Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes


36 can be a good number.  I’m happy when there are only 36 miles left in a trip to take Jeffrey to college, or on the way to my parent’s home.  It’s a nice even number for the inches in a yard.  But I don’t like it when I see it on my glucose meter.  Then, it is paralyzing.

It happened last night, and as bad lows so often go, it was right at bedtime.  I had been lying on the couch watching Monk, so it snuck up on me.  I glanced at my CGM as I sat up and saw 49 with an arrow pointing southeast. Huh. That’s not good.  Then it really hit me.  Sweaty, shaky, tingling lips… I fumbled for my meter and tested.  That’s when the dreaded number lit up the screen. 36.  I’ve never been that low. I was surprised, unprepared, terrified.  I really could not move for about a minute, but then, fortunately, the part of my brain that was still working said “DO SOMETHING. NOW!”. I stumbled (literally, I couldn’t walk well…) to the kitchen and got out a carton of orange juice, the only thing I could think that would work as quickly as possible.  It was a new carton and I couldn’t get it open. Dennis had followed me, and opened and poured me a glass.  I guzzled.  He poured more. I guzzled more.  I just wanted to not move and for it to be over as soon as possible, but my head was SO heavy and I just could not stay upright, so I wandered to bed, where I chomped down two (or maybe three, I really have no idea) gingersnaps and waited for the fear to subside and the sweating shakes to stop.  I did not want to fall asleep for fear that perhaps there was still insulin actively working in my body that might come back to haunt me and send me even lower.  Jiminy (my CGM) had bottomed out and just said LOW. The red dotted line was flat along the bottom of the graph.  I would have taken a picture, but….  That flat line was ominous to me. I cannot remember ever being as frightened as I was right then.

After the longest 15 minutes of my life, I could tell I was safe.  Jiminy still said something like 50 or so, but the sweating had stopped and my brain was making more sense of the world.  I was so tired, and fell immediately to sleep.  I slept well until Jiminy’s buzzing woke me around 2:00. High. Of course.  I had to pay for the oj and cookies.  But for the first time I can remember I did not mind at all being at 300. I knew I wasn’t going to die from a 300. I was in control again.

Today I am tired and sluggish, and I have had a hard time keeping my blood glucose from going low. I want to be free of this disease.  I want to stop having to think about the scary parts of it, like 36.  But, I know. It’s not going away.  Step by step I’ll work on coping with it, whether I’m at 36, 308, or 110.  I’m very thankful for a husband who didn’t ask questions but just watched out for me. And I’m thankful to have woken up this morning.

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Digging out

Diabetes Blog Week

Yesterday I wrote about the fact that high blood sugars are really a downer for me.  I was of course presented with the opportunity to practice climbing out of the hole that sticky highs put me yesterday afternoon. For no apparent reason, my bg decided to go up to about 250 and stick there for about 3 hours before rocketing down to an in-range number by dinnertime.  I tried very hard to practice what I knew I was going to write about today, just so I would not be a total hypocrite.

My first approach to dealing with a sticky high is to distract myself. This isn’t all that easy, since if the high has been around for any length of time, my brain is pretty foggy. But I find working with my hands, and especially knitting, helps take my mind off of my frustration.  I was thinking about this while swimming this morning. (I do some of my best thinking in the pool.)  Diabetes is all about numbers – what is my blood glucose level? How much insulin do I need to dose for what I eat? How many carbs in that meal? How many units of insulin left in my pump?  How much insulin do I have on board? A1C? Are my I:C ratios right? It seems endless sometimes.  Knitting is a lot about numbers too, at least the kind of knitting I find most satisfying.  I was recently introduced to a magical approach to knitting socks in this book  by a super ninja knitter (that’s you Sasha!)  at my favorite source of yarn and challenging knitting classes. This book is teaching me to do the most wonderful math to make socks that fit perfectly.  When I knit, I can control the numbers.  It’s as simple as that.  I don’t even mind ripping out knitting in order to start over and make it better. I have restarted the current sock I’m working on 3 times and now I know it will fit MY foot perfectly.  It’s the process that is satisfying as much as the product.  I’m not sure I can say that about diabetes.  The process is not as predictable as knitting.  I can dose and re-dose during a high and not see the desired effect for HOURS.  When I rip out something I have knit and start over, correcting the math, it works.  SO satisfying.

So that is step one. The other great thing about knitting is that most of the time, my mind is free to wander while I knit.  Thanks to a wonderful time of talking through the beginning of the book of James recently with a friend, I am working hard on how I deal with trials like a sticky high.  Rather than focus on ‘why me?’, we are working to change our thinking to “God is…..” and filling in the blank with the character or promises of God that fit the situation.  For me, getting my eyes off of myself is very hard. I want to wallow in my misery more than I want God to minister to me and restore my trust in Him.  As I write that statement and then read it, it sounds utterly ridiculous!  Why would I want to wallow in self-pity when the riches of God and the gospel are waiting to be embraced?  Well, because I’m human for one thing.

So I knit and pray. And read other blogs in the DOC that remind me that I am not alone.  And pray some more.

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What brings me down

Diabetes Blog Week

It is annual DBlogWeek and I really do enjoy taking part in this new tradition.  I can’t post everyday – yesterday was Poetry day and I am hopeless when it comes to poetry, so I am getting my start today on an easier topic.

Easy in a way, anyway. It’s a little tough to narrow down the one thing that most brings me down about diabetes. But when I reflect on what causes the most passionate (not in a good way) responses in me, it becomes clear that being high brings me down the most.  And by being high, I mean blood glucose levels, not some weird drug induced fantasy.  There is a slogan available on everything from Tshirts to mugs from a website that says “I shoot up to avoid getting high” and part of me wants to wear something everyday that says that. I really do hate going high, even more than being low.  It’s a bit irrational, since going low poses far more danger to me than highs, since my highs are never in the zone of being close to producing any kind of medical emergency, while some lows carry me way too close to danger for my own good.

So why do highs bug me so much? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, since I had a couple of weeks of day after day of sticky highs.  I think it is because highs do not respond quickly to intervention. Or at least, not as quickly as I would like. I can hear my much loved CDE in my head chanting “Be patient. Be patient.” even now.  I’m NOT patient. About much of anything, much less a high BG that is making my head feel muddled and my body sluggish and exhausted. It is the feeling of complete loss of control that is so frustrating. And there you have it.  The source of the battle between me and T1D.  Control.  I want it, and I don’t have it.

The good news is that I am at least identifying why certain diabetes triggers cause huge emotional swings in me. Isn’t that the way we have to start to take hold of our emotions?    This is getting ahead of myself though, since tomorrow’s topic for DBlogWeek is how we deal with these emotions…….See you tomorrow!

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