When I was pregnant and about 6 years into my yoga practice I was asked to start a prenatal yoga class in my local town. Looking back, I am amazed that everyone survived. I was inexperienced, teaching from a book and making grand claims about how the pain we were experiencing while stretching our legs was exactly like childbirth.
Then I gave birth. The pain was unimaginable and nothing like a hamstring stretch. How could I have been so blind!
Today after my second low blood sugar in two weeks, I feel like that.
Up until three weeks ago, I was a novice. Sure I’d had a few numbers teetering on the edge, but like a graceful dancer about to fall in her first performance, I’d somehow catch myself just in time and leap away with the perfect smile.
But yesterday brought me to my knees.
I’d woken up at 3.30 am with a perfect 5.5 mmol (in diabetes land we call that a Unicorn). I knew it would be better to get up, make myself a snack and get into the day than toss and turn and worry about a low.
After completing a few administrative tasks and enjoying the efficacy of working before dawn, I took my morning basal dose (long-acting insulin). I’d been working the different spots on my tummy to avoid potential pitfalls. I.e. popping a blood vessel and injecting straight into a vein, and was trying a new technique to spread the skin rather than pinch so the needle didn’t go in too deep.
The needle went in without a hitch, I depressed the plunger and then waited for a count of 10. When I pulled the needle out there was a huge drop of blood and I could see a hard bubble forming under the skin.
Instead of panicking I decided that eating consistently all day would help to keep my levels on track. I enjoyed having a bigger lunch and a few extra snacks. Things were looking good. I’d stayed balanced for most of the day.
Then I took my 2nd Basal shot
I prodded my belly again for the perfect spot. Primed the needle, sunk it in and then… oh… no… ANOTHER BLEEDER! I stayed calm. This time there was no bubble and no mark. It was going to be fine
I happily made my dinner, ate my desert and headed to the computer to do a few tasks before a scheduled online evening meeting with one of my yoga students. I felt a strange itchy sensation on the right hip and just to make sure I wasn’t going low, checked my level.
Two friggin . 6
The shock of it was worse than the feeling. In fact, I felt absolutely ZERO, nada, nothing! I felt totally normal…I screamed, and my husband came running. We were on repeat (see my last blog). He’s telling me to breathe, stay calm and I’m chugging juice. He reminds me (like he did the last time) I really don’t need to drink the whole 250 ml.
2.6? I’m drinking it!
Then I sit on the couch and wait. My heart has stopped pounding and everything feels surreal.
I feel sad. I’m sad for babies diagnosed at birth, for the mothers and fathers who get up all through the night to make sure they stay alive. For all the people in the world without insulin. For the adults like me who are diagnosed after a full life who now have to grapple with their new circumstances. For the lack of awareness and understanding that accompanies this disease. For the injustice from pharmaceutical companies who use diabetes for profit. I want to strangle someone, scream and pound the wall. But I’m actually too spaced out. I check my blood sugar every 5 minutes and gratefully watch the numbers on my meter rise in slow steady increments. When I hit 5.5 I relax.
I had no idea, I don’t know what I was thinking…. but I had no idea
Slow steady breaths definitely helped. Stretching out on my mat the next day also helped. Putting my hands together at my heart at the end of my practice just that little bit longer to acknowledge the absolute precious gift of life… that’s helped as well.
But really I don’t know how we can ever recover from the circumstances we find ourselves in until there is a cure. As someone said recently ” Insulin does not solve the problem”
So what does?
Knowing I am not in this alone and that there are millions just like me, doing their best to meet the challenges every day with courage, strength, and grace!
If you’d like to make a difference in the life of someone living with diabetes please consider donating to any one of these amazing charities.