Taking 1-in-20 Personally


This morning when I woke up my blood sugar was 74. To some this may sound fantastic, but it actually scared me. I am one of those people who suffers from the dawn phenomenon, which oddly enough works out well with early morning running, because I like to start my run above 150. So a 74 at  5:00 a.m. means I probably spent part of the night lower, much lower.

I didn’t really need my glucometer to tell me I was low. I could feel it. I also knew I had slept exceptionally deeply, since when I woke up I saw Adam had found his way into our bed.  I had no idea he was there beside me.  I usually wake up a few times at night and hear Adam’s footsteps before he gets to our room.

This isn’t the first time I’ve woken up with blood sugar in the 70’s but with all of the 1 in 20 talk it hit me in a way it doesn’t usually. I know I’m not the only one who has been thinking about the JDRF ad and the statistic that appears in it.  (I’m still having a hard time believing it, not because it isn’t true but because of how disturbing it is.)  But the truth is that until now I have been thinking about that statistic in terms of others, not as something that could happen to me.  I’ve been protecting myself, keeping myself mentally distant from it.  I can’t exactly call it avoiding the truth, so maybe we can say I haven’t been internalizing it.  I haven’t been taking it personally. 

When I read Laura Houston’s amazing post (with the bold image she created) it brought tears to my eyes.  Talk about making it personal.  Living with diabetes is hard, but being the parent of a child with diabetes seems 100 times harder.

I have been aware of the dangers of diabetes and its complications and have worked hard to keep my diabetes under control. I have also been aware of the dangers of hypoglycaemia, hearing different horrible stories over the years, but somehow not letting them sink in. Now it has all sunk.  And the weight of it is kind of like I’ve just swallowed a 500 pound boulder that I can’t get rid of.

The JDRF campaign may not have been directed at me, a person with type 1 diabetes, but at the general public.  However, it has definitely had a huge effect on me, and not a pleasant one.  Not pleasant, but necessary.


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Khürt L. Williams
Khürt L. Williams
10 years ago

So … what are the statistics on the number of people with diabetes who die from hypoglycemia versus the number who die from long term hyperglycemia? I’d wager the latter number is higher.

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