It’s hard to explain how badly my confidence was shaken after that bad low on Christmas Eve.

I went from a lifetime low A1C of 6.9 in November, to a two-year high of 8.0 in February. Scared? Yeah. Running high? You bet.

That low totally rocked my world, and it’s going to take time to recover from it.

It didn’t catch me off-guard. It didn’t happen while I was travelling, or dealing with some other unusual circumstance. It hit me smack-dab in the middle of my normal routine. That’s the part that stings the most. That I can’t explain it away. That I have to know it could happen again at any time.

LambertFive years ago I wrote that diabetes was like carrying a football player on my back. I still feel that way. But it’s worse now.

He’s whispering in my ear. Planting seeds of self-doubt, fear, and worry. He’s telling me that I can’t do what I need to do. That I’m not strong enough, or prepared enough, or careful enough. That he’s going to take me down over and over again until I don’t have it in me to get back up again.

I don’t listen to him. I take his whispered threats for what they are; words coming out of a guy trapped on my back going wherever I decide to take him.

But I’d be lying if I said those words never penetrated. Especially when I’m tired of diabetes, or when I’m frustrated, or burned out, or scared.

It happens to all of us from time to time, right?

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28 Responses to Whispering in my Ear

  1. Alanna says:

    A1C is only a number. Keep going for yourself, and your family. You got it. It happens to all of us!

  2. Stacey D. says:

    I believe we all go through periods like this one, in our own circumstances. That’s what diabetes does best – being so inconsistent and throwing us for a loop! Lows are scary. Especially ones like that. So your worry is totally understandable. But hopefully in time, those feelings will ease up and you can get back to where you were before. I know I have faith in you :)

  3. SarahK says:

    I had this happen after I had E. While it wasn’t as scary as you, it freaked me out. My a1c went up to 9. It takes time to shake the feeling and build your confidence back up, but you can and you will. You’re a strong person, Scott. You can get through this. :-) And as always, you know we are here for you.

  4. Emma S says:

    It sure as hell happens to me! It’s okay to run a bit higher for a little while, especially after a low like that. You need to take care of your mental health too. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re here, right? So you’re still kicking D’s butt.

  5. Penny says:

    It sure as heck does. But here’s me, whispering in your other ear ‘You can do this, I believe in you.’

  6. StephenS says:

    Yes, it happens to all of us. Yet, it’s important to remember that the effort this takes is worth it, both for what it brings to your circle of influence (love that term), and for YOU. Considering the circumstances, a 1.1 percent difference sounds completely understandable. The future is where it’s at. What if it’s actually better than the past? That would be awesome. And it’s so possible.

  7. Zazzy says:

    I can only imagine. The voices in my head are not so much about diabetes, but they’re very hard to resist. You sound like you have a decent handle on that football player and know him for who and what he is.

  8. Marie Smith says:

    Scott… If you need some extra courage you can have some of mine. You have a whole community of people who love you and care how you feel. You can draw strength from us until you find your own strength again. You can do this. I believe in you.

  9. ria says:

    My worst lows are usually in the wee hours of the morning when I am awakened by a rapid heartbeat and hot/cold sweats.
    It scares the crap out of me sometimes, because I can hardly remember my name before I down the glucose.
    So, I usually O.D. a bit on food before bedtime, which sets me higher than I should be during my sleeping hours.
    I honestly would rather have a slightly off A1c than those awful lows.
    I think all of us with insulin dependent D hear voices from time to time.
    That’s why we need each other, to drown out those D emon whispers.
    You are loved, Scott !
    hang in there

  10. Dolores says:

    At most football games … there are also cheerleaders! … ignore that grumpy football and listen for the pom poms!

  11. Heidithewiz says:

    Yep. Right now. Trying to convince myself that the low from earlier this week (which, like you, was in the middle of the routine) was an anomaly and that I CAN bolus for breakfast like I should. It’s rough

  12. Kathy says:

    Scott,
    Its alright to feel frustration and fear from an adversary who doesn’t play by the rules. Your incredible strength will get you through this. And as the quarterback in this game, you have a vast and worthy D-line in front of you.

  13. MelissaBL says:

    You’re completely justified in being shaken by what you went through. Doubt whispers because it’s weak. Your hope is louder. Your strength is louder. I hope you hear those instead. *hugs*

  14. Scott E says:

    Sure it happens, but keep it in perspective. Even my own endo has suggested making changes which, by his admission, might cause my A1C to go up by .1 or .2, but could also avoid those bad lows I get in late-morning. Lower isn’t always better. (I’ve yet to FULLY embrace his advice… that’s a story for another day).

