My blood sugars have decided to go rogue in this past week, and I’ve had a tough time trying to predict what they’re going to do to me next.
You can see it by the mere sight of my desk.
There’s a FreeStyle Libre reader in the white organiser that I have kept within close reach lately. It’s been my saving grace this weekend, while my blood sugar levels have been completely messed up. It provides me with trend arrows the minute my blood sugar levels began skyrocketing, and again as soon as they start plummeting low.
There are test strips strewn across my desk. There have been a few scary moments this weekend where my blood sugar levels were moving quite rapidly. Despite wearing a Libre sensor, during confronting moments like these I need reassurance. There were times where I felt compelled to prick my finger every couple of minutes, just to be sure that my blood sugars were heading in the right direction.
There are blood stains on the beech coloured surface of my desktop that, frankly, don’t look pretty. I’m tempted to clean it, but I know that diabetes won’t allow it to stay clean for very long.
On the left hand side, I’m staring at a notepad that is strewn with numbers. Basal rates, insulin to carb ratios, blood sugar levels, units of insulin taken, carb counts and corresponding times of the day. Notes that I sit and stare at for prolonged moments of time, as I try to make sense of blood sugar levels that aren’t making any sense.
I open my desk drawer and I see a huge party bucket of skittles, that I certainly have no intention of cracking open at any party. Skittles that I carefully divide into portions of 9, and store in empty test strip containers. 9 skittles that add up to 10g of carbs, a perfectly convenient serving that I can easily shove down my throat the moment a hypo strikes.
I scoop up all of the used test strips into the palm of my hand, and walk over to the rubbish bin. I place my foot on the pedal, and the lid lifts to reveal a vial, half filled with insulin. The vial I threw away last night when my blood sugars were skyrocketing, just to be sure that it hadn’t spoiled.
It’s here in this moment, staring inside a rubbish bin, that I see the bigger picture. Suddenly, I don’t feel like the going is so tough anymore. I don’t feel as crappy as I have been for the past few days. I don’t feel the guilt of awful blood sugar levels so much.
When the going gets tough, I still have the best tools available for me to manage. A script for 25 cartridges of insulin costs me a mere $35. A box of 100 test strips costs me $16. Although my wage is less than glamorous, I can make room for FreeStyle Libre sensors when I need them. I have devices that can be uploaded to a PC, where I can analyse the data. I can call my diabetes educator for assistance, completely free of charge thanks to the public health system in Australia.
I have nothing to complain about. For DOC friends in the US, skyrocketing insulin prices are of real concern. A loss of health insurance coverage is of real concern, because it’s tied to diabetes supplies. Meanwhile people with diabetes in developing countries of the world cannot even afford insulin, supplies, education, treatment – and the ability to merely survive.
T1International are a fantastic organisation based in the UK that advocate for equitable access for people with type 1 diabetes worldwide. You might be familiar with their #Insulin4All movement. This year, T1International are urging us to sign the Type 1 Diabetes Access Charter. The Charter will be used to bolster advocacy efforts worldwide, showing that there are many voices united in support of these rights.
Insulin is a right. Managing your blood sugar is a right. Diabetes education is a right. Healthcare is a right. A life free from diabetes discrimination is a right.
It makes me sad that in this day and age, not everyone in the world is able to access the same standard of diabetes care that I do. Signing the Charter only takes a moment of your time, and you can do so by clicking here.
Make it the one thing that you do this Diabetes Awareness Month.