Frustration: Low Blood Sugars Despite Excellent Self-Care

Written by Cynthia Zuber

I had a completely horrible night last week on the Fourth of July. I could not get my blood sugar up no matter how hard or how many times I tried.

The worst part? I spent the entire day prior to going to sleep that night dedicated to the most pristine self-care possible. I slept until 10:00 am allowing my body to receive the extra rest it needed.


Shortly after waking up I went on a 14 mile bike ride around the lakes with my husband. I was able to keep my blood sugars in good range of about 90 - 100 the entire bike ride by munching on green grapes and energy chews over a few stops.

After resting for a bit following our bike ride and eating some lunch, we proceeded to the natural foods co-op and filled our entire shopping cart with fruits, vegetables, many locally grown, and grass-fed meat. We returned home to chop, prep and put together the healthiest of dinners with the fresh organic ingredients we purchased.

Spiced Beef Kabobs with Lemon & Herbs (mint, basil & cilantro!), grilled mushrooms, zucchini & green pepper, brown basmati rice and watermelon. And we enjoyed our meal outside on the patio as it was a gorgeous summer evening. It was perfect..

Our day could not have gone better. I was so happy and content and pleased with how good it felt to honor my body with exercise and the nourishing food I fueled my body with as I sat there reflecting on my day.

The trouble starts..

Just as it got dark enough for fireworks to begin, my blood sugar crashed into a low. The one where your Dexcom continuous glucose meter (CGM) is not even able to transmit a number anymore and just reads back LOW. You drink your four ounces of orange juice and even eat your yummy dessert special for the holiday---gluten free angel food cake with locally grown Minnesota strawberries, then wait it out....

Fireworks are beginning. You can hear them pop-popping in the sky. Your excitement rises in anticipation of the beautiful light show about to appear. Your husband mentions that the two of you might be able to get a good view if you walk to the end of the block to see them and sit at the park. In this kind of low? Not possible.

So we sit on the back patio and do our best to catch glimpses of the fireworks behind the tall trees. Some are more noticeable than others. But I still felt content as I sat there in a comfy lawn chair with a light blanket thrown over my legs and my dog Jonah sitting on my lap watching with me as various parts of the night sky light up in gorgeous flashes of color before fading out. Fortunately my sugars finally moved up into normal range.

The Lows Continue..

I took the same amount of Lantus as I always do that night at bedtime - 3 units. Yet I experienced relentless lows (see CGM graph pic below). Could it have been the longer bike ride that day that caused the lows? Not sure. Yet I cycled the two days prior (just a few miles shorter distance) without a similar response.

You sometimes never know with diabetes. And I'm not sure what is more challenging to deal with - how unwell diabetes can make me feel or how helpless I feel at times by a disease that does whatever the heck it chooses to do whenever it chooses.

The lows and lack of sleep created exhaustion mentally, emotionally & physically. I felt so wiped out when I woke up the following morning that I had to stay home from going up to the cabin with my husband. As he had family at the cabin from out of state, I sent him to go on without me while I stayed home to rest and regain my health.

Many tears fell from my eyes that morning..

It was a brave step be honest enough with myself that I was not well enough to travel. Not well enough to attend family gatherings. Not well enough to push through. Sitting in the cabin alone all weekend resting while laughter and fun ensued at the beach did not sound like fun. And I did not want to be forced to fake it either and act like I was okay. Because I wasn't okay. And faking it wasn't an option for me.

Allowing myself to stay back home where I could rest and recuperate was giving my body the care and love it needed.

Yet, days and nights like this I feel really fed up about being forced to live with diabetes. And how little anyone else seems to understand or empathize.

The following night after the lows, I took less Lantus at bedtime and woke up the following morning at 300. Diabetes can be so maddening, can't it?

After two days of rest, I did get out on another long 20 mile bike ride on Sunday of the holiday weekend and took one unit less of Lantus at bedtime with more success. Although I woke in the night with one low blood sugar, my morning blood sugar was 100!

Moving on..

I will keep plugging along. I will keep trying. I will fine tune my math wizardry skills needed to live a good life with diabetes. I will honor my body and rest when it tells me it needs to. And I will work on acceptance for when my diabetes gets in the way of the fun activities going on in my life. Because what other choice do we have?

We don't. I still want and deserve to live a happy and healthy life even if my diabetes gets in the way sometimes. I know I am doing the best job I can taking care of myself and my health and that is what is important.


When your diabetes or health acts up, are you able to step aside from obligations and allow your body the time it needs to rest? 

 

In Peace & Wellness,

Cynthia

 

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