Tag: hypoglycemia

My 3 AM wake up call

My 3 AM 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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You Are Never Given More Than You Can Handle

You Are Never Given More Than You Can Handle

“You Are Never Given More Than You Can Handle”

By: Amy Payne

“You are never given more than you can handle” — I have heard this many times over my life, and it has never really stuck until this past year. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 36 years ago at the age of 6. I never really thought much about it thanks to my amazing family who never made me feel different.

The only thoughts I had were that I would likely have horrible complications and die young from my Type1 Diabetes. Besides those thoughts, I truly did not think too much about it. I lived my life to the fullest thinking I should live a big happy life now because my future was going to be bad and short.

As time went by technology/drugs improved greatly and after living a somewhat reckless no fear life through my late teens and twenties my diabetes changed. All of a sudden I could not feel my lows/hypoglycemia anymore and my no big deal Diabetes had changed.

After a few years of trying to manage the lows with my new husband we moved to Denver, CO and went to the Barbara Davis Center. They told me I had had Type 1 Diabetes for over 25 years and had most likely avoided any major complications (except for my eyes, etc). I started crying right there in the office. Endocrinologists had stressed my whole life the importance of tight control otherwise I would have complications.

They have since changed their way of advising diabetics as they realize the old way of instilling fear of complications did more harm than good. Unfortunately being from the generation of 1980 diagnosed Type 1’s and even after being told I have bypassed most complications I still would rather be low than high and to this day feel the same, ironically it is the lows that threaten my life now.

Let’s cut to 6 years later, the cost of Type 1 Diabetic supplies have skyrocketed (the US insured populations out-of-pocket costs for insulin increased by 89 percent from 2000 to 2010 for insulin alone) and with the 89% conservative estimate increase of my insulin alone depression entered my life.

I lost it one day at the Barbara Davis Center- United Healthcare was forcing me to change from Novolog Insulin (that I had been on for approx 10 years) to Humalog Insulin (due to their contract with the manufacturer of Humalog, not for the best interest of their clients).

I was so upset because of the forced switch and how dare they when my Diabetes was so hard to control on a strict regimen and now you are forcing me to change insulin because of your financial interest vs my health best interest, I literally had a breakdown in the Dr’s office.

This along with the never ending increasing expenses to manage my Type 1 Diabetes just to simply stay alive seemed too much to handle and the happy and strong Amy had finally broken down after 34 years of being a tough Type 1 Diabetic.

Barbara Davis was amazing and helped me with my depression (by the way Type 1’a are prone to depression due to insulin is a hormone that we inject multiple times a day, the fluctuation of our blood sugar levels makes us feel bad, loss of sleep, stress and the 24/7 never ending demand of our disease). I also have an additional theory that the blood glucose testing numerous times a day or with a CGM every three minutes along with your A1C results contribute to depression in Type 1’s.

You are judged by a number constantly (you are high, you are low, you are good, you are bad). It is a constant number that gives a judgement on your control of a disease that is impossible to control and I firmly believe it does a number on your psyche.

I am sure Dr’s would agree with my thesis. It was a relief to know what I was feeling was normal, and it is okay to finally say you know what this is hard, I have a lot to deal with and guess what I don’t feel that great most days!

Yes it could be worse and I could have cancer but you know what Type 1 Diabetes sucks and is really really hard to manage. It is a very misunderstood disease, being confused with Type 2 and people thinking you caused this by eating too many candy bars vs the fact that Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where my body attacked my beta insulin-producing cells in my pancreas preventing it from ever producing insulin ever again.

The miss understanding hurts, you hear comments like you don’t look like you have diabetes and you know you can reverse it with diet. NO, you cannot! I am good today. I am tired. I continue to be strong and continue to fight Type 1 Diabetes EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Type 1 Diabetes builds character, strength, and maturity. Every experience, every interaction, no matter how bad it might seem, has the ability to shape you, to mold you, and to help you become the person you were born to be.

And if it seems that life has given you “a lot” to handle, it is only because it knows how powerful you truly are, and it wants you to discover the courage, the wisdom and the strength that lie deep within you.

Type 1 Diabetes does not define me — it has built my strong character to handle anything!


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I Won't Go Down Without a Fight

I Won’t Go Down Without a Fight

I Won’t Go Down Without a Fight

(I’m 15 years old at the time)

Brittany, what’s your blood sugar?” My mother asks after I get home from school.

Umm… 136.” A number I randomly blurt out without testing what my blood sugar actually was.

I go in my room and glance over at my unused lancets and test strips. I know what’s it’s there for. I know I’m supposed to take care of myself.

But why aren’t I? Why am I fighting against it?

I go to lay down, I’m tired, and I don’t feel right. I fall asleep…

(A half hour or so slips by)

Hi Brittany, My name is John , I’m an EMT and we’re here to help youCan you tell me what your name is?

“...Brittany“, I reply.

“Great Brittany, do you know why we’re here?”

My diabetes?” As I let out a deep saddened sigh.

Yes, your blood sugar was 19.”

We gave you a shot of dextrose. Please drink this juice and eat this sandwich to stabilize your blood sugar.”

Thank you“, I reply as I’m still very dazed and confused as to what’s going on.

My mother hugs me and begs me “please take better care of yourself“.

As tears fall from her face. I see the frantic look in her eyes.

Once I’m back to full consciousness, it sets in. I melt down. I cry, and this isn’t a normal cry. This is painful and it hurts and all the anger releases from within me in full despair.

The feeling of helplessness, guilt, shame because I feel weak… I feel tested… I feel numb… I feel unworthy of all these extra chances I get.

I feel like I’m letting everyone down… I’m letting myself down. I feel like a failure at a disease I never asked for. Something I could have never prevented.

All I can think about when I take my insulin injections is if I don’t take enough I could end up with amputation, loss of eyesight, kidney failure, heart disease and various complications.

I think about how even if I have great control, there is still a risk. It overwhelms me. I went from having a care free childhood to having a fear of dying in my sleep from a low blood sugar or too soon from complications.

This isn’t the typical “teenage reality”. I’m sick and there’s nothing I can do to fix it. No denial, begging, or lashing out will make my situation better.

I’m my own worst enemy and the only person who can save me in the end, is me. It’s the most terrifying and debilitating feeling having this burden riding on my back.

It took awhile but this process has changed me. I came to grips with knowing I only had one choice. Which was to fight. So I did. I let it in. I embraced the unknown. I rose above the darkness that consumed me. I continued to get up everyday to fight the same demons that left me tired from the night before.

I went from crawling to walking to eventually running. I didn’t want diabetes to win. I knew that this wasn’t going to be easy. But I knew what was on the line.

I knew I would fail, which I have. It took much trial and error. But I’ve learned to get back up, brush myself off, and keep going. To not let the fear overcome me and dwindle my spirit. To honor and respect the journey, for it has led me to here.

To not go down without a fight…


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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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