Understanding Carbs for Juvenile Diabetes

Carter, peter pan
Disneyland trip – Jan. 2014 Standing in line to get on Peter Pan, which Carter loved.

When it comes to Juvenile Diabetes and understanding carbohydrates, it can be a difficult balance.  Tonight was the first night that we “winged it” carb wise with our son.  While at Disneyland I decided I wanted some Ice Cream, and my husband and I thought it would be nice for Carter to have a treat.  It honestly has been his first one in over two months, so we thought why not.  We let him indulge, somewhat and figured that we would just cover the extra carbs with another shot of insulin.  It wasn’t until after we were done that I started to momentarily panic, I had absolutely no idea how many carbs were in a scoop of Disneyland Ice Cream, furthermore, how would I know for sure how much they dished up into these sugar cone cups?  My mind raced, how much insulin would be enough, and how much would be too much?  My husband and I discussed back and forth what dosage we should give, and my husband even went into the shop to ask if they had nutritional information.  It was amazing to me, as I sat there trying to think like a pancreas, how our bodies are so finely tuned and makes these adjustments automatically.  I then realized how I had started settling into such a regimented feeding schedule that my son was missing out on all the fun ice cream days due to Juvenile Diabetes.  I decided I wanted to find a way to allow my son to have more choices, while still being carb conscious.  Though his age makes that a little difficult, I am going to be less consumed with having all of his carb allotments be only 100% nutritious, and allow him to be a kid.  Today was the first day that I allowed myself the permission to let him indulge and cover it with extra insulin.  It dawned on me that just because Carter had Type 1 Diabetes, doesn’t mean he can’t have an occasional “cheat day”, no one made this more clear to me then my husband.  My husband opened my eyes to the freedom of fun, since I am a stay at home mom, I am the one who administers the most shots and the one who if in direct contact with the endocrinologists.  Because of that I think I have been tainted by the pressure that is associated with calling in Carter’s numbers; tonight, my husband convinced me that it was OK to indulge and once I acquiesced it was heaven to watch my son enjoy himself so much.  We ended up deciding that an extra 1 unit of insulin was enough to cover the extra carbs that he ate with the ice cream treat, and when we got home and checked his blood sugar realized we chose correctly.  All in all, I think we all learned a lot tonight.  Carter was able to live like he wasn’t inflicted with Diabetes, my husband and I realized that the more comfortable we become with the insulin to carb ratios, the more freedom we will have in allowing our son to live life to the fullest, cheat days and all.

For more information on carb counting, visit the American Diabetes Association’s page

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