Type 1 Diabetes

A Day Of Diabetes Errors – And How To Bounce Back Pt I

January 27, 2015
Jennifer Lawrence. She knows.

Christ I was on the rebound yesterday.

My relationship is entirely stable (I hope), but I was up and down like a yoyo all day yesterday with my blood sugars, due to a catalogue of subtle errors on my part.

Recognise this? Hell yes.

Jennifer Lawrence. She knows.

Jennifer Lawrence. She knows.

Although there are many, many worse diseases in the world than type 1, none as far as I’m aware require such a CONSTANT, endless and unwavering amount of precise self-management, and given that we’re not medical professionals, nor is there a diabetes vs insulin vs exercise vs hormones vs life formula available to us (I have a feeling that one’s not on its way) we’re quite clearly and inevitably going to get it wrong on occasion. It’s going to happen. It really is.

Yet for some reason we are collectively prone to giving ourselves such a hard time about this. Why?! Why do we never acknowledge how complex this thing is and give ourselves a break when life gets in the way?

Come with me on a little journey through my ‘challenging’ day if you would be so kind. Ready? *cue dreamy cross fade effect*

My alarm rudely interrupted my slumber at 6am due to my unexplained and unjustifiable desire to shun sleep in favour of the gym. I woke up with a blood glucose of 9 which is a little high for me, so I dosed 1.5 units in a bid to sort that one out. I did my normal Thursday weights class, showered and dressed as normal. What normally follows is a luxurious hour all by myself in a coffee shop to indulge in a book before I stroll five minutes to make it to work on time. I sit with either a flapjack from said coffee shop – one I’ve eaten so many times I’ve nailed the carb count down to the last crumb; or else I smuggle in my egg frittatas and feel entirely smug about life. You know, like a smug smuggler.

Yesterday however, the plans were different. I hopped straight back onto the tube after I’d battled 300 other preening girls for the hair dryer (CARNAGE) as I was due on a course in West London. A quick blood test on the tube told me I was 13.2 post-barbell. The previous week after this particular weights session I dropped over the course of the morning, but this time it was apparent that I should have channelled my elusive psychic ability to know to set an increased temporary basal rate to deal with the glycogen and cortisol release brought about by the stress of weight lifting. Gosh, it was just so obvious Jen that your body was going to respond differently this week. You idiot.

Diligently had myself another little correction dose and continued weaving under the depths of London on the central line. Upon reaching White City early (what is this MADNESS) I investigated my breakfast options. I found some slightly overpriced porridge to be the favourable choice over sad bits of toast or questionable looking croissants. I order a latte to accompany it without thinking – I really don’t need both at this point in terms of carbs or energy but that only occurs to me after I’ve paid. Oh JEN what will become of you?!

I sit down and try and work out the carbohydrate content of my goodies as best as I can without a food packet and dose nine units, which feels like a hell of a lot for me but I know that porridge is a heavy breakfast I’m not used to, plus the hot milk from the latte always likes to aid that highly annoying BG spike. Fun. And this is all for a little pot of porridge and a coffee. Before 9.30am.

Two hours later my glucose meter screams 18.8 at me. Well, this is predictably annoying.

Wary of the quite sudden drop I get around lunchtime if I’ve done early morning exercise (she can be taught!), I only corrected with 2.5 units. That really is not a lot for such a high blood sugar. By lunch time I had come down to 12.2 so I dosed my normal lunch amount for the box of goodness I made the night before and eaten many, many times and as such should be just fine.

By 2.45pm I’m 3.3. BALLS.

I’m not in my usual work environment nor am I with people that know me, so I subtly slip out to find some orange juice and guzzle that bad boy down to restore my blood sugars to an even keel.

But wait. There’s more…

After work I drop by my best friend’s house for a catch up. She’s bought snacks galore because well, she knows her audience. I enjoy a random but glorious combination of crisps, guacamole (AVO4LIFE), hoummus and apple for days, aware that I’ve had a lot more carbs (and insulin) than normal already and wondering if I’m going to be able to navigate this meal any better than I’ve managed so far in this one little day. Does it stop me eating a bucket load?

Have we met?

Absolutely not, is the correct answer.

Uncanny, no?

Uncanny, no?

Bedtime, and I does me a little test to check that the fats in my snack attack dinner haven’t surprised me with a delayed spike in blood glucose (more hurdles to navigate, you say?). Apparently we’re looking good. Oh welcome, deep and heavenly slumber.

NOT SO FAST YOU FOOLISH DIABETIC WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER.

2am. I wake with a familiar shaky feeling, short breath and a rather attractive cold sweat. Oh night time hypo, my old friend, I wondered where you’d been hiding.

More juice,  some darkness-induced crashing about, the inevitable stirrings of my other half, a bit of stumbling into door frames and I’m back in bed, sleep returns and here we are, back in the room, today. I woke a little bleary-eyed from the previous day’s obstacles (hypos and hypers are intensely knackering, dontcha know) but on the whole we’re enjoying a much more stable kinda day today. For now.

