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Category Archives: low blood sugar

Well, that was a cliff hanger wasn’t it? Today my life will change… and then not a word on how it went until now-about 2 1/2 weeks later. I survived it, and my life has changed, but in many ways, the changes are for the better.

Do I like giving myself the shots? No, Double NO!!!! I hate it.  But you do what you have to do, right? Actually, it’s not so much the shots that unnerve me, but the crazy things that occur while giving them. I most often give my subcutaneous shot in the stomach, and apparently, I have lots of capillaries there, because several times lately, I have ended up bruised. (Once horribly.) I can usually tell this is going to happen, when I bleed. Many times when I give the shot, I don’t bleed. (Those are the good ones.) But sometimes, for no real reason, the needle goes in, hurts a little, and leaves blood behind. That’s when I usually bruise. The nurse said that it happens sometimes, and that the concern would be if  it happens too often.  She did not define what “too often” was.

The good news is that the needles are small-both in width and length. I believe they are 31 gauge and 3/16″-the smallest needles available for this sort of thing. It’s a good thing, because I don’t think I would have tolerated long needles very well. (Too many things for them to hit accidentally.)

But the even better news is that I did not have to go on insulin. 🙂 I asked about the Byetta (mentioned in the previous post) and my doctor said that we could give it a try. The benefits? There are 2 that really mean a lot. One is that it is not as likely to cause lows, unless you are taking it with certain medications that contribute to that, and I’m not. I’m on Januvia and Metformin (Glucophage), and those do not cause lows. You could experience an occasional low with Byetta, but not at all with the frequency of insulin. That is a real blessing. Secondly, while insulin makes you gain weight (a known fact), Byetta may contribute to weight loss by suppressing the appetite. While it does not do this for everyone, at least you won’t gain weight, which just adds to the Catch-22 of diabetes.

The chemical action of Byetta (which I affectionately call “Gilly”) was first discovered in the spit of a Gila Monster. (Pronounced “Hee-lah Monster.”  Trust me, you can’t make this stuff up.) It seems that the Gila Monster only eats about 2 or 3 times a year, and scientists thought he had a good thing going. I mean after all, his stomach must empty very slowly. So they somehow translated this discovery into help for diabetics. Byetta is a fairly safe, synthetic version of the lizard spit (which by the way is highly poisonous.) It slows down digestion and the emptying of the stomach, and also helps the pancreas produce the right amount of insulin, while telling the liver not to make so much glucose. It had to be a God-inspired discovery.

But, the bad news…it makes lots of people extremely nauseated. Is there much else worse than death, seriously? But guess what? I didn’t get nauseated!!!!!! God is good. So far, so good. I am only on 5 mcg, and a full dose is 10 mcg, but for right now my doctor is keeping me on the lower dose, since I lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks, and it started to bring my blood sugars down considerably. They are not normal yet, but at least they are moving in the right direction. I started in the 300s, and now I am under 200 for the most part, with an occasional higher reading. Normal is 70-120, with damage to organs possible at 140 and over. So I have a ways to go. Some people get very nauseated when they move up to the 10 mcg. But right now I don’t have to worry about that.

I use a Byetta pen that shoots a premeasured dose, and can be used for 30 days. Sometimes I’ve had bubble problems, but it’s not the same as when you’re shooting into a vein. Still, I don’t like seeing bubbles in the cartridge. Dialing the dose is very easy, and while sometimes the shots sting, often they don’t. So all in all, I’m adjusting. Still, there’s that psychological thing of sticking a needle in yourself. It goes against nature…yes? (At least my nature.)

But actually, Gilly and I are tolerating each other rather well, all things considered.  I mean a girly-girl and a lizard don’t have a lot in common, but we are trying to get used to each other.  After all, I always had a crush on the Geico Gecko anyway…

Sometimes the only way we can face our fears is to voice them. (That is not in keeping with some of my Charismatic Christian teaching.) However, for me it is truth. Sometimes a thing will torment me, until I can get it out, and down on paper. It’s almost like a deliverance of sorts. Once it’s given a voice, the fear of it diminishes. Of course, I do not recommend dwelling on fears, because that is when fear will consume you. It loves to be the focus of attention, and it will dance with all its might, given a chance. (But this is not about that.) This is a type of fear therapy. It’s almost as if it has more power if I try to repress it. By bringing it to the light, it is not a hidden monster, festering in the depths of my anxiety-ridden soul.

When my step-dad (since I was 7 years old) died about 3 years ago, it was so unexpected that it threw everything in my life out of sync. He had retired to take care of my mom, who had been close to death’s door, at least twice, in the not too distant past. He was always a rock– so solid, unshakable, dependable, and strong. He was 6’4″, and the biggest man that I had ever laid eyes on, at the time I met him. He wore a size 13 shoe.

We did not get along at first. It took a very long while for a friendship of sorts to emerge. It actually took until I was grown for us to realize that we’d been through so much together, that it would have to make us close. While we didn’t share philosophical discussions (because he just wasn’t that type), we did share a history-a past that meant we would  forever be a part of each others lives.  Sometimes the three of us would sit in their living room watching TV, and just out of the blue he would say, “Lonnette?” And I’d look his way, and then he’d say, “I love you.” I came to trust him–almost. (The truth is I don’t really trust anyone much.) But what I did trust, was the fact that he would always be there.

