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World Diabetes Day 2011: Act on Diabetes Now.


I reach over to turn off my alarm, only to realize that the noise is coming from the Dexcom receiver, buzzing away in the glass on my bedside table.  The alarm clock doesn't look familiar.  The blinds covering the window are swaying from the heat being pumped into the room.

And then I remember that I'm in South Carolina.  And I'm in a guest room.  And I'm alone.

I know I need to do something.  I'm just not sure what.  I click my thumb against the Dexcom receiver button and see "LOW."  No numbers; just words.  And then I fall back asleep.

Minutes pass like months, and the Dexcom beeps again.  I reach for my glucose meter and load a test strip into it.  It gives a little beep of acknowledgement.  And I fall back asleep again.

Am I sleeping?  Am I drifting in and out of consciousness?  I can't tell.  I just know that the pillows are damp from my low-induced sweat, but they feel so comfortable. Closing my eyes is the only thing I want to do, despite the tiny voice in the back of my mind, screaming at the top of its lungs:  "Drink the juice." 

Another lifetime passes by, and I remember licking the blood off my finger after testing, but I don't recall the number on my meter.  My brain isn't thinking rationally.  I can only think in short bursts of sentences, most of them imperative, regressing my internal monologue to that of a neanderthal. 

"Get juice.  Drink juice.  No sleep.  Stay awake.  Hold bottle to face.  Drink." 

I drink it.  The room starts to come into focus.  I remember that I'm at a friend's house.  I remember that I am meeting with people that morning.  I remember my name, and that I have diabetes.  These memories come back to me in lightning bolts of realization.  The juice bottle in my hand is empty, and my shirt is damp from sweat. 

"Ew," I say to myself, running my fingers through my hair and shaking loose the ropes of ponytail that have slicked themselves to the back of my neck.  But I'm still not back, still not sure.  What happened?  What almost happened?  I think about Chris.  I think about Birdy.  I think about how far away I am, and how far away I just was.

Today is World Diabetes Day.  As many as three million people are living with type 1 diabetes in this country.  While so much progress has been made in research and advocacy, community and technology, this disease still lives with us every day.  And every day, we work tirelessly to keep it from gaining the upper hand. Some days are easy.  Some days are hard.  But no days are off.

Diabetes never rests.  And neither can we.  We must act on diabetes now.

The alarm clock goes off.  It's time to wake up.  Only I'm awake.  I'm wide awake.  

World Diabetes Day : Act on Diabetes


Oh man. Those lows....they just, yeah. SO glad we still wake up after all these years. ((hugs))

Kerri, it's amazing that you can come out of a low like that and write such a beautiful and meaningful post.

Wow. This post is alive and screams quietly of all things awareness and activism.

Great post, Kerri! Living alone, those lows scare the living beejeebus out of me!

Ugh. Wouldn't it be much nicer to start WDD with a nice number? I started at 280. Not as scary as yours, but still very annoying. I get my Dexcom tomorrow!

So sorry you had such a scary low! I completely sympathize. Sometimes the Dexcom just isn't loud enough to wake me up (especially in the summer when I'm running an AC in my bedroom). And sometimes I have exactly the experience you just described--I wake up, but I'm too groggy and disoriented to do anything about it. Or getting my meter and a juicebox from the nightstand seems like a monumentally impossible feat.

Thank you for letting me know how my daughter Arden feels...

Bless you and thank you, Kerri for writing what we know is the reality of Diabetes...this is living well with diabetes, which is living on the edge and what awareness is all about for me. You nailed it! A winner for WDD 2011.

Hi Kerri! Sorry to hear your WWD started not so good... I know how you felt (been down to 11, once) Thank you so much for all you do! I am reading all the books that came with my new MM523, CGM and watching your videos to get a better understanding on this new adventure. Thank you for all your information and time to put these together! Thank you!


and this is why we need that auto-shutoff. :/

ugh... horrible start to WDD. And I know that "I just want to lie down and shut my eyes" feeling all too well.

I hope your WDD is going better than it started

You rock. Thank you for this post.

Scary low! Hope you are feeling better.

I hate that this happened to you but I am thankful that you are here to tell the tale.

Thank you for using your voice to raise awareness.


Thank you for sharing this. I am a mother of a 10 year old girl with Type 1. We have been adjusting her basal rates lately and so I have been up constantly at night for the last month. I know I am tired but it is nothing compared to what my daughter goes through everyday. You are an inspiration to so many people. You are juggling motherhood, marriage and career along with diabetes. I love your blog. It helps me understand what my daughter is going through and the challenges she faces. Thank you.

wonderful post! Very powerful - can feel it....

What an outstanding post, Kerri - though I'm sorry for the Low and that we need to be so wide awake thanks to our own D-Alarm Clocks. Thanks for sharing this and putting such a personal touch on why we so need to advocate and ACT NOW.

Had you actually tested your blood sugar? (You said you remembered licking the blood off of your finger). Someone mentioned above that their Dexcom isn't always loud enough to wake them up. I actually clip mine (this is going to sound dirty, but it's not...haha), I actually clip mine to the inside of my underwear at the waistband so it's up against my skin, and when it vibrates, it wakes me up.

I had one of those last night. Only Blanche (my kitty) woke me up by biting and pulling my hair when the Dex went off. You describe it so beautifully as you struggle to figure out what you should be doing vs. what's actually getting done.

To the person who has a hard time hearing their DexCom. Try a plate of pennies. It is so freaking loud I can't sleep through it and I can sleep through almost anything!

As I read your post for the day I have tears in my eyes, I spend way too many mornings like that. Thank you for all that you do. I hope the rest of your WWD was better.

Thank you for sharing, hope your feeling better! My daughter is a T1D, DD 1/3/02, shes now 11, we experience more highs and I don't like how she feels, my heart goes out to everyone effected by this and hopefully we will see a CURE,, soon. God bless.

Your post is spot on when it comes to having lows! People have no clue what we go thru daily. I don't have a Dexcom, only insulin pump so I don't know when it's happening. I keep a 6 pack of mini cokes bedside just for this. Now, grabbing & opening them is a different story....although there have been times I've slept thru a low unwillingly and my BG rebounded to an extremely high # to counteract the low. :( thankful to wake up.

Apparently I'm not the only one that started WDD with a low. I sure wish NONE of us ever had to start a day like that again.


Im 30. Only been T1D for 2 years now, and have far more lows than highs. I have a pump, but no Dex. I try to explain this feeling to friends, but no one understands. Going to bed, curious if I'm going to wake up without incident, or at all. I've read this post about 15 times now. I still don't think I've come to terms with this, but thank you for reminding me there are people who understand.

Diabetes = Vigilent preparedness

So beautifully written, so haunting and my heart breaks for my 9 year old daughter who has been living with Type 1 diabetes for almost 1 year now. I pray every day for advances and a cure so she will not have to wonder if there will be a day she does not wake up.

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