Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I have WHAT???

I got a call from the midwife office yesterday saying I had failed my 1-hour gestational diabetes test - I had high blood glucose.

First of all, I do not fail tests. Not unless the rest of the class does too, and in those cases there is generally a substantial curve. Secondly, ever since I was 12 years old and I started getting migraine headaches when I ate sweet foods for breakfast, I have lived under the impression that I have had low blood sugar. I have had blood tests that showed that I have elevated levels of insulin after eating a meal, and in my last year of college I was specifically told by an endocrinologist that there was "zero" chance that I had pre-diabetes. Of course, he only saw me for five minutes and refused to do any testing, so he was probably basing that assessment 100% on my body type. He also said I was imagining my symptoms. Hmph.

So the next step in this process was supposed to be the 3-hour glucose tolerance test. That's when they make you go 3 days eating at least 150g of carbohydrates a day (which is almost certainly way more than I eat on a typical day - JunkMale will tell you that when there are sweets around the house, he is the one who wants to eat them, not me; I would rather eat salty and fattening foods). Then you fast overnight, go into the doctor's office, and on an empty stomach drink 100g of straight glucose water in 5 minutes. They take your blood, send you out to the waiting room, and starve you for the next 3 hours, making sure to poke and prod you each hour to take another blood sample. As my dad said, "They do that to pregnant women?"

Yes they do, and since I have a history of migraines so bad I can't see when I don't eat protein and fat for breakfast, and since I still gag each morning before I get some protein or fat into my body (Noticing a pattern here? My body obviously prefers low-carb foods - not glucose drinks), this test does not seem like a nice thing to put me through. In fact, it seems downright dangerous to have me drive myself to and from this appointment. I mentioned as much to my care provider, letting her know in no uncertain terms that the next time JM could take me to do the 3-hour test (without taking time off of work) would be 4 weeks from now. In other words, we needed to start talking about other options - and I was more than happy to work out some sort of compromise. ;-)

So after playing phone tag with a midwife who was attending a birth, I finally got permission to keep a food journal, get a glucometer and start testing my blood sugar every day. She wants me to test 3 times a day for the first week or two to get an idea of how my blood sugar runs, and then if it's normal I'm free to test 2x a day until my next appointment.

The pharmacist was really nice. She walked me through what I was supposed to do and picked out a meter she thought I would like. It's actually really cool. The meter stores all my results and can compare, for example, all of my before breakfast readings from the past 14 days. I can also record details with each reading: do I feel hypo? do I feel sick or off? am I on vacation or eating differently from usual? did I just exercise?

Is it strange that I'm actually excited about this? After 14 years of dealing with blood sugar issues (be it high or low, it was always related to what I ate), I can finally figure out what's going on with my body! Do I feel like I have low blood sugar? I can check right then! Am I feeling super tired and foggy headed? I can see if that has any relation to my blood sugar.

By the way, for the curious among our readership, I did my first test a little while ago - 2 hours after lunch: 79 mg/dL. Textbook hypoglycemia is when your blood sugar drops to 70 mg/dL. But my reading was low enough that my glucometer automatically prompted me to input a comment. Anything outside of the normal range (90 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL) automatically gets flagged for commentary. And for the really, really curious among you, you should know that my 1-hour glucose test result was 144 mg/dL. So after 1 hour it's too high and after 2 hours it's too low. In other words, my blood sugar is really messed up. I feel justified. ;-)

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3 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Laura

    79 sounds more like what I'd expect for you. I know you're sooo relieved not to have to take the 3-hour test!

    Now maybe you can take your readings to a real endocrinologist who actually believes patients when they describe their symptoms. Hmph.

  • Smockity Frocks

    I'm so glad you found a workable compromise! I have had to do that torturous 3 hr. test twice. YUCK!

  • Sherry

    Keep us informed of the results!