January 5, 2008

Newbie Advice I: Insulin Resistance

If you are new to type 1 I hope you like mind games. Diabetes is all about the mind games.

Welcome to the club! While you master the secret handshake, I’ll spill the beans on one of type 1’s little mind games. It has a lot of mind games so it is not like I am depriving you of a surprise by letting one out of the hat, you will get plenty of them.

I call this one “Maybe the Doctor was Wrong.” The professionals call it insulin resistance. (The professionals call a lot of stuff by funny names but that's another post.)

When that first diagnosis happens, you start taking insulin with a needle. Relatively large amounts. I’ll explain relative to what, here in a few seconds, that’s the whole trick. For now you don’t know jack and don’t know a trick is at hand. If you are like I was mostly you’re working past your needle phobia (I HATE needles,.)

You are doing what the doctor says. Doing what the doctor says is a good plan, I recommend it. You are doing it and in a few days, maybe a week, you start running low. A lot.

You get a little panicky because at Children’s Hospital they beat into you that lows are dangerous. This is all so new.., and you’re worried you doing it wrong... and you tried to do everything right... and your trying to chart trends... and your sister’s cousin’s friend says you can cure diabetes with cinnamon... and you didn’t really believe it but you put a little in the apple sauce... and NOW YOU HAVE LOWS!


So you cut back on the insulin. You have talked to the doctors office about this and you’re using less now than before.

You’re still run low. You cut back more.

Next thing you know you are hardly using any insulin compared to what you started with. (See that is the relative I was talking about, well that and your sister’s cousin’s friend) You think, “Maybe it isn’t diabetes. Maybe it is some funny cold like thing that looks like diabetes but goes away in a week or two! Maybe there is something to the cinnamon in the apple sauce. Maybe the Doctor was Wrong!”

Sorry. No such luck. It is Diabetes.

Welcome to the club. Diabetes loves mind games, this is one of its games. Your sister’s cousin’s friend hasn’t got a clue but diabetes is having a huge laugh tricking you into thinking they may.

Here is the deal. Initially people are resistant to injected insulin. They just don’t use it well. Also the poor beleaguered pancreases is still putting out a little insulin of its own and with injected insulin, that the body is becoming less resistant to, the need for injected insulin has declined, to almost nothing. In some cases, just the long term stuff.

It doesn’t last all that long – just long enough for the mind games to really work you over. In time you start seeing the numbers go up and you slowly work more insulin into the program. The net effect may be little more than to help make you crazy.

I didn’t learn this game; really believe it was a mind game, until after the second kid’s diagnosis.

You are brilliant if you come away with from it with the idea that what worked yesterday may not work today - Your Diabetes May Vary.

More YDMV Newbie Tips: http://www.ydmv.net/2008/01/newbie-advice.html


  1. cinnamon cure...my mom swore by this for my stepdad and then couldn't figure out why he would go low...now, when she tries to push it on my dd, I ask her if it is the nagging mom cure...she hasn't laughed once, or even cracked a smile

  2. Thanks so much for this...my newly diagnosed little guy (1 y.o.) had 3 lows today and I was about in tears. I'm also a blogger -- as you can imagine, diabetes has now become a major topic on MusicianMama....

  3. Nagging mom cure LOL.

    Katie check out CWD there a link on my side bar, good people many with little guy T1 experience,