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Because Shit Happened
Hello Fall, crispy leaves under 4 plus 2 feet moving almost in unison. Almost. That is the picture of our 9 year old goldie & I enjoying the beauty in our wee corner of the world. My walk has always been naturally a speed walk so it is more like a jog. Beddy attempts to keep up but half way through the walk she needs a sit down break in order to walk back home. She is not much of an athlete but neither am I. Still, I love walking…fast! How about you? What is your exercise bliss? Last summer I got to play lots of catch with our resident baseball addict aka our youngest son. It was kid fun that’s for sure. Being outside is pretty spectacular especially this time of year.
How was your summer? How was it in every facet of your life? How about the beast of diabetes? How tame was that particular beast? It is no exaggeration to share that I am one fortunate rascal to be sitting at this keyboard today. Last summer there were 2 days right at the end of August that I totally overdid it. You know those times when you are determined to cram 3 days into one. I let my alarms babysit diabetes yet unfortunately in these cases I did not factor in the fact that extended exercise has lasting effects on future productivity of insulin. Those couple of days in particular I was on my feet moving in one form or another from sunrise to after dark. I had reduced my basal by 50% & thought, “I am all set!” No, I was not. One of those days I was at Canada’s Wonderland with my family. I treated 2 predicted lows & had one more fast acting treatment left. It was one of the rare days that I brought along those chalky dex tabs. I kind of detest those. And it bugs me big time having to eat sugar but you get it if you have type 1. The alternative is well, you know what it is. My blood sugars kept plummeting despite the 6 dex tabs I had eaten. 3 more dex left. Come on blood sugar, get back up. You know positive mindset and words and hoping don’t make blood sugar come up. That dirty rotten blood sugar kept going down so I finished up the last of the dex. Then I did the responsible thing & purchased some more fast acting sugars just in case. I thought to myself that there was no way that I would need anymore sugar though. I did. It felt like days trying to get my blood sugars up but it was 45 minutes. I am sure I looked like a junkie coming off of something shaking like a freak, sweating , slurring words & being disoriented. There is no such thing as a good low as we know but there are worse ones. There are the lows that freak you out because you know you are on the verge of needing emergency services. I especially hate big time being in public with low blood sugars. People misunderstand & why wouldn’t they. The thing is though that you have to choose to live your life out loud anyhow high blood sugars and low blood sugars. Thankfully after 45 minutes my blood sugar finally came out of the low. It meant of course my liver freaking out all night as I slept releasing extra sugars which meant alarms, alarms alarms from high blood sugars thus 1 hour of sleep. Few times have I really felt like I was going to need emergency services. I will share with you that at the very end of summer I was very close to asking my husband to call 911. The kids and I had packed in a lot of activities during the day & were determined to then go to the movies right after dinner. We did that but my husband & I ended up seeing about the first 10 minutes of the movie. It was the scariest diabetes moment so far & most of us can name several of those. The bottom fell out of my blood sugars & although I kept inhaling sugar my blood sugar kept going lower and lower & lower for an hour. The nausea, the shakes, the sweats, the helplessness was beyond anything I have experienced. Correction, the helplessness specifically was beyond anything I have ever experienced. I was moments away from asking for the 911 call. I did not have a glucagon kit with me. Carrying a to go bag with extra diabetes shit like that is a priority now even with the extra bulk. Finally after an hour of my brain starving & repeating silently thinking to myself, “help me, help me, help me” mercifully my blood sugars finally skyrocketed out of the low. That was precisely a shitstorm since that meant the whole night long my blood sugars went up up up & the levels of Lake Ontario went down that night as I kept ketones away. I should have simply pulled up a straw & drank directly from the Lake because as you know you have to drink a lot of water during high blood sugars. So I got a whole 30 minutes in total of sleep that night. You know all about the robber of type 1…robs us of hundreds of hours of sleep. Shit happens. Yes it does. Shit happens way too often right. So for sure without being a complete downer, I get it, I am lucky to be here for Fall 2019 seriously. Eff you diabetes!! Thank you guardian angel day & night & thanks for coming with me to Canada’s Wonderland & to the movies. Incidentally, the movie that some of my family saw that night on classic movie night was “Napoleon Dynamite.” I have seen it before & it is funny especially the scene with “Napoleon” eating the cold tator tots from his pockets during school. Okay, so yes, we will have a do over! Diabetes may attempt to rob my family time but I will reschedule. I will reschedule because despite shit happening I am still here. Still fighting. Still loving. Still feisty. Still laughing. Still drinking oceans of tea. Still drinking double espresso at 2pm. Still hopeful. Still here. Still grateful. Still exactly me. Still planning adventures…next time with a glucagon kit. One more thing to carry…yes…one more thing more importantly to stay alive to still fight, love, feist, laugh, drink tea, espresso myself…choosing to learn a little and a lot more. Still here.
