Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I have a confession. Diabetes never used to scare me. Never did I let it get in the way of things I did. But lately I have been scared.

When I first got my Dexcom back in December and I realized just how often I was going low without feeling it, especially when sleeping, I was dumbfounded. I was lucky then that my liver would kick in and would stabilize me a little bit.

In the quest for extremely tight control, by the recommendation by my health care team, I started to use metformin with my insulin regime. Metformin is usually used in type two diabetics, to put it loosely one of its functions is it slows the excretion of stored glucagon in the liver to prevent major spikes in bg. combining it with my insulin has really helped me. In fact since I started it my average blood sugar post prandial has dropped from 12.4-7.3.

But it has a negative effect: My liver just doesn't correct my lows as quickly as it used to. I guess? I am no doctor, nor do I work in the medical field so this is mostly based on Google. Ugh why did I google all of this?!

Anyway I misplaced my Dexcom receiver on Saturday and have yet to find it. I lived for 23 years without one, so surely you think it shouldn't be a big deal. I didn't think so. I thought I would find it quickly and so be it.

Anyway, on Saturday night I had a low. One of those night time lows that rattle you. I woke up at 3:21 drenched in sweat and feeling completely panicked: I was low. Really low. My mouth was numb, my face was cold, I was seeing spots. Stupidly, trying not to wake T, I ate 10 glucose tablets in two large mouthfuls and laid still in bed just smoothing the sugary paste into my gums with my tongue. Once I swallowed them I staggered out to the kitchen, and grabbed my meter to check and it rang back 1.8 mmol/l (32 mg/dcl). I knew I had 40g carbs in my system, but I needed more. I made a peanut butter sandwich and poured up a big glass of milk. I ate it all and went back to bed. When I woke up I was 7.2 with a  massive headache, a mouth that tasted like something died in there and blurry eyes.

Look, I try not to let this stuff get to me. Shit happens and we move on. But I haven't quite been able to. For some reason I can't shake it. I have had trouble falling asleep the past few nights, and throughout the night I have woken up at least 3-4 times to check my blood. Each night if I am below 7, I will reduce my basal quite a bit. I don't like waking up around 8, 9 or 10 but I DO like waking up. So what's a girl to do?

I just really hope I find that Dexcom. It's a security blanket. I want to maintain tight control, but I also don't want to start caving to anxiety at night time. It's just even scarier because I don't have the option to buy a new one. Not even if I want to. Why Health Canada and Dexcom haven't worked this out yet is beyond me, but once I have had a taste of the control and comfort it provides me I can't understand it.

This isn't really posted to scare anyone. I just wanted to vent about the anxiety low blood sugars at night have caused me lately. Does anyone else get this? Any tips for combating it while I search high and low for my Dexcom receiver?


  1. Great post Alanna! I know what you mean about the scary parts of diabetes, for me it's usually the highs that scare me most. But I can feel my lows around 4.5 mmol, whereas you don't feel them until you're much lower. Lows are scariest for me while exercising, one time I didn't feel the low until I almost blacked out completely. But I saved myself by fumbling juice into me. That was scary. Anyway, yes I know how you feel, especially waking up in a sweat, it sucks! I hope you find your Dexcom and keep posting, I really enjoy reading them. :)

  2. Alanna, I'm right there with you. I would also rather wake up at 10 than not wake up. The artificial pancreas people have tried to refine their technology by going for safety first, then treat-to-target. Maybe we need to do the same. Hope you find that receiver soon!

  3. You use the Dexcom 7+, right? If your subtle plea was missed (or maybe you weren't even asking), let me be blunt:

    Hey Everyone!! I know there's a lot of people out there who've upgraded to the Dex G4 and left their old receiver on the shelf to collect dust. Alanna could really use a loaner. C'mon, help a sister out!

    But seriously -- I know the tendency to keep higher BG's before bed after something like this happens. I've been there myself. But I believe the hypo-unawareness comes with your newfound better control, not a conscious reliance on an electronic device.

    Those reductions in PPD spikes are incredible. I just might do some internet research on Metformin myself...

    1. Oh geez, thanks! I wasn't hinting at that at all. I was graciously given the previous receiver by a friend and would never expect it to happen again. I honestly wasn't asking :) But thank you!

      And yes, the Metformin has truly helped me! I am on a low-ish dose (from what I know) and it is extended release that I take every morning. It's a great thing when medication actually works.

  4. ugh, that's so frustrating that your dex receiver is still missing .. .have you tried the garbage? horrible place to search but might be worth a run through.
    I've been messing around with Metformin as well... and i've been thinking that it is limiting my liver action as well, i'm only noticing lows at <2 as well.... and feeling that same rattling fear you do. I hate it! but i'm also starting to feel like I might just have to accept this as my "new normal".

    you got me thinking about a neat idea... wouldn't it be cool to have little chips that we can stick on important devises (cellphones, Dex receivers, remote controls haha) that could then be tracked via computer - seems like such a simple thing, but oh so useful!!! (HPS - Home positioning system :) I want a little tracker for my beer, haha, i'm always loosing drinks)