Despite getting my flu shot this year I still got the flu. And while the flu is bad for everyone, I was really afraid of getting the flu this year. I've probably had the flu a half-dozen times in the last 15 years - often enough to know that I am a huge baby! Big tree fall hard.
This strain of flu seems to have hit many people. I survived the first wave earlier this year, but this last version stuck. I've been more unstable than I should be the last two weeks - falling behind on diet and sleep left this bug with the perfect opportunity.
Nothing special about the type of flu I had. Headache, fever, chills, body aches, lots of sweating and a little gastro-intenstinal fun. Pretty standard fair. But I've been warned to have a sick-day plan due to the added dangers of the flu with diabetes. The flu wrecks havoc with my insulin control - but without ever having the flu while diabetic before I wasn't sure what to expect. So here's what I learned.
Flu makes me insulin resistant. While my sensitivity to insulin is abnormally high when I'm healthy (12-15U per day) I had to double my basal doses of lantus from twice daily 6U to 12U. And my meal-time (bolus) insulin needs were about double as well.
Initially I had been using my Novolog as a corrective every time my numbers crept up, but eventually I realized that instead of dealing with corrections after the fact, it turned out to be much easier to adjust my basal instead. Its much easier to deal with the long-acting insulin while sick than to depend on the fast-acting.
The problem is that I need to take my insulin before meals. Meaning that once I dose myself I'm fully committed to eating what I planned and keeping that food down. Realistically, I didn't really eat anything for 3 days. I had a 1/4cup of greek yogurt and blackberries one day, a banana the other, but really had no urge to eat. I even cooked a plate of bacon and eggs, but struggled to find a appetite. (the dogs really love me now).
I stayed up on my hydration - I knew well enough. I got my vitamins down with the small snacks - but largely existed on ginger tea. I did resort to a Sierra Mist Natural soda to try to get some extra carbs in. One 12oz bottle of soda is 70grams of sugar! That more carbs than I eat in most meals now. But the last thing I want is to put 'diet' soda in my body.
We all have our sick day rituals - for me the soda reminded me of the days I'd be sick from school as a kid. I'd crank up the thermostat on my waterbed and my mom would bring me a ginger ale served over crushed ice in a specific thermos cup with a lid that only opened when I pressed on a button (saved from spills). I even remember how that cup would then pinch closed on your lips if you released the button before you were done drinking... Funny how the flu takes you back. Anyone else out there who got hit with this round of sickness knows how much we all wanted to have our mommies by our side taking care of us - and when I'm sick I'm a huge momma's boy.
Good news is that I survived. It took 4 days but I think I'm finally coming around. Lessons learned and now I have a plan for future episodes of flu. And I'm grateful. Last Monday I was supposed to start using my insulin pump, but since I was feeling run down I opted to delay. That decision was so very lucky. If I had started on the pump Monday I would have been transitioning to just my fast-acting insulin and would have required a whole lot of extra attention fine tuning my rates. Considering that my rates were all messed up - I consider myself very very lucky to have delayed. That would have made a bad week much much worse.
Insights into my personal life.
This blog includes the personal details of my experiences as a recently diagnosed Type I diabetic and the impact of that diagnosis on my endurance athletic pursuits.
Please understand that I consider myself to be a work in progress. I am willing to share both my successes and failures, so please do not take my words to be professional dietary or medical advice. This is a blog, this is only a blog. I research my choices carefully, and take my health very seriously. The choices I make are my own, I am doing the best with the resources and support that I have. If you have questions or concerns feel free to comment, but please be constructive and understand that this is my life. I value it dearly.
My goal is to live a happy, healthy and active life where I can balance my internal drive to push my physical limits and the challenge of safely maintaining stability despite the challenges of Type I diabetes.