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I can hazs ice cream?

February 6, 2009

My latest dx, compliments of my endocrinologist, is “reactive hypoglycemia.” I’m not sure why he thinks this is my actual problem. In fact, I’m really pretty sure it isn’t.

Reactive hypoglycemia is typically characterized by plummeting blood glucose levels, 2-4 hours after a meal, particularly one high in carbohydrates.

Admittedly, something about my glucose levels is not at all right, and my doctor affirms that some people with Addison’s disease have “glucose issues.” He was satisfied with the trade-off of my offer to self-test in lieu of a glucose tolerance test. I had a 9-hour GTT a long time ago, and I assured him another such venture would kill me.

My blood glucose levels do demonstrate a large range, but they don’t go zapping down to hypoglycemic levels within two to four hours of a meal. If I eat certain carbohydrates, my glucose levels will go up too high, and then go slowly down to hypo levels, over a period of 12 hours.

But weirdly, ordinary sugar will not do this. Only foods like bread, pasta, and rice will cause my glucose to go into the 170-190 range. Whole grains make absolutely no difference: whole wheat bread, brown or wild rice, whole wheat pasta, and potatoes–all send my glucose skyrocketing. Complex carbs are the problem in my case, not the remedy, so I avoid them.

Last week, when beef, peas, and red beans with onions were all starting to taste like the same brand of school paste, I was at the “eat chocolate and die” point. We bought a pint of Haagen Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip ice cream at Target. This particular flavor listed only “sugar” as a sweetener among its ingredients, and no high-fructose corn syrup or any corn syrup, so we gave it a try. I had one serving, half a cup, after the dinner above.

I checked my blood glucose two hours later.  No spike: it was 123, a respectable post-prandial.  I was thrilled at the prospect of being able to actually eat something extravagantly tasty.

Encouraged, we went to a Mexican restaurant last night. Our mission was scientific: can I eat a tortilla, as long as there is plenty of fat present?

The place was festive and I felt happy to see families with small kids enjoying a night out. The Celtics were playing on a TV we could see overhead in the next dining area. The last time I watched the Celtics, Kevin McHale and Larry Bird were playing. Happy ancient college memories swarmed my mind. I knew this would work. I could have a tortilla and be okay.

Not so. Two hours later, the thin wrapping that encased my delicious spinach-cheese enchilada caused a reverb measuring 175 on the glucose Richter scale.

I was devastated. This meant no lifting of the ban on gas station burritos.

The worst fluctuation I’ve seen since resuming self-testing was 191 after a small homemade whole-wheat pizza, and 54 the morning after. If I keep to my Seven-Things Diet, my glucose levels stay within normal range, 70-135. They don’t get too high, and they don’t go too low. This morning, after last night’s tortilla, I was on the edge of too low: 69.

And yet, apparently I can have judicious amounts of ordinary sugar. Home-canned plums and one flavor of Haagen Dazs ice cream have tested safe, as have red and white wines.

I don’t understand my endocrine system’s weird logic, and I don’t know whether there’s a label (I’m so bored with labels) for what’s actually going on. I sort of shut up and drive, try to enjoy the scenery, and steer a dietary course to keep within the bounds of good numbers.

At least I can hazs ice cream.

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6 Comments
  1. Vic permalink
    February 6, 2009 12:02 pm

    U can haz Haagen Dazs

  2. February 6, 2009 12:54 pm

    That is unspeakably strange. I wonder if whatever it is in complex carbs that is supposed to make most people deal with the sugars in a more wholesome manner is something you have an allergy to, and so the sugar doesn’t get processed right either (as I understand this happens with celiac but of course only with gluten foods: potatoes and rice aren’t supposed to have gluten!). You defy all classification Lauren. :-) You deserve ice cream for that.

  3. bluray permalink
    April 3, 2009 12:44 am

    Have you tested sushi? For me, sushi gives no BG spike at all and very stable blood glucose levels up to 6 hours!

    Sounds like you’d have IBS or so if you cannot tolerate complex carbohydrates!

  4. April 3, 2009 7:04 am

    Sushi would be a great food, but unfortunately, rice spikes, I have what would be minimally described as a strong aversion to all fish as well as nori, and IBS is a fact of life. Interesting connection.

  5. May 6, 2009 10:37 am

    Have you ever been tested for allergies? While I have no idea why your sugar levels are all over the place, as I can’t see a direct link, I do know many people with various endocrine problems often test positive for food allergies. Maybe it’s worth a try?

  6. May 9, 2009 6:39 pm

    News flash, Meg. It wasn’t allergies; it was two uninspired endocrinologists. Third and new one is charmed. I’ve been on too high a dose of hydrocortisone for my petite frame. It was jacking up my glucose. On the new dose, my glucose has been testing normal and I can hazs ice cream. Yea and hurray for our side.

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