What I don't understand about diabetes

(Potentially part 1 of a continuing series…)

I am a Type I diabetic. I have all sorts of anti-pancreas antibodies floating around in my blood. My pancreas no longer produces insulin. I guess it doesn’t produce amylin anymore, either, but we haven’t really examined that. Broken pancreas - I get it.

Based on the whole broken pancreas, I would expect my body to no longer be able to process both ingested glucose from food and the naturally occuring stuff my liver makes. Check. Can’t do sugar myself, so I take insulin through a pump to make up for it.

So why oh why does my blood sugar go low? My liver is fine. College didn’t manage to kill it, and neither did the anti-pancreas antibodies. My liver is very capable of producing glucose just like any other liver out there. I’ve got some dawn phenomenon action as proof. So why is it that, when I’m at the gym and doing my thing, a low blood sugar crashes the party? The liver of non-diabetics kicks in and keeps them safe, why not me?

I don’t get it.

An Open Letter to My Liver

Dear Liver,

What’s going on? Don’t poop out on me, now! We’re a team - Lizzie and liver! Now, I’m doing my part by tweaking my basals, and discovering exactly what our whole body neighborhood needs to live in harmony. Don’t you forget that it’s your job to KEEP ME ALIVE. And process the odd glass of wine.


Your partner in crime,


Diabetes is so not an exact science and every day is different. We are surviving by artificial means. You have to either lower your insulin intake or increase your food intake to exercise. Exercise is the best “insulin” to lower your bgs.

Hi Lizzie,

I came to this entry from the Diabetes Daily Headlines. You’ve actually inspired an entire blog post from me with you question. You can check it out at http://www.diabetes-wise.net/2007/11/insult-to-injur.html

Hope that helps!

Thanks for the comment on my blog post. Not only am I not in the DC area - I’m actually in London, England - but I’m also a dentist, not a doctor! I wish there were more doctors around who actually have diabetes though.