I write to you today with a frog in my throat, feeling humble, scared and grateful.
Last week, immediately after my Endo appointment, we headed to FL to have a reunion with 2 other families. I felt like a badass driving down because my A1c returned to a territory I want to stay in, reading at 5.6 (a non-diabetic range). Yet, just when I think I have a routine, a plan, momentum, I realize I am at a loss.
Days into the trip I woke up with a blood sugar of 383 mg/dL. “Wtf?!” I haven’t seen a high like this in years.
Is it bc we ate a late dinner? I always have a high fasting when I eat late; but not this high. Was it the Prosecco I drank last night?? Maybe the alcohol made me low, I didn’t wake up, and glucagon shunted into my bloodstream??
Maybe it’s because I’m not sleeping enough? I was often the first to go to bed because I know less than 6 hours of sleep makes blood sugar control hard, but I’ve had 2 newborn babies and my blood sugar never behaved this bad.
Was it because I was less active than being at home? I was still running and swimming. Was I dehydrated severely? No.
What’s going on? Is the insulin bad? It worked fine yesterday and the day before and since then I haven’t stored it differently. I had it on the bathroom counter; maybe the room got too hot when we had our showers?
I take action – I’m aggressive with my basal/Tresiba for the day, upping my dose from 8 units to 12, then layer on another 2 units, making it 14. I take an intramuscular injection to correct the high.
Is it the heat? I always go really high with high humidity and temps above 80F. But I’ve lived in Australia with 100-degree temps and no a/c and it never got this bad.
Two hours later I’m only at 220 mg/dL, arrow across. Blood sugar goes up 2 points. I take more insulin.
Trying my best to keep my fears and frustrations to myself, I head to the beach with everyone.
I see diagonal down on my CGM. “Yay, the insulin is working.”
I have some dried mango in my beach bag in case the insulin begins working too well.
I’m in the water and run back to our things, aka my phone to read my blood sugar via my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and grab my daughter her floaty.
Double arrow down reading 45 mg/dL. Where is the mango??? I eat it.
Five/ten minutes pass and my friend comes back to get her son a snack.
I actually start feeling really scared. I started praying. The mango isn’t doing a thing, still 2 arrows down (this means my blood sugar is dropping 4 points per minute).
My friend pulls out a cooler with juice boxes for the kids. Amen! Juice will help.
I chug the juice.
I’m so low my CGM can’t read my blood sugar. CGM reads, “LOW” double arrow down.
My friend has no idea I’m scared for my life at the moment. Am I going to go into a seizure?
I ask my friend to get my husband. I start crying. Am I going to die because of this damn high blood sugar, now firing back?
Thirty minutes in, I level out, head back to our house and over-analyze everything for the next 2 days with 1 more similar low blood sugar scenario. The second time I used maple syrup to bring my sugar up, followed by a juice. I asked my husband to hold me until the carbs kick in.
I threw out my current pen of Fiasp for fresh insulin starting day 2, but I robotically took the same Tresiba day 2, and I was hesitant to take another full dose of a new bottle. So now day 3, it’s confirmed on what the problem was…
Spoiled Tresiba/basal insulin.
Sometimes I think I’ve got this disease, but it can be mean, scary, horrific. Diabetes teaches me day in and day out to make my time count and I’m so grateful for my insulin, my CGM, my juice box, my life.
I had a great trip overall, diabetes won’t taint it, and I’m happy to be home to ground myself and make a difference in this world.
This scary event was a gentle reminder of what it may feel like to be newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or going through a confusing time of diabetes management. There is always something to learn, and I should have been more bold with changing out my insulin sooner.