Someone I 'met' on a forum who started on an insulin pump a year or so before me said that in some ways she had to relearn much of what she thought she knew about her diabetes. Many tried and tested observations, and theories as to what was happening seemed no longer to apply. Switching to a pump so fundamentally 'changed the rules' that almost everything had to be evaluated from scratch.
I've had a glimpse of what she meant recently when I decided to retry porridge (oatmeal for US readers) as a breakfast choice.
I've always quite liked it in the winter and it has a reputation for being helpful cholesterol-wise. Mostly though it has a reputation for releasing its carbohydrate slowly and steadily which is very useful if you are trying to keep BG (blood glucose) levels after meals under control. For many years I ate cereals for breakfast, basing my choices on what I had been told - this is low GI, that is slow absorption, blah blah blah...
For many, many diabetic years I tested primarily before meals with ad-hoc other tests if I 'felt funny' or needed to drive. This was OK in its way, but never really let me see or evaluate what was happening after eating different foods. I didn't look at those choices critically enough for them to make any real sense. It was only really after 'meeting' folks with Type 2 Diabetes online who have food choices as their primary weapon in the struggle to control BGs that I realised how little I knew from testing about what to expect from different foods.
GI values are all very well, but they are only an average from a pretty meagre sample. And averages (as anyone with a BG meter can tell you) can hide a multitude of sins.
Having embarked on some after-breakfast testing a few years ago I quickly determined that all cereal is evil. There was just none that I found I could eat and remain in single figures (below 10.0mmol/L 180mg/dl) at 1-2 hours after eating. Porridge seemed a particularly bad example. I may as well have been eating jam.
So I concluded that for me porridge was not slow release at all, and stuck to Burgen soya and linseed toast with much better results.
I knew that at least part of the problem was a 'gap' in basal coverage that made breakfast particularly tricky time for me. I took my Lantus at breakfast time and while the last dose had faded and the next dose was still dragging its heels in 'onset' I had perhaps an hour with less basal insulin than I needed.
The pump of course, has fixed this. Continuous almost infinitely tweakable rolling patterns of basal insulin trickles can allow for the most challenging of basal requirements.
Once I had a basic basal pattern working OK I began to wonder whether I might be able to cope with a little porridge every now and then. The first few results are very encouraging. This morning I rose from 4.7 (85) before breakfast to 6.9 (124) an hour and a half later.
Porridge it seems is back on the menu. Score 1 for teampump.