune system created the perfect diabetes storm to threaten to ruin my Thanksgiving.

I filled Brad in on the night’s trends and my plan of action while I placed a new pod. Then I set an increased temp basal and went to go pee on a stick. It didn’t even take the full 15 seconds for the ketone strip to confirm what I had guessed, I had ketones. Moderate ketones to be exact. I haven’t had anything larger than trace ketones since I was in the hospital in ketoacidosis (when I found out I had type 1 diabetes).

I took more insulin, and downed a glass of water and then another, and one more for good measure. I sat with more water and went through the Black Friday ads with Brad and his family, refusing food and coffee. Once I had a downward trend on Dexcom, I tested for ketones again. They were down to small and I felt comfortable showering.



Fresh pod, fresh insulin (copius amounts) and 32oz of water worked! Down to trace ketones. #thankful #walkwithd


A photo posted by Rachel K (@probablyrachel) on

More water, more insulin and a cup of coffee later, I was back in a more comfortable range and I had a little breakfast. By turkey time I was on my way to a low blood sugar and negative for ketones.

I spent the rest of the day bouncing between low and kind of high because once you hit one extreme, it’s hard to level out in the right places.

I discussed what had happened with my endocrinologist earlier this week and she said that I handled it okay and was happy I avoided DKA.

This time of year especially, I like to try to minimize the fact that I have diabetes. Very few people let me though. Because some people don’t understand my life, job or hobbies enough to talk about them with me, they ask about the only thing they know: diabetes.

  • “How’s your pump doing?” as if it’s a person.
  • “How are you doing with your diabetes?”
  • “Can you eat that?’
  • “Does that have too much sugar in it for you?” (No, it had onions and I don’t like onions.)
  • “Where is your monitor?”
  • “Are you feeling better?” {Reference Here}
  • “Do you still have to take insulin?”

It’s hard to enjoy the holidays when you’re constantly forced to think about the part of your body that no longer works add that to the complicated dance of carbohydrate counting the things I actually want to eat and the bg hikes caused by traveling sometimes celebrations feel like punishment.

Don’t forget, I’m having an online Jamberry party  and anyone who does the buy 3, get one free or hosts their own party gets entered into a drawing.

One thought on “Diabetes Doesn’t Give Holidays Off

  1. Ugh, not a great way to kick off a holiday. Here’s hoping you got all to mishaps out of the way on Thanksgiving and that diabetes can now behave for Christmas and New Years!!

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