*takes bow, awaits encore*

Erghhhhhh that was long wasn’t it? And it got a little boring didn’t it? Had it occurred – like, really OCCURRED to you, that you duck, dive, weave, attack and navigate your way through an assault course like that every single day as a fellow type 1 just to keep your body functioning properly?

The trusty meter of truth. Hmm.

The trusty meter of truth. Hmm.

*pause for thought*

Did I get frustrated with myself and the situation? Oh but of course. Did I let it swallow me into a black hole of despair, beration and anger towards myself and my so called failings? Not this time. Would I have done so previously? Absolutely. I could have sat there and let it compound my belief in what an absolute failure I clearly was, one that didn’t deserve anything (que?!!), with resulting devastating consequences.

As I took my first bite of that porridge I had a small niggle that I was in for a bumpy ride. And off we went. BUCKLE UP BABY.

Yes I got it really quite wrong, but can we also take a moment here for how much there was to contend with? How much I actually got right? How about the fact that I stayed the hell alive without the need for an ambulance? It can be hard to see the positives in a day like this, but truly, if you’re one for berating a blood glucose over 10, ease up on yourself. It’s hard. The biggest and best thing you can do for yourself as you try and manage the crap days like this, is be present and aware that you’re TRYING. That really is half the battle. If I’d given up I would likely be suffering still today, and tomorrow as a result. I’d be a lot grumpier than I am right now, and although I’m a little snoozy, I’m feeling grand because I know I tried, and I rectified what I could, and at the end of the day, yesterday to be precise, it’s exactly that – just one teeny tiny hurricane day in weeks and months and years of, for the most part, calmer seas where this thing doesn’t take centre stage quite so forcefully.

Are you a sucker for being a bit harsh on yourself on days like this? Behold, some tips, tip fans, to help you dust these incidents off and get on your merry, more stable way.

BUT to keep you from the fatigue of reading my GOD DAMN ESSAYS (I’m so sorry, I really do try), I will reveal them in Part II, to come later this week.

Oh Jen, you tease.

To be continued…

It’s ok! It continues here.

9 Comments

  • Reply Ruth Robinson January 28, 2015 at 10:25 am

    It’s exhausting just reading about it! My 16 year old is 4 years in and I am always in awe how she takes on new things…she and a group of friends are doing a ‘Come Dine With Me’ kind of thing over the next few weekends…that’ll be interesting! Hope today is more steady :)

    • Reply missjengrieves January 31, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      Hey Ruth! Ah thanks for stopping by, yeh I think when it’s all written down you really see how much it all carries on! Great that your daughter has a positive outlook, what a great idea about Come Dine With Me! But yes lots of guesstimating… Had a much steadier week thankfully. Thanks very much for your comment x

  • Reply Hesther Isodor January 28, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Guacamole is my favorite! 😀

    • Reply missjengrieves January 31, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      GUACAMOLE FOR LIFE!!! :)

  • Reply lisa February 11, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    This is great and so true I live this every day.. Im with you……

  • Reply Georgina November 8, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks so much for this Jen, and for the tips too. The graph from my Libre is resembling the Himalayas at the moment and I’m prone to beating myself up, despite that being the opposite advice I would ever give anyone! I know that I’m not the only diabetic in the world but it’s so reassuring to read about another diabetic’s daily blood sugar battle, I needed this today. You write so wonderfully, you’re an inspiration to new bloggers on the block like me! I wrote quite a long piece on mental health which it would be great if you had a mo to check out: wp.me/p6cUeR-d

    You’re wonderful, thank you!

    • Reply missjengrieves November 10, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Hey Georgina! I read your blog when you first published it with my heart pretty much in my throat. You write incredibly powerfully about a subject that is so very hard to articulate, and you do it with poetry and grace. I share so much of the same thinking as you – that this is a condition measured by the physical, and the black and white nature of numerical results, but it is a condition that could not be further from being black and white because it is driven and governed by hormones, and there’s no formula or counting course or measuring chart for that. I did not even consciously realise that there was an emotional impact of living with this condition (although I was a living breathing example) for 15 years, just because no health professional ever explicitly told me. I managed to make a connection when I was drowning in it, though.
      I do hope you keep writing, we need more writers like you! Thank you for your kind words about my blog, it really means a lot, and it’s very reassuring to know that we’re in this together x

      • Reply Georgina November 10, 2015 at 6:11 pm

        So true re the hormones, and the lack of acknowledgement of the emotional effects. Thankfully the online world and the communities created by sites such as yours are changing that; I hope that you’re incredibly proud of the reassurance your writing brings to people. Thank you for your kind words about my piece and the encouragement! George x

        • Reply missjengrieves January 11, 2016 at 10:02 pm

          Hi George! Thank you for this lovely reply. The online world has definitely changed management of the condition for so many – it allows for so much shared experience which has to be a great thing doesn’t it? I’m very happy to be a part of it – are you still using the Libre? Happy new year also! x

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: