No, not the Judd Apatow movie. I’m talking about me and my blood sugar. It’s 40 mg/dl, 37 mg/dl by one measurement, and now that I’ve pounded the requisite glucose tablets, I figured, what the hell — why not find out what a blog post looks like when your brain is barely functioning. Hello, world!

I’m going to go with a free association approach to this blog post, considering that my brain is not quite at full capacity. So here are some things I’m thinking right now: 

1. Why don’t I feel worse than I do? I’m not shaky, I’m not sweaty (well, okay, I’m a little sweaty but I just rode my bike 2 miles in 90-degree weather; it doesn’t seem blood sugar-related). I don’t even feel that mentally bad. The only thing that made me think, huh, things aren’t quite right was a vague nauseated feeling while riding my bike. (Followed by a much more nauseated feeling when my glucose meter said 37 mg/dl and I realized I had just been biking in traffic.) That’s scary.

2. I am very frustrated. I woke up this morning with my CGM saying 85 but my actual meter reading 135. Since yesterday when I had blueberries and yogurt I ended up a bit high and had to correct (with the same bike ride, but starting at a lower blood sugar), I figured that today I should be a bit more aggressive. So I gave myself a little more. And here I am, wreaking havoc on my body because I wanted to eat berries and bike to work. WHY IS BEING HEALTHY SO HARD?!

3. On that point, why *is* being healthy so hard? I have been going to lots of spin and yoga classes this summer (I’m not doing weights at the moment because I hurt my hand) and trying to focus my diet on fruits and vegetables even more than normal. I’ve been rewarded by gaining three pounds (I feel repulsed by myself, but that is a different illogical story) and by having even more unpredictable blood glucoses than normal. Is it because fruits and vegetables are inherently a bit unpredictable? (Meaning that today’s blueberries were not necessarily as sweet as yesterday’s?) Maybe I should just forgo any pretense of eating healthy and just dine on PopTarts. Disgusting and unhealthy, yes. But also consistent.*

*kidding. Could never eat Pop Tarts.

4. How could I ever possibly get through pregnancy with diabetes? I told you, I’m free-associating. But I’m 34 years old and getting baby pressure on all sides. I personally am not interested in children or babies; I don’t even like looking at them, and if anyone were ever to refer to me as a “Mama,” I might punch them in the face. But while I’m not interested in them at the moment (my womb and I are apparently not on speaking terms), I fear I’d regret not having children. I think about this approximately four times every hour. It’s a fun place to be. Adding to my ambivalence is the idea of a diabetic pregnancy. I mean, I work my ass off and my A1c at the moment is 6.3. Rarely does it go higher than 6.5. That’s good, I know, but it’s not perfect (which is always my aspiration). And it comes with its fair share of highs and lows — I would say that I have to give correction boluses at least 4 out of every 5 times I eat. I feel crappy enough about that myself, and also totally impotent: I have tried counting every single carb, measuring every bite of food, dutifully recording everything — with pictures! — for my endocrinologist and have come to the conclusion that guesstimation is just the best I can do. But if you have a baby, the stakes go up just as your hormones are going crazy. I already feel like my disease is a small, needy infant dragging on me. That doesn’t leave so much emotional room for a small, needy infant in real life (I would hope I’d be able to use a different word than “drag” for my own child, but at the moment both diabetes and kids sound burdensome). I feel so spent at the moment that I don’t feel like I could take care of a dog, even though I’d love a pet. Hell, I’m reluctant to get new houseplants.

And also, I get SO FUCKING ANGRY when doctors say things like, “Women with Type 1 diabetes have totally normal babies all the time — it just requires keeping your glucose levels as close to normal as possible.” When I press them on what they actually mean, they say you should be between 70 and 120, with your highs no higher than 140 mg/dl after meals. Oh really? So you mean, I’ll have a totally normal baby if I just spend nine months NOT HAVING DIABETES? That sounds like a great plan. I’ll totally get on that. In fact, wait a second, doctor – have you ever considered that maybe I’d do that in my real, normal, non-hormone-crazed life if it were possible? Like, if I could keep my blood glucose at non-diabetic levels all the time, DON’T YOU THINK I WOULD DO SO?????

(Note to my current endocrinologist, if/when you ever read this: I am not talking to you. You are lovely and wonderful and understanding about such things.) 

Anyway, so that’s where I am at the moment. Does anyone else remember the early days of the internet, back when America Online was the coolest thing ever, and there were movies actually named things like “You’ve Got Mail!”? Well, I used to spend a lot of time in teen chat rooms, pretending I was cooler than I was (while simultaneously improving my touch typing skills) and there were always people asking for “age/sex” checks (a chance for all the 40-year-old perverts in the room to pretend they were 13-year-old girls). You’d respond with shorthand: 14/f. 15/m.

So here’s my adult, diabetic equivalent: blood glucose check!

114 mg/dl

Great. 74 mg/dl increase in 15 minutes, with my breakfast and four glucose tablets on board. The last time this happened I rebounded to the 200s and couldn’t get my glucose down for the next sixteen hours (not exaggerating). This is going to be an awesome morning.

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9 years ago

Hi Catherine, I love your blog. My CDE is the one who told me about your writing and how much she enjoyed it. And I relate to this post a lot. I’m working on bringing my HA1C down. I struggle with this all the time. Right now, my fruit passion is cherries. I love them, but when I eat them, my blood sugar is unpredictable. It’s one of the challenges of summer–so many, many delicious fruits to (not) choose from.  I also wanted to comment on your struggle with people bugging you about having kids. I didn’t have diabetes when… Read more »

June S.
June S.
9 years ago

I’ve had Type I for more than 40 years. When I was first diagnosed, I was told flat out that I could not have children because of my diabetes. When, about a decade or so later, I was told that having children was a possibility, I decided I didn’t want any – and only because I worried that (with my luck and strong genetic tendencies towards Type I) I’d bring a child into the world who would get Type I and couldn’t handle it, and would scream at me and say “I wish I’d never been born!”  I have never… Read more »

9 years ago

now, THIS i am totally on board with. otoh, i have passed out twice in the past year (both on the bus and in the bus parking lot, rather than behind the wheel). i am no longer on the pump, so any hypos i have are due to my inability to correct determine the number of carbs in any give amount of food (sometimes i get it just right or within reasonable boundaries…and other times, i could not be more wrong if i tried). i am feeling the hypos more often than just a few months ago when i felt… Read more »

9 years ago

this is awesome! i esp. love the part about fruits being “inherently unpredictable” <—never thought of that! I mean, unless the apple is HUGE or TEENYWEENY I count it as 20ish. You have opened my eyes. A cup of delicious blueberries will have more than a cup of icky sour ones. Mind blown. And the part about spending 9 months not having diabetes made me laugh. You’re a fantastic hypowriter! Is it because fruits and vegetables are inherently a bit unpredictable? (Meaning that today’s blueberries were not necessarily as sweet as yesterday’s?) – See more at: Is it because… Read more »

9 years ago

You sound frustrated, and lows are frustrating as hell. I guess that makes you normal. There is no requirement that says you must replinish the population. If you don’t want children, it is your decision. It is better to regret not having a child and be a great aunt or mentor to someone elses, than to regret having had a child.

Dr. Margaret A. Morris

Word. To all of that. Ten times over. Not that it helps, but I feel your pain, very acutely.

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