Memorial Day Madness

With great thanks to the armed forces who have kept me safe and protected, I didn’t have any real plans for Monday except for sleeping in, watching various TV marathons, and getting my apartment in order. I will be making two back-to-back trips later in the week so laundry and cleaning were a top priority.

I guess I should know to expect the unexpected when diabetes is involved.

I woke up this morning with severe stomach pain/cramping – worse than I can ever remember experiencing before. It was the first time I seriously contemplated calling someone to have them take me to the hospital. It was a long few hours before I could even get myself to a place where I could test my blood sugar.  I did have my CGM with me, and as best as I could tell I had been “planking” all night long within range.

A test finally confirmed that my CGM was accurate and my blood sugar was still in range. When I opened my meter kit, I saw my ketone sticks. I had not thought to test for them before that (since it didn’t feel like the flu and my bg was normal).

Side note: Prior to last year, I had never tested for ketones before (in 8 years since dx).

Except for one other time (overnight combination of sensor error and bad infusion site),  every other time I have tested for ketones the results have been negative (I scrolled through the meter memory to confirm – .1s across the board) so I was surprised to see any result at all. Again, my blood sugar was normal.

I immediately hopped on google found this:

1.6–3.0 mmol/liter is a high level of ketones and means you are at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis. Your doctor or diabetes educator should be contacted immediately. (source)

Since my results were on the bottom edge of the scale, I messaged my favorite diabetes experts who reminded me of what I knew about getting rid of ketones – lots and lots of water, a few carbs, and some extra insulin would most likely clear the ketones without medical attention.

(NOT medical advice – just the experiences of a few people with diabetes. YDMV.)

I had to switch to the “other” type of ketone testing since my insurance doesn’t cover blood ketone testing and I didn’t want to burn through all my sample strips in one day. It took into the early evening for the ketones to clear but my stomach felt better much sooner.

I’m still completely confused by the whole thing.

Too short to be the flu. Food poisoning? Ketones causing stomach pain? Stomach pain causing ketones?

With diabetes there are no simple answers just like there are no simple vacation days.


  • Sounds downright AWFUL. More than that, confusing. Ketones with no real illness and normal BG’s? what the…

    Can’t figure this one out.

  • I get ketones without high bg when I’m sick, like with stomach flu. I just try to stay hydrated and alternate with something with carbs that I can keep down, like juice or a popsicle. If I get too dehydrated and I can’t get the ketones down, I go to the ER for fluids (no glucose).

  • First, glad you’re feeling better!
    Second, I just have the “other” ketone strips also but I find it annoying that using a ketone blood strip when you’re sick is easier and yet, insurance doesn’t pay for them. I’m just so sure that those strips have to cost less than a trip to the ER.

  • i’m happy that you’re feeling better, and that you don’t have much experience with ketones. hopefully you won’t see any again for a long, long time.

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