Monday, October 18, 2010

Low Blood Sugar

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my problem was high blood glucose levels, or as I call them, blood sugars.  To explain this for non-diabetics, normal blood sugar is between 90 and 120, in most cases.  Since my 2005 diagnosis, my blood sugars ranged anywhere from 200 - 700, on a regular basis.  What did I need to know about low blood sugar?  I was TRYING to get my numbers down.  I basically ignored any talk about hypoglycemia and it's symptoms.

Once I found my current endocrinologist, Dr. Tobin, the head of the diabetes center at Barnes Jewish Hospital, ranked 9th in the country, my education began.  It's too bad he was not my first endocrinologist.  I had a lot to learn.  I had my first appointment (thanks, Jackie) in December, 2009.  Under Dr. Tobin's care, I went from an A1C of 9.4 to 6.6 in six months, shattering the diabetes center's record for such a quick decline.  The nurses all hug me when I come in for an appointment and Dr. Tobin took my hand in his two hands and praised me for my efforts.  At that moment, I finally understood why it can take up to a year to get to see him, personally and why he has patients from all over the globe.  I see, on a regular basis, his nurse practitioner, nurse/diabetic educator and dietitian.  I absolutely love them.

It took me six months to be concerned with low blood sugar.  Once my A1C got to normal range, a whole new set of problems appeared.  I began to have frequent low blood sugar on a daily basis.  I learned that too low blood sugar level can render me unconscious, put me into a diabetic coma and even kill me.
According to this thermometer chart, (you'll have to excuse my visuals, here.  It's the teacher in me) before I saw Dr. Tobin, my blood sugars were in the red area.  Since July, I have been dealing with blood sugars in the 50's, the bottom of the thermometer.  When my numbers were high, I felt perfectly normal.  Not so with the opposite extreme.  

I hesitate to be alone, these days.  When my blood sugar drops dangerously low, my symptoms can make it impossible for me to lift my head up, move my arms, speak coherently or even do my own finger sticks.  I do this 10 times each day, sometimes more.  Yes, it hurts.
Frequent lows interfere with my weight loss progress.  When I go low, I have to eat/drink 15 carbohydrates every 15 minutes.  If this happens after I  have finished my Jenny Craig food for the day, I'm SOL.  I'm having significant lows, right now and I can raise my caloric intake by 300+.  I am working with my doctor and nurses to fix this problem.  Until it IS fixed, I seem to be stuck on a weight loss plateau.  BUT I am not giving up.  I'm in it for the duration.  In the past, I might have quit.  But not this time.  Not ever again.  My new way of looking at this journey is different for me, but nonetheless, meaningful.  I was just celebrating losing the first 20 pounds.  This week, I had a gain of 2 pounds.  Not even that will stop me.  This time around, I'm taking the reins.  

Healthy tip of the day:  If you are in the mood for a sweet snack, consider peeling, slicing and dicing half a cucumber.  Put it in a bowl and sprinkle with Splenda (or other sweetener) for a melon-like taste.  

Quote of the day:  Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess the baggage, the shorter the trip.  ~Arnold H. Glasgow~

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