Imagine that 15 minutes after you’ve hit your pillow for bed, a loud screeching sound starts yelling at you from your night stand. It’s a continuous glucose monitor alerting you to low blood sugar. So you drink some juice and go back to bed, but it takes awhile to fall asleep until your sugar has come back to normal. Two hours later, that loud screeching screams again, jolting you out of a nightmare. Your sugar is 55, which caused you to sweat all over your sheets and pajamas. You drink more juice, change your clothes and try once more to fall asleep.
One hour later, the alert sounds again, as if it’s an alarm clock that you can’t turn off, beeping louder and louder until you want to pull your ears off. At this point, you start to distrust the continuous glucose monitor, thinking, how can I be low again? So you prick your finger with a tiny needle, squeeze the blood onto a test strip, and wait those long five seconds to confirm that your sugar is indeed below optimum. You’re so fed up with waking up every two minutes, that you start chugging juice, as though it’s on tap, a keg in your bedroom. Soon, your belly feels like an ocean has formed inside and you can hear the waves crashing into the walls of your stomach as the liquid sloshes around.
Your blood sugar finally rises, but you’ve spent so much time awake at 4am, walking around the kitchen and pouring juice with the bright light on that your brain won’t let you return to slumber. Your thoughts race and your body doesn’t feel relaxed anymore. You lay in bed for a solid 2 hours, counting down the minutes to your real alarm clock set to go off at 7:30.
When it sounds, you’re surprised that you managed to fall asleep at some point, but now your lids feel heavy and you can’t quite open your eyes all the way. You move to press snooze, but then your continuous glucose monitor starts beeping again, but this time your blood sugar is high. That juice from hours earlier came back to kick you. So you’re forced to get up and give yourself insulin and start your day crabby and tired.
Two hours later, while you sit in class, your continuous glucose monitor screeches once more, low again. You can’t concentrate on what the professor says. Your eyes feel fuzzy, like you are wearing glasses with the wrong prescription. Your shoulders slouch and your head droops because all strength has drained from your body. You start to sweat and your hands shake so that as you are taking notes, the letters look like lightening bolts. And you’re starving, like your stomach is eating itself.
And all day long, no matter how much juice or food you eat, your blood sugar keeps dropping down and your continuous glucose monitor keeps yelling at you until you just want to cry. And in your 3 hour class in the afternoon, your blood sugar keeps hugging the border between maybe low and low, like 65-75, and since you’ve already exhausted your supply of juice, you have to pull out a bag of pistachios from your backpack and keep chewing on them even though you aren’t hungry and you start to get that too-full bloated feeling in your tummy.
The whole time you are suffering from these lows that make you feel like you want to pass out and fall over, nobody around you has any clue. When your continuous glucose monitor starts freaking out, your classmates assume you forgot to turn off your cell phone. When your teacher looks at your face, inattentive during her lecture, she assumes you are daydreaming and purposefully tuning out her sage words. When the back of your eyes start to tense up and you fight to keep the tears sucked in your skull, that person passing you on your walk back to your apartment thinks you must have something in your eye to be making such a funny face.
Imagine if this was your Monday, 12 hours of discomfort and loneliness and frustration. Well, this was my Monday. Now imagine if this isn’t an isolated incident, if you had to relive this experience over and over again, sometimes multiple days in a row. Can you envision it? Now imagine that all those low blood sugars aren’t just an annoyance, but life threatening, that any one of them could cause you to have a seizure and die if untreated or that you’d suffer brain damage from lack of sugar feeding your cells. For the non-diabetics of the world, this hypothetical situation sounds scary, but for us diabetics, it’s not hypothetical; it’s reality, and it doesn’t sound scary, it is scary.
This is why we need a cure for diabetes, because it kills and causes suffering, emotional and physical. I hate starting my week off like this and letting the negativity get to me. I wish I could say, Happy Monday! But, I honestly can’t. Today wasn’t a happy Monday and not even power yoga could cheer me up today. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day. I want to cast away this negativity from my blood.
How do you overcome a no-good-rotten day?