Relentless Lows

I know I shouldn't, but I want to congratulate myself. This is a big step for me.

Over the years, struggling with the balance between proper compliance, and absolute poverty (and thus, the inability to afford my insulin, my test strips, my needle tips, my food), I have seen ugly numbers so many times. I have seen numbers that terrified me. I've seen numbers where I literally feared for my life. I've seen numbers that made me call someone I love, just to hear their voice and tell me what to do. I have struggled so hard with my diabetes. So hard. I'm not saying it was never my fault- in so many ways it was. It has taken me this long to own my disease and accept that it is here to stay, and it will outlive me. I have to accept that. I have to accept that no amount of denial or inaction or refusal to participate will make it go away. Otherwise I might as well lay down and stop breathing. And, if you have read my blogs, I've been there. Four years ago, I died.

After that traumatizing, life changing experience, I was sure and determined that things were going to be different- that I was going to be the one in control. Dammit! THIS IS MY BODY AND MY LIFE! But no matter what, no matter how hard I tried, or how much I desired it, or how determined I was, at the end of the day, what dictated my diabetes was my ability to afford treatment. I found myself having to half-dose to pay rent, or guess at doses and forego testing strips, reuse tips until injecting was so painful that I think I'd rather have just committed suicide-by-ice-cream-pint. I suffered through trying, and any time I was able to make myself aware of how living that way effected my diabetes, I had to deal with the fallout of knowing how sick I was getting. There is a big stigma attached to being a failure at this. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone how poor I was, or how high my sugars were.

This summer, as I've said before, I qualified for extended medical, and only because of work. I stuck with a minimum wage job, working on my feet in a service job- completely not the kind of work my endo recommended. But it pays for my meds. I think I might actually willingly become a hit man or a getaway driver for this kind of coverage. Now I can afford the care I never could before. It might seem pathetic to you, but the first time I saw my BG under 10, I cried. I cried like a baby. And I prayed. I found myself begging for forgiveness for the things I had done to my body and swearing on my life that I would never allow it to go back to the way it was, So this is big for me. For awhile, my blood sugar was swinging up and down like a trek across the Andes, and that was pretty recent.

But I've been vigilant. I've been so vigilant. I check my BG when I wake up, and then I eat breakfast. Two hours later, I check it again, and I either take a corrective dose, or wait out my next meal. Any time I feel weird, I check my BG. It has been a struggle. It has been a constant effort, to just level things out. But I began to notice that when I had a high, even lower than my highs used to be, that I felt awful. I never used to feel them. In fact, the only time I ever noticed was if I had mood swings. I used to start shaking wildly from hypo at around 6.5. Now I can hit 3.8 before I even get near hypo. I check my BG 12 times a day (or so, sometimes more).

Once more: I shouldn't be cheering. I shouldn't encourage these lows, because they are dangerous. But today, I hit 4.4 pre-meal. Post meal, my BG was 3.8. I ended up having to eat something starchy (didn't have enough with my dinner), and two hours later, my BG was still 4.0. I was battling hypo for hours. While the sensation wasn't pleasant, I was still proud of myself. My middle of the night BG reading was 4.8. I've been flatlining for 10 hours. This is the first time for me. The first time... EVER. My BG has been within range for awhile, except in the mornings. I keep waking up with high BG. I suspect I hit lows in my sleep and then my BG rises before I wake up. I will have to accompany my mid-night check with a snack.

I know I've been an appalling diabetic, I haven't wanted to be. And being on the right track, not swinging so hard... even a few mmol either way... that's enormous for me. I own my diabetes now. Really.

I've set a hard and fast goal for myself. I'm working really hard on a really good A1C. My city has its first endocrinologist- now I don't have to hop a Greyhound bus or a ferry to see one. I am waiting for my appointment with my brand new endo. And between texting my BG to my husband every day to "celebrate", and planning towards a good, stable A1C for my pregnancy, I am so proud of myself. I have a long way to go. But I know I can do this, and for a change, I don't feel alone with it. I get everyone involved so that I don't have to.

I wish you the best with your battle. You deserve to be proud of yourself. As a fellow Canadian, I too struggle with rent? food? medication? strips? The rent always wins. Mike Myers believes we have socialized medicine here. It’s just not so. How great to celebrate with a wonderful husband! Congrats!

Thanks for the encouraging words. I have been looking around online for people who had similar experiences to mine, and it amazes me how many there are. I always felt so alone, that my experience must be so unique, this couldn’t be happening to that many people, right? I stopped hiding the way I’ve lived with my diabetes, and it has really helped, both me and the people I come across. I’m really glad to say that I’ve become almost obsessed with my diabetes. It’s the one thing I am really self-involved about, and you sort-of have to be.

I hope you are able to find a good coverage program, if you aren’t part of one! Good luck!

Congratulations on taking control of your diabetes! Thank God you have coverage now as that is so important. Best of luck to you and may God Bless You!

For a start, congratulations on getting going with the diabetes control. It will take time but you will see a difference!

Are you pregnant or about to become pregnant? You might find that if you are you blood glucose levels will rise - hence so many pregnant ladies get gestational diabetes. Or the lows might be because the baby is taking extra nutrients from your body. Just guessing. I have never been pregnant.

I can identify with the poverty - I often have to resort to eating just one packet of noodles a day to keep body and soul together!

Finally, I have never heard of a stigma being attached to being a “diabetic failure!” You are who you are, you have a highly complex condition and one size does not fit all! Whatever doctors say. Unless they have the condition themselves, they will never know everything about it!

Keep at it girl, if not for yourself, then the sake of your unborn child!

Well done, am rooting and praying for you!

PS how do you measure your BGs? From what you are saying you are from the US, but I thought the did things differently over there. We in the UK measure in mmol.

Well honey you got my attention I am so sorry about the things that you had to endure in your life…I know the feelings with lows I know you have stated that you went down to 10 your lucky to be alive…Mine has gotten as low as 20 and I thought I was going to die…So I got the dexcom device its an alarm system that graphs your ups and downs and it will alarm you when it goin low or high…you might want to check on that……Really easy to work it…Good luck sweetie…its been nice to talk to you…Darlene

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