“Just enough to avoid a disaster…”

You ever run across those little gems of information that strike a cord in you somewhere?

They seem to stick with you forever – mine tend to come in the form of quotes, music, mother nature (even in the city I often see things I would like to snap a picture of) and peoples stories and experiences.

Many years back I was forwarded an article or story about the year 2000 Grand Master Champion of the Body For Life (BFL) challenge, Rory Palazzo. The BFL challenge is a 12 week program of exercise & diet, and many people have experienced amazing transformations. The program, like any other method of losing weight and getting in shape, takes a tremendous amount of drive and discipline.

A disaster with smoke, fire, and debrisWhat makes Rory’s story interesting to me is the fact that he is a type 1 diabetic. The piece of his story that sticks with me is a quote from Rory regarding his diabetic control prior to starting the challenge – “doing just enough to avoid a disaster”. I am so in touch with that. For what it’s worth, I can’t find the original article/story/web page whatever. I really need to start saving those types of things somewhere. 20/20 hindsight as they say. It is inspirational to see him master his diabetes and his body, overcoming the challenges that were presented, and winning the competition.

I have been working to pull myself out of this terrible “rut” that I’ve been in lately. I’ve been real sloppy with everything, and basically “doing just enough to avoid a disaster”. The thing is, that would be a short term disaster that I’m avoiding. I can’t ignore the long term stuff – even if it does seem like the easy way out at the moment.

I’m working real hard to pull up and out of this slump, and I can tell that I’m close. Much of the credit for that goes of course to my family, but also the very supportive comments from all of you out there*. Thank you.
* Special thanks to Violet and Wil

One day in particular jumps out at me in terms of being sloppy. I think I *might* have tested my blood sugar three times the entire day. I was just flying by the seat of my pants the whole day, much of the time out and about, grabbing junk food here and there and using the “touch bolus button” on my Cozmo pump for all my bolusing. That basically means that I was not doing any blood sugar tests and was guestimating (or as Wil would say, I was SWAG bolusing (I love that Wil!)).

I felt “funny”. Something just wasn’t quite right. I checked my BG and I came in at 117. I thought that was pretty good… until I saw I had about 18 units on board!!! Holy Shit.

Let’s step away from this scene for a minute. On average I take about 70 something units of insulin per day, depending on whether it’s been a good food day, or not so good. 23.3 of that comes from basal insulin, which is usually about 0.8 units per hour, except for a chunk of time in the early morning to offset the dawn phenomenon thing. What this means for those of us who are not mathematically inclined is that 18 units is basically enough insulin to cover a large meal.

Okay – back to the “Holy Shit” moment. Was I feeling funny because my blood sugar was dropping pretty fast? Maybe. I think that many of us would agree that our bodies don’t like rapid changes, and that includes rapid increases or decreases in blood sugar. There’s more to this than just crossing a threshold and feeling low – sometimes the body just doesn’t like that rapid change.

It was at this moment I got really pissed off at myself. I’m in a sticky situation. I’m full (because I’ve been eating crap all day), but if I don’t consume some serious glucose real soon, I’m going to be out of it!! All because I was being sloppy.

I started eating, and eating, and eating… then more eating. Man, talk about a love/hate relationship with food! To make a long and crabby story a little shorter, I didn’t have any serious low, and rebounded a few hours later to 356. Nice.

To some degree, I feel very irresponsible about my (lack of) management. I’ve been at this for what will be 26 years in April. Shouldn’t I be “better” at it by now? What kind of example am I setting for all of you? Don’t I have some responsibility to take care of this body that God has blessed me with? How can I just take it all for granted like that? I’m sorry folks, but it doesn’t get easier. Just different.

Disaster avoided. If only barely.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…