Although people with Type 1 diabetes work diligently at maintaining good blood glucose levels, actual control of blood glucose levels for people with Type 1 (esp. children) is a misnomer.

When your child gets diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, there are many things that you can and must control. You can control hardware, such as what meter you are going to use to check their glucose levels. You can control what form of insulin administration is best for your child: syringe, pen or insulin pump. You can control how many times you test your child a day. You can control the healthy meals and snacks you create for your child. However, you learn very quickly, in this tightly controlled world that there are many more things that you cannot control.

You cannot control the weather. You cannot control stress or excitment your child may be feeling. You cannot control growth hormones, or illness. So now you may be asking yourself, well really who can control these things? Yes, that is true, no one can control the weather or what have you. But unfortunately ALL of these uncontrolled factors affect blood glucose levels. So in such an uncontrolled world with so many outside factors taking part, it is virtually impossible to control blood glucose levels. That is not to say good blood glucose levels can not be maintained. I’m not saying that at all. It’s the control part that is the misnomer.

Take my son for example, he has been living with diabetes for over 19 months. We are constantly working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that his numbers are as close to target as possible. While we do achieve good numbers most days, there are days when there are highs and lows that hit us out of the blue.

Our way of handling these numbers is by logging. Everytime I check my son’s glucose level, I write it down. I write down up to 12 checks a day on most days. What this does for me is it gives me the abiltiy to track patterns of highs and lows and provides me with ammunition foresee those highs and lows the next time to keep his sugar in range.

For instance, we enjoy (or rather he enjoys) going to a place called BounceU. It is an indoor play area with blow up attractions. It is a very physical place…a very physical place. I noticed the first time we went there, my son went low five hours after coming home. I wrote that in the log. The next time we went to BounceU, I remembered that he went low five hours after playing, so I gave him 10 uncovered (no insulin) carbs to help ward off the low. Didn’t work, he still went low. I also wrote that in the log. The last time we went, I remembered he still went low with 10 uncovered carbs, so this time he had 20 uncovered carbs. You know what, he did not go low. Score one for mom, but this was not control.

I don’t call this control. I laugh at people when they ask if his numbers are controlled. This is not control. Control would be never having a high or a low, and that is just not possible.

So please, before you ask a person with Type 1 diabetes if their numbers are controlled take a moment to reevaluate. The question in and of itself is invasive and should not be asked in the first place, and really it it provides you no where else to go in the conversation. A simple, “How are you?” would suffice everytime.