The Diabetes Cycle


I had a weird realization while commenting on Emily’s recent post.  I mentioned that I had been diabetic for 12 years.  I hadn’t done the math recently.  Diagnosed in Feb 1999 and it’s now July 2011.  Whoa. I had always seen myself as a “new” diabetic who didn’t need to worry about some of the complications.  Now I’m someone who’s been diabetic for more than 10 years.  Then I started thinking about all the times over those 12 years that I’ve woken up with blood sugar at 250.  Scary.

It was one of those “kicks” we all need that we gotta start monitoring our control better.  So that’s what I started doing.  And it worked!  The past few days, I’ve had great control, with Dexcom almost always telling me I’m in the 90-150 range.

But as often happens when I keep my sugar under very tight control, I started getting low a bit more often.  Then last night, I woke up at 50, which is a bit lower than I tend to normally be when I wake up.  My body normally wakes up when I’m below 65, no matter how deep my sleep.

So now I’m focused on staying in the 120-160 range, to be sure to avoid lows again.  As frightening as it is to think about complications, nothing scares me more than hypoglycemic unawareness.  And while 50 is not quite yet “really dangerous” territory, it is still below what I’m comfortable with.

The past few days were a mini version of my “diabetes cycle.”  Something happens that scares me into really keeping my control perfect in that 90-150 range.  Then as a result of the great control, I get used to being lower, my body gets a bit less alert with lows, and I get a low reading that scares me into wanting to keep the sugars a bit higher.

Back and forth like a game of ping-pong.  I guess that’s what cycles are all about.

(and one of my favorite photos.  In honor of the swings.)


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Catherine Price
11 years ago

Since going paleo I’ve had fewer night time lows (less carb less insulin). When it does happen though I don’t usually feel it until I’m well in to the 40’s. I think it’s the drop that wakes me up not the actual BS level.

I too, with the help of my doctor, had that realization that I was no longer a “new” diabetic. It happened around the time I was scheduling my over due eye check up I realized that I was was approaching my 10 year diagnoses anniversary (April 30th 2002).

11 years ago

cool photo!

Rachel Zinman
11 years ago

Thanks Jess- it’s always going off, just never wakes me up!

Jessica Apple
11 years ago

That’s a great photo!
You are right to be afraid of the hypos.  Mike recently got a warning from his doctor on how dangerous they are.
Glad to learn that Emily’s post got you thinking.  Did the Dexcom alarm go off when you were 50?

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