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The Work is Never Finished.

April 7, 2010

Last week I shared that I, a PWD with type 1 diabetes, decided to try Metformin, a drug formerly known as type 2-only. I’ve received a lot of comments from people interested to hear how I’m doing, and some who are even curious to try it out for themselves.

To say that Metformin has made a difference in my diabetes management is an understatement. It has profoundly changed the way I’m looking at my diabetes. Before going on Metformin, my 30-day blood sugar average hung around 210 to 220 mg/dl. Hardly something to write home about. Now, when I scroll through my meter and I look at the averages, my 7 day and 14 day averages are in the 160s, and my 30 day average is in 187 mg/dl.

The response and consistency of my blood sugars is something that I haven’t experienced in a long time. Before going on Metformin, my blood sugars felt chaotic, and it was unnerving. Although taking what I felt was buckets of insulin, my blood sugars would rarely respond appropriately. I could correct, walk dozens of city blocks, and still come out “just OK.”

Being on Metformin has reminded me of how my body is actually suppose to respond to insulin: it’s supposed to use it! When you correct, your blood sugar is supposed to go all the way down, not part way! And the troubling thing was my sensitivity was 1 unit for every 25 mg/dl I wanted to drop. It was a lot of insulin, and although Hannah recently wrote that it shouldn’t matter how much insulin you’re taking, so long as your diabetes is under control, the fact of the matter is I was taking so much more insulin than I did a couple of years ago and it still wasn’t working. How frustrating!

Of course, being on Metformin means I’m dealing with a lot of lows. On Friday, my blood sugar dropped four times. FOUR TIMES. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and a doozy of low at 5:00 in the morning which resulted in me halphazardly trying to eat granola cereal in bed, most of which ended up in my hair.

Metformin has also not been without side effects, mostly gastrointestinal problems that usually require me finding a bathroom quick. There is no nausea like there was with Symlin, and the fact that I take 2 pills after dinner is the kind of stability I crave, rather than trying to manipulate my insulin for each and every meal. Figuring out how many carbs I’m eating is hard enough without having to then alter it to account for the Symlin. I’m 3 weeks into being on Metformin and for the past couple of days, I haven’t noticed the stomach issues as much. I also didn’t have them my first week, but I was only on 500 mg. Right now I’m on 1,000 mg. I haven’t decided if I am going to up the dose or not. My endo says Metformin tends to work the best at 1,000 to 1,500 mg, though I started to notice some effects even at 500 mg. I may wait another week before I increase my dose, and if I do, I’ll report back on how it goes.

My actual insulin intake hasn’t really decreased too dramatically. My basal rate has dipped down a bit, and my sensitivity has gone down. I’m now at a 1 unit for every 35 mg/dl I need to drop.

Unfortunately, for the past two days, my fasting blood sugars have popped up into the 250s for an unknown reason. Certainly not a blood sugar level I want to be starting my day at. While I’m satisfied that Metformin is making a huge difference in my diabetes management, my work here is never finished.

In other news, I wanted to report that I am nominated for Best Patient Blog for the Dosie Awards. This is my FIRST nomination for a Medical Blog Award and I am THRILLED, especially since I’m nominated alongside Diabetes Mine and Six Until Me. The fact I’m even nominated is awesome. I would be tickled pink if you would consider voting for me. Thanks!

  1. April 7, 2010 9:38 AM

    Congrats on the nomination!
    I am going to the endo on Monday. Symlin and Metformin are 2 things I plan on talking to her about.
    And even though I agree w/ Hannah, that it shouldn’t matter how much insulin you are taking, I do think that your level of diabetes control should make you happy. And if taking less insulin is what makes you happy (good blood sugars, of course. No skimping) then that’s what you should try for.
    That’s why I always argue w/ my endo that I’m not happy w/ my A1c. She’s happy w/ it. I’m not. So I’m working on getting it down. For me. 🙂
    Keep the details coming.

  2. April 7, 2010 11:03 AM

    Huge congrats on the nomination! Of course I will vote for you – as you know from my please for votes over the last couple of months I know how much they can mean 🙂

  3. April 25, 2010 1:29 PM

    Congrats on the nomination Allison! That is fantastic!

    Thank you for the update on Metformin. I am curious about it, as I’m sure I deal with some insulin resistance too. Does the GI stuff go away after you’ve been using it for a while?

    Looking forward to chatting with you more about this over the summer. 🙂

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