The Trials of Trials


I’m writing this post with an IV in my arm and a blood glucose that’s 260 mg/dl and rising fast. I’m getting to the point in a high blood sugar where my mind feels cloudy and my mood is irritable and I wonder what the hell I’m doing to myself. 

No, I didn’t binge on birthday cake. I’m doing a follow-up study for a trial I was in over ten years ago when I was first diagnosed. I was for a drug called an anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody that attempted to preserve some of my few remaining insulin-producing cells (if you or someone you know was recently diagnosed with Type 1, you might be able to enroll in the latest round of the study — check out the links in this blog post). Anyway, in order to figure out how much insulin you’re still making, you do something called a mixed meal tolerance test (an MMT in the lingo), in which you drink a sugary Slim Fast-like drink, don’t take insulin, and then do a bunch of blood draws to see how much insulin your body’s able to produce. 

It’s not a fun way to spend four hours, but the result is interesting. And this time around, there’s a new twist: they’re trying to see if giving Byetta (the popular Type 2 drug) to Type 1s who still make a tiny bit of insulin might actually prevent blood glucose levels from spiking so high. The downside of this particular trial is that I have to do three of these tests in a row. But the upside is that it might provide some evidence of whether Byetta could be useful to a subset of Type 1s.

Research goals aside, though, I feel horrible. I hate having high blood glucose, and being in a hospital environment makes me remember the severity of this disease. I also just got my A1c (that’s one of the perks of the trial — they do some of your blood tests) and while it’s good, it’s not great (at least not by my standards), and it makes me feel bad. Even more worrisome? I’ve recently seemed to be exhibiting signs of hypoglycemia unawareness, where my body doesn’t really freak out much until I get into the low 50s. 

All this is to say, UGH. I’m having one of those moments where I start to question my overall diabetes self-care (which I had thought was pretty good!) and feel bad about not always having perfect blood glucose numbers, and then feeling completely paralyzed by the enormity and impossibility of the task of achieving said perfect numbers. And then I remember that my blood glucose is 270 and rising, and I just feel like shit. 

So. That is my whine-fest for the morning. Hopefully I’ll be a bit cheerier during tomorrow’s MMT. In the meantime, hello, Sweet Life community! (It’s been a while.) Despite the crappiness of this particular morning, I’m glad to be back. 

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Dr. Mariela Glandt
Mariela Glandt
11 years ago

You are doing a great thing! We all want to know if Byetta is good for Type Is…and there are not too many ways to know, other than by studying them on good people like you. Thanks! 

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