At this point I really wish that I had kept a poem that I wrote as a going away gift of sorts for a work colleague many years ago. We had a saying in our office amongst the caseworkers, “shit happens.” That was the saying when stuff went wrong. Stuff goes wrong for everyone. And a lot more goes right! Anyhow, that poem really made us all laugh our asses off. Laughter is necessary because yes shit happens. Maybe you cannot laugh right when the shit is happening but hopefully at some point time makes a difference. If a laugh does not naturally come, get yourself some humour on purpose. Choose a comic or comedy or riddle book or whatever else you can think of. I am serious. Shit happens, humour helps. Thankfully full-fledged shit storms do not usually present themselves. The shit storms are more difficult to laugh about that’s for sure. I am so silly though that it occurred to me that during the super low blood sugars when I am sweating and shaking and slurring & confused perhaps I could tell onlookers that I am on my way to rehab. Okay, so I have been through roughly 6 major shit storms with type 1 over the years yet I choose hope, a better plan, heavier bag of diabetes shit just in case & magnified gratitude. The gratitude is never of course for diabetes. Diabetes does remind me big time though about everyone and everything that matters. The gratitude list is incomparably longer than my list of diabetes woes. The thing is with gratitude though is that it also does not happen by accident. I have to have it on purpose. And yes, of course I choose gratitude even after a complete shit storm. My swear jar is super heavy these days. Blood sugar control has been punishing over the 6 weeks. What the hell diabetes!
Do you like permeations and combinations? Maybe you do. When you live with diabetes on any given day we are faced with solving a myriad of pop up problems and mysteries. Over the past 6 weeks my otherwise pretty good for the most part in range numbers were decent. Then bam, everything changed out for exactly no obvious reason. I have changed out basal profiles yet then my blood sugars flip and I am chasing the invisible 5.5 into the ether. The 5.5 for me has been an endangered species & the double digits with their agitation have kept on keeping on. Go through the list. It is the list you too will be only too familiar with. Is this problem due to a bolus or basal miscalculation, girl hormones, sickness, stress, inflammation, infusion in blood vessel, exercise, low bouncing to high blood sugars, bent canula in infusion set, insulin or a full moon. I added the full moon because it is the catch all right but of course I am kidding about just that one. The list of variables is way longer than this of course but you already know that.
While solving all those real time problems with the variables (physical & physiological) my experience is that I need to big time feed my spirit and emotions. Diabetes is a marathon as we all know so we may find that we need to replenish our strength reserves for the ongoing fight. How do you remain hopeful, grateful, open to laughter & more? You will answer that question in all your own way as you are a beautiful original (always worth more than a copy) so go you. My answer is one that has worked for me since I was 20 years old. That is way before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. When life has sent some sort of storm my way that has left me feeling bent (but never broken) my antidote is a specific book. This book is dog eared & well loved. I pick this book up & I read it. It is not a book you just read though. It gets inside my core. It has never failed to help to build up my strength reserves. It is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. He teaches each one of us that no matter what we choose our attitude in any set of circumstances. In reading the hell that he lived through he would know. I do not believe that everything in life happens for a reason like some people will spurt out for some odd reason. I do however feel that everything in life has meaning. That is the cross section of hope. Everything has meaning. Everything.
My heart’s hope for you is that you have discovered your go to source of hope & strength. It is a well. We get to choose to go there. And then, everything, everything, everything has meaning. Yes, even diabetes. What we do and think matters. In my experience giving meaning to suffering means reaching out to others that are having a difficult time. Why would we not? And we know what it feels like to look at real scary events & bloody well do something meaningful with them. Take someone else out of isolation in their suffering for starters. There are lots of ways to give suffering meaning. Shit happens. Shit storms happen. The strongest people I know have been through a lot of shit. Shit storms do not get the last word. Love does!
On a happy note, I have finally been approved for dexcom G6! I get to place my first order on World Diabetes Day on November 14th. This is great news as I have no love match with the Libre. Mine always reads way lower than my actual blood sugars & goes completely bonkers after day 12. It is day 13 today with the current Libre & I just got an alarm with a straight down arrow & a 4.5 Canadian measures. Are you kidding me. I did a fingerstick test for the zillionth time & sure enough my blood sugar was way higher than that. Not saving on fingers or fingerstick tests. Well, welcome Dexcom G6. That will be something to look forward to. My next writing sharing will be on November 29th, my 12 year diaversary. Be gentle with yourself. Keep getting stronger to prepare for diabetes shit storms. My swear jar is full!