I remember those inflatable beach balls that I used to get as a kid. The kind that often came in showbags. Inflatable hammers, mascots, and giant fingers for that matter, too.
They were so much fun. I would muck around, and have such a good time with them for a while.
Then they would begin to deflate. They would get these tiny little punctures that you can’t see, and the air began to escape them. Even though I tried to blow them up again, playing with them just didn’t compare to an unpunctured one. No sooner than I had patched up one of those holes, I would discover another. And another.
At the moment, I feel like one of those inflatable beach balls. I feel like I’m trying to patch up these little flaws in my basal rates, and try to stop my blood sugar levels from spiralling out of control.
Since starting out on an insulin pump, I can quite honestly say that my basal requirements in the early hours before waking have been subject to the most fluctuation. I can recall having to make subtle changes every month, or every second month at the very least. It’s been a steady upward trend, which I usually pick up from my FreeStyle Libre, or when my levels stop responding to corrections during the night.
After steady upward adjustments in recent months, I’ve now found myself waking to a few lows in the early hours. Looking over my Diasend history, the downward trend seems to start out at the 4am mark, so I’ve made some subtle changes again.
I am still struggling to grasp the fact that a basal rate that once held me steady through the night, no longer does. One theory that has been hanging over my head in recent days, is the early morning light coming in through my window. Over the past few months, the earlier morning light could have enhanced my dawn phenomenon before waking. But with the mornings now getting darker, could my insulin needs be heading on a downward trend? Time will tell…
I’ve also noticed changes in my morning basal requirements after I wake up. I usually run a higher basal rate for the first 2-3 hours to combat dawn phenomenon, and I’ve had to jack this rate up by 0.1 units per hour. While the new rate gives me much better coverage, this basal rate still needs some more perfecting. Basal testing, particularly morning basal testing, is hard work. There are days where I deviate from my routine, days where my levels might not be ideal for a basal test, days where I can’t handle more failure, and simply days where no coffee is too hard.
Unlike my last problem, I feel like this one has been triggered by a shift in routine. Which brings me to another theory. I think basal rates are a little bit like a cog in a wheel. When you change something here, it might provoke subtle changes somewhere else in the wheel. I don’t know…I’m just thinking aloud here.
My biggest gripe about diabetes is that it is always changing.
But I truly believe that a well tuned basal, and bolus regimen, is the key to success with an insulin pump.