One of the things they explained to me in the hospital and through continuing education is to be very aware of low blood sugars. When I learned the effects of low blood sugars, it made me cringe – it still does. As a T1 diabetic, I have had my share of low blood sugars most of which I was able to identify by being confused, sweaty or disoriented. I was able to recognize these symptons and take appropriate measures to get sugar into my body. However, there have been times when I was so low I was unable to communicate to Penny that I was low and that I needed sugar. I remember once laying on the couch, I was very cognizant of my situation but could not express myself verbally. I needed at least a coke. I tried to spell on the floor with my finger C-O-K-E, I got to the C and she said are you cold, no. She knew that I was beyond low and called 9-1-1. So therein lies the cringe factor. Two other times my morning blood sugars were normal, breakfast normal, everything, suddenly within a minute or so, my blood sugars plunged so rapidly that it resulted in a diabetic seizure. One time it was at work the other time it was at an ADA October Walk event. Both times 9-1-1 were called. After these two episodes I was given psychological evaluations, brain scans, light flashing tests in order to recreate the seizure in my brain, but gladly, to no avail – thank goodness my brain was normal. These types of episodes I understand are rare but they do happen. Now can you understand my cringe factor?
When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t like having to give up the lifestyle I was used to (sleeping in late, eating whatever and whenever I wanted to). There were times, I would skip eating supper and later that evening watching TV and drinking a couple of glasses of cold milk and eating a few thousand Oreo cookies. I remembered asking my doctor if I could still eat them and he asked “can you stop at two” – I haven’t had an Oreo cookie since 1988.
It has been 24 years of living with diabetes and I don’t regret one change in my life, I’ve learned a lot, I’m eating healthy, I’m watching portions, I’m doing what I should do to keep the big negative things away from my life. I have stayed a steady 190-195 pounds. I feel healthy, I eat regularly, I exercise (not as much as I should) but I do and life has generally treated me pretty good. Since the seizures, I have been under very good control, I have not had a seizure or an uncontrollable low blood sugar and that makes me happy. My cringe factor is virtually erased. I attend events, baseball games, and parties, all the things that people without diabetes do every day – I feel “normal” but I know I have to still watch my blood sugars, and eat at certain times. I know I still have to keep a broad sense of awareness about my life with this disease.
Thanks to each and every one of you for working so hard and diligently every day to raise money to eventually eradicate this disease from the face of the earth.
With warmest regards, Russ