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I Wish People Knew That Diabetes is 24-7

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Diabetes is relentless, as are many chronic diseases. It’s not just the fact that we live with it for the rest of our lives. But diabetes doesn’t give us a day off. You can do exactly the same thing on two days and get different results. Last night was an example.

I woke up sweating, my heart was racing, my hands were trembling, I couldn’t form coherent sentences, I was drowsy and extremely sleepy. Struggling to pull myself out of the haze, I tested my BGLs, only 4.3mmol/L, but my symptoms were telling me that I was dropping very quickly.

I vaguely remember ripping open my Sour Patch Kids packet. I think Rosie, my cat, even tried to lick some. In my hypo hunger state I wandered to the kitchen to get a giant marshmallow and ran into mum getting ready for bed. Rosie tried to get into my marshmallow too, that greedy cat.

At some stage, mum sat in bed and ate Doritos with me. Rosie wanted some of that too (!!). After a long while [i.e. a packet of Sour Patch Kids (17g Carbs), a giant marshmallow (30g Carbs) and a handful of Doritos (??g Carbs)] I came up to 5.3mmol/L. Satisfied, mum tucked me back into bed, Rosie took her place by my side and all seemed right.

Except now I was wide awake and I had to be up in 5 hours for a statistics workshop.

Trying to pinpoint why I dropped so quickly was hard. I was sure I counted all my carbs right, I didn’t do any intense exercise. Perhaps it was the walking around the city trying to escape the pouring rain that finally caught up. Who knows? With diabetes, everything you eat and everything you do needs to be accounted for. Even then, your emotions, stress and even weather affects your BGLs. It’s easy to say stuff it all, but then you’re left feeling like rubbish all the time.

Numbers alone should never determine how “well managed” your diabetes is. The numbers barely scratch the surface of what living with diabetes is about. So to all my healthcare professional friends who see clients with diabetes, take some time to ask how things are going for them and listen.

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Pancreatically challenged, diabetes advocate, PhD student and dietitian - working to positive changes within the diabetes community and healthcare setting. Although diagnosed at age of 19 with T2DM, the type of diabetes I have is under constant debate. Finally pumping as of March 2014.

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