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Pirates on Surfboards
If you & I have type 1 then we are all too familiar with the trip to the lab to begin the process of finding out what our A1C is. The time flies between lab appointments right?
This morning I woke myself up extra early because I planned to turn my basal rate down on my insulin pump for the early morning hours. Also, I had woken myself up in the night to check my blood sugars too. The neat thing is that for a year now the lab that I go to lets you schedule your lab appointment for many blood tests including the A1C. I love that! It means that although we may at times be directed to fast before the test by our endocrinologists, at least if we can schedule our lab then we don’t have to wait an undetermined amount of time all the while either worrying about sugars either about to crash or burn. This was a 12 hour fast which is no big deal to me other than my blood sugars are wacky sometimes & will crash low out of no where sometimes in the night & other times will rise like a high roller coaster & I am just not always going to know which way the tide is going. On blood lab morning with an appointment scheduled the last thing that I want to see is a low blood sugar when I am having a fasting test done. If I go into a low blood sugar it means that I have to cancel my lab for that day & keep trying each day until my sugars are not low. I did reduce my basal insulin in the hopes that there would be no low blood sugars this morning & I just plain had a good feeling that all would go seamlessly. In the night my blood sugars were sitting at 7 which is a little higher than I would normally want them to ride yet still in respectable range. I turned my pump down by 50% for an hour when I got up this morning. An hour later I was sitting at 10.3 so I did a wee correction since my lab was scheduled an hour after that. By the time my lab was done I was getting on track again with my sugars coming down nicely at 8.5% an hour later & then following breakfast & all active insulin used up I was sitting at a gorgeous 4.7
In looking outside it was what some people would describe as a dreary day out with the sky full of clouds & it was teaming rain. A number of people have told me that they find that the weather affects their moods. I don’t find this myself yet we are each beautiful originals so this is understandable. I find that I am every bit as cheerful on a sunny or rainy day…perhaps even a little more humourous or giddy on a rainy or stormy day for some reason to be honest. A sunny day is great too & there are other things to look forward to on each type of day. It is not weather that affects my moods yet there is something that big time affects my moods every single second of the day every day. At least this has been true for the past 6 years & 5 months.
If you & I share the experience of having the type 1 beast in our lives then you just may be nodding your head right now to the effect that this beast has on our moods. Thankfully though awareness brings with it options in dealing with the big bad beast of type 1 & how it affects our moods. On profoundly “bad” type 1 days where it just seems that I cannot seem to get my blood sugars down from the top of the sugar roller coaster I have learned some things to do & not to do. Every one of us is an original so different strategies will work for each one of us. The first thing I do is try to take as much pressure off my day as I can & have as few interchanges with challenging people as possible on those days. To the circle of Battle Buddies that I trust I go ahead & share how the day is going & seek support. Also I recognize that really high blood sugars cause me to be someone that is not naturally me. Really high blood sugars cause me to become impatient & somewhat pessimistic. Additionally, if the day is especially challenging from a high blood sugar perspective I will “go underground” so to speak. In other words, I limit exposing my not me type mood that is resulting from the type 1 beast to others. It is not that I am denying the sugars & the accompanying moods but I really find it exhausting to be upbeat when I am being beaten up physiologically on the especially brutal high blood sugar days. The best part though is that I don’t get the profoundly high blood sugars too often thankfully. I am not saying that I am not out of range but it is just that there is out of range & then there is big time out of range & to me it makes a difference in me being me or me turning from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.
