“What is the one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have Diabetes, about living with Diabetes?” This is definitely the hardest topic yet for me. I have pondered the answer for days now. I even found myself thinking about it when I was trying to fall asleep. Today I have put off this blog as long as I can, just hoping the answer would eventually come to me. It is not that I cannot think of anything. Actually it’s the opposite. There are so many things that it is hard to choose. I know I could write a long post about all the things that come to mind. However I really wanted to figure out which thing is most important to me.
I made a huge list. I was lost. Then, Thursday morning I woke up to my meter reading “HIGH” and I knew I had the answer. My extended highs are followed by extensive and serious lows. For me, the hypers are painful and dangerous, but it’s the hypos that I fear the most. I am not talking about when your sugar hits 60. I am talking about the 40s and below. After all, my lows have come close to killing me on more than one occasion.
I have “Hypoglycemia Unawareness.” Basically I do not get warning signs that I am low. Especially not if my sugar drops quickly. I don’t get sweaty or shaky. OK that is a lie. I do occasionally get symptoms, but it’s rare. This makes lows even more dangerous because I can go pretty low before myself or someone else realizes something is wrong.
I have done and said some really shitty things to those I love while low. My poor boyfriend gets the brunt of it. I have yelled, screamed, even become violent. Heck he had to bite me once just to get a Glucagon in me. I know he and others logically understand the experience. That is not the same as living through it though. I see the pain in their eyes and wonder what I did while low to cause that pain. They say they know it’s not me but I don’t believe that they walk away from some of these lows unscathed.
Please don’t think I wish Diabetes and/or hypoglycemia on my worst enemy. I do not even want anyone to experience a whole day with D. I just wish the people I have hurt while I am low could see how it feels, just once. I try so hard to explain to them that are times I am not in control of my actions and especially my mouth. I can be a mean hypo.
I don’t wear a CGM because they just don’t help me. I was averaging 1 out of 4 sensors working and that was with a CDE inserting them and setting them up. I do test like a fiend. Sometimes life gets in the way though and a low slips by me. Also, if you are unlucky to be around me during the “episodes” as we have come to call them, you are dealing with me never getting my sugar over 60 for sometimes over 24 hours straight. I am also cranky and achy for days after just trying to recuperate. First the highs, then the lows. I feel like I have run a marathon…barefoot and without water. I just plain hurt!
So please, if you love a Diabetic (or just happen to meet them in the wild) and they are having or just had a low, don’t say things like:
“Oh I know, I hate when I’m hungry” – you have no idea what hunger from a low feels
“Doesn’t your pump prevent this from happening?”- Yes, it is capable of doing that but I choose not to press that button
“Are you all better now?”- I’m back to normal range but it will take a while to be “all better”
“I wish I had an excuse to eat all that sugar”- NO, trust me, you do not!
“Why do you let this happen?”- Are you serious? You think I choose this?
“Your sugar being low is no excuse to be mean”- Well, actually it is! If you ever had a hypo you would know that what you say is false.
OK I am done grumbling. Maybe the lows having just ended less than 12 hours ago has made me cranky. And yes, it is a good enough reason…