What is it about diabetes that just knocks us off our game now and then?

Nothing about diabetes is wonderful, unless you count the people you meet who are dealing with the same things, either by living with diabetes themselves, or living with someone who lives with diabetes. The rest of it pretty much sucks.

Still, sometimes we put on airs of “I’m a tough hombre” because we deal with everything this disease throws at us, and yet we get through it… we’re strong enough to suffer the slings and arrows that diabetes sends in our direction, and often we emerge from the battle stronger than ever. How many people with completely healthy bodies do you know who can put up with what we put up with on a regular basis?

I can’t say that’s how I was feeling the other night when I went to bed. But it had been a long time since I’d experienced an overnight low, and nothing about that Thursday night was any different from a thousand Thursday nights before it.

Insert diabetes… begin chaos.

I woke up around 1:30 a.m., feeling sweaty, and a little irritable. If I’m sweaty at this point, it means my blood glucose level has already sunk pretty low. Normally, when this happens, I just need to get up, go downstairs, get the juice from the fridge… I’m good. This night, I didn’t, couldn’t, get to the fridge. Instead, I sucked down a juice box sitting next to the bed. Then another. Then a package of peanut butter crackers. Then some candy. Then some peanut butter. Another juice box. In all, it took around half an hour for me to actually feel like myself again. Like I could even stop to check my BG. Prior to that, it was all about feeling well enough to remain upright.

Therein lies the problem with feeling like you’ve nearly nailed your management of diabetes. You get surprised when you least expect it. It’s also the point where a lot of People With Diabetes feel a lot of guilt. I was a little guilty in this instance. I had a snack that evening that I probably over-bolused for. It happens. It happened Thursday night. But unless I make a habit of it, I’m not going to feel bad about it. That kind of thing doesn’t work for me. And while I don’t want to tell you what to do, I think you should consider what I’m saying here.

This might sound a bit harsh, but when it comes to diabetes, guilt is for suckers.

It’s not that we’re perfect… no way are we perfect. But what’s done is done, and feeling any guilt about anything that happens to you because of a disease that you did nothing to contract is like blaming your parents for your eyes being brown. Sure, your parents had a lot to do with it, but your eyes are still brown. After the moment passes, we still have diabetes.

So Friday came, I went to work (tired and hungover and a little afraid of my next bolus), and I continued living. That’s the final victory.

If you want, think of it this way: our imperfections are only a trivial botched play in the middle of an otherwise victorious game. If we live, we win. I want to improve my game so I’ll be successful more often. But I’m also going to realize that sometimes, a botched play is going to happen anyway, and the best way to deal with a botched play is to make it trivial by making the rest of the game spectacular.

I’d rather concentrate on the spectacular.

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  • Rick Philips  On February 16, 2016 at 11:27 am

    You bet i would rather concentrate on the positives, whatever they are. We can adopt the ‘the dark side’ and find fault and guilt with everything we do, or the bright side and see no problems at all. As my mom used to say: “winners stay in the middle and see both sides’

    Having been on both sides and traveled both extensively, I like the happy medium.

    I recommended your blog for inclusion at the TUDiabetes blog page. I hope it generates some visitors.



  • Elizabeth F.  On February 16, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Well said, Stephen. I think too many times I would dwell for too long on the things I didn’t do “right” or the things I could have done better. Sometimes, like you said, it happens. And instead of dwelling lets pick ourselves up and get back in the game. I have had lows like that. Where you suddenly become this bottomless pit and nothing else matters except for that one feel normal again. It’s an awful feeling but one that will more than likely happen again because that’s life. I’m happy it didn’t drag you down. Guilt has a way of doing that. You take care!


  • StephenS  On February 16, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Thanks Liz and Rick!


  • Laddie  On February 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Stephen, glad you’re OK now with only memories of the bad low. I love that neither we nor our doctors can figure out all of the variables that affect blood sugar, but we sure feel guilty every time things go wrong. I do hope that you’re considering getting a Dexcom to go along with your brand new Vibe:-)


    • StephenS  On February 16, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      I am working on getting the G5, which is not integrated with the Vibe. But I’m working on it.


  • Karen  On February 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Wise, wise words. I’m going to come back to this post again and again when I start feeling the diabetes guilt. But I’m sorry you went through such a rotten low. Hope the next one is far far off in the future. (Because we know there are always more rotten lows lurking out there.)

    Liked by 1 person

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