Category: Blood Sugars

thank god I woke up

Thank God I Woke Up

Thank God I Woke Up

By: Katharine Orona

Blog: This is Type 1 Diabetes


When you go to sleep at night you generally expect to wake up in the morning. When you have a chronic illness like Type 1 Diabetes, you try everything you can to make sure you will wake up the next morning.

You do everything right. But sometimes it’s not enough.

I am thankful to have technology that helps me stay alive, but I understand that technology is not perfect and sometimes things can still go wrong. Two weeks ago I went to bed like any other night, but woke up early the next morning with an intense feeling of desperation that I know all too well. My blood sugar was dropping. Fast.

I looked at my phone to check my Dexcom app and it read 74 (which wouldn’t normally give me these symptoms). I knew the reading had to be wrong so I woke my husband up and told him to get me juice FAST. He did, along with my meter so I can see how much juice I might need. My meter read 49. And I can tell I was dropping to a lower number quickly, so I drank a 2nd juice.

The next 15 minutes felt like 15 hours. Heart racing, rapid breathing, physiology kicking in and telling you that you need more sugar now. But I know I must wait. It finally came back up and I woke up a couple of hours later at a completely normal blood sugar of 123.

Then I thought to myself, what if that 49 didn’t wake me up? What would’ve happened to me?

I clearly needed those 30 grams of carbs I drank since my blood sugar didn’t spike later. If I didn’t drink it, what would that morning have looked like for my family? Panic set in. The feelings of what if and the feelings of reality kicking in came over me. But why did my blood sugar drop so low?

Why do these things happen even if you live your life by a calculator and you dose your insulin as best you can and you try so hard? Because. Diabetes.

Diabetes has no rhyme or reason. Sometimes 2 + 2 does not equal 4. And sometimes you wake up before the sun because God decided that today is not that day. Today you will wake up. You will wake up before it’s too late.

Today, you will survive. And two weeks later, I’m still thankful.


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A Night In The Life Of a Type 1 Diabetic

I wrote this poem last night at 3 a.m. Seems like almost every night I am up at that time. Truth be told though I am not alone. Multitudes of others share a similar experience when caring for someone with this disease. If you know someone with Type 1 Diabetes and they are managing it so well know that there is a whole lot of hard work behind it.


A Night In The Life of a Type 1 Diabetic

By: Mary Williams

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray to God I catch some Zzz’s.
The first alarm goes off at 12
Time to make sure all is still well

A blood sugar reading of 65.
Time to down juice to keep her alive.
“Wake up sleepy head, it’s that time of night
Wake up so momma can make you alright.”

15 minutes later its time to re-poke
A drop of blood reveals its time for some Coke
Still too low to go to bed.
So we patiently wait to lay our weary heads.

15 minutes go by and the Alarm bell rings
Another drop of blood…141 it sings.
Set the alarm to wake up at 3.
My head hits the pillow and my alarm startles me.

Another drop of blood into the machine.
350 is what it now currently screams!
Freakity Frack!
I want our old lives back.

Time for a shot to bring them back down.
Set the alarm for 6 this time around.
My head hits the pillow its time for a snooze.
The alarm interrupts The Rock giving me booze,

On a nice sandy beach, enjoying a walk.
The alarms jolts me back to type 1 diabetes talk.
Another drop of blood says she needs to wake up.
65 again! This royally sucks.

night in the life of a type 1 diabetic

Time to down juice, we know the routine
I hate this disease, it makes me feel mean.
Another drop of blood is what I request
From small little hands that are trying their best

To be brave when the needles cause so much pain
Fingers riddled with scars is what has been gained
And now its time to start a brand new day,
With one step forward, there’s no other way.

Sleep is for the privileged and caffeine is on ice
A cure for type 1 diabetes sure would be nice.
To be rid of the burden that this disease brings
Would ease this mommy’s mind and end my baby’s suffering.


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The Diabetic Honeymoon Phase

The Diabetic Honeymoon Phase

By: Camilla Roelants


The Diabetic Honeymoon Phase. I often wonder who decided to call it that, and what on earth they were thinking.

