New to this
Hi, I am new and curious it people could tell me what the first year is like. I am very anxious to learn. I was diagnosed 1/19/16 but I didn’t accept until October. So my year is just starting.
There is a very big hope coming to T1Ds in a very long time. The first of numerous artificial pancreas (AP) developments has been okayed by FDA for release in this coming Spring, by Medtronic. I suspect Medtronic got in first because they are in bed with FDA, as are most large medical companies. BTW, AP is also known as closed-loop controlled insulin pumps.
Anyway, it will allow the best control possible but is still limited to good tracking of food calorie intake. You must decide how many calories, especially carbohydrates, you are going to eat each meal, and program that into the pump. It is also important to develop a fair degree of regularity of eating times, caloric intake, and exercise. These really help you learn your body’s specific response to diabetes. You must also learn about the effect of your insulin sites on how long it takes for insulin to be absorbed. Generally, it absorbs faster in more muscular tissue than in fatty tissue. You’ll need the help of a diabetes educator on site location and rotation, and on how to use a pump.
Pump warranty generally lasts 5 years and insurance companies won’t pay for a new one till your warranty runs out. So I would wait on getting a pump till Medtronic puts the AP on the market in the Spring.
Old myths about diabetics having no control of their health, and shorter life spans, are things of the past. You still must control your blood sugars, try to keep an A1C around 6, and live well. Watch out for fast acting carbohydrates (carbs) because it can be hard for insulin to match its profile. Fast carbs hit fast and then drop a little more slowly. It is good to program that amount into the pump. Protein carbohydrates kick in after one or two hours, and fats in four to five. It is not easy to program all that into the pump. Most pumps have a delayed bolus in addition to the regular bolus, so it tells the insulin how much to release over the time period you set. The APs will take some of that work off our hands, but it still needs to know the calorie profile of your meals (how much carbs, protein, and fat you are eating). A good quality kitchen scale, an app for food calories of all the foods people eat (like Calorie King), and a set of weekly menus will be really helpful. If you like to cook, it will improve your control versus eating out, because you never know what and how much you are eating. When you cook, you can learn the habit of preparing meals that are good for diabetics. In general, you want plenty of protein and slow-acting carbs, and some fat, versus a diet of fast carbs. A diabetic dietitian can help.
If you don’t have an Endocrinology physician, get one. A must for diabetics.
I have had Type 1 for over 50 years. I was only 2 1/2 when I was diagnosed, so I don’t remember much about my first year other than my mom telling me I couldn’t eat things like fudgecicles anymore and being very upset by it. Thankfully, diabetes treatment has moved past that kind of thinking!
When I was in my teens I had an endocrine (doctor) who told me I could eat and/or drink anything I wanted as long as I was careful about it. I was about to turn 19, the legal drinking age in my state at the time, and he taught me a lesson I have used ever since. He said that whenever I consumed anything new to check my blood sugar 2 hours after and again 4 hours after so that I could see how it affected my sugars. Then I would know the next time how to adjust my insulin to cover it. For me this has worked and has helped me keep very good control of my blood sugars.
I’ve never owned a scale, as “davyboy” suggests, although I think my parents had one when I first started out. The main thing is to get use to checking your BGs (blood glucose’s) frequently until you get a handle on what and how much you can eat. You don’t say how old you are or if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Also, if you need to lose weight. All of these may affect what and how much you can eat.
Listen to what your doctor has to say. Get with an Endocrine, if you don’t already have one, and see a diabetes educator/nutritionist if you can (not all endocrine’s have one of these, some do it all on their own). Also, contact your local JDRF and ADA offices for referrals and information. They often have mentors who you can speak with and ask questions, these are people with diabetes who are there to help!
Good luck, and don’t hesitate to keep asking questions, it’s the best way to learn!
T1D 52 years
Thanks Pam. I was 42 when i got it, 43 now. I have lost over 70 lbs this year so i have been trying to maintain and add some weight. About half before i found out and the other half after.
the first year can stink.
the first year you get to stick yourself with all kinds of needles and be overwhelmed with the new language the new rules, the new doctors, the new diet restrictions, the new bills, and the new feelings of highs and lows. It can be exhausting. For me it was the year I wished away, waiting for that cure everyone said was just around the corner. hate to be the bearer of bad news… it’s not, in fact a cure is not anywhere for at least a 20 years, due to zero t1d “cures” in clinical trials right now.
Physically as your body makes less and less insulin, control becomes more tricky. esp because you got it later, your body may make insulin for another year. eventually you’ll make none and tight control can take a lot of effort.
mentally, and perhaps most cruel, you have to wrap your head around a chronic incurable disease that you cannot bargain with. In fact, the longer it takes for you to completely accept your loss of good health, the harder it’ll be to gain peace with it. many people with t1d suffer from some kind of depression and in my opinion, it’s because they are at war with themselves. There are ways to protect yourself, including helping others, talking about it, writing about it, participating in things like this board, etc.
if you can make the acceptance hurdle, the drudgery eventually becomes more routine and less exhausting, and you will develop a new sense of blood sugar and what foods, activities, and amounts of insulin will do and feel like. good luck to you.