Sometimes I think diabetes and all of its ups and downs, is a reflection of the ebbs and flows of life. Just like the way that your thoughts and feelings can come and go like the tides, and the ways that you can feel like you are floating sometimes, and other times, like you are drowning, diabetes can wash over you, or completely engulf your day. Finding the best ways to surf the waves is an entirely individual thing. Nobody can tell you how to do diabetes. You have to work it out for yourself, and usually how you do it will change from day to day.
In general I am a very positive person, and tend to see diabetes as part of my life. However this does not mean I float through each day, happy as Larry (where does that come from and who is Larry anyway?). Most days you will hear some shouts of frustration, words to the effect of “what the hell” and a generally furrowed brow. The other night was a classic example. I have had a rough trot with my health, getting 2 viruses, followed by stabbing myself in the eye with a potplant (not my first). This has of course meant that diabetes has been a total prick (in the eye and generally!). I am almost recovered now and was starting to see some better blood glucose levels. Due to a recent flare of my gastroparesis, I have also moved off the low carb diet, to one which is gentler on my stomach and focuses more on the gastroparesis side of things. This means eating actual potatoes, pumpkin and so on – foods I was avoiding with low carb. What has been really interesting is the lack of impact on my BGL’s from some foods. I had thought that there would be lightening and thunder and the glucose gods would shower down a shit storm on me from eating these carb laden foods. But this has not been the case. Gluten free bread aside, the eating of carbs has not been as traumatic as I thought, and it has reminded me that quantity, quality, and timing of insulin bolus is a big part of dealing with carbs.
Anyway, back to the other night. My BGL was sitting around 6 mmol and I ate some salmon, potato, carrot and pumpkin. I had a unit of insulin. I waited to see if I needed another unit. Nope, for the next 2 hours I was still 6 mmol and steady as she goes. Until I started to feel odd and checked to see I was now 4.1 mmol and dropping fast. Those arrows can really do my head in – do they do that to you? If I see a fast rising, or especially fast dropping arrow, I tend to panic. This is both a plus and a minus of CGM for me. I had a piece of bread and a couple of glucose tablets as for me, a fast arrow at that stage means impending hypo. Annnnnd it kept dropping. In minutes it was 3.4 mml and still falling fast. Enter the hypo arrow panic……4 more glucose tablets….still dropping arrow for about 30 minutes, also checking finger to confirm the CGM was behind and I was steadying out. Eventually settling on 6 mmol and relaxing, only to start the inevitable rise to 16 mmol over the next few hours. My evening consisted of managing diabetes. I may have been watching television on the outside, but on the inside I was being a pancreas trying not to drown in the waves. And the real crack of it all? The next day after dinner I did the same thing with the same BGL’s prior to eating and ended up 15mmol after dinner….go figure…
One thing that helps in these moments is my family. My mum and husband are followers on my CGM and will text to see if I am ok in a hypo. They don’t actually do anything, but knowing they know and are there for me, is like having a group of surfboards at the ready. Knowing someone else knows I am having a shitty time of it, helps. My husband is remarkable. He walks alongside my daily ups and downs, and listens every time I shout or mutter. The other night he even tried shooting my pancreas with a nerf gun – that really really helped.
Surfing the diabetes waves is not always easy, and some days you fall off and get dumped. Knowing someone is there to give you a hand and pull you up out of the wake makes all the difference, because you know the waves may get smaller, but they will swell again and you will have to climb on your board once again – it is the inevitable circle of the daily dance with diabetes.. Be sure you don’t do it alone,