Speed. Super fast free-falls. Crazy highs. Your heart races in anticipation of what is around the corner and just when you think you have worked out what is going to happen, you wind up going backwards, or find yourself hanging upside down. In the dark. You plummet without the ability to stop, or you feel yourself going higher and higher and higher – knowing that there will be an inevitable and uncontrollable drop and all you can do is throw your hands up in the air and scream really, really loudly – loving every minute of it!
Sounds awful, but rollercoasters are actually really fun.
Unless, of course, it is of the BGL type. Then they are just repulsive.
Diabetes was really kicking my arse and every other part of me for few days last week.
I couldn’t seem to find a middle ground, and was either struggling to bring my BGL from the yellow zone or up from the red zone. That is how I have come to see my diabetes – the zones on my CGM trend.
I spent far too little time in the comfort of the grey zone – my target range.
And the aftermath of the extended periods spent in yellow (above the target range) or in red (below the target range) was exhausting me beyond belief.
I write a lot about the hypos that won’t quit. I’ve had a few of them in recent times and the sticky, stubborn and stupid lows knock me for six – sometimes for days afterwards.
But the belligerent highs are just as awful. Their aftermath is completely different – a heaviness in my arms and legs, shortness of breath after climbing a flight of stairs and a bone-tired exhaustion that takes a few days to get over – but no less debilitating.
Combine the two of them, and there is an overwhelming sense of defeat. I ache all over, struggle to get out of bed in the morning and fall asleep as soon as I sit down on the couch.
The frustration of pouring juice down my throat, or pumping insulin into my body gets old very quickly. And with the recovery time between the yellow and red seemingly shrinking, bouncing back after an annoying low or high is getting rougher and rougher.
In the never-ending and downright impossible aim of in the zone BGLs, I found myself with no option but to employ the big guns. I sat down and turned on ALL my CGM alarms. To avoid getting overwhelmed and pissed off with the wailing and beeping and vibrating warnings, my basic setting is ‘fall rate’ (which alerts to BGLs dropping too quickly) and low range. The fall rate alert is enough to catch a lot of lows – it does a great job of telling me they are coming and I usually act upon them.
I turn off the repeated high and rise rates because they start to get on my nerves very, very quickly. But I turned them all back on now and found they forced me to at least acknowledge I should do something. And most of the time I did.
I knew this was a short-term fix. I knew that I probably needed to do some basal rate checking – it’s been a while since I really checked to make sure that they were right. I knew that the weather was not helping. I knew that my change of routine with a new job is impacting on my BGLs. I know it all.
And I also know that diabetes, when behaving like this, is a full time job on its own. I felt as though I was barely staying above water. Despite being in a good headspace for dealing with diabetes and using the full arsenal of technology at my disposal, I still found it very difficult to stop this rollercoaster.
This week, things certainly do seem smoother sailing. The rollercoaster seems a little more friendly and a little less horrific. And I feel more equipped to cope and manage. At least for today. Who knows what will be around the corner.