Tag Archives: hypoglycemia

Sometimes…

Sometimes I don’t want to stop.

Sometimes I’m in the thick of a really great book, and I don’t want to stop.

Sometimes I’m in the middle of writing a killer sentence, and I don’t want to stop.

Sometimes I’m climbing down the Eiffel Tower in the twilight hours, and I don’t want to stop

Sometimes I’m in the depths of a needed sleep, and I don’t want to stop.

Sometimes I’m at 8.5 km of a strong 10 km run, and I don’t want to stop.

Sometimes I’m hurting with joy, giggling so hard with my boy, and I don’t want to stop.

I can see the words on the screen go blurry.

I can feel the letters in my book as they punch me in the face with every bounce across the page they make.

I can sense the happy flutters in my belly being strangled into sickening worry.

I try to control the shakes.

I try to ignore my heated cheeks.

I squint at the screen.

I cover one eye, hoping it will empower the other.

All for just a few more minutes.

A few minutes without Dear Diabetes.

But then, the full-body sweats come. Reality sets in. I cannot ignore Dear Diabetes. I cannot shove him off to the corner, not even for a few seconds. He is there. He will always be there. He won’t ever let me forget it.

The other day my blood sugars dropped to 3.0; I felt as though they were 2.0.

I didn’t want to stop.

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Travelling with the diabetes beast

I should have written every blood sugar reading down. I should have noted my basal rates going in, and my basal rates leaving. I should have kept tabs on my insulin dosages every time I ate, and the foods and activity that accompanied every dose.

I should have, but I didn’t.

About two months ago, I suggested Big Ring and I go on a four-day getaway within the two-week break between the end of winter semester and the start of summer semester. I’d been going hard with my studies for nearly two straight years; I needed a break, something to free my mind and refresh me before the attack of yet another summer of chemistry hell, er, I mean, awesomeness 😉

It was between San Francisco or Portland. Initially Big Ring was championing for San Francisco as he’d only previously seen it on a day-trip during our Sonoma County/Levi Leipheimer adventure four years ago. But Portland has always been a go-to for us. We love the neighbourhood we stay in; we love the walking culture; we love the people; the shops; the relaxed vibe, and the fact we find something new every trip we go.

Plus, Portland = my happy place.

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Dear Portland, PoP has arrived!!!

The thing about travel and diabetes though, it can be a beast. At least, for me it is. Pretty much, I am challenged with non-stop low blood sugars from the moment I step off the plane to the moment I get back on.

This trip was no exception.

A lot of the foods we ate are not typically foods I eat regularly, nor the times we ate them at. And happy hours every night, most definitely not the norm! And because travelling is mostly a restaurant culture, I don’t know the exact carb counts for what I’m eating so I’m having to guess my intake of carbohydrates, meaning I’m also guessing my intake of insulin.

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Carb counts anyone? Anyone???

And maybe I’m just a cruddy assed carb-guesser, because my blood sugars were crashing practically every two seconds. Although, I find that highly unlikely as I’m fairly decent at it when need be at home, and I was a superstar at it before going on the insulin pump. More likely it’s the endless walking we do when vacationing. Oh, and the fact Portland is home to the BEST North American ice cream EVER (Hello Salt and Straw!!!) and the fact said ice cream was ohhhhh like a five-minute walk from our hotel, and the fact, we were being so insanely debauched eating Salt and Straw at like 10:30 at night – yeah, that can totally mess you up too.

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One night, there was Salt and Straw with a craft brew chaser; like I said, totally debauched!

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And we weren’t the only ones; every night, lineups out the door and around the corner!!!

The entire trip, my blood sugars averaged 4.2. There were a lot of borderline lows, some slight lows, and one massively horrible, freak the ugly crud right out of me low.

That night we had a late dinner at a tapas restaurant. I had the paella. Now, I’m pretty well versed in what it does to my blood sugars as we have it frequently at home during the summer months. Paella is a rice-based dish (we use arborio) that generally shoots my blood sugars up if I don’t first load myself full of insulin. So I did just that. My blood sugars were 5.7, and I calculated a conservative 60 grams of carbs for the meal based on the successive lows I’d already been having. After dinner, we walked for about 20 or so minutes before deciding to stop in at Salt and Straw to which I ordered a lovely split scoop of their Strawberry Honey Balsamic Black Pepper and Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache ice creams (Yummm!!!). My blood sugars pre-ice cream were 4.7. I knew I was in a bit of a pickle. My blood sugars were dropping, but if I didn’t give myself any insulin they would surely shoot up from the ice cream later.

