You’ve just been diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic and there’s a lot going on. There’s a huge amount changing in your life and you may or may not completely understand what’s going on.
And then come the questions. What is it? Am I having one? Will I have one? How long will it last and how do I keep it going? Do I still need insulin? When will it end?
Well, below, I’ve done my best to answer some of the most common questions. I hope it helps.
What Is “The Honeymoon Period”?
The theory of this, in basic terms, when you’re diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic your pancreas has initially given up, but then starts working again (this could be after a few weeks/ months) for a set period of time producing insulin (otherwise known as endogenous insulin) for their body to use as their pancreas starts to recover.
Am I Having A Honeymoon Period?
You’ll most likely find that if you are, the amount of insulin needed to be injected, pumped or whichever way it’s medically delivered (this is known as exogenous insulin) into your system will decrease in order to keep your blood sugars at a stable level. Essentially, your body will be producing enough insulin to decrease the need of amount of an external source.
So How Long Can I Expect It To Last?
Based on the evidence, it differs and it seems that little can be done in estimating. Some honeymoon periods only last a couple of weeks, others can last (like mine did) for 2 – 3 years. However, if your diabetes diagnosis is determined very early, the honeymoon can last for even longer. Talk to your specialist to see if there’s anything you can do to prolong it. I found exercising and having a good, clean, healthy diet allowed me to keep my blood sugar levels at a very stable and manageable level. There has been some evidence that administering a very small amount of exogenous insulin (1 unit) can help by enabling the existing pancreatic beta cells to produce insulin but this isn’t something I’ve tried and you’d definitely need to speak to your specialist before trying this.
When Will I Know The Honeymoon Has Ended?
Typically, it seems that blood sugar levels will become less stable and you’ll start continue to start seeing higher numbers when testing yourself and the need for external sources of insulin increase. This most likely mean it’s over. Sorry.
How Did You Feel When It Ended?
I found I had to be much more aware of my own diabetes management due to the fact I wasn’t used to injecting so had to use trial and error to determine how much basal (background) and bolus (meal time) insulin I needed. I also had to be much more aware of what I was eating and how much and keep on top of my exercise.
I also massively reduced my alcoholic intake. Now whether or not this has actually helped in stabilising my sugar levels I’m unable to be certain, but the weeks I don’t drink I find managing by blood sugar levels far easier than when I do.