If My Diabetes Went Away Tomorrow

My alarm went off at 6am, as it did every morning. I fought the urge to close my eyes once again, and switched on the lamp on my bedside table. My blood glucose meter was still sitting there, in the same place I have kept it for the last five years. I knew it was probably time to find a home for it somewhere, but I still hadn’t convinced myself that I didn’t need it. I still ripped open a test strip, from the same perfect angle that I’d mastered a long time ago. I still wouldn’t believe anything until my meter confirmed it. I stuck the strip in, pricked my finger, and let the blood flow to the test strip. 4.2.

I made my bed, got dressed and walked into the dining room. “Good morning Frankie,” Dad said to me, very enthusiastically for this time of morning. I walked over to the coffee machine and placed my half filled glass of hot milk under the nozzle. I noticed the sugar bowl sitting next to the machine as I stood there watching the dripping coffee infuse with the milk in my glass. I was tempted to spoon some into my glass. I knew I could, if I wanted to. But somehow I just couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it had been to cut out my sugar over the years. And how proud I was of myself for it.

There were leftover pancakes in the fridge that my sister had made yesterday. I was so tempted to grab the plate, heat them up in the microwave and drown them in maple syrup. But I couldn’t rid myself of the thought of my blood sugar levels spiking if I did. I closed the fridge, instead opting for my usual slice of Burgen toast and hard boiled egg.

It was 6.40am, and time to head off to work in the dark. I still carried my satchel with me to work every day, even though I knew that everything I needed would now fit into my pockets. But somehow, I just couldn’t convince myself that I didn’t need to carry my meter, insulin pen and jellybeans around anymore.

There was morning tea on the table at work. Iced donuts, Tim Tams, Choc Chip Cookies, Cupcakes, Potato Chips and Lollies. I’ve never been able to resist morning tea, and grabbed one of everything to eat. By the time it was over, I was feeling full. Guilty. And unhealthy. I went back out to work, but the thought of not having had any insulin yet was driving me insane. I couldn’t function properly. I was convinced my blood sugar levels must have skyrocketed by now. 18? 25? Ketones? An hour had passed, before it got to the point where I couldn’t sit there for a minute longer. I hurried off as fast as I could to the locker room. I seized my meter, tore open a test strip, furiously pricked my finger and began frantically squeezing for blood. After all that crap I’d eaten, I couldn’t believe the number 8.2 staring back at me.

I was back home and done with work for the day. And it occurred to me that I could go back to having junk food in the afternoons if I wanted to, just like I did back when I was in high school. I walked over to the cupboard, and stared longingly at the bag of Red Rock Deli Honey Soy Chicken potato chips in there. My favourite, none the less. I could eat the whole packet, if I felt like it. But I couldn’t rid myself of the thought of spoiling my appetite for dinner. I couldn’t stop thinking about my blood sugar levels spiking at bedtime because of all the fat in them. And I couldn’t stop thinking about how unhealthy I would feel for it afterwards. I closed the cupboard doors, and opted for my usual cuppa instead.

I could go back to my old habits now, if I really wanted to. I could go back to eating white bread. I could go back to eating junk food after school. And I could go back to eating as much as I liked at dinner time. But knowing what I know now, I couldn’t go back to that old life. Somehow, I’m proud of the diet that I’ve adopted because of diabetes. Somehow, I’m proud of the food habits that I’ve overcome because of diabetes. And somehow, I still won’t be able to rid myself from thinking about what the food I eat will do to my blood sugar levels.

Don’t get me wrong, I do look forward to being able to eat anything and everything that I want on occasion. But if I were to go back to my old life today, it would feel like living with diabetes for all those years was for nothing.

My Perfect Week

What a difference two weeks can make. I remember writing about how I felt I wasn’t doing enough for my diabetes. I can remember feeling down in the dumps and consumed by less than ideal blood sugar levels and hypos. I can remember feeling trapped in a vicious cycle.

And today, I finally feel as though I’m beginning to get my diabetes mojo back.

I can remember an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney was trying to achieve the ‘Perfect Week.’ Seven days, seven hook ups and zero rejections. The lengths he took to achieve that Perfect Week probably won’t fit the PG rating of this blog.

If there were such a thing as a Perfect Week in diabetes land, this week would well and truly be mine. I have scored during 6 of the last 7 nights. I’ve woken up to blood sugar levels of 7.6, 5.4, 6.2, 5.9, 4.4, 11.8 and 4.5 during the past week. I have actually enjoyed a whole week of sleeping soundly between the hours of 10pm and 6am. And, miraculously, I’ve gone a whole week without being woken up in the middle of the night by a hypo either.

Morning is the most nail biting time of my day. Waking up, pricking my finger and anxiously awaiting the result. The result of where my blood sugar levels have been hovering for the past eight hours. The result of how well I’ve been managing my diabetes. And the result that will more than likely set the tone for my day ahead.

On six of the past seven mornings, I’ve finally been able to smile. I can’t help but raise my arm in victory and quietly exclaim to myself “yeah!” Waking up to those numbers is a massive achievement. In a life where diabetes follows me in every waking moment, seeing those numbers in the morning is the best damn feeling in the world. It sets me up in a perfect frame of mind to go about my day. To go about my day bursting with positivity and enthusiasm. To go about my day feeling proud and filled with self appreciation. Perhaps even a day deserving of a bolus worthy reward…

In yesterday’s letter to my friend Mr. Hypo, I wrote about patience being the key to locking away those night time hypos. Over the past few months, I’ve well and truly been doing more harm than good to myself. I’ve become obsessive compulsive over my blood sugar levels. I’d be checking them shortly after dinner, and then trying to correct them to where I think they should be. Only to end up hypo a few hours later when I’m in bed. Only to land myself in a pit of misery, frustration and self loathing.

Patience has worked wonders on me. I now make myself wait at least two hours after dinner before testing. I give real thought to how much rapid acting insulin is still active in my system before correcting at bedtime. And I make sure that any must have sugar or junk food is consumed earlier in the day so that it won’t mess with my levels while I’m sleeping.

No, it’s certainly not easy and I am sure that this doesn’t mean I’m through with night time hypos for good. But I’m damned if I’ll go down without a fight.

Because right now, I haven’t felt this good about myself in a long time.