This is the time of year when I finally feel like we’re in some sort of rhythm. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a slow time, it’s the exact opposite. We’ve got school and baseball and chorus and religion class. It’s a struggle to find the time to eat well and get enough rest. So why are Benny’s blood sugar numbers always better in the fall?
It’s all about routine.
Our summers are a free for all. We’re either busy with travel and camp or the kids are sleeping late and lazing around the house. There’s some swimming, but there’s more Minecraft.
I should note, I live in the South and we stay inside more in the summer. It’s the exact opposite of how I grew up in the Northeast. When it’s 95 degrees every day, you tend to enjoy the indoor air conditioning. We play outside more in the “dead of winter." That’s about 50 degrees. The former New Yorker in me is laughing, but after 15 years here, I still wear a winter jacket when it gets that chilly.
Snow is awesome for lower blood sugars because it so seldom happens that when we just get flurries everyone races outside to play. It guarantees hours of exercise and little need to bolus for hot chocolate (10 carbs, plus one for whipped cream).
The routine of school, sports, homework, breakfast, lunch and dinner at around the same time is incredibly helpful to our diabetes management. I even know the exact time of day Benny will snack at school. That’s 5 days every week when meals are pretty much measured and timed out. That’s more than 70% of eating and insulin dosing.
We use the temporary setting on the pump for weekends and for big sports days, but, I admit, I don’t keep on that as much as I should in the summer. Days are too unpredictable. I know he has baseball practice in two hours this week, so I can adjust the pump, but we wind up dosing after the fact quite a bit in summer. Treating lows (thank you, swimming) or staving off highs (thank you, snack bar at the pool).
Kidding aside, the flexibility of the pump really does help. I believe it's one reason why B's "higher' A1C's are still pretty good. Like most, we are always trying to hit the American Diabetes Association goal of 7.5 or lower. We don’t always succeed, but our highest numbers (in the 8’s) have almost always been just after summer.
The “eating season” is here. Halloween, Thanksgiving, all the holiday parties at school and in our neighborhood are tough to navigate with type 1 diabetes. But for us, at least, having more structure to our day seems to matter more than whether Benny has a couple of pieces of trick-or-treat candy or an extra helping of sweet potatoes. So we do our best to enjoy without over-indulging (difficult with or without diabetes) and get back into the routine.