Diabetes Blog Week – Keep it to Yourself

Hypoglycemic unawareness has been with me for 28 years. I have far more low stories then I think I could ever share. I will share some of them, but the really scary ones of which there have been a few, I do not feel comfortable sharing online.

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Diabetes Blog Week – I can

complete challenging races. The race I am most proud of completing is the Pikes Peak Ascent. This race starts in Manitou Springs in Colorado. The race is 13.32 miles in length with an elevation gain of 7,815 feet when the race ends at the summit of Pikes Peak which is at an elevation of 14,110 feet. I completed this race in 2002.

I have always enjoyed pushing myself physically and completing this race was something I was really proud of doing. I ran at the start for a bit and then walked up the mountain as fast as I could. If you don’t pass certain check points in the right time, you are not able to continue the race and must make it back down the mountain.

My sister was concerned with me doing the race as she wasn’t sure how my blood glucose levels would do. Thankfully, they did fine and did not complicate me finishing the race. It felt so good to reach the summit!

A downpour

Exercise has always been something I enjoy doing. This morning I had some errands to run so I decided to get my exercise in by walking to the stores. Thankfully, I had my raincoat with me. By the time I made it home my pants were drenched in rain. My pump has covered up by a sweat shirt and rain jacket and my Dexcom CGM receiver was also covered up, so those were kept safe as they were each working to keep me healthy.

I am so thankful to have the CGM as it makes me less scared of going low after a workout. I certainly will be glad when I don’t have to carry a receiver with me as it weighs down my pants that are already weighed down by my insulin pump.

Low reservoir alarm

I keep my pump on vibrate as I don’t like it to noticeable. Last night I slept so well that I didn’t feel the vibrate to let me know that I needed to fill my reservoir. This was just fine as I have it set at 15 units. I feel that my blood glucose levels often disturb a night of sleep, so I was pleasantly surprised to not have that happen last night. I will take a little victory any day!

Being open

Early on in my life with T1 I did not like to share that I had diabetes as I thought people might treat me different. As time went on and with hypoglycemic unawareness setting in at the age of 13, it became clear for safety reasons that I could not hide that diabetes is a part of my life.

I have been under the most stress I have ever faced as my spouse filed for divorce and served me with divorce papers while I was in the hospital. A protection order that a judge put in place to protect me, has meant that we are not able to communicate. As someone who has always been inquisitive, not being able to get answers from the guy I was married to for eleven years has been very challenging.

Just as I am very open about having diabetes as a low can unexpectedly sneak up on me, I am finding that it is important for me to be open that I am going through a divorce. Today I made a trip to Costco on my way home from counseling and I was thrilled that they have Justin’s Nut Butter and Peanut Butter Cups. These are helping me through the divorce. When the check your receipt woman looked at my purchases, 4 boxes of the peanut butter cups and one box of spinach, I let her know I am going through a divorce. Her response was classic and brought a smile to my face as she said “You may want some chocolate ice cream!”

It has been so encouraging to me to find support in the most unexpected of places.

Exercise saves me

I have always enjoyed sports. Long before diabetes came into my life, I kept myself busy by doing a sport each season. I played soccer, basketball, volleyball and ran cross country and track.

In college I ran two seasons of cross country and one of track. After college I found that I had to work a lot harder to stay active while busy working full time. I also missed the convenience of team or intermural sports that I enjoyed while in college.

The endorphins that exercise provides my brain are so needed. These days, walking is my go to sport as it is easy on my body. I am thankful to have beautiful views of mountains to take in as I walk around a lake.

Wearing the Dexcom CGM helps me to see when the effects of my exercise kick in which is so helpful.

Now I just need to get out for a walk regardless of the rain or the lower temperatures.

Pump vacations

I was fortunate to start pumping insulin on a Minimed 507 pump on September 30, 1997. I was actually hospitalized to start the pump at Oregon Health Sciences University hospital. It was so exciting to no longer need to take shots and carry all of the paraphernalia with me.

I took to the pump fast and rarely took a break from it. A few years ago I did take a one month break. It was really nice to not have a pump weighing down my clothes. However, the major downside was that my blood glucose control was horrible. Try as I might, and with the help of my CDE, I was not able to see an improvement; so, it was a very easy decision to go back to pumping. I haven’t taken a break since then.

I find that in life I need vacations too. Ever since I was served with divorce papers I have been pushing myself hard. I decided that for my own health and well-being that a vacation is just what I need. I can’t wait to get away and just be in the present. I know this will be just what the doctor ordered.

When I return home I will be well adjusted to my unwanted but given to me title of single mom to the best son I could ever have asked for!