It wasn’t 1.8 or 2.5. In fact, maybe in regard to numbers it wasn’t even that bad. But for me 3.3 was absolutely soul crushing.
I’ve had Diabetes for 12 years. In that time, I’ve had lows that freaked me out, inspired determination or forced me to face habits that weren’t serving me. This low, however, was different.
I felt numb, not just numb in my extremities, but numb to everything. My sole focus was watching the minutes tick over on my timer waiting for the sugar to kick in. When it didn’t it was hard to stay calm. Downing even more glucose gummies, resetting the 15-minute alarm and watching my breath were my only allies. My husband held me tightly from behind promising me my blood sugar would come up. “It always does,” he reminded me. “You got this.”
I kept thinking, “Why don’t I have a hypo kit? Why are we so far from town? What if I lose consciousness? What will my husband do? How fast will an ambulance come in lockdown?
I don’t think we talk about our lows enough. Sure, we post pictures on Instagram, express our frustration, tell each other to feel better or commiserate. In the short term it helps. It’s the aftermath that gets me. Like how today not even 24 hours later I’m feeling a subtle anxiety after eating my breakfast or how that rebound high took hours to resolve. Or my feelings about the interaction with my husband during the height of the hypo and shortly after; how hard it was to explain the feeling of being held underwater for 20 minutes, starved of glucose, mind slowing to lead and then how just like that I’m up for air, without really feeling like I’ve stopped drowning.
Being determined to get it right next time doesn’t always work with so many factors at play. Are my ratios correct? Is my basal set? Was there more fat, less carbs, did the carbs spike or didn’t they? Did I wipe down the mirrors in the bathroom for a little longer than I’d planned? Did I wait too long to eat after pre-bolusing? Did I weigh that last meal correctly? Is my correction factor too low or high? Did my yoga practice make me more sensitive to Insulin today?
Even when I do everything right, it’s like dancing on a tight rope. Turning, extending one leg, teetering, lifting and falling only to land back on the same foot again. I love dancing, but not like this.
After a hypo I usually cry. This time was no different, except maybe wailing was my way of expressing my pent-up frustration in general at being quarantined. I miss my family, I miss the beach, I miss the feelings of certainty and safety. It’s awful thinking that grocery shopping is potentially life threatening or that breathing, laughing and hugging in close proximity is no longer ‘normal’. I’m heartbroken at how many people just five minutes down the road from us have no food, nor adequate shelter in which to ‘social distance’. With all these personal and not so personal things going on most days I feel at a complete loss for anything to say when everyone ‘out there’ is saying it anyway. I know I’m not alone in this.
And it’s hard not to push down feelings of guilt that I am in a beautiful place even while challenged with having a chronic illness.
I often mention in this blog how yoga is my lifeline. Yesterday was no different. Having gone super high after treating my hypo I decided to do a vigorous practice to kick start my metabolism. It wasn’t long before I felt energised, calm and rejuvenated. No matter how bad I feel physically, no matter what goes on emotionally, a simple balanced practice of posture and breathing sets me up for a good night’s sleep and a healthy mental attitude.
In particular it also helped me to put my soul crushing low into perspective. I caught it, handled it and recovered well. It’s all anyone can do.
If you’d like to join me for livestream yoga classes during isolation I’m teaching on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Entry is by donation with 50% of the proceeds going to our local village for masks, food and medical supplies. Donations can be made via www.paypal.me/yoga4diabetes
Tuesdays at 8.30 am South Africa Standard Time/ Zurich Time which is 4.30 pm Australian East Coast time
Wednesdays at 11 am US East Coast time and 5 pm South Africa Standard Time/Zurich time
With great respect…
Thank you for sharing this, Rachel. This is so hard. Sending much love your way.
Thanks so much for your comforting words
It’s recently I discovered there’s now a nasal glucose spray instead of the glucagon kits. I keep one at home and one at work.
I don’t know why it takes so long sometimes for blood sugar to increase after digesting glucose tablets but sometimes I find that sweet with protein helps me. Raisins and nuts or banana and peanut butter with almond milk.
It’s scary but it’s true your blood sugars will always increase with sugar, sometimes it takes longer. Hard to think that way during the whole ordeal.
Thanks for your supportive words. Our bodies are so different. Dried fruit and nuts and things like you mentioned take forever in my body with my metabolism. Having said that dried dates are working well…and yes I am learning to trust that sugar will bring it up. Hard to believe after all these years I am still learning. Rach x
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Thankks for sharing