The Physical Toll of Blood Sugar Swings

My alarm clock went off at 5.45am yesterday morning, and it was honestly the best I’ve felt in months.

It took me 2 minutes to get up out of bed, instead of the usual 10. My eyelids weren’t so heavy, and I didn’t have to fight the urge to close them shut again. I wasn’t groaning, and I didn’t feel so exhausted for a change. I was standing in the kitchen, sipping my morning coffee, before the clock on the oven had flipped well past 6.00. Add to that, a perfect blood sugar level of 7.8.

Going about my day, I just feel really good at the moment. I feel good on the inside. I’m not breathing heavily, my mind is at ease, and I’m much more relaxed. I’m not so angry at silly things. I feel kind of, well, free.

I’m in a really happy place with my diabetes at the moment. After months of really struggling, and after months of every effort feeling like an effort, diabetes is suddenly running really smoothly again. Looking back from the other side of a rough couple of months, I am finally realising how much of a physical effect crazy blood sugar swings were having on my body.

Right now, diabetes management seems to be “working.” Every action seems to spawn a flow on effect, that echoes positively throughout my day.

Take Monday, for instance.

My blood sugar hovered in the 4s. For the whole afternoon.

Come dinnertime, I was debating over whether to give 11 units of Lantus, or drop it down to 10. Now that I’m no longer eating so much junk, a smaller dose is enough to keep me stable through the night. My intuition told me that 10 units would do the trick, and it did!

We’ve had a nice spell of mild weather this week. It was not 28 degrees at bed time for a change, and I was actually tempted to have an early night. I enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep without the air-conditioner and a scratchy throat in the morning, which has been sorely missed these last few months.

In addition to that, diabetes efforts through the night are significantly reduced. I find that I no longer need to predict lows or chase highs at night time. Rather, my levels are a lot more stable, and I have a lot more confidence in where they are sitting through the night. I was 8.7 before bed on Monday, which was fine as there was still a little active insulin on board. When I woke up to check at 1am, I was 7.5. I thought about the frittata I’d had for dinner, and decided on a half unit of insulin to cover any delayed effect from the egg. It worked a treat!

Of course, none of this is happening by magic.

I am doing all of the hard work here. But I am paying attention to those finer details. Like carb counting, pre-bolussing, snacking healthier, and thinking more carefully. It’s those finer details that produce this flow on effect, where everything is “in sync.” And when everything is in sync, it allows me a little more ease overall in managing my diabetes.

Right now, I am motivated. I am motivated by the way I am feeling. This diabetes high tastes so good, and I want to do everything in my power to make it last for as long as possible.

A Turning Point

I feel as though all of my diabetes efforts over these past few months have been like putting on band aids. Taking holidays over Christmas, reminding myself of pending clinic appointments, and even pulling out my shiny new Insulinx meter that I’d saved for the New Year. Like all band aids, my diabetes efforts have gone wayside. The motivation just hasn’t been there lately. If I’m being honest with myself, the last really good stretch that I can remember was back in August when I wrote this.

It’s easy to tell myself I’ll review the numbers every day. It’s easy to tell myself that I’ll take the time to look at what I’m going to eat, and pre-bolus. It’s easy to tell myself that I’m going to log my insulin doses in my Insulinx meter. It’s easy to tell myself I’m going to be more careful with my insulin doses, so that I’ll have fewer hypos. It’s easy to tell myself that I’ll prepare more interesting lunches, so that I’m not tempted to buy Cadbury Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns from Woolies instead.

Diabetes is hard. Diabetes is so damn hard. My recent visits to diabetes clinic only reminded me of just how unmotivated I have been over these past few months.

I know, I’m too slack,” was all I could mumble as Gwen gave me a very frank perspective on my meter results. As she was reminding me that I needed to be logging my insulin doses and minimising my hypos, all I could really feel was overwhelmed. All I have felt lately, is overwhelmed.

After a few days of feeling really burned out by my diabetes a week ago, I finally reached a turning point.

I realised that I was sick of waking up feeling utterly exhausted every single morning, fighting every urge to close my eyes again. I realised that I was sick of eating junk food so often, and feeling uncomfortable afterwards. I realised that I was sick of hearing my sighs of exhaustion all the time. I realised that I was sick of my diabetes making me feel twice as angry at the other things going on during my day. I realised that I was sick of feeling guilty, and in a bad place with my diabetes.

Since that turning point, I feel as though I’ve finally found that motivation again. I’m counting my carbs. I’m pre-bolussing. I’m logging my insulin doses. I’m putting more effort into making my diet less boring. I feel somewhat lighter.

And on Saturday, I had a near-perfect day (until 10.14pm, that is).

I’ve got this “click-click-click” intuition on my mind at the moment. Like the cogs on a well oiled wheel. Almost like the final pieces of a puzzle clicking together, seamlessly into place.

Somehow, diabetes seems a whole lot easier to manage when everything is going right.

I’m going to remind myself going forward, that this is how I want to feel all the time.

For The Love of Automation

At 8.10am yesterday morning, I made a call to a clinic where I had an appointment booked.

“Hello, you’ve reached [clinic name]. Our offices are staffed on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8am to 3.30pm, on Tuesday from 8am to 2pm, and closed on Fridays. Please try calling again during business hours.”

When I was told during business hours that I should try calling back during business hours, I hung up the phone in frustration. I knew that once my work day headed into full swing, I’d likely forget to call again before 3.30pm.

When I eventually did call again at 1.01pm, I was greeted with the same message. Only this time, I listened long enough to catch an additional option on the end where I could leave a message. I left my name, the purpose of my call, and a telephone number that I could be reached on.

At 1.09pm, that call was promptly returned.

“I was wondering if you would be able to e-mail me my appointment confirmation letter now so that I can arrange time off from work,” I asked the receptionist.

This clinic usually sends confirmation letters four weeks prior to an appointment. However since I would need a few days off from work after this appointment, I wanted the letter as soon as possible.

“We only send appointment letters out four weeks in advance. We don’t actually send the letters ourselves. It’s automatically generated through the computer. Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do,” she replied.

“Would I be able to get a letter from the doctor?” I asked.

After a few umms and ahhs (much like my own), I decided that I would simply have to give my boss the dates now, and owe him the appointment letter and doctor’s note when I got them. I thanked the receptionist for returning my call, and she wished me a great day.

The reality is that many large businesses I deal with seem to go out of their way to avoid human interaction with me. As my mother often says, gone are the days where a business caters to what the customer wants.

Yet if I were the one cancelling the appointment, I’d be expected to call up in person, with reasonable notice, give an explanation for cancelling, and possibly jeopardise my ability to make appointments in future.

If I were to fall sick tomorrow, I’d love nothing more than to be able to send one generic mass email to everyone I had to cancel on. But in reality, I’d be on the phone or emailing every single person affected. They’d have an explanation, my sincere apologies and an invitation to reschedule.

If I can make that effort for free, surely businesses can be more flexible in delivering their services when the need arises.

A freaking letter shouldn’t be that hard…