The first time that I participated in a JDRF event, there was a booth set up just outside the conference centre with a group of type 1 kids & their parents getting ready to do karate. They were preparing for a specific goal through their karate that evening. Each person living with type 1 was handed a piece of wood & were instructed to write our names on the wood with a marker as well as the one thing about type 1 that we hated the most. Instantly, I wrote down that I hate the mood swings that come from high blood sugars. There was a young gentleman behind me who looked at what I had written & he made a wee joke about mood swings. He said to me, “you don’t want to give mood swings up because it is the perfect excuse to give someone a piece of your mind.” We both knew this was just humour to take away the fact that mood swings from type 1 really stink. We all handed in our wood boards to the karate group. Half way through the conference, the karate group came out & brought all our wood boards out & broke them in half. It felt powerful to let diabetes have it & the stinky mood swings! At the end of the evening we picked up the boards in the pieces. I still have my pieces (karate chopped in half) in my kitchen on the shelf & I see it every day. When I look at it now I realize how far I have come in really combating the mood swings. It is rare for me now to even have the severe mood swings that I had during the first 2 years living with type 1 diabetes. It is amazing how we build strength & find ways to cope with whatever comes our way as we fight type 1. We are warriors in every sense of the word. Warriors need weapons against the war that we fight. Weapons against the type 1 beast that I keep close at hand are: constant reminders of what matters, flexibility, humour, inspirational books, movies, paintings, Battle Buddies, friends, family & faith. I try to not let type 1 get bigger than that which matters most. Even though there are times that type 1 messes with my body & mind, I am so much more than just these things& I know the strength to fight will always remain no matter what. My heart’s hope is that you find this to be true for you as well. Some days I let myself know that it is just okay to not feel okay for the day. It is okay to get angry at type 1 & its nonsense & to cry & to let it be what it is. Then we continue the fight with even greater strength reserves whether we know it all the time or not. There is no giving up & just like battle warriors on the battle field, no one gets left behind. That is why we each need one another. We lean on one another when needed & we hold one another up in support. That is the beauty of the human spirit.
This morning as I looked outside & noticed the pouring rain & the rising number on my glucose meter while leaving to go to the lab, my mind went naturally to something that our youngest son Alex shared with me a few mornings ago. He woke up with an incredibly high amount of energy & pretty much what looked like pure & utter bliss. I asked him where all the extra energy & extra joy was coming from. He said, “I had the best dream last night.” Alex continued, “I dreamt that there were pirates riding on surfboards on the ocean & they rode the surfboards all the way up to a cliff & jumped off into the ocean again right onto another surf board.” Alex said that just made him so excited to have that dream that felt so real & fun. I thought it was pretty cool that a fun dream could place him in an even more cheerful mood than usual. And I thought that the next time that high blood sugars are attempting to beat my mind & body up that I will just remember the look on his face as he described the pirates on surfboards & the pirates jumping off the cliffs. I would add that also it would be nice if a shark would eat type 1 diabetes & then we could just ride on those surfboards & have fun with no potential mood swings at least from type 1 diabetes anymore.
As a very positive aside, I feel hopeful about my A1C results. I hope that my A1C is under my goal of less than 7% this time. It has been over a year since I have broken through that barrier but I have worked really hard & hopefully the numbers will reflect this. The lab tech this morning was so kind about the red spots all over my arms. I told her what they are just to put her mind at ease so that she knew that I do not have anything contagious. It looks worse than it is frankly in my mind. And the bonus was that it was a relatively painless blood lab. I thanked her for that & she was surprised & delighted to receive gratitude for what she merely said was just her job. It made a difference though. I feel thankful for small mercies like needles that don’t hurt & things like that. And I feel thankful for others that treat us with kindness & care.
Each one of us living with type 1 are more than this beast of a disease & I continue to have the absolute honour of knowing the strongest, most determined caring group of warriors fighting this beast alongside me. May we each ride, walk, dream, cry, laugh, scream & support one another always.
Smiles, Saundie :)
My heart's hope is that this week if any of the ugly blood sugar villains try to beat up on you that you have something like the picture in your mind like those pirates on surfboards (good pirates) too. And thanks everyone as last month we had over 1500 readers. That is very cool to share this time together :D Next Monday's sharing is "Brain Curve Balls" because sometimes we all live a little in the right handed world as "lefties" at one time or another :)