Pizza Perils… Carb Coma!

I talk a LOT about how hard it is to be a diabetic on a day-to-day basis. Not in a ‘woe is me’ way, because there are much worse things out there than diabetes, and actually, despite all the injections and the prescriptions and the hypos, I’m very thankful to be living a pretty normal everyday life, doing exactly what I want to do. But diabetes is hard because there isn’t a magic formula. You can’t just crack it and BOOM, off you skip, happily into the sunset, on six units a day, three times a day, and that’s it. It changes day by day, minute by minute, because EVERYTHING affects your diabetes. Stress, exercise, sex, sleep, food… and that’s not even accounting for that teeny weeny variable known as human error. Because, really, diabetes is often a guessing game. An estimated guessing game yes, which you can be very smart about, but a guessing game nonetheless. Take your carbohydrates in grams and multiply it by the number of units you would need, divided by the minutes of running you did yesterday morning and add to the square route of the bus you don’t know you’ll be running for that afternoon. Then subtract from the adrenalin rush of your sister calling to tell you that Granny’s fallen down the stairs again. I mean, it’s just a simple equation.

Then there are the times when you get frustrated with trying to be King of Type 1 and you bloody want the ice cream so dammit, you’re going to eat the ice cream, and who cares about should not and simple sugars and an angry, raging bloodstream. So you dose up an obscene about of bolus, and you check check CHECK your sugars… but alas, you still slip into a sugar-induced state of crazy, and you suddenly remember exactly why you avoided the ice cream for quite some time. And begin again… again.

And on it goes. Fun, no?

Basically what I’m taking my sweet (oh the irony of a sugary pun) time to say here is that I’ve had a bad week. One day of pizza-based bad behaviour equalled three days of feeling sick and feeling shit. Angry at myself that I even went there, and then even more angry at myself for experiencing the fully-anticipated disgusting consequences – a hyperglycaemic state of complete and utter pantsness (Not a word. Should be a word), the ramifications of which I’ve written about here. I know that succumbing to the rankest and heaviest of carbohydrates doesn’t make me a bad person. It just makes me a real person. A real person who likes pizza.

So where did the no carb no sugar smug little angel disappear to? Well… she’s currently sans social life because she’s working weekends in the crazy world of live TV. (I’m going to stop talking about myself in the third person now, don’t worry).

We call this ‘work’… I know.

I’ve spoken before about how my choice of career and having type 1 diabetes does not a match made in heaven make.  But then I don’t really think that’s any kind of ‘excuse’, not that I’m trying to justify my behaviour. I’ve not sat myself on the naughty step. When it comes down to it, a career in the glitzy world of entertainment TV (read: glitzy for the likes of a presenter, a series producer, or a contestant. Not glitzy at all for the likes of moi) is not the most taxing on the body and mind, although it certainly has its moments. There are diabetic paramedics. There are diabetic police officers. There are diabetic neurosurgeons I’m sure; they all have to juggle this laugh-a-minute disease with their daily grind. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say I’m currently not rocking a 9-5. And while I wouldn’t change it for the world – I’m having an absolute ball doing some very cool things – there is no place for an omelette-based packed lunch out on location in the arse end of zone 6 of a Sunday night.

So what am I left with? Well, for lunch, there’s catering. Which is a complete minefield in itself because it’s blaaaady lovely, which NEVER happens on location. I came very close to face-planting a particularly seductive Eton mess last weekend. Bright reddy pinky creamy fluffy gooey amazingness – it just caught me off guard. Also, I’m not ashamed to say that making the most of any kind of free food is something of a religion for me. It takes dedication to maintain this size 12 frame, you know.

So catering is kind of manageable on account of the amazing salads that are generally on offer. Massive quantities of brie aside, my plate generally holds a fairly healthy deli meat and salad combo kind of party. And having someone physically hold me back from the dessert table (sticky toffee pudding… dribble…) usually does the trick. And that’s lunch survived, phew.

The problem last weekend arrived alongside the truck-load of pizzas that landed in our office after the show. We stay pretty late posting videos and galleries, so it’s generally gone 9pm before we leave, and then OH WAIT… we’re in Zone 6. Not exactly a hop, skip and a jump home. Hence the truckload of pizzas, and cheers from the beastial lads I work with. There’s no room for ‘no thanks I’m not eating carbs’ in that office. They wouldn’t know a simple sugar if it crawled up their nose. Now, back to the tale, and with all the adrenalin of a live show pumping, I was so hungry I was almost angry. Hangry, if you will. And with no eggs in sight, what’s a girl to do when you’re being enticed by a garlic and herb dip? Ohhhh, that SEXUAL dip…

So I ate the pizza. Nom nom nom. It was good. I knew I was getting myself in for some kind of high dosage, and actually, I was quite alright with it. I’d been good all week, and worked hard that day. Bring on the meat feast. My GOD I got smacked round my greasy pizza chops for that one.

