As an adult living with T1D, I play it pretty cool about my ups and downs with this disease. I am active, I don't let my lows or highs affect my daily life as best I can. I am a shoulder for a lot of parents of children with T1D, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone who is a bigger promoter of diabetes just being a unique way to live by comparison to people with functioning bodies :)
So you'll understand why this post has taken me almost two full weeks to write.
I don't like fear. I don't think we should fear T1D or its complications, at least not actively. I think being aware and prepared is far more important than sheltering our selves and our loved ones from our reality.
A few weeks ago, one week in to my experience with Victoza I had gone to fundraiser dinner with some friends. We ate and had a few drinks (sugary margaritas). While I don't do this often, in the past I had aggressively bolused for the food and drinks and carried on. I did something similar this time, lowering my dose a little and carried on.
An hour after my meal I was at home and my Dexcom gave me the dreaded buzz. I checked my sugar, saw it was riding on the lower side and had a juice box. At this point I was INCREDIBLY full (see note about Victoza delaying stomach emptying) but I fit the juice box in. 30 mins later my sugar was slanted down again, so I was down another juice box, a few tabs and a reduced basal rate.
I wanted to really be aggressive with my low treatment, already that day I had run on the treadmill (3 juice boxes), mowed the lawn (3 more juice boxes), and now I had topped two more in my stomach. I was pretty queasy and sucking on the glucose tabs was the only thing giving me comfort at this point.
For safety's sake I told my fiancé that I was running low all day, but I should be ok. He nodded and we both went to bed. Around 45 mins in to trying to fall asleep with the fullest belly, my Dexcom alerted me again to a low. This time it was getting serious, I did a finger poke and it flashed back to me 2.8 (50 in US terms).
I turned my basal off for an hour and guzzled another two juice boxes and two more tabs. At this point I had to lay very still because the nausea from victoza and SO much juice all day was almost unbearable. All I could think of was how badly I wanted to sleep, and wake up the next day.
I had never been scared during a low. Ever. Not once have I ever looked around and thought that I may need to call an ambulance, or get help.
The feeling of being totally helpless in a fight against your own body is surreal. I had lots of things going through my head at this point. I got up and went to the kitchen where my laptop was propped up. I had an open jar of glucose tabs next to me that I was casually eating.
A few more finger pokes over 35 mins.
3.8 (68), 4.0 (72), 5.1(92) , 3.2 (58), 2.7 (48)
And so it began in my head:
"When do I use glucagon?"
"Should I call an ambulance?"
"My fiancé is asleep and has to be up in 4 hours for work, I don't want to bother him."
"Why me? Why in this moment....me?"
"I need a cure."
"I need help."
I walked slowly and confidently to the bedroom. As if I was being watched by the police and they were giving me a DUI test. I thought, maybe if I can trick my body in to thinking it is balanced and ok, that maybe it will just recover from a low blood sugar without further assistance.
I sat on the edge of the bed, gently touched his warm shoulder, he rolled over towards me and was quickly jarred awake. I said:
"I am still low, two hours in. I think I need glucagon. Do you remember how to do it?"
He sat straight up and looked around and felt my forehead
"You don't feel hot"
I knew he was still half asleep, and worried.
"I am going to the kitchen"
Slowly again I did my DUI walk down the never-ending hallway.
I sat at the kitchen table and he came out and stood next to me with his hands on my shoulder, he had his eyes closed and I had the glucagon on the table next to me.
I messaged my friend, and amazing blogger Kelly Kunik from Diabetesaliciousness
She talked me through thinking of glucagon. I was still hovering in the 3's and through some mutual googling we decided that 7 units of glucagon would be a good starting mini-dose for me.
I didn't want to use the entire dose, it can cause extremely negative side effects like vomiting and lots of other unpleasantness. Once I did the injection, I gave the Mr. the ok to go back to bed, and he went and laid awake.
I stayed up on Facebook chat for another 40 minutes with Kelly. We talked about everything, and every so often she would remind me to do a finger poke an compare it with my CGM.
Finally, I was headed up, and staying. I bid her good night and crawled in bed with a man who didn't know what to do. He didn't know how to react, I just told him I was ok, and showed him my CGM graph showing 7.9 (142) and double up arrows. He held me pretty close that night, for the whole night.
I woke up in range, but a look at my graph showed me I topped out at 15.4 (277).
There's no solid information about the mixing of alcohol and Victoza, it's kind of but not super prominently said to have mild side effects.
I should have known. I should have guessed that I have been uber sensitive to the drug, the effects would be heightened.
I hope to never fear diabetes again. But since then I have been riding a little bit higher, I have been more aggressive with my low treatments, I lowered my basals and I haven't touched alcohol.
You live you learn. Sometimes you fear. We all need support sometimes, even the ones who pretend we don't *cough*
I will never let fear win.