    Also, don’t let the whole numbers get to you; it looks like a bigger jump than it is. If A1Cs played games with decimals (like gas-prices), and you actually went from a 6.89 to a 7.99, it wouldn’t look so bad, would it?

  15. Tarra says:

    I know every time not matter how many times it has happened to me I feel the same way. Even with having Duchess with me I still am shaken. I know we both have had it for years and sometimes it can take longer than others to get back up and shake off the feeling. I know it will happen soon hang in there, Hugs from Duchess and I.

  16. Tavia Vital says:

    Yes, I believe it happens to all of us. Sooner or later. If you’ve had it long enough…

  17. Dawn Di Peppe says:

    I feel your pain dude. This is one reason why I hate working out. Even though I used to be an “athlete” even with diabetes. The stress and feet of lows keeps me from taking care of myself. My husband recently freaked out on me when I chose to take a break from my sensor for a few days when we all started on the Snap. He is usually not a worrier, so it really made me feel more worried. However, I met this diabetes service dog on the flight out here to Asante. They are based out of Charlottesville Virginia but they deliver dogs all over the country. I think I might look into that because my sensor can fail but as long as that dog is around I am covered and my husband can feel secure.

  18. Nikki says:

    Scott, thanks for writing this. It’s reassurance for the rest of us that we aren’t alone! Your Christmas Eve low sounds so scary! I am glad that everything turned out ok. I also know how incidences like that can shake your confidence going forward. Hang in there – and know you are not alone. We are all in this together!

  19. Minnesota Nice says:

    Scott, I think of “him” as a bad-vibed, swarthy man standing on the street, wearing a trench coat and smoking. Now, we know he wants to be invited in for a nice cup of tea and some gingerbread so he can fill my mind with a bunch of half-truths.
    I lock the door, say “not tonight, buddy”, and walk away. Nobody messes with my head without an invitation.

  20. Scott – I love these words: “I don’t listen to him. I take his whispered threats for what they are; words coming out of a guy trapped on my back going wherever I decide to take him.” What a beautiful image. You are strong, and you are in charge!

  21. Marcy Marks says:

    I think this is the first time I’ve posted a comment on your blog, Scott … you post on mine frequently! Sorry to hear about the A1C setback but I’m confident you’ll be back in synch soon. In my case, I’m working my fanny off with low-carb recipes, new low-carb products and fastidious carb-counting to stay on the right track. My A1C in January was 6.2 and my doctor was so excited she called me personally at home (squealing) with the lab results. (Four months earlier my A1C was 9.9.) I have “lows” often, maybe once or twice a week, with my glucose dropping to 48 or 50. Not low enough to pass out but certainly low enough to be lightheaded, clammy, shaky and freaked-out. I blame it on trying to regulate my mealtime insulin and not knowing for sure how many carbs I plan to eat. Diabetes is weird and repulsive 24/7, even when you think it’s under control. Stay strong. Tomorrow will be better!

  22. Kelley Kent says:

    Scott, I can totally relate to you. I am always scared of getting low, which is why I usually my A1C has never been under 7 :(. I haven’t had an experience like you had on Christmas Eve but I hate the feeling of being low so I always tend to run a little higher. But I’m slowly trying (19 years of trying) to be comfortable at a lower level. Stay strong and you will get back to the 6.9!

  23. Cathy says:

    Hang in there Scott.. you’re an amazing person and you happen to have diabetes. Some days are truly a pain in the b$$t, but I’m sure you do whatever you can to keep on track.

  24. Katy says:

    your football player looks like a real asshole

  25. [...] SJ: I had a bad low blood sugar that caused me to pass out at a restaurant shortly after playing basketball one afternoon. That was the first time a low knocked me over like that since junior high school. It really rattled my confidence. I had a background level of fear almost anytime I was alone, and especially when I was exercising. It took a lot of work to push through that fear, and even today I’m still a bit rattled by it. I wrote about it on my blog shortly after it happened (http://scottsdiabetes.com/2013/01/passed/) and again a few months later http://scottsdiabetes.com/2013/03/whispering-ear/). [...]

  26. […] After nine years, he’s posted on just about everything.  He provides honest discussions of the highs and lows (literally) of blood glucose management.  “Almost every low blood sugar is a bit scary. They (the lows) trigger a …instinctual survival reaction. It’s terribly hard to stay calm and treat the lows sensibly,” says Scott. “I had a handful of bad lows when I was younger where I passed out or had seizures during the night. I also had a low that caused me to pass out on Christmas Eve Day last year. That was the first time in twenty years that I passed out from a low, and it really shook my confidence.” […]

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