I don’t know if it was because I’ve been off carbs for a while, but my bloods went SOARING. And I dosed, and I dosed some more, and I dosed in the night too, but no amount of insulin seemed to bring my blood sugars below 10. I woke up in the morning with that thick, angry taste in my mouth. That one that feels like a rat curled up and died in your throat. At least with an alcohol-induced hangover you get the heady memories of the night before to ride you through the following day. And a bacon and egg sandwich. I had neither with this, just the taunting and somewhat greasy memory of a few crusty slices of pizza, plus perhaps a new spot thrown in for good measure. And the raging blood sugars also meant I couldn’t eat, which was even more joyous when I got to work and my colleague’s girlfriend had baked us all cupcakes. Free food, people. See above. It broke my heart…

I whacked in some serious insulin that Monday to make up for my pizza failings. I was jacking up all over the shop, and talking quite a lot of jibberish too, although that went unnoticed. And I hate hate HATE that. Ravaging my body with that drug is just not cool. I know that insulin is a hormone we all produce (well, in theory. The fact that us T1s don’t produce it is precisely why we’re all here), but in big quantities it’s dangerous and terrifying, which I think is clear for all to see given our current obese state as a nation. Insulin is being produced by UK bodies like never before in response to all the shit we eat (pizza anyone?), to the point that our poor little innards are going on strike at the horror of it. Hello, Type 2. (Disclaimer: not all cases of Type 2 occur in this way *frantically wipes brow*) But that’s a whole other topic; a whole other blog no less, and one that I’m really not qualified to write so you’ll have to go elsewhere for that.

So, pizzagate. In full swing. By Tuesday I was a lot less grumpy, and I’d got my pepperoni arse out for a run (in the FREEEEEZING cold, may I add) and I was back to clucking from excessive egg consumption. I’m still trying to decipher why the pizza had such an effect on me. Maybe it was a certain type of dough, maybe it was because I ate it and went to bed only a couple of hours later, maybe my body had forgotten how the hell to process a simple sugar. But I’ve learned my lesson that’s for sure. The pizza tasted ok, but it definitely wasn’t worth the headachey, tired, hungry/angry/Hangry, insulin ODing, rat-dying-in-your-mouth aftermath. And just FYI, life doesn’t stop just because you’re hyper. Dragging myself out of bed and onto the Northern line to work on Monday morning was all kinds of hell. But ‘I’m sorry I can’t come in today, I ate pizza’ doesn’t really fly.

Am I never going to eat pizza again? I highly doubt that. I’m a person, and it’s pizza. And if it’s not pizza, it’s probably going to be ice cream. Or doughnuts. Or chocolate. Definitely chocolate. But maybe, just maybe, when the pizza delivery arrives this week, I’ll politely decline. Wish me luck with that one. That’ll be TWO wasted free food opportunities this week. I’ve changed.


4 comments on “Pizza Perils… Carb Coma!

  1. I am newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and I love your blog. I was just wondering about the part in ODing on insulin. I have also gone into a hyper after eating pizza…my weakness and the next day just constantly given myself insulin to lower my sugars but I thought that was ok. How much is too much insulin?? I know I could potentionally put myself in a coma but I wouldn’t go that far
    Thankyou for your help

  2. Hi Jenny, from another Jenny!
    Thanks so much for your comments, how are you finding everything? Not too overwhelming I hope! It’s so scary at first but it will all start to become second nature.
    I’m not a medical expert so can only speak from my own experiences, and everyone reacts differently. So PLEASE don’t take this as advice, as I’m 100% NOT qualified to give anyone diabetes advice.
    I find that with high-carb meals like pizza my body copes best if I have a (larger than normal) dose of insulin when I’m eating the pizza, then I generally need another dose a couple of hours later, but when I eat a heavy meal I make sure I do lots of blood tests in the hours after eating it to see if I can spot a pattern of rising/falling blood sugars and dosing accordingly. There is no answer really to the ‘how much is too much insulin’ question, but safe to say you’ve just got to give your body what it needs to maintain healthy blood sugars. Don’t be scared of taking insulin; your body needs it and would only be producing it naturally if you weren’t Type 1 to cope with the sugars anyway. It’s a healthy (life-saving!) hormone as long as you’re not taking in 24/7 drip feed of pizza, chocolate and ice cream! (Wouldn’t that be AMAZING though…)
    Hope that helps, but I would say head to your DSN if you’ve got specific questions about your own control. Good luck! x

  3. Hi Jenny, good job on the video blog, I’ll enjoy watching and laughing with someone else who live a real life with type 1!

  4. Thanks so much for your comments Simon, and thanks so much for sitting through 4 whole minutes of my word vomit! Ha 🙂

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