Monday, November 25, 2013

FEELS like diabetes no?

What diabetes FEELS like. It was the idea of a very close friend who asked me to write about it. Let’s start at that useless organ itself, well it feels no pain – thankfully – because it’s a stupid no-good useless organ. (mine, not yours)

Moving on…

I stab myself every day with sharp objects. On average 10 BG checks. I often have to poke myself more than once to get blood these days. I don’t really feel it anymore though, honest. My fingertips are calloused and numb. I inject insulin on average 5 times a day. 10+5=15. 15 stabs. The needles do hurt sometimes but there’s no rhyme or reason as to WHEN it hurts. It doesn’t bother me too much. Lantus injections (which I do twice a day) burn like a motherfucker! It’s not the needle but the insulin itself just… fucking… STINGS! I cringe and hold my breath usually. Often it leaves marks but perhaps that just because I’m lazy at changing out my needles. I don't care AT ALL about the poking and injecting.


You can’t really see the havoc my body is wrecking from the outside. I don’t mean like, xray vision kind of see I mean you can’t see how I’m feeling. We’ve all had the flu or a cold I’m sure. Someone says, what are your symptoms? Well, my nose is a dripping hose and this cough is dry. I have a fever and a headache. We can all relate to that to some degree. High and low blood sugar? Fuck me!

.....I’ve written and deleted shit tons already because I don’t know where to start... this is harder than I thought it would be!

This one time, during a bike race, I went low within the first few laps and I was struggling more than usual. My heart rate was too high and my legs were moving but they didn’t feel like my own. I started to question if it was adrenaline and nerves or diabetes related? I tried to do a couple quick self assessments (while racing, an effort in itself futile). After a couple more laps, I couldn’t hang on anymore and my energy dropped off suddenly so I knew I was low. Now what? I knew the race was over for me but could I still finish? The answer was “not a chance”. I was starting to see stars. I had dates in my pocket but it was too late for that. I tried to eat one any way with a totally numb mouth and tongue. The colours were bright and sounds sharp. I’m going to faint. Panic sets in, what do I do? I should at least co-ordinate my collapse at the start/finish line. I rolled up and found a patch of grass, dragged my bike up the curb and slumped over. Why was the sun so fucking bright? Did they turn up the speakers or something? I can’t hold my own body up, it’s like my skeleton has turned to slush. I sit there with my head in my hands and plugging my ears with my palms over my eyes. I can’t think or speak and the world around me is overwhelming. Words are there but I can’t make my mouth work. If I continue without sugar I’ll have a seizure and go into insulin shock. It’s quick to get my sugar up. Maybe only 10-15 minutes but it feels like A LIFETIME. I am panicking. Adrenaline from the fight or flight response kicks in.

Race over.

Then the post low treatment sugar consumption leaves me sick and nauseated.

Or this one time on holidays in South Carolina I got sand stuck in my…… infusion set! So it was hours later when I realized that it jammed the site. My Beeg crept up and I was like a robot slowly dying. Highs are, in reality, a build up of glucose in the blood stream. It turns my blood into pudding. Sludge pudding. Of course it’s not going to move through my body. It feels like my eyelids are weights and I’m in the Saraha desert. My eyeballs are dusty, my mouth cottony. Most people get the urge to drink a lake but not me. I get terrible nausea and cramps. The nausea rolls and undulates threateningly. My head pounds. I can’t think, I can’t function. Why is there a moose sitting on my chest? Everything is irritating me and I feel like I’m going to kill someone if they look at me the wrong way. I’m not normally a short-tempered person. If I continue without insulin I’ll go into diabetic ketoacidosis and fall into a coma. It takes a long time (into the hours) for my beeg to start coming down but when the fog begins to lift I feel renewed and human again. I won't feel right for the rest of the day.

Those are really the two majors in diabetesland and since this disease is impossible to manage I probably spend a lot of my life on either side of the spectrum. It leaves me constantly wondering. Yesterday I was driving and I got a decent sleep the night before. It was the afternoon and I was feeling especially drowsy. I got the heavy eyelids and cursed. I'm like, "I'm fucking high. Great. I'm on my way to do a speaking event for diabetes and I'm HIGH!". I tested and my beeg was... wait for it... PERFECTLY NORMAL! I was just "regular person drowsy".

I automatically assume any time I am feeling "off" it's gotta be blood sugar related. It doesn't seem to matter how many times my beeg tanks or soars it feels just as bad every single time. Even though I know intelligently I will get it back in line (eventually) it's not enough to cease the inherent panic.


For more readings on FEELING diabetes, here are a few other posts from friends:

Diabetes: What It's Like On The Inside
That Diabetes Feeling
An Open Letter to Diabetes
This is Diabetes
This is Life


  1. Great post Scully! I never thought of highs turning your blood to pudding, but that is exactly what it feels like. Also the time it takes for a low to come up can be the scariest and longest period of time known to man. Thanks for sharing your thoughts - it is hard to nail down how it feels isn't it? Know that others, like me, totally get it.

  2. Every time I need to pee I think I have high blood sugar. I cringe and test BG - nope. No high. just need to pee.

  3. totally hit the spot on those high and low blood sugar descriptions. can totally relate.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. This