Kim M.

5 Things You Can Do Today to Reverse a Diabetes Tailspin

Do you ever just feel completely discouraged about your child’s type 1 diabetes? We’ve had one of those months. Too many highs, too many lows, too many nights that we’ve slept through alarms. I was getting so overwhelmed, and I just didn’t know how to end the cycle. It took several weeks of feeling that way until finally I sat down with a pen and paper and hashed it out. I always do my best thinking with a pen in my hand to write down the ideas and solutions that come to me, so that’s what I did. Here are a few ideas that I came up with—they’ve really helped!

  1. Set alarms throughout the day to “check in.”

    I set an alarm at about two- to three-hour intervals (especially in between mealtimes) to stop, take a break from what I’m doing, and make sure I’m paying attention to diabetes. We typically check Kaitlyn’s blood sugar much more often than that, because we have the CGM (continuous glucose monitor) to give us constant feedback, but all too often other “stuff” crowds out the simple action of stopping to check the number. An audible reminder to check, ensure we’re still getting readings on the CGM, and do a finger stick if necessary is very helpful.

  1. Figure out the nighttime plan.

    If you think about it, nighttime is almost half of your life—at least a third for those of us who get about eight hours of sleep each day and even more for the little ones we take care of. If the nighttime numbers are good, that’s a big win! It has made a huge difference for us when we spend the hour or so before bed making sure Kaitlyn’s blood sugar is really in range, so that she doesn’t have big swings from a large correction or sugar given for a low. Eating dinner earlier has also helped, so things are stable by the time she goes to bed.

  1. Check basal rates and carb ratios.

    Taking a few minutes to review these numbers for the last few days is really beneficial. You might notice trends of highs or lows that can easily be fixed with a change in basal infusion rate or carb ratio. Don’t wait to fix it until your next doctor visit. Call your doctor and make the change.

  1. Be careful with carb counting.

    I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at estimating carbs, but every now and then I like to take a step back and double-check by measuring, weighing, and counting extra carefully. A lot of times, I’m pretty much spot-on, but sometimes I’m surprised how far off I am. It’s no wonder that we have swings in numbers!

  1. Give yourself a pat on the back.

    You’re doing a great job. It’s okay if you’ve got a lot of room for improvement. The fact that you care and that you’re trying to do better is huge! Take it one day at a time, and I’ll try to take the same advice!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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