It’s been a week of strange and unusually clingy lows, and they are often to blame for a rough day of blood sugars, as it’s so easy for me to over-treat a low, causing me to bounce up too high, which makes me aggressively correct with a bolus (rage bolus!), which sometimes makes me low again. Vicious cycle involving too much insulin and way too much candy corn (hypothetically speaking, of course – it was on sale!!). Today, I’m looking back at some words of wisdom from my endocrinologist about over-treating nasty lows.
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“It takes more willpower than carbs to properly correct a low blood sugar.”
This goes through my head every time my blood sugar is below 65 mg/dL. I talked about lows with my endocrinologist a few weeks ago, and how when I’m excessively low (the ones that tangle my tongue in my mouth and leave cotton balls in the place where my brain should be), it’s very hard to measure out fifteen grams of carbs, then eat, and then sit patiently and wait for my blood sugar to rise.
“Usually, I measure out fifteen hundred grams of carbs, usually in the form of an entire bottle of grape juice, and then consume the whole lot in a matter of seconds. Then I end up haphazardly bolusing to cover the extra carbs. Usually, I end up much higher than I was aiming for, mostly because I’m in a freaking panic and treating the low as fast and desperately as I can.”
She and I talked about how panicky lows often lead to over-treating, which leads to highs, which leads to rage bolusing, which leads back to panicky lows.
“Fun vicious cycle, that is,” I said. “I do notice that the more stable my blood sugars are, the more stable they remain. It’s once the bounce starts that it becomes gross. My Dexcom graphs start looking like giant letter Ms.”
“Not over-treating a low is very important, but I know it’s a tough thing to avoid. That panic drives you to eat until you don’t feel low anymore, which can take up to twenty minutes.”
“So I need to distract myself while low?” (Like I’m not already distracted enough at a blood sugar of 40 mg/dL.)
“Whatever you can do to treat the low without overdoing it, yes. It can help stop that vicious cycle.”
Lows aren’t as prevalent now as they were a few months ago, but they do hit every once in a while. (As irony would have it, I’m writing this blog post while low. But I only had three small sips of juice. And now I’m waiting patiently. PATIENTLY. SEE HOW PATIENT I AM?!) I’m trying to be patient while low, and waiting out the panic until blood sugar serenity sets back in. I thought about crocheting while low, but decided that would be an epic exercise in dropped stitches. Thought about jumping on Twitter while low to pass the time, but that would end up looking too much like drunk Tweeting. And I can’t whistle, or else I would fashion up a low blood sugar tune to pass the time.
So I’ll try to sit. And wait. And pretend that my brain and my body aren’t freaking out while I wait for the glucose to hit my blood stream, the same mantra running through my head while the adrenaline runs amuck in my body: “More willpower than carbs. More willpower than carbs.”