Sloppy Evenings, Low Blood Sugars, Guilt, and Fear

This has been an active week for me. It feels good. My body feels good.

Four days of basketball, with one seriously kick ass weight session afterward. Four days of tossing a football around with my son and shooting baskets with my daughter. One short bike ride back home after taking my old pickup truck to the repair shop.

As far as exercise, I’m doing it. And it feels good.

But I get sloppy in the evenings. High carb foods combined with estimated carb counts and ballpark boluses PLUS a lot of exercise and activity equals an evening full of lows that leave me feeling fat, guilty, foolish, frustrated, helpless, stupid, and scared.

The first low blood sugar I treat with glucose tabs. But because I’ve been so sloppy with my insulin dose, they are not enough to do the trick. So I have food.

But then I worry about having over-treated, and I’m sure I’ll be sky high later. So I toss a little more insulin into the mix. You know, to balance it all out.

My blood sugar never crawls above 96 mg/dl (5.3 mmol/L), but because I’ve got all of that insulin working, it’s not long before I’m low again. I’m full, and the last thing I want to do is eat more. But I’m low (again) too, so I eat. Glucose tabs, wait, regular soda, wait. Doritos then ice cream. That should do it. That is enough to fix all of the low blood sugars of the DOC combined!

As I come to my senses, I start thinking about the doritos and ice cream. Slow food. Fatty food. So I program some insulin to be slowly delivered over the next 4-5 hours to help curb the rebound high that is sure to happen. My CGM is all confused, reading just enough lower than my blood sugar to trigger the unchangeable 55 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/L) alert over and over again. Not wanting to be pestered by false low BG alerts as I try to fall asleep, I turn it off.

But I can’t sleep. I start thinking about my daughter lying next to me, and those that we’ve lost overnight, and start praying that tonight is not my night. That I wouldn’t want her to be the one to find me, cold and grey and gone.

What the fuck. Am I losing it? Something not right. Something nagging at me. God told me to check my blood sugar.

No rebound high. More low. Ironically, it is 55 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/L). Right where my CGM had me pegged before I shut if off.

I’m still full. I’m sleepy, but with a weird adrenaline edge to it. I’m jittery and exhausted.

I’ve packed in a fourth dinner and really don’t care how high my blood sugar will be when I wake up. My stomach is bloated enough to push doors open before I walk through them. I feel miserable.

My activity level and sloppy insulin dosing led to a world of trouble tonight, and I know better. There is a lot of guilt and frustration I’m dealing with, because I know better. But I need to let it go. It is not my fault. My pancreas is broken, and our very best attempt is still not as good as the real thing.

I need to try and remember that my activity level does not grant me a free pass to eat less responsibly. In fact, with diabetes, it probably requires MORE attention and precision, more thought and planning for the rest of the day and night.

If I would have simply done a better job of counting carbs for dinner, this spiral of crap would have been much less crappy.

Even though I’ve had all of this trouble tonight, I have every intention of exercising again tomorrow. I’m also going to try my best to be smarter about my actions after exercising. That’s where it all comes together. Even if I can’t get it perfect, it will surely be closer than I got tonight.

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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…