Happy National Diabetes Week!
Blood sugar levels are the name of the game and often they become the sole focus for People with Diabetes (PWD). The helter-skelter levels of sugar coursing through our bloodstreams are all we think about, talk about, and try damn hard to figure out.
This week, our cat displayed similar focus, as he stalked mouse-shaped prey across our garden with pure, blinkered obsession. I’ve rarely seen such devout concentration. He watched it intently. Sensed it’s direction. Then, like a seasoned pro, he flicked it 6 feet in the air, smashed it against our fence and proceeded to consume it, head first, in front of my hand-covered eyes.
Sometimes I’d like to toss diabetes up in the air, smash it against a fence panel and eat it head first too. And to hell with the resulting blood-sugar levels; I’m sure it’s protein based, right?! I’d gladly watch that scene play out, without the need to look away repeatedly and gag. And, obviously, no need to lock the cat-flap post-haste either.
Sugar levels are exactly like the mouse-shaped prey, in this hunting analogy I’m vehemently pursuing
They weave, dart and bolt unexpectedly. They’re fast moving, slow moving or they set their own chaotic pace. They get tossed up in the air and come crashing down head first just as unpredictably.
And for us PWD’s? We hunt them, stalk them, and do our best to predict their next move. But blood sugar levels are the prey we can never pin down. Their randomness is what evades, exasperates, and exhausts us.
So, what to do?
It’s National Diabetes week and it got me thinking about the root causes of some of these ups and downs. Barry and I listed several triggers over dinner last night and we realised all blood-sugar swings come down to one thing. We were going to call it stress, but it seemed so negative. So instead, we're calling it . . .
This is more up-beat, right?
- Surprise! Hot baths.
- Surprise! Warm weather.
- Surprise! Carbs in the sauce they put all over your restaurant dinner without warning.
- Surprise! Excitement.
- Surprise! No sleep last night.
- Surprise! The weather changes again. We are in England, after-all.
- Surprise! Exercise.
- Surprise! A high stress situation.
- Surprise! High fat food screws you up for 8 hours this time. Only 6 the last. And 9.5 the time before that.
There are surprise surprises (that’s one adjective, one noun) and then there are slightly more predictable surprises. But they all have one thing in common:
They can surprise us in a completely different surprise way to the last time. Every surprising time.
Tricky little tricksters.
So, the exact same sandwich you ate yesterday, at the exact same time, with the exact same starting blood sugar level may not need the exact same dose of insulin today. Easy is no fun, PWD's. Easy teaches you nothing.
Maybe you slept a little less well? Increase dose. Maybe you’re anxious about something today? Increase dose. Maybe you're going for a walk in half an hour? Decrease dose. Maybe you’re watching a re-run of any movie starring, Chris Hemsworth? No idea dose, it could go either way on this one.
Sure, the experienced Hunter may have better intuition as to what their prey will do next. But even a skilled stalker will admit to different conditions affecting their target. The end result is never certain; much like our darling blood sugar levels.
But we aren’t entirely powerless. We have experience, education and, I often find, screaming loudly helps too.
So, the next time I’m asked, “What do you think happened to cause that?” … in response to a high or low blood sugar, I will simply smile and say:
“You know what, it took me completely by surprise”.
And this is what makes diabetes a difficult animal to wrangle.
Enjoy your National Diabetes Week :-)
*This is not a sponsored post.