I'm sure you can't count on all your fingers and toes the number of times you've heard diabetes being compared to a roller coaster. But a mixture of the holidays, extremely drawn out finals, and applying to graduate school has given me a new appreciation for this analogy. One hour I'm over 400 for no apparent reason, and then the next hour I'm already 150 and still dropping, followed by a day full of so many lows and such sensitivity to insulin that I question my status as a real diabetic. And so it's been made clear to me that diabetes is like a roller coaster in more than just the obvious ways--the drops and the spikes--but also in the sense that it sometimes is completely unpredictable. And that control, it would seem, it totally out of our grasp.
Why do we (some of us) enjoy roller coasters? The thrill is partly in the unknown. You don't know when the drop is coming, how fast or slow it will be, what will come after, etc. And what's equally thrilling (and scary) is that you're strapped in--trapped, at the mercy of the roller coaster. These causes for thrill on theme park rides are the very things that can make diabetes so frustrating. Now usually I'm a relatively well-controlled diabetic. So you can imagine my dismay when my meter started to get whiplash from going back and forth from low to high so fast. I attribute this annoying mini-crisis to the many facets of stress. To start, stress has a physical effect on your body. This could toy with blood sugar levels. Also, having so many important things to do at once can make your head foggy. It's hard to focus on certain things, including blood sugar patterns. This in turn makes getting a grasp of what's going on harder to do.
If you're finding yourself in a similar sticky situation, keep a few things in mind. Remember that although it may feel like habit, taking care of your diabetes still ranks pretty high on the priority list. You can't get anything important done without your health in check. Try to take small breaks when you can. Not just physical breaks, mental ones. And use the downtime to reflect on what the heck's been going on in your body.