I recently read a blog post from a type 2 who said she wished she were on insulin so that she could eat more normally. This causes me a great many conflicting emotions as a type 2 who is on an insulin pump.
When I was pregnant with my fourth child and spent a great deal of time on message boards about diabetes and pregnancy I saw this same thing. Women would come on there and say, get on insulin, it makes things so much easier. You can eat whatever you want on insulin. Eating a lot of carbs? Simply take more insulin.
It makes me laugh now.
Insulin gets a bad wrap and most people do not want to be forced to take multiple daily injections or worry about lows. These things do not bother me, obviously. I took between five and eight shots a day when I was on MDI. And lows? What lows?
I don’t want to scare anyone off of insulin, but the thing is, it does not allow you to eat whatever you want. There is a lot of misconception about insulin. Yeah, you can have that oatmeal in the morning and maybe eat some normal things in a restaurant. But not always.
I have always been honest on here and admit that I do not follow a low carb diet, nor do I obsess over my food choices. The real truth is, I could probably count my carbs a little better and avoid some of the junk I sometimes indulge in. (When your most frequent companions are a teenager and a six year old, sometimes its hard to avoid those lovely snack foods!) But I do still count my carbs, I still avoid those potatoes, pasta, and breads that drive my numbers up.
With insulin, you do have a tool to handle those highs after meals. But it is not a cure all. You cannot eat a piece of cake and expect the shot you took for your dinner to cover it. You have to be diligent, you have to take a shot for every dose of carbs, and sometimes you will still have highs that need to be covered with a correction shot.
Insulin is like a newborn baby. You have to see to its needs before yours day and night, including waking at 2am to check your blood sugar, making sure you take your long lasting shot at exactly the same time every day (meaning no sleeping in on weekends!), and testing, testing, testing, to make sure that shot covered all your carbs, but does not make you go low. It is a lot of work, something that cannot take a vacation no matter how badly you want to.
So, for those out there who are handling their diabetes with diet, exercise, and pills, but who wish they could take insulin, I say this:
Be careful what you wish for because it might come true.
Diabetes is no fun no matter how you treat it. But if I, personally, had a choice between treating it with diet and exercise or insulin, knowing what I know now, it would be a close call, but I would choose diet and exercise.