What I should have done was eat the ice cream, wait until my blood sugars rose, and some of the dinner insulin wore off, then give myself a half dose and test a couple hours later to see if a further dose was required. That’s what I should have done. But I didn’t. Nope, I gave myself the half dose before taking my first mouth-watering bite.

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How can you possibly think straight with that staring at you, waiting for you to dive in???

Retrospect is a bitch.

Before bed, my blood sugars were 3.7. I chewed on 5 salt water taffies courtesy of the hotel, and was feeling thoroughly ill at this point. I turned the lights out, and flitted off into an unsettled, herky jerky sleep. About 30 minutes later I opened my eyes with a start, and I don’t know what it was about the way I was feeling, but something had me fumbling for the light switch, needing to test my blood sugars. They were 2.7. I didn’t believe it. My mind was bouncing all over the place, my words were nonsensical, I was stuttering, getting half sentences out. I told Big Ring I needed to wash my hands and retest; he tried reasoning with me that I would only need to do that if my blood sugars were high. I stared at him; I didn’t understand what he was saying. I couldn’t eat anymore sugar, my body couldn’t take it. He grabbed an apple and told me to chew.

Slowly, the haze lifted, but the fear and shame of the low didn’t; I should have known better.

As much as I Iove travelling, and oh man I do, I do NOT like the diabetes beast it often presents.

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If only I had the diabetes brain of saaaay Linus Pauling!!!

I did, however, get the diabetes equation right one night: the night we took advantage of our in-suite kitchenette and whipped up omelettes – a travelling staple of ours 🙂

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Pretty much, every adventure has us making omelettes at least one of the nights!

Next time, I’m making graphs… at least, that’s what I say now 🙂

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Until next time dear Portland…

Ps. If you want to read more on our actual trip, here’s a lovely post from Big Ring’s blog all about keeping it weird 🙂

Running roller coaster

For those of you keeping tabs, and thank you so much for doing so, the results of the run vs. sloth week are as follows:

Run: 4
Sloth: 0

While I know I am the only one who can truly get me out the door running, it helped HUGE knowing that I’d hear from a few of you if I didn’t. This week could easily have been a one or none kind of running week. There were excuses aplenty to be had: It’s New Year’s. It’s cold. I have no one to run with. I’m tired. It’s raining monsoons. But, your words of encouragement; your words of prodding; and for some of you, your commitment to get out there running with me, either alongside or from afar, meant a world of difference. Seriously, thank you.

Four runs (clockwise): I have to pee!; splish splash; death by hills; SNOW... sort of.

Four runs (clockwise): I have to pee!; splish splash; death by hills; SNOW… sort of.

Four in the pocket for the week is a fantastic way to end my three-week school holiday. Today is the first day of Semester 2!

YESTERDAY’S LONG RUN
• 8:50 a.m. BG before: 11.7
• Temp. basal: (I can’t remember if I did -30% or -50%)
• Carbs: none (mistake)
 • Workout: 85 minutes: 10′ easy; 75′ alternating 10′ at half marathon
pace, 5′ at 30 seconds slower

• Time: 1:19:01
• Distance: 12.26 km
• Average pace: 6:00 min/km
• Average cadence: 87 spm
• BG: @30′: 4.2; @60′: 2.9 – FRICK!!!
• Fuel: I ended with 3 shot blocks and 2 400mL homemade sports
drink

• 10:45 a.m. BG after: 5.7

This run was a roller coaster of highs and lows, and not only with my blood sugars. But hey, let’s start there.

I have no idea why my blood sugars were 11.7 at the start of the run. At breakfast, three hours earlier, they were 7.2; if they had been consistent with the past couple weeks, they should have been down to at least 6.0 or less by the start of the run. Dear Diabetes was most definitely having her way.

