Welcome to Flawed yet Functional and another edition of “What in the World is Going on With My Health?” As a thirty-three year old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in April 2017, and through some research and diet change, I’ve been able to manage my blood sugar through only food, exercise, and healthy habits. Just after Thanksgiving 2018, my blood sugar jumped up to the 300’s and did not go down again. So, it’s back to insulin after 19 months without it, but what about the Autoimmune Protocol and Type 1 Diabetes? What about exercise and healthy habits? Where am I going next to live the healthiest life I can?
After two or three weeks of trying to bring my blood sugar down the usual way:
- Go back to elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol
- Reduce carbs
- Strict adherence to sleep/wake schedule
I realized it just wasn’t working. Every now and then, I might get a reading in the low 200’s, but I never had a reading in optimal range. Never.
Financing diabetic supplies takes a lot of work. Insurance companies make obtaining insulin and testing supplies very difficult.
On top of the difficulties to obtain the meds, they are downright expensive. A 90 day supply of my fast acting insulin is $850, retail, and the negotiated rate only brings it down to $450. Managing diabetes is very expensive.
There are “old school” insulins that are drastically cheaper. NPH is an intermediate insulin meaning it works for 12-16 hours versus a long acting which works for 24 hours. This insulin is $25 at Walmart for a 42 day supply. $25!
You know where this is going, right? I had to try the cheap stuff first. How can I pass up that price?
I gave it a go for one week, and I saw why it is only a last resort insulin. It is so volatile. Instead of working steady for 12-16 hours, it rises quickly for 2-6 hours then tapers off for 6ish more hours.
My first dose was at 8 am, and in order to get a good lunch number, I was almost guaranteed a low before lunch.
My second dose was at dinner, but I was always high at dinner because the dose from the morning had worn off. I had to take extreme care to not take too much insulin at dinner because it would send me low in the middle of the night.
Since I didn’t know exactly how this insulin would act, I had to get up repeatedly through the night to check my blood sugar. No fun and much tiredness the next day. I needed another solution.
Long Acting & Fast Acting Insulin
The typical method (without an insulin pump) for managing Type 1 Diabetes these days is to take a long acting insulin to bring the overall blood sugar level down, and take a fast acting insulin at meal time to address the carbs eaten at that meal only.
The biggest issue for switching to this insulin was the cost. While I did have HSA money set aside, I wanted to be wise and judicious with that money, spending as little as possible.
Second, I went to my local pharmacy to see how well the discount cards worked. They turned out to be awesome! The long acting insulin was reduced to $0, and the fast acting to $250! That’s still not small potatoes but definitely better than $1,000+!
The final piece I needed is needles to attach to the insulin pen to inject the meds. The pharmacy charged $46/box of needles, and I was prescribed 4 boxes. That’s $184 in needles alone! No way. There must be a cheaper way.
I left and immediately called the Wal-Mart pharmacy where I’d gotten the cheap NPH insulin. Just as I thought, they had generic pen needles for $18/box. Yes, please I’ll take those, thank you.
Now, I’ve got insulin, but what about my diet?
The Autoimmune Protocol
As I’ve shared my story with other Type 1 Diabetics, I’ve found common issues:
- Unstable blood sugar
- Multiple autoimmune diseases
- Periods of high blood sugar with unknown cause
- Generally not feeling well – lack of energy, getting sick easily, unknown aches and pains, etc.
I plan to stay on the Autoimmune Protocol to combat all of these issues.
- Stabilizing my blood sugar, with the help of insulin, is my first priority. I hope the AIP diet will allow me to maintain stable blood sugars more easily than the standard American diet.
- Currently, I only have 1 autoimmune disease, but I had eczema until I eliminated gluten from my diet. It went away after 2 weeks of gluten free eating, so I will stay on the AIP diet to prevent other autoimmune diseases from developing.
- I hope to find that with a healthy, nutritious diet and insulin support that stable blood sugars are very obtainable.
- As far as feeling well, I know this diet makes me feel awesome. I have energy, sleep well, and don’t have any mystery pains anymore.
Regular exercise is critical to blood sugar management. Adding more insulin will never replace the need for exercise. Insulin, and any medication, is to help promote good health. It cannot make you healthy on its own. Therefore, I will be maintaining my exercise routine currently established.
Just like exercise, healthy habits are necessary for good blood sugar management. You cannot bolus enough insulin to make up for poor life habits. I will continue to wake up early, drink my tea, read my Bible, reduce stress, and go to bed on time. It’s just the right way to live!
Although going back on insulin is a bit of a disappointment, I choose to embrace the life it gives me. If I lived 100 years ago, I would die from this disease. Praise the Lord He gave us the intellect to discover how to make insulin so those like me could live! So where am I going from here on my health journey? Forward. Onward with the same plan to heal my gut, discover food sensitivities, and live the healthiest life I can. This plan just includes insulin injections now!