I have always called my mom “Betty”.  I guess it was because we lived with my grandparents in my early years, and everyone in the household called her “Betty”, and I can only assume that no one taught me to do differently. It seems odd, and it is one of things that I’ve never gotten an answer to. I often wonder if she wanted me to call her “mama.” As it turns out that was what I called my grandmother–that, and a “mammaw” kind of word. My grandad was “pawpaw.” And my male cousin, Jack, who was 4 years older, also lived there because his mother had died. So everyone called her “Betty.”

At any rate, she is an insulin dependent diabetic, with a million other health concerns-rheumatoid arthritis, fybromyalgia, previous heart problems, etc. She is getting very feeble due to her conditions and the arthritis, and she sometimes gets off balance and falls. And her blood sugar also goes low unexpectedly. I have saved her from going into a coma numerous times since my dad died, and no matter how many times I’ve done it, it never ceases to be frightening, until she is herself again.

When my dad needed triple bypass surgery, we all assumed it would be like so many other things in his life-difficult, but doable. He had been through numerous back surgeries (as well as other kinds) throughout his lifetime, and though they were always unpleasant–he was always strong and resilient. As my regular readers know, he made it through the surgery fine, but he died from hospital acquired complications-pneumonia, staph, and serratia. (Not to mention general hospital negligence.) And though we were constant advocates for him, our voices were not heard. We felt helpless to fight a system that is patronizing and cold. I spoke up continually, always fighting the fear of alienating health-care workers that were vital to him. But no one would listen. We could see that he was deteriorating–dying. But they had him in physical therapy, and treated him like he was just another patient with a broken arm, or a knee surgery. But he was dying right before our eyes, and our screams of anguish were ignored until near the very end, when it was far too late to save him.

So that is background to what I need to say tonight. Ever since he died, as I said, my life has been out of sync. It’s as if someone took the carpet of my life, snatched it out from under me, shook it hard, but never put it back down. And now everything’s out of place. I don’t think I’ve ever breathed the same again, or had the same carefree moments I must have once had. It’s as if I’m climbing a mountain every day, and swimming an ocean at night. I do not rest. I never stop thinking. I never really relax. My nervous system has had an almost fatal blow, and to some degree has shorted out. I’m a mess. Mentally and physically. (But sometimes I hide it well.)

I thought initially that I would have to keep my mom alive. I thought that I was responsible for her happiness, for her health, and for everything in her life. I tried to be what I could not ever be–(Sam), (and also God.) But there was only one Sam, and surely only one God. And I was just Lonnette.

Counseling helped me through a great deal of that kind of thinking, and though I may still think that way occasionally, I understand that those perceptions are flawed. I fluctuate between hyper-vigilance, and trying not to care so much.

My daughter had provided all the drama that was needed, from the time we adopted her at 3, until she left our home at 18, and at the time of Sam’s death, I was already starring in “The Diary of A Mad Mother.” I thought my stress level had already peaked. (Boy was I wrong.)

So here I am. I’ve been given 5 weeks to lose 8 pounds, or go on the needle for my diabetes. My blood sugars have been too high for over a year now. (Maybe two.) My mom and my bio dad (Lonnie) both turned out to be Type 2 diabetics (mid-life) on the needle. So I am exercising, eating right, and praying, and nothing seems to be working. My body fights like a warrior to hold onto this extra weight, and of course, no one will believe that I am doing all I can. (However, my husband (who is an attorney) said that he will send a sworn affidavit with me to my next doctor’s appointment. 🙂

How do I feel about all this? Fearful. Lonely. I know what diabetes does to a person. I have watched it ravage my mom year after year. I also know what it’s like to go low. It is frightening, and many people don’t even get the warning signs (my mom doesn’t) and they die…alone. More than the needle–that’s what I’m afraid of. Going low all the time like my mom.

My husband has always been there for me whenever I’ve been sick. He has nursed me through many illnesses. But diabetes is different. It just is. Anyone close to you needs to really understand it, and I confess that for many years I did not know as much as I should. There has been a tendency for both of us to be in denial. My diabetes was not diagnosed in the usual way, and we were not convinced (for many years) that I even had it. (And I did not act like I did.) Now we cannot deny it anymore, and I just don’t know if he realizes how scary this is for me. I just don’t want my life to change forever, which is what I see happening, if I go on the needle. But if I don’t get the blood sugar under control, this hideous disease will do its dirty deeds, and life will also change forever that way. I am so willing to do whatever I need to do to avoid being on insulin, but nothing seems to work. I feel hopeless at times. I guess with all the other stress in my life, this has been the last straw.

So there, I’ve said it. Stress just adds to health complications. I have been under horrific stress for as long as I can remember, and I’m just weary. Just plain old weary. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Don’t know where that saying comes from.)

There is nowhere I can turn–except to God. I cry out to you Jesus…

Please read other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html