Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Monthly Monster

This post is likely going to be a little too much information for the guys, if there are any who read this.  Guys, there's nothing to see here, please move on.  I feel the need to write this because I'm certain that all of us Type 1 gals must battle with this.  I'd like to share what I haven't have learned and see if any others struggle also. 

It's the female cycle and the absolute murder it causes on blood sugars.  Personally, I've been trying to map myself out since I got diagnosed 8 years ago.  I still have absolutely NO idea how to manage it.  It comes around every single month and yet every single month it plays a different game.  There is no rhyme or reason to it, it's cryptic woman genetic language and I can't decipher!!  It's been driving me batty all these years.  That evil maniacal bitch inbred inside my body which doesn't come with an instruction manual.  I'm sure all women at some point in time have said "I wish I was a man, then I wouldn't have to deal with this."  I can't say I want to be a man, but the hormonal roller coaster every single blasted month is totally impossible to deal with.  Regarding blood sugars I mean. 

My blood sugars start raising havoc about a week prior but its not sudden.  One day I get slightly higher than normal readings, the next slightly higher and higher and higher as the days go on leaving me with no plan to catch it in time.  Not to mention some months nothing happens.  Today I started my basal rates at 130% and eventually reached 150% but with little to no effect.  I was a mad serial boluser today.  Mounting units on top of units every single hour.  My current daily total is at least 15 units higher than the rest of my daily totals.   Interestingly enough, after reading Brenda's post about expired sensors I felt inclined to check the box of 10 sensors I have under my bed.  Sure enough they all expire in October.  So I've had a sensor in for the past few days and I've been able to watch these nagging blood sugars sit pretty up there in the stratosphere relentless to come down.   FINALLY later in the afternoon I saw my first down arrow.  It came down enough that I felt better but not before running away on me like a helium filled balloon that I just lost the string for.  It's been beyond my control, literally.  I eventually turned off the high glucose alarm because I realized there wasn't much I could do.  The *beep beep beep beep* every 20 minutes was getting irritating.

When to start the high temp basal? What percentage should it be at?  For how long? These are the questions that can't be answered.  By the time I've figured out the right temp basal, my blood sugar crashes.  I always start it too late.  Usually when my BG's are already high.  If I try to start the temp basal before I see them elevating themselves it'll be Murphy's Law and that will be the day I don't need them.  Sometimes I run it only between 11am and 11pm, sometimes longer.  Sometimes not as long, sometimes at different rates.  It's really annoying.   It takes hours before I start seeing a change.

Then we get to the blood sugar reactions once the cycle actually starts.  Insulin requirements sometimes go way down.  There's no way to know.  I figured after 8 years, 96 stabs at figuring out my cycles effect on my blood sugar that I'd have something to show for it.  Nope.  Every month I tell myself, "maybe this time I'll get it right."  Though I inevitably never do.  It upsets me a great deal because it really is something I can't escape.  1-2weeks out of every month my levels are erratic and untameable.  that is 25%-50% of my life.  How can I possibly keep my diabetes management in control when I'm up against those crappy odds?

I would love to hear if anybody else has these problems and if so, what are your management techniques? 


  1. I sympathize with you. I have struggled with the same issues. And it is frustrating because like you said, that is a big chunk of our life time! I got off of the pump 3 years ago and I now take 20 units of lantus every morning and shots of humalog as needed. Exactly 7 days before my period is scheduled to begin I up my lantus to 21 or 22 units. This works pretty well for me. I also eat a bit less (which helps me control my sugar and makes me feel better because I gain 3 pounds of water weight during this week lol). What has got me to that point is to take really good notes each month. That is how I determined that 7 days before my period should start I need more insulin. Taking good notes has saved my life I think lol.

  2. I hear your frustrations. I too, have struggled with this for years! I still haven't figured it out though- my periods are very irregular which adds to the trickery of it all. Now, I am pregnant so I am dealing with a whole different type of hormonal influence on blood sugars. What I did try to go by was as soon as I felt pms coming on i would set a 130% basal, and try and stick with lower carb foods as I found my bolus factor should have decreased as well. This was for about two weeks, and then as soon as the period started i dropped to 90% for the first day. After that, everything seemed to even out. That being said, some months it worked and others it did not.
    Best of luck to you....men have it so easy in this regard!!!

  3. From the time I was 12 until a year ago, my numbers would go high right around my period. I don't know what in the world happened, but since about a year ago, my numbers DROP right before I get it.

    I've been on the nuvaring for birth control since I got married. This helps my period in being really predictable. It's absolutely crazy though...I can sometimes eat most of my breakfast and lunch the day before I get it without even bolusing! I haven't found anyone else who goes LOW during this time of month.

    So, I have no advice for you...just venting myself!!! Great post though...I can't wait to hear what others say.

  4. Thanks guys!
    I was really hoping for some comments to this post. Perhaps I haven't been in the DOC game long enough but I haven't seen many posts about how our cycles really screw our blood sugars up.
    I need to take notes (duh) thanks Sysy!
    and I will consider low carb the week leading up. (thanks Lindsay)

    My problem is that there is no method to the madness. Some days a temp basal starting at 9am or 11am or not at all, sometimes its a week ahead, 2 days ahead, 2 weeks ahead.
    Jen, I think you are different then most, but that's exciting to eat and not really bolus!

  5. (Guys don't know how easy they have it!)

    Good luck :)

  6. I'm working through the same issue right now and it's making me batshit. If I figure out something, I'll come back here and tell you. Bolusing isn't working for me, it just smiles and keeps on coming. Exercise brought me back into range the last two days (which was bizarre enough) but that effect wore off after a few hours and the creep upwards began!


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