What’s my insulin to emotion factor?

I’ve always been aware of emotions and stress affecting blood sugars.  I’ve always thought to watch for it and try to “do something”, but it’s always been a very vague thing.  Vague things are hard to deal with on an action level.  Vague things are… vague.  Action things are very specific.

Picture my great-uncle drew of my mom next to her photoYesterday we celebrated my mom.  Cancer took her in April of 2005.  She would have been 60 years old today.  My dad wanted to throw a celebration of the wonderful person she was.  I can’t imagine how hard it was for him to push through all of the hurt involved, but the party was incredibly healing, happy, and full of love.  My sister and I are so proud of dad, and so thankful for all of the family that came.

My great-uncle, Father Jim Schoenberger, used colored pencils to draw this incredible picture of my mom. 

I woke up yesterday morning with a nearly perfect blood sugar of 99 mg/dl.  Mornings are stubborn for me, so I hit my (modest 15g carb, 24g protein) breakfast with a full dose of symlin and a little extra insulin.  It held me pretty steady until the celebration started.

I didn’t feel stressed or emotional, but one glance at my CGM, showing 198 mg/dl with double “UP” arrows, proved that I was feeling it.  I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, but my CGM was showing a line straight up, and rising, with matching finger-sticks to back it up.

I hit that upward trend with with every weapon in my diabetes arsenal (short of exercise).  Multiple doses of symlin, couple with aggressive doses of insulin, typically a recipe for a nasty low blood sugar, seemed to do nothing.

It was a hard afternoon for me.  Both emotionally and physically.  By early evening I was drained.  I went to bed for the night around 8:00 PM, and except for the two lows I had to treat, didn’t wake up until about 9:30 AM this morning.

The celebration for mom was really a beautiful thing, and I’m glad dad thought of it, and that so many people could come to celebrate the wonderful person she was.  There was a lot of healing that happened, and it was good for everyone.

It was also a very strong example of how stress and emotion can have a drastic effect on our bodies, and how hard that can make managing blood sugars.  There’s no mathematical formula for that.

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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…