I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to write this… actually, yes I can, I’ve been feeling horrible thanks to an experiment with a new (to me) antidepressant and it’s been all side effects, no help.
So. We did Angel’s second BSL (blood sugar level) reading on the 25th. Normal is 8, pre-treatment was above 24, 4th day of treatment it was 15.4, one week later it was 11.1. Her appetite is great, her energy levels are back to normal (never all that high).
We were due to get a curve, which is four readings, four hours apart, on the 28th. Due to various circumstances, not feasible, so we planned to do it for the 30th.
That day was a total failure. We got one good reading half an hour after her morning injection: 6.7. But the second time, we just could not seem to get a reading, despite three pricks on her poor ears and two tests strips in case one was faulty. Already feeling terrible from my meds, I basically crumbled and just couldn’t do anything more for the day.
We regrouped, gave her ears a couple of days to heal (and gave me a couple of days off meds – for the first time, I stopped a prescribed medication myself without waiting to talk to my doctor about it, the side effects had gotten so intolerable) and rescheduled it for the 3rd.
First result, about an hour after her shot: 5.3
Second result, 4 hours later: 6.2
Third result, a further 4 hours later: 4.4
At which point I called the vet to ask what to do. The answer, other than the bits suggesting multiple further BSLs over the next 12 hours or so which Angel was just NOT going to tolerate at that point, was to skip her injection that night and test her again in the morning before her injection.
Fourth result, 12 hours after the first: catastrophic fail. She got herself intensely agitated so fast, knowing what was coming, that 1) I couldn’t hold her still enough to actually target an ear vessel let alone actually hit it, and 2) the reading would’ve been unreliable anyway because stress floods the body with adrenalin which bumps blood sugar to get you ready for fight-or-flight. We did try, but declared it aborted after the one ear prick I did manage didn’t give us enough for a reading.
Through all of these low-ish results, she was acting normally (if a little nervous of being picked up and protective of her ears) – affectionate and alert between naps, moving nap spots occasionally, visiting the wet food that we’re making sure she always has available.
(Speaking of food – I’ll get to regular diet in a minute, but she tolerated the BSLs a lot better with a bowl of high quality no-filler fish wet food, a couple of bites before and the rest after. She doesn’t normally get fish because, as far as we can tell, that’s one of the things that gives her a touch of diarrhea, but we figured lower stress was worth it. Interestingly, she hasn’t had any reaction to the fish AT ALL, leading me to wonder how much of the problem is corn and the fish was just too much for her irritated tummy, and with no corn in her diet for years now, she’s okay with fish. We’re still keeping fish stuff as a special treat.)
It’s now the morning after. Slightly less than 24 hours since her last insulin shot, an hour after I know I heard her in the food bowl, her BSL was 9.2 – which is a level I’m actually quite happy with. Called the vet, and the vet who’s been dealing with this isn’t in until this afternoon, but a different vet said to give her 1 unit of insulin this morning, not the usual 2, and keep an eye on her. (There was also a suggestion to check her BSL again in an hour… I can tell you right now, there is NO way we’ll get a reliable result if we can get one at all.) I left a request for the vet who’s been handling this to give me a call this afternoon at some point.
I’m pretty sure that 3 weeks is too fast for remission per se, but I gather lots of cats are ultimately managed entirely by diet. Since we caught this fast and it’s being treated pretty aggressively and she’s responding so well, I’m hopeful we’re going to reach a point where she doesn’t need the insulin and we’ll be able to just monitor for any increases in sugar using urine test strips (which, I’ve learned after research, measure only high, not low, and there IS a time lag, so they’re no good for during insulin treatment) instead of jabbing her poor ears with pointy things.
As for diet: at this point, she has over the past three weeks refused so many kinds of higher-quality foods, even very small amounts mixed in with ones she likes, that we’ve kind of resigned ourselves to letting her live on Fancy Feast pate. Yes, we’ve tried Wellness, which a number of people have suggested. We’ve tried EVO, we’ve tried… I can’t even recall the names offhand, but a bunch of others. Some of them Freya the adventurous eats a little; most or all of every single can is being thrown out. Angel is 1) eating regularly and enthusiastically but not gorging herself, 2) eating a wet pate that’s not all full of wheat gluten and stuff. It’s not the quality of protein that I’d PREFER to see her on, I’d far rather never give my kids anything that says “meat by-products” on it… but it’s better for her than kibble and infinitely better than not eating because her only options are things she doesn’t like, so I’ll settle for this.