When this happened a few weeks ago, I didn’t take any fuel prior to the run for fear of the blood sugars rising to a sickening state, and I also didn’t cut down my continuous insulin. By 30 minutes into that run, my blood sugars had dropped to 4.8. I still had the same fears for this run, so I skipped the pre-run half banana, but this time I cut down my basal to I think 50 per cent, but possibly 30. Regardless, it wasn’t enough. At 30 minutes in, they had again bottomed out. With the run three weeks ago, I turned off my insulin at this point which resulted in post-run highs that lasted for hours after, which I didn’t want to experience again. So this time, I cut it down to 60 per cent (thinking that I had only cut it by 30 per cent earlier), which was so totally not enough.

Despite sipping on my homemade sports drink and noshing on a shot block, by 60 minutes in, my blood sugars were dangerously low. At that point, I stopped running, guzzled the remainder of my sports drink and stuffed 2 more shot blocks into my mouth. Thankfully, though, 5 minutes was all it took for my BG to rise and me to be back running again.

Unfortunately the Ziplock bag did not keep the strips dry when testing... all ruined.

Unfortunately the zip-lock bag did not keep the strips dry when testing… all ruined 😦

Stupid blood sugars. Before that, I was having a decent run. It was monsooning like hell. The trails were covered end-to-end in puddles. (There’s no dodging puddles on the West Coast!). And if you stopped you were met with bitter cold. Still, for the most part, I was keeping my pace in line for where it needed to be, and wasn’t feeling exhausted on the faster portions of the run. And even after the blood sugar drama, I was still able to kick the last five minutes or so in the teeth with a super speedy finish.

Not impressed with Dear Diabetes messing with a decent run.

Not impressed with Dear Diabetes messing with a decent run.

Stupid blood sugars.

This is diabetes

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Over the years I’ve heard time and time again low blood sugar episodes being compared to inebriation. And, maybe because I’m not on the outside looking in, but rather the person in the moment, I’ve never related to that comparison. Sure, there are a lot of similarities – irrationality, unpredictability, blurred vision, slurred speech, passing out – but drunkeness, at least in the moment, is often viewed as fun, exciting, thrilling. Whereas hypoglycemia, for me, is more akin to full body failure.

It can last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours.

My brain in a fog, my eyes desperately trying to catch the words maniacally dancing on the page.

A part of me deep inside watches from the sidelines, desperately crying out for help. But the words don’t come out. What does is nothing more than a mumble, or a hate-filled cranky mess.

I’ve burst into tears, I’ve thrown things, I’ve said things no one should ever say to the people they love – all because the one word I need, that’s right there in my brain, I can’t verbally grasp.

Help.

I want to put my head down. I want to shut my eyes. I want to sleep. I can’t.

I need sugar, fast acting sugar, I take a swig of orange juice. I should wait, at least 15 minutes, but my body screams for more. I open the fridge, the cupboards, my desk drawer, my wallet and fill my mouth full of cookies, chocolate chips, peanut butter, crackers… More. More. More.

I’m sick. I want to puke. My body can’t handle the sugar overload. As my blood sugars take a turn upwards, the headache ensues.

The raging headache, so fierce I can’t move my head, I can’t open my eyes, I can’t think. Make it stop. Please. Make it stop.

I’m at home. I’m at work. I’m at the playground with my son. I’m on a run. I’m in my car. I’m shopping. I’m taking a test.

There is no stop watch. There is no vacation time. There isn’t even a lunch break.

This is diabetes.

* This post was part of a collaboration between a few of us T-1 bloggers to show the story of diabetes beyond the finger pricks and needle jabs. The above is just one part of my disease.

Other posts by others with diabetes on how diabetes feels:
Canadian D Gal
Running on Carbs
Jeff Mather’s Dispatches
Alberta Diabetic Girl

Freedom Friday

Phew! My family and I survived our first week of me being a working mom. The first day was tough as nails, my jaw hurting so bad fighting back those tears as I left my boy for the day, the second day was easier but I still felt the welling of tears in my eyes, but by the third day, I left with no feeling of tears, Big Ring felt more confident with daycare duties, and Little Ring made a buddy and slept for 2 hours at nap time. Success.

And the fourth day… oh wait, there wasn’t a fourth day!!!

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First day of daycare.

