Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This is life.

This post is a collaboration with some fellow Type 1s.

Very often we can feel silenced by outside expectations of what our lives should be with diabetes. We walk the line of showing the world that life is great and we can do anything with diabetes, to holy shit this is hard and it is always. on. my. mind.

Think about it: yes, we can do anything with this disease, but we can ONLY do anything if we are ALWAYS thinking about how we feel.It's a real Catch 22, and it's a real struggle for advocates from all walks.

So some of us turn to blogs, twitter, Facebook and more to connect with other diabetics. We educate our friends and lovers, we vent online because we aren't allowed or simply cant vent while sitting at our desk at work. Some of us become elite athletes and prove that life is good no matter what is thrown at us.

But no matter what, if you're a super elite Team Type 1 athlete, or if you're a regular gal who has a desk job in the marketing department at a non-profit (cough cough I am the latter) the thing that unites us is diabetes.

It's a roller coaster.

A high blood sugar before and a meeting? Happened to me.

Order the soup instead of the sushi rolls I would have normally liked, skip the noodles slurp the broth. Slam back a diet soda before the business counterparts sit down and slowly sip the refill trying to seem refined.

Can they tell that my vision is blurry?

My heart is racing, I'm not nervous.

My mouth feels like a cotton field and the small sips of pop are not satisfying, oh ugh when is that correction bolus going to start working?

I am nodding but not absorbing the information. I wish I could record this so I can learn what I need to later, would that be creepy?

I watch him splash his sashimi rice in the soy sauce and long to be eating that instead of this soup.

The waitress comes by, yes I would like a glass of water. My head is pounding and my stomach is lurching now, that stupid infusion site might not have worked. I only have 45 minutes to chat with this person, he is so knowledgeable I need every minute. Do I dash to the bathroom and take a shot? I have 20 mins left it won't make a difference.

My Dexcom alerts me to the rapid rise, and I silence it quickly with a tap on my pocket. I nod and try and seem interested and answer/ask questions methodically. Does he know that my mind is racing?

Oh I want to eat those noodles so badly, even though they are chilled and soggy now.

Our check has come, exit stage right, excellent performance again. Give a rage bolus and head out. Another day, another high.

How about those low blood sugars at inopportune times?

A long day at work. I spent the afternoon in a meeting, I had 3? 4? triangle sandwiches (the cute little meeting size ones), bolused a few units of insulin. I ate an apple and a cookie too, more insulin. I felt good.
The meeting was over and I was 5.8.

I walked to my bus stop, and my Dexcom rang that I was at a slight downward fall. I reduced my basal rates to get me home.

My bus was packed, not even standing room. I was squashed in the corner seat with my purse under my feet. I was looking out the window, watching the sun disappear behind the industrial buildings on the harbour front. I was looking forward to my meal that was cooked by my boyfriend. As I gazed at the lights I realized I had to focus a little bit to make sure the lights weren't moving.

The invisible elastic band tightened right above my eyes and the bus began to spin.

My forehead grew a thick dew even though I had spend most of the day chilled. The woman next to me was sitting and reading peacefully. My stomach growled and my mind began to focus on only one task: get to the fast acting glucose in my purse.

I had to twist and manoeuvre and pull my purse up. I was sorry, I was sorry to the lady who was disrupted by me, I was sorry that I didn't eat more, or take less insulin. I was so sorry. My Dexcom vibrates 4 times and alarms loudly as I struggle to get my purse off the floor.

The lady next to me was obviously annoyed by my body thrashing with my purse. I wanted to scream at her to move and just let me at my purse. She sat annoyed. I continued to thrash with urgency.

Finally I set my purse free it flies up towards my face with indignation and the precision of a bull in a china shop. Its contents start to fly, my plastic lunch container hits the gentleman's shoulder in front of me. I appologize, I try and get my things back in order, but my hands are shaking so hard that I can't seem to get it together. Square peg in the round hole. 

My hand anxiously feels the pockets in my purse for glucose. I have one quick stick and an apple. I feverishly tear open the quick stick and dump it in my mouth. Most gets in. As I moisten the sugar with my tongue someone across the aisle is looking at me. She can't believe the fuss I just went through to get candy, of all things.

I bite the cold apple and it pains my teeth. I can feel the juice run down my chin but I don't care. I need all of the sugar I have. I eat it quickly and chew like it is the first apple I have ever tasted. I look around. Nobody is paying attetion to me now. I close my eyes and wait. 5 minutes. 15 minutes. Better. I feel better.

I get off the bus and head to my car. A finger check tells me I am 4.2 mmol/l. I feel good and my Dexcom is holding stead at 78 mg/dcl.I decide it's safe to drive home to my meal.

But I lost my pen. My favourite pen.


  1. This is an amazing post, truly. Thank you so much for sharing this. I can relate so much to these scenarios and it is always comforting knowing that I'm not alone. Beautifully written.

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      I really did lose my favourite pen though. I am still rotted at that haha

  2. Just an awesome post! Those times when out in public are extremely frustrating. I am always tempted to just yell I am having a low blood sugar and need sugar so that people stop staring. I am glad that I have now found your blog :)

  3. Both of these scenarios are real, and they are described well. Thanks for sharing. I'll never forget the low I had downtown, in my business suit, flat on the ground, while another guy in a business suit took a video of me with his phone.

  4. Totally love the whole story idea of the two different sides of the diabetes coin. I laughed a little at the crowded bus story only because that's the kind of shit that happens to me. I'm clumsy and I do things that make me even more clumsy.
    so sorry about the pen. Lost for no good a reason to!!

  5. This "yes, we can do anything with this disease, but we can ONLY do anything if we are ALWAYS thinking about how we feel." perfectly describes it all. Just like so many, I can totally relate.