Relief From the Stress of Insulin Dosing

I’ve gotta admit that I was getting pretty slack towards the end of my tenure on Multiple Daily Injections. I wasn’t counting my carbs properly, and I wasn’t being rational with my decisions around insulin dosing. My glucose levels were fluctuating far too much, which was exhausting to say the least. Seeing imperfection all the time sent me down into the dumps. I was often making excuses for spontaneous eating, and there was a lot of insulin stacking going on.

My insulin pump has really helped me to put my head back into my diabetes management. Having it attached to me all the time gives me no excuse not to. The biggest change I have adopted since starting on the pump is that I am actually weighing my food and counting my carbs. While it’s not possible to accurately carb count every single item of food, I think really carefully about it rather than just guessing. When I weighed my Seafood Paella on the weekend for instance, I estimated the proportion of it that was seafood and did not need to be carb counted.

When we had donuts at work last week, I took notice of the jam filling and sugar sprinkled on the top, and estimated about 40g.

Yes, it’s a pain. It means sometimes dirtying a second plate because I forgot to weigh my pasta the first time round. It means I often spend several minutes flicking through the pages of this book (which is a lifesaver) while my dinner goes cold, to find the food I’m looking for.


It means keeping my phone in my pocket at all times, so that I can easily calculate the portion of carbs on my plate. However, carb counting, combined with my vigilant blood glucose testing skills, has really helped me to reap the benefits of the insulin pump.

The pump has taken a huge weight away from the maths and the stress of insulin dosing. I need only enter into the pump the amount of carbohydrates I am consuming and my current blood glucose level, and the pump will calculate my insulin dose for me. Did I eat something and take insulin an hour ago? No worries, the pump factors that into the calculation. Is my blood sugar level out of range? No problem, the pump will factor the appropriate correction into my insulin dose to bring me back down to 6.0.


I’m also guilty of micro managing my blood sugar levels. I love to check where I’m sitting 2 hours after a meal. Quite often I’ve given an emotionally fuelled correction to a stubbornly high blood sugar level, only to end up low an hour later. The pump, however, calculates a correction dose while factoring in the amount of rapid acting insulin still in my system.


Nine times out of ten, the pump’s correction brings me back into range, and I am yet to actually go low from micro managing. I am yet to be tempted to override the pump’s calculations, because it is so accurate.

I always maintained that I didn’t want to get the pump just to be lazy. I didn’t want to get the pump and end up in no better of a place than on injections.

I know that I’m only three weeks in, so it’s still early days.

But I’d like to think that I’ll stick with carb counting for the long haul.

Two Weeks of Continuous Glucose Data

My FreeStyle Libre adventure came to an end last Thursday. Fortunately, Abbott supplied me with two sensors (plus the reader) free of charge, meaning I have a second one sitting on my shelf at home. I’ve been watching some of the other bloggers in attendance at Diabetes Exchange who have already moved on to their second sensor without hesitation. However, I don’t feel quite ready to use mine just yet.

I should stress that this is not a bad reflection on the FreeStyle Libre itself. This could easily apply to any device that produces continuous glucose data. This is a very individual feeling after having access to this kind of data for the very first time in my life. Of course, your diabetes may vary. 

The FreeStyle Libre was one of the first major pieces of diabetes tech that I’ve used. Up until recently, I’ve only ever used finger sticks and insulin injections. I’ve never before had access to such detailed data, nor has it been so convenient and easy to obtain.

Traditional glucose monitoring has become second nature to me. I use a significant number of test strips throughout the day in order to evaluate my pre meal, post meal and overnight glucose levels. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m struggling with my diabetes. It’s just another tool that works really well for me in managing my diabetes throughout the day, and gives me significant peace of mind.

As you could imagine, I entered my FreeStyle Libre adventure with great enthusiasm. My reader was attached to me for the better part of two weeks. I carried it around with me in my track pant pockets at home. It lay with the remotes while I was sitting in front of the television, within easy reach. It sat in my shirt pocket at work. And I carried it in my jacket pockets when I went out.

The data was so convenient and easy to access. A simple scan, and I was able to see where my glucose levels were sitting. If I was curious again in 5 minutes time, I could easily do so again. I didn’t even have to contemplate getting up from the couch to do so. The appearance of trend arrows, and I could easily see what direction my glucose levels were headed, and if I needed to act on it.

In two short weeks, I formed quite an attachment to my Libre. For the better part, I relied on it as an indication of my glucose data. However towards the end of my 14 day adventure, scanning definitely became a bit of a compulsion. Data did start to feel like a weight on my shoulders.

My family suggested that perhaps I was only scanning so often because this was an exciting new product that I was trying to get the most out of. If I used it regularly, perhaps I wouldn’t. I was also starting out on insulin pump therapy at the time, and using the data to evaluate my insulin delivery settings on the pump.

Going back to finger sticks has felt quite freeing these past few days. I’m back to testing glucose levels at my set times – before meals, 2 hours after meals, 4 hours after meals, at bedtime and once during the night. I’m not tempted to over test, and I don’t feel so overwhelmed with data.

The Libre was a wonderful experience. I loved that it was so discreet, lightweight and convenient to use. This is actually something that I see myself using from time to time, unlike a CGM. Definitely for my next holiday. It was extremely insightful in fine tuning my insulin pump settings, and I’ll be putting my next sensor to good use in that department, too.

I just don’t feel that I’m the kind of person who could handle continuous glucose data all the time. Perhaps my opinion and needs will change with time and more experience in this arena. But for now, I feel I need to put some more distance behind me before I feel ready to insert my second sensor.