Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"but how do you know?"

questions that we get as diabetics are always interesting.  as a newly diagnosed person, i've been muddling through these questions and answers myself for the last few months, but the learning curve is a steep one, and i now know probably 1000 times more about type 1 diabetes than i did last year.  at first i was learning along with my friends and family, and often times the many medical professionals in my family (and even friends) were the ones answering my questions.  now, however, the tables have turned. 

but of course, it's not those close to me who ask the most ridiculous/funny/stupid questions.  we all get the "but, don't you have to be fat to have that?" or the classic "oh, so, you just have to exercise and eat better then, right?" and even the "maybe it was that fried oreo you ate last year?" kinds of doozies, and i don't know about anyone else but my responses to these have become fairly canned: "that's type 2.  it's a totally different disease with a totally different cause.  what i have has nothing to do with my lifestyle; no one knows why i got it or why anyone gets it.  my immune system is killing my cells that produce insulin, so i have to give myself insulin manually." etc. etc. 

having just gotten a pump, i've been faced with a whole new set of questions as i excitedly show off my robotic pancreas.  my favorite is the title of this entry.

"so, whenever i want to eat, i just hit this [bolus button], tell it what my blood sugar is, and then put in how many carbs i'm going to eat."

"but how do you know how many carbs you're eating?"

this is when i smile and shrug.  "well, i have to figure it out."  it's one of those "oh, wow, diabetes is hard" moments.  it's such a great question, too.  i mean, how do we know?  the truth is that we quite often don't.  we make educated guesses based on our knowledge/past experiences, but with all the other environmental variables it's hard to really know what's what sometimes.   i think this question and it's answer embody a lot of the frustrations and unknowns of diabetes in general.  after all, "knowing" is a huge part of how we manage our diabetes, and yet so often we are left guessing, SWAGing if you will. [that's Scientific Wild-Ass Guessing, for those who aren't familiar].

in one of my neuroscience classes in college, we learned that a study had been done on london cab drivers who had been in the business for 20-30 years.  they found that the area of their brains that deals with spatial mapping was larger than an average person's.  how would this work for diabetics?  where's the carb area of our brains?  someone should study this.

after writing this entry, it was 2 hours post-dinner, so i went to check.  i cooked and measured these lentil tacos myself, so it should be a no-brainer, right?  easy and accurate carb counting.  235 mg/dL says not so much.  diabetes, you suck.

1 comment:

Scott K. Johnson said...

Great post Sarah. You are right, we are guessing so much of the time.

What a great question about the "carb" area of our brain! I bet it is HUGE!! Ha!