Instead of going back to work full-time, we decided I’d go back 4 days to save on daycare, gas, tolls, and wear and tear on the car, and also to grant us more quality time as a family. (Big Ring has Fridays off as well) And because this week started with the Labour Day holiday that meant only 3 days of work for me. Wahoo!

And what did I do with my first ever Freedom Friday? Went for a run of course 😀

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Already loving this day!

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 10 a.m. BG before: 7.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) half bolus
  • Time: 1:17:45 (plus 5 minute warmup)
  • Distance: 13.35 km
  • Average pace: 5:50 min/km
  • Average cadence: 85 spm
  • 12 p.m. BG after: 9.7

This wasn’t a perfect run. I had major issues with my blood sugars and glucose metres. At 30 minutes I tested and they were down to 4.2, so I took in a dark-chocolate Agave #9 gel (I kid you not, this tasted like melted chocolate – NOT gel!) and half a tube of Pocket Fuel before starting back up again. Twenty minutes later I was starting to feel a bit off, like a low was coming on. So I stopped and tested again, or at least I tried. I got a couple error messages before finding a strip that would allow me to test. The test came in at 3.7, which corroborated the off feeling I was experiencing, but something inside me told me to test again. I did and the second test came in at 7.1. What the??? I tested again and was at 5.4. Are you freaking kidding me? What the hell result was I to believe?

It could have been the sweat, it could have been remnants of the gel from 30 minutes ago still on my fingers, or it could have been the metre has finally gone to the toilets… which is exactly what I’m thinking happened given the multiple error messages I was getting.

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Stupid metre!

I decided to play it safe and took a couple shot blocks before getting back to my run. And given that I ended with a 9.7 reading post-run, my guess is the 5.4 result was probably the more accurate of the three. Ugh.

But hey, a positive: I’m pretty sure I’m 90% injury free!!! Wahoo!!!

Forbidden fruit

Damn you bananas, you vindictive, nasty, evil, loathsome fruit you! I’ve figured you out, oh yes, I have. It wasn’t the apples causing women everywhere mayhem. It was you that was the slithering snake temptress! It had to have been, there’s no other explanation. None. You come off looking all healthy and then BAM you stick your sugary sweet daggers into my veins and shoot my blood sugars right into oblivion!

Seriously, what the hell is up with this fruit? At first glance, it looks to be a pretty awesome fruit, especially for us athletic folk needing it for muscle recovery and easy digestion. Just look at its stats: A 7-inch banana has over 400 mg of potassium, which is great for nerve and muscle function helping to prevent cramping after exercise, it’s loaded with vitamin C, is an excellent source of B6 and manganese, which is great for bone health and a good-functioning metabolism, it’s got loads of fibre to keep you fuller longer, and is probably the most natural energy booster around.

And yet, I eat one, and I’m regretting it for hours after!

As a rule, my breakfasts generally consist of steel cut oats with a cupboard full of mix-ins (cinnamon, goji berries, nut butter, flax seed, chia seed, Greek yogurt, etc., etc.) and a half apple side. But lately I’ve been craving 12-grain toast, thickly slathered with smooth peanut butter and slices of banana on top. Yu-um. It’s perfect really, whole grain bread, banana, peanut butter, what more do you need? It’s tasty. It keeps me full for hours. Win-win.

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Seems like the perfect breakfast…

But then I test my blood sugars.

The first morning I had this, three hours later my BG was in the high 14s!!! I thought maybe I forgot to hit the GO button on my pump, but nope, my history showed the insulin had been delivered successfully, so then I thought, it was an infusion issue, but again, nope, the infusion appeared perfectly fine. At that point, that banana was looking pretty darn guilty.

However, I still wasn’t 100 per cent convinced. I’d been struggling for about a week with higher than usual blood sugars three hours post breakfast (I know 2-hours is the usual gauge, but I generally wait until snack time before checking), nothing like 14+, but 8 and 9 mmol readings. And so I thought maybe my insulin resistance was all out of whack. Over the next few days, I dropped my insulin-to-carb ratio, and also increased my basal rates for the morning hours.

I then went back to that irresistible banana peanut butter concoction. I made sure to measure the banana on the scale for an accurate carb count (previously I had used the general rule of 15 grams per 1/2 banana), and I used measuring spoons for the peanut butter to ensure accuracy there as well. Three hours later, I was registering a BG in the 13s. Are you freaking kidding me?

