Tag Archives: diabetes and pcos

Diabetes, Being a Girl, and PCOS


If you’re a girl you will get a lot of this.  If you’re a guy I’d be honored if you bravely read on…

I know men don’t have it easy.  But as a girl I often get frustrated by the unique struggles we face all while holding diabetes’ hand.  We carry children or children do not come into this world.  We’re the ones who might attempt to breast feed, which isn’t easy for everyone and involves carefully adjusting insulin needs.  Our careers, our relationships, our lives are sometimes negatively smattered with our once a month hormone excitement called PMS.  Once a month we women menstruate, sending a surge of hormones through our bodies, causing insulin needs to often rise and mess with our diabetes.  <sigh>  All this despite the fact we already make less money at work than our male counterparts.

In many women with diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome is another matter to deal with.  And it’s not an easy one.  I don’t know if it’s true but I’ve heard PCOS is the number one cause of female infertility in the US.  Here is my problem with it: Doctors have told me I need to control cyst formation by taking birth control pills for a long time.  Yet, these pills cause leg cramping for me-a serious side effect that is not to be ignored because it’s a sign of blood clots.  So the pills are officially out.  Pregnancy makes the cysts go away because of all of the extra estrogen.  But getting pregnant while raising two toddlers and feeling up to my ears with diabetes and parenting definitely doesn’t sound like the right thing to do either.  I’ve been off of the pill for long enough now that my cysts are growing again.  I have tenderness and cramping in my abdomen and my PMS symptoms are worsening every month.  This includes my moods.  I had no mood swings while pregnant and was shocked at how calm I actually am.  Since I’ve been dealing with PCOS for a long time however, my periods have always been torturous and my mood swings have left me feeling like someone fought me and won.  I feel like I have 2 decent weeks out of every month.  So half of my life is being seriously challenged and I don’t like it.

I could improve PCOS by having no sugar, by keeping insulin levels low.  Yet, how do I do that when I need sugar for lows and when type 1 diabetes often means giving extra insulin, not for food, but to lower blood sugar?  It’s a wretched cycle to be in and I don’t see a way out.  I’ll be talking to the doctor about metformin soon to see if that will help me use less insulin because lowering insulin resistance is supposed to help with PCOS.  Left untreated, ovarian cysts can turn into cancer so I don’t want to do nothing to help the matter.  They also hurt and can cause cramping that can make a gal scream (I’m exhibit A on that one).  Three years ago I ended up in the hospital with really bad abdominal pain from a ruptured cyst.  I don’t want to get to that point again.  I already eat pretty well and I already exercise.  I’m not overweight but I could lose a few more pounds.  I maintain my weight eating 1200-1400 calories a day.  (Clearly, I don’t eat too much)  I have other symptoms of insulin resistance even though I use one unit of insulin per 15 carbs.  We’ll see what the doc says.  In the meantime, is there anyone out there who has PCOS and has found a way to manage it?  Does it cause you to have terrible PMS symptoms?  Since PCOS causes infertility and increases risk of miscarriage, how did I get pregnant and carry twins you ask?  My doctors and my family and I all agree: a miracle.

I’ve made it through that, now I’ve somehow got to get through this.

The Irony of Diabetes


Sometimes I like to look at diabetes with humorous shades on.  It kind of numbs the pain.

Did you ever think that diabetes was overly ironic?  I often do.

I can’t help but think about how many times I was prepared for a low blood sugar only to have a low during the one or two rare times I didn’t carry something. 

What about the time I got the insulin pump?  I was 16 years old.  I was so sure it would make diabetes easier and doctors assured me my blood sugars would be much easier to control.  Yet, two years after I got on the pump, I sat dumbfounded, wondering how I had managed to gain 20 pounds, have worse blood sugar management, and still feel that diabetes was impossible to control. 

When I was a teenager, I thought, “exercise is always good” and took that literally.  So when I had high blood sugars, I wouldn’t skip the soccer match or basketball game.  I’d play.  I later realized that might have caused me some nerve damage and who knows what else.  (Slowly shaking head)

I remember a few years ago, when I discovered the possible dangers of aspartame and splenda, how betrayed I felt.  When I was diagnosed, I was so happy to have diet coke, sugar free jello, and crystal light, any time I wanted.  So to find out that some damage to my health may have been caused by what had long been my sweet tooth savior-well, you can bet I threw my hands in the air and much like Tarzan, yelled “Whyyyyyyy?!”

Diabetes is ironic.  Your effort level can be at 100% and your health might simultaneously be at 80%.  Someone else’s effort level might be at 50% and their health be at 85%.  That’s right.  Diabetes can be a silly slap in the face.  What will we learn next that will be contrary to what we know now?  I mean, I try to keep my blood sugars around 100.  Will there soon be a news flash to kindly let me know that has been the wrong thing to do all along?  We’re sort of aiming in the dark, folks.  I think this is where our faith steps in.  Me personally…I try to have faith that I just do what seems to be right based on info I have today and when that changes, I change, and hopefully, my body will hold out and I’ll get some kind of reward in the end.  When I don’t see a reward right away, I’ll have to try to assume there is one on the way.

Here is something interesting:  Supposedly…my chances for developing PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) rose by A LOT when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (then it rose more with my high blood sugars).  This led to my ovaries dropping more eggs at a time than the normal one per month.  According to doctors I have spoken with, this syndrome I have might have very well been the reason for my twin pregnancy.  So there is a good chance diabetes gave me my wonderful twin babies.  A crazy way to look at it?  Maybe…but I’ll take all the positive I can get out of diabetes. (Big cheesy smile)

Do you think diabetes is ironic?