Rice + Stress + ??? = 379

Why? Exactly. Why? Life is lived forward and understood in reverse. Living with diabetes is a numbers game first and foremost. The ideal number, or level of your blood glucose, should be in the normal range 80-120 mg/dl.

That’s the goal, and we do the best that we can do to predict the patterns that will result from the doses of medications that we take. Our doctors and nurses give us parameters for taking more or less medication based on weight, sensitivity to insulin, level of activity and whatever amount of food we usually eat. For example, I weigh 147lbs today, and 1 unit of insulin usually drops my blood glucose level 80 mg/dl, I am moderately active and my food habits are routine. By now I have memorized how many grams of carbohydrate are in everything I eat…as long as I am eating at home. Then the variables called life intervenes. While having lunch at an asian restaurant, I underestimated the number of grams of carbs in what I ate. Before I ate what I ate, I gave it my best guess. There are no labels in a Vietnamese carryout, and my attempt to ask for the sugar content of items on the menu was met with a blank stare. Two hours later, when lunch digests and insulin is peaking, they meet and go off to visit my muscle and fat tissue via uptake in my blood. WOW! But, the timing of all of this is affected by the temperature. If it is hot, the insulin acts faster. Some hormones like it hot. If I am walking 10 blocks back from lunch, insulin likes that too and gets where it’s going to go faster, with or without lunch.

So what happened after lunch, and are you yawning yet? The rest of the afternoon was super stressful due to some software glitches at just the wrong time during a presentation. Although I did not feel anything other than my face blushing and an elevated pulse, my blood glucose level was rising rapidly in response to the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that releases a form of stored glucose from the liver in everyone, not just people with diabetes.

I looked at my blood glucose monitor and it read 379. Before lunch, 117. Was it rice? Or stress? Or both? Or something else?

To build the suspense of this otherwise tedious account of my own “bad bad day,” I will save the climax and denouement for my next post.