And, you know, when you have a high like this and it makes you feel absolutely crummy, like you’ve been hit by the Bubonic Plague, the last thing you want to do is wait it out, which generally means, you’re spending hours rage bolusing, which then results in hours of post-high lows. Ugh.

You’d think, after two experiences like this, I’d give up on the breakfast altogether right. No. Call it stubborn. Call it persistence. Call it stupidity. I wanted to try again, not so much because I was craving it this time, more because a) I wanted to master that evil banana, and b) I needed a picture of it to go with this blog 🙂

And you know what happened the third time? That stupid banana threw me for a loop. Instead of skyrocketing my blood sugars this time, it kicked them to the curb! Three hours post breakfast, I was registering 3.5.

Seriously, what the hell is up with this fruit???

Memories: eat rocks!

When you opened your eyes that cool, grey morning, flutters of excitement filled your belly. Today was show and tell.

Today was a good day.

For days you’d been thinking non-stop about what to bring. You knew you didn’t want to show off your latest Cabbage Patch Kid, and you knew you didn’t want to bring your Barbie, despite her new, totally awesome, spiked, toothpaste-blue hairstyle. Nope. Neither of those would do. You crawled under your bed, rifled through the mounds of dirty and clean clothes, and the secretly stashed mouldy lunches until your hands came upon the two squares of cool tin. You curved your tiny fingers over the top of the boxes and pulled. And there they were, your most prized possessions. Two boxes full of rocks. Shiny green rocks, yellow rocks, purple and blue rocks. Big rocks, small rocks, sharp rocks, and silky smooth rocks. Rocks with ridges, rocks with points, rocks with bumps. Rocks that were prettier than the shiniest baubles in your mama’s jewelry box. You caressed your fingers lovingly over a sparkling green one with maroon coloured edges. Perfect.

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Many of your rocks, collected by your great grandparents, came from far away beds of rocks such as these.

You grabbed your knapsack. Pulled out today’s lunch and threw it under your bed with the others. You stuffed the tins inside and ran out the door, not even waiting for Big Brother, to go catch the bus.

The rain showered you with sprinkles, but it wasn’t hard enough to wash away your smile. The pack was heavy, so heavy you could feel yourself being pulled backwards, and yet still you managed a bounce in your step. You adjusted it every few seconds, even tried easing the heft off your shoulders by holding the bottom of the pack up with your hands. Finally at the bus stop, with your small lungs huffing and puffing, you gently placed it down by your feet and waited.

Today was a good day.

By the time you got to school, the rain was coming down heavy, the wind blowing every which direction. Your teacher hadn’t yet arrived. Your brother’s teacher with the same last name came to supervise. You liked her. You were tired. The excitement of the morning was taking its toll. You placed your head into the crook of your arms and rested them on your desk. You would shut your eyes for just a few moments.

When you opened your eyes, you were in a room you’d never been before. You were lying on a bed, a blanket over you. Big Brother was there, taking on a responsibility far beyond his years, rubbing your back, talking softly to you, calming you in a way only a brother could do. You didn’t know there had been tears. You didn’t know there had been fights with sugar gels. You didn’t know your lips had pursed stubbornly together. You didn’t know there had been cries for Big Brother. You closed your eyes again.

When you opened them this time, the room was gone, Big Brother was gone. You were in a van, a familiar van. The woman unhooking you from the seat belt was a friendly face you knew and loved. But still, you were scared. Your head was fuzzy. It felt as though you were in a dream. You wanted to wake up. You wanted your moms. You closed your eyes again.

When you opened them, your moms was there. So was your doctor. Concern on her face. Calm on his.

You were 9 years old. You’d known about your diabetes just a few months. The low was a first for you, a first for your moms. The rocks were not a good idea.

Today was not a good day.

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* This is my third installment of Diabetes Blog Week with the topic Memorable Diabetes Day.*

TODAY’S RUN (the first in a week!!!)

  • 7:30 a.m. BG before: 10.0
  • Carbs: none (had breakfast an hour earlier)
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Average pace: 5:35 min/km
  • Time: 27:57
  • 8:30 a.m. BG after: 5.4

130515runWelcome back legs 😀