Type 1 Diabetic Suffers Sugar Haven Downfall on Mother’s Day

Me (top left) with my mother and son.

Me (top left) with my mother and son.

On Mother’s Day you hope to feel like a Hallmark card. Being a mother is supposed to be celebrated. Well I celebrated it all right, but not with the cozy feeling you’d expect.

Prior to this year’s Mother’s Day, I had been following the type -1 diabetic diet (as outlined by Dr. Bernstein in Diabetes Solution) pretty well. Absolutely no grains. No high-carb vegetables. No fruit. I had even cut out gum. And my macadamia consumption was down to a maximum of six nuts a day.

Four things happened on Mother’s Days, however, that marked my downfall.

Firstly, I was fighting a a bacterial infection which had caused my blood sugar to rise and my insulin requirements to go up.

Secondly, we had a cold snap, which also equals even higher blood sugars and the need for more insulin.

Thirdly… well, I already covered that. High blood sugars resulting from point #1 and #2.

Bacterial infections, cold weather and high blood sugars all make me feel stressed. Back in the day (before a low-carb diet) I would resort to North America’s #1 stress-busting substance (sugar) to (temporarily) relieve stress levels. Of course, this wasn’t an option anymore…

Point #1, #2 and #3 all lead to the factor that truly caused the “diabetic downfall”…

For Mother’s Day I bought an ice cream cake from a mom and pop’s store downtown. Not for me, mind you, for my mother. I took this boxful of temptation to to my parent’s vowing to my husband that I would not even think of trying some. Instead, I said I would bring a snack (like those six macadamia nuts I mentioned earlier).

Six oily macadamia nuts versus a large, sweet ice cream cake. The nuts probably didn’t stand a chance. I’ll never know… since I forgot to bring them with me. In the end I was on my own. Just me versus the giant ice cream cake.

Of course, as I help my son eat his piece of the cake, my mind suggested that I try a few teaspoons. After all, my growing state of mental fog whispered to me, a few teaspoons can’t hurt. So I listened to the tempting devil.

Turned out a few teaspoons did hurt. My already high blood sugars (due to the infection and cold weather) did not need a hit of high-fructose corn syrup. I had already reached 12 mmol/L (216 mg/dL) earlier that day. By the time of the cake incident a shot of Humalog had brought me down to 6.8 mmol/L (122 mg/dL), A few teaspoons of the sugar cake, however, rocketed me back up to 10 mmol/l (180 mg/dl) faster than an MD can scribble a statin prescription.

The rest of the day hovered around 7 mmol/L (126 mg/dL). After the excitement of tasting sugar wore off, I felt quite grumpy. This was followed by a headache for the rest of the day. Upon returning home I nearly divorced my husband (after all, this was all his fault, wasn’t it?).

As for my six-year old son Jonah, he isn’t on a ketogenic diet, but we keep his carbohydrate load very low. He doesn’t eat grains and only a little fruit. We keep him away from sugar entirely. I’d wager that small piece of ice cream contained more fructose than he consumes in a week. His behavior was absolutely crazy and very unlike him. I was ready to drop him off at an orphanage.

Conclusion: Do some baking for the freezer so my son can have some safe desserts. And, most importantly, arm myself with a snack next time I attend such an event. “Be prepared” is always a good adage.

Or maybe I should have just bought flowers for Mother’s Day.

About the Author: John C. A. Manley researches and writes about alternative treatments for type-1 diabetes and its many complications. His wife, Nicole, of 15 years has had type-1 diabetes for four decades. Together they have lowered her HgbA1c below 5.5%, regained thyroid function, increased kidney function and reversed gastroparesis. Read more about their journey out of the T1D matrix or subscribe to their Diabetic Dharma blog..