The word “honeymoon” evokes in me images of newly-weds, skipping along the beach, hand in hand under a glorious sun, beaming, happy faces, relaxed and care-free, their excitement at starting this new adventure together near palpable.

Not the ugly reality of this particular honeymoon – the dying process of the islet cells of my pancreas, under auto immune attack, slowly but surely losing all ability to produce the insulin I need to live.

Sixteen months into my Type 1 Diabetes honeymoon phase and I feel exhausted from it all.

This time has been fraught with hurdles and worries and struggles. Despite having done everything in my power to gain control, blood glucose levels have been erratic.

The dying beta cells in my pancreas occasionally and unpredictably produce a little bit of insulin, causing chaos where I have already bolused according to my insulin to carb ratio at mealtimes. I suffer frequent, sudden and terrifying episodes of hypoglycemia.

honeymoon phase

I’ll be doing something very mundane – reading, cooking, or even just chatting to someone on the phone. When I suddenly realize that I’m feeling “off”.

I usually can’t put my finger on it immediately – my brain is already starting to become impaired.

I can’t think straight. I stop whatever it is that I’m doing. Mid-sentence, mid-shower, mid anything. I stumble, and mumble ” check levels ” to myself.

At this point, I have eyes only for my meter. I put a test strip in. Prick my finger. I notice my hands are shaking. My five year old is asking me something. It sounds distant, although he’s standing right next to me, tugging at my T-shirt.

“Not now Darling, Mummy needs to check her sugars. I can’t talk right now, sorry.”

honeymoon phase

My meter is counting down -those 5 seconds seem interminable. My son is still talking, but I can’t concentrate.

Before my meter tells me, I know. I know I’m low, because already my heart is racing. I’ve broken out in a sweat, and everything is fuzzy, spinning around me. I’m shaking like a leaf.

I feel like I’m dying, for lack of a better description.

Need. Sugar. Now. A feeling of panic washes over me. I grab what’s at hand. Fizzy soda, fruit juice, sugary tea, or glucose tablets.

Some of those choices might not be the best from a nutritional point of view, but right now I really couldn’t care less. I would do anything to not feel like this, feel like I’m about to fall off a cliff into the abyss if I don’t deploy my parachute fast enough.

The soda, the juice, the tea, the tablets, are my parachutes.

Any one of them will do. As I gulp down my sugary remedy as fast as I possibly can, I grit my teeth. I know the feeling won’t go away for 15 minutes or so, which is how long it will take for the sugar to be absorbed into my bloodstream. I take a few deep breaths, in the hope this might help my heart slow its alarming rate.

I give myself a few seconds, then turn to my son, and say:
“I’m sorry love, I’m having a hypo and so I need to take some glucose, but I’ll be OK again now in a minute and we can have a proper chat then.” I smile at him reassuringly.

I have a terrible urge to drink more, and a hunger beyond compare – as if drinking more or eating half a packet of something might help me shake this god awful feeling quicker. But I know this is untrue. I resist the urge.

I know the 150ml I’ve just drank will bring me back up into a normal blood glucose range. All I can do is wait and hope my 9 month old won’t wake from his nap during the next few minutes. The lows leave me feeling very tired, as if I’ve just done a couple of rounds of boxing.

They are often followed by rebound hyperglycemia, where my blood glucose levels become too elevated. Prolonged episodes of hyperglycemia can cause long term complications, and in the short term can lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

Hyperglycemia will also leave you feeling bone-tired and lethargic. Hypoglycemia – due to the effect on the brain’s ability to function and episodes of tachycardia- can cause cardiac arrest and cognitive impairment down the line.

It seems you just can’t win with this disease.

It is impossible to predict how long this honeymoon will last for, as it varies from one person to another. For some it is a matter of weeks, others a matter of months, or even years. It looks like in my case, it’s the latter.

A honeymoon is supposed to be a joyous, stress-free occasion. But this honeymoon is the exact opposite. It still isn’t over, and already I want a divorce!



 

I've Got 99 Problems And Insurance Is One

I’ve Got 99 Problems, And Insurance Is One

I’ve Got 99 Problems, And Insurance Is One

By: Angela Boeddeker


I’ve been denied by Anthem insurance for a new up to date insulin pump. Anthem states the insulin pump is investigational.. NOT a medical necessity. The Medtronic 670 G insulin pump would allow me to live a little less stressed.. Help me sleep with a little more ease. Let me finally have some confidence in my form of insulin therapy.

I’ve been pumping for a whopping 7 months and if you lived in my home, you would know the TREMENDOUS difference this has made in my life. My A1C has dramatically decreased at every doctors visit since beginning the pump, too, but let’s be honest here, Anthem doesn’t have a clue!

The 670 G insulin pump is the first of its kind. With the ability to adjust and even stop the amount of insulin being released.. Wait for it… WITHOUT ME!

The 670G has a blood glucose target range of 120. Once the also newly upgraded Guardian Sensor 3 detects my BG is declining, it changes the amount of insulin being released so I won’t have to worry about severely dropping below 70 for my insulin pump to suspend itself.

The last 2 words of the previous sentence speak loudly to me, as it should to you. Why on earth would i want to suspend my lifeline? And for that matter, if my insulin pump suspends in the middle of the night, it will not resume for 2 hours on it’s own. (Hello, glucose readings over 300!)

Insurance

Diabetes is the MOST difficult, but ghostly disease ever heard of in my personal opinion. Just because we look ok (unless we are rocking off the usual 3-5 hours of sleep because the blood sugars kept lifting our heavy eyelids with beeps, vibrations and chirps every time our restless minds dosed off to place of no disease) doesn’t mean we feel ok.

Why limit a person from receiving any possible chance of living a more balanced and enjoyable life?

The Medtronic’s 670 G news was a tearful article to read—happy tears though. I truly thought, ” Angela, this may be your way to live a little more like the rest, a chance to battle with the best, and its about time you got this off your chest”.

So, here’s looking at you million and one insurance companies, dig a little deeper to the reasons for our submissions of countless claims, repeated phone calls and an abundance of emails. We just want to live a long, non medically consumed life! Not to mention a just a good night’s rest!



 

This Is My Low With Diabetes

This Is My Low With Diabetes

Michelle Meyer


My eyes are heavy and dry and sometimes watery. They’re tired. My breathing is slow. And fast. Heavy and shallow. So tired. My thoughts are jumbled. Scattered. Confused. Angry. Sad. Scared. Tired. Too tired and/or confused to speak.

My body is weak, shaky, hot, sometimes sweaty. Tired. I’m thirsty, hungry.

I’m too tired to get up to get some sugar. I’m too tired to think about what I need to do. My head is too heavy to hold up. My jaw is too tired to chew. I’m too tired to swallow. I need to pee but I’m too tired. My heart is beating so fast.

I’m going to cry. I just want to curl up and get cozy. Fall asleep. I probably won’t ever wake up. I need to move. Stumble to the other room. Stand and stare. What was I doing? Why am I in here?

Oh! Grab my low blood sugar stash. Force myself to eat it while trying to remember how to breathe. No, don’t close your eyes. Chew. Swallow. Again. Get my glucometer and unzip the case.

this is my low with diabetes

Try to pry open the strips container without spilling them all over. Get just one of them into the tiny little opening the right way. Stab my finger and try to milk enough blood out so my glucometer can tell me exactly where I’m at. Try to make sense of the number.

Nevermind. I can look later. I know I’m low.

Try to remember to set the reminder timer to do it all over again in fifteen minutes. Stay awake. Breathe.

Sometimes after a few minutes, I feel safe enough and my next blood sugar check will be okay so that I can rest after starting to die. Sometimes I need to still keep trying to do life while still dealing with the after effects of starting to die.

Sometimes I continue dying for hours and have to just keep fighting to stay awake and breathe and think enough to remember to keep trying to nurse myself back to life even though I’m nauseated and full from eating and drinking.

There have been many times when I couldn’t stay awake or didn’t wake up to begin with and have gone into seizures. Sometimes after getting my blood sugars to a better, safe level, they go too high and then I have to deal with another set of effects/symptoms and another fight to get them to come back down to normal, safe levels.

I do this almost daily. Sometimes multiple times a day.

This is just one tiny part of my life but it’s a really HUGE part!

So many contradictions. So much fighting. So much exhaustion. Constant and consistent thoughts about if, when, where, why, how. Almost daily, I save my own life.

I am exhausted but I am also a fighter. I am strong! I am a type 1 diabetic and this is my low.



 

WHAT A HIGH BLOOD SUGAR FEELS LIKE

What a High Blood Sugar Feels Like

What a High Blood Sugar Feels Like

Photo Credit: Xavier Sotomayor


The high blood sugars are what gets me. A high blood sugar is a blood glucose above 140 mg/dL. For me, the symptoms I experience with severe hyperglycemia don’t emerge until well over 250-300 mg/dL.  The lows, while urgent and intensely serious are felt differently. I don’t like to compare the two evils but the highs can be just as debilitating and it leaves me feeling depleted.

It’s so hard to describe this pain that can’t be seen. I look fine on the outside but inside my body is fighting for energy and I’m suffering from the adverse effects.

In these moments all I want to do is cry but I have no tears. I can’t quench my thirst no matter how much water I drink. My whole body aches and I’m staring at the clock waiting for the insulin I’ve given myself to be absorbed; giving my body the relief and nourishment that I desperately need.

When my blood sugar is high I despise diabetes the most. When it’s high the minutes and possibly hours it takes for my blood sugar to come down is agonizing. I sit uncomfortably, restless, back and forth to the bathroom checking for ketones and blaming myself. When I know that with diabetes anything is possible. It’s absolutely torturous for anyone to have to go through this.

My heads pounding, I’m irritable and utterly exhausted. I feel like I’m being crushed by tons of weight. It feels like syrup is running through my veins. I can’t move. I can’t think. I can’t function properly. I feel useless. These are the moments that I beg and plead to just get back to where I was before the high blood sugar. I become grateful for the bad days that weren’t as bad as this.

The high blood sugar could have been caused by a pump malfunction, hormones, stress, illness, wrong dosage, or any number of different things. The fact that things I can’t control can cause this is startling and frustrating. All I can do is try my hardest and hope for the best. But sometimes my best doesn’t cut it.

Once my blood sugar does start to lower I feel like I’m taking in a breath of fresh air. There really isn’t a better feeling than knowing I’m going to feel better soon. That these symptoms are going to diminish and I’ll start to feel myself again. My mood starts to shift and the brain fog slowly goes away. The exhaustion lingers for the rest of the day, but thankfully I’m much better.

I feel conquering despite my defeats because even at my weakest points I still fight these unfathomable challenges. These battles are never seen nor felt by anyone besides those who battle diabetes. One that I’ll have to fight more than once.


DKA is a serious life-threatening medical condition caused by high glucose levels. This blog content is not medical advice. If you have questions concerning your health please seek attention from a medical professional. 


 

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My 3 AM wake up call

My 3 AM Low Blood Sugar Wake Up Call

It’s around 3 AM and I wake up out of a restless sleep.

I believe it to be my natural instinct kicking in or a guardian angel telling me to wake up and check my blood sugar. I then go to check only to find out that I’m low (40 mg/dl) and headed straight down.

My CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) is setting off alarms with an “URGENT LOW” alert. I can now hear it echoing throughout the house. It takes me a minute to grasp what’s going on as I gather the little energy I have in me. My mind is telling me to jump right up but it takes my body a minute to catch up.

I then head to the kitchen and find a juice box, crackers, and anything I can find. I fumble to open the juice box as I’m frantic and lost. My body is trembling, I then drink the entire juice box in a matter of a few seconds. I then sit down and scarf down everything else I have, and I still feel weak and disorientated.

I look at my CGM meter and it’s not signaling upwards yet. I sit for a moment to let the sugar get absorbed and the adrenaline starts to pull away from me.

That’s when it usually hits me and I realize that this isn’t a dream. No, rather a terrifying nightmare but in the end I’m thankfully able to save myself once again. I’m frightened because I think of the “what ifs”. As I look back down at my meter my blood sugar is beginning to rise.

That’s when the mental and physical numbness starts to diminish. I feel myself again. I feel tired. I feel exhausted. But I’m alive. This is my normal, something that I’m fully acquainted with, and even after years of managing it still leaves me uneasy at times.

My 3 AM wake up call is not a normal rise and shine moment. It’s a fight to stay alive. It’s all too real. And while others may be able to sleep soundly throughout the night, I’ve been called to take on this challenge.

As I lay back down to go to sleep, I know that while this battle with Type 1 Diabetes is never fully won, I also know that I’m not the only one fighting.

Here’s to the warriors of the night.


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What a Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

Here I am again.

Where I find myself vulnerable and exposed to the most unsettling and debilitating aspect of diabetes that consumes my mind and body in a short amount of time.

A low blood sugar which was caught unexpectedly and suddenly. A low blood sugar or (hypoglycemia) meaning that my glucose level drops below 70 mg/dL and I now starve for energy.

It’s a feeling I know all too well, and I feel as weak as I did the last time. I can’t run from it but only bear through it, fix it, and come out of it once again.

It has caught me dead in my tracks. I urge to resist this constraint it has over me. “No I’m fine”, I think to myself. “My meter must be inaccurate”.

But I know that I’m not okay.

I’m tired, even more than I usually am (if that’s even possible). All I want to do is lay down and go to sleep. I know that this is my body wanting to shut down.

My mind is the first to trail off, and my body takes a little longer to catch up.

I start to feel confused, dazed, and slightly numb to my surroundings. I start to lose myself in the moment and focus heavily on something random.

It takes a minute or two to take in what’s going on. It’s as if time is standing still… The earth is still revolving… the clock is still ticking… but I’m not all there.

I catch myself, and then gain a sense of adrenaline.

My body uses the rest of the energy it has stored, and I go off of instinctual impulse or what you would call a (fight-or-flight response). I now become frantic, I’m looking for food, I’m sweaty, eyes are blurry, I’m fumbling my words, and somewhat disorientated. I can’t keep my train of thought. All I know is that I need sugar, fast.

I scramble for food and juice. Wrappers and crumbs everywhere. I’m not hungry, but the feeling of mortality creeps in which food is my only savior. I eat whatever I can find and is easily accessible. Five minutes feels like an eternity waiting for my blood sugar to rise.

Once the glucose enters my blood, my body starts to feel tingly. I can start to regain my thoughts, and I feel like the instant sensation of a breath of fresh air.

It’s almost like it was a dream or an out of body experience. I feel in despair over the power this disease has over me. How I am now fully present to the world, but felt so absent minutes before.

The worst part of having a low blood sugar like this is being alone through it.

With having this constant battle with this disease, there’s no perfection. I’m fighting so hard, and as much as I make it look effortless, deep down I’m exhausted.

What’s even crazier is that this chaos has become normal to me. I’ve become less aware of the lows, as my body changes its response to it. Meaning I’m used to self-destructing. I’m constantly seeking normal blood sugars but often falling a little short.

I think the real challenge lies within trying to find control over a uncontrollable disease.

But here I am…

Fighting against all odds.


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Diabetes Rollercoaster

The Diabetes Rollercoaster

The Diabetes Rollercoaster

Yesterday I had a day that was one of many. A day where nothing seems to go right. Where I feel like I’m being defeated. Where I feel physically debilitated and mentally distraught. The days where I don’t feel like going through the motions. Where I feel victimized, more so than any other day.

Almost like diabetes is picking on me.

When even though I feel like I’m fighting my hardest, I have to find that extra bit of strength to fight even harder.

I had a day full of erratic and irregular blood sugars. From hyperglycemia to hypoglycemia. Blood sugars that wouldn’t go down due to insulin resistance, and blood sugars that would come down involuntarily hours later. This is what I like to call the “diabetes rollercoaster” effect.

This diabetes rollercoaster ride isn’t fun by any means. It’s rather exhausting and nauseating actually. It’s unlike normal amusements park coasters, where normally there is some excitement and then an end. However, this rollercoaster has no end and keeps on going. I’m not able to throw away my ticket and get off.

If it couldn’t get any worse, my moods shift constantly as well. The way I feel on the inside comes out unwillingly shows on the outside. I’m frustrated with myself as to why I can’t control this. Why does this disease have the ability to make me feel this way? I wish I could go a day without paying any mind to it. I could turn off all the alarms notifying me, do without thinking, and not feel this heavy burden on my shoulders.

I think what bothers me the most is that diabetes lets you think you have everything under control and then reminds you that you don’t. That even though I can do the same thing over and over again, I may not receive the same results.

I often wonder when will this end, when will I feel normal again? I’ve had diabetes for so long that all of this craziness is second nature to me now. Regardless, I just want off of this ride that I’m on. I want days where I’m not fighting for normalcy, that it’ll just come effortlessly.

When I think about how or why I’ve gotten on this diabetes rollercoaster ride. Having to endure all the highs and lows. That maybe this defeat is meant to push me and strengthen me to push forward. Knowing that the struggle that I’m in today shall pass. All I need to do is to surpass all these obstacles and hang on for dear life. Hopefully, then all of this will pay off one day I’ll be able to get off this crazy ride towards a long-awaited cure.

Why CGM Coverage Matters To Me

Why CGM Coverage Matters To Me

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) has been becoming more widely used by diabetics. There’re a few different companies who supply it. I, personally use the Dexcom. I only starting using it a year ago during my third pregnancy. I’ve always been a brittle diabetic who has hypo unawareness. So my doctor suggested this device to help keep a close eye on my blood sugars while relieving some uncertainty.

At first, I will admit I was hesitant to start using something new. I thought I had too much to juggle already. Taking insulin—checking my blood sugar—and raising children. I knew this wasn’t a cure. Was this really going to help? I will say that it absolutely has helped! This device has changed my life! I wish I knew about it sooner. Now I can’t even imagine my life without it.

Why CGM Coverage Matters To Me:

1. Fewer fingersticks

I went from checking my blood sugar 8-10 times a day, now down to 2-3. It’s given me freedom to not have to “think as much”. The CGM goes everywhere with me. It’s reassuring knowing it’s there to alarm me of my blood sugars especially when exercising, driving, and out of the house. I no longer have to drop everything I’m doing to see what my blood sugar is. I only have to calibrate it twice a day to make sure it matches up with my fingerstick blood sugar meter. It gives me the knowledge of what my blood sugar is at all times and the trends throughout the day.

2. Safety net

Having the CGM gives my family the reassurance that I’m okay throughout the day. When I don’t answer my phone, for instance, they can check on the Dexcom share app and see what my numbers are. The receiver alarms me if my blood sugar is low or high. The issue I had prior to this is I would go from 120 down to 50 in a matter of a half hour, and not even realize it. This has helped prevent many hypoglycemic episodes beyond belief. Granted—this isn’t always 100% accurate, but only by 20 points from my finger stick meter.

3. Feeling in control

I use the CGM in conjunction with dosing my insulin. I no longer have to make sure I washed my hands thoroughly in hopes of getting an accurate reading on a normal blood sugar meter. This is constantly attached to me (besides the 2-hour warm-up) and is constantly supplying me with readings. Once taking my insulin, I’m able to see how accurate my bolus amount was to what I ate. In a normal occurrence, without the CGM, I’d often give myself too much insulin and risked hypoglycemia without knowing. This device helps prevent DKA, seizures, and other diabetic related emergencies.

While in modern day diabetes care we have advanced so much. But we continue to battle with insurances covering this device as deeming not medically necessary. It’s been announced that the FDA will be having a meeting on Thursday, July 21, to discuss CGM access and approving CGM as the replacement for insulin dosing.

Why is this so important?

  • This will take prominence over fingersticks for its given accuracy.
  • More Insurances including Medicare will be more enabled to cover this device.
  • This is a breakthrough of what’s to come for the future in managing diabetes.

Why CGM Coverage Matters To Me…

 

Why CGM Coverage Matters To Me

I could never go back to the day before I started on the Dexcom. It’s given me a better quality of life. I feel freer and I’m able to relieve some of the stress that comes from having to manage this disease. Replacing CGM over fingersticks is so important—this will help this device become available to so many more people. I strongly believe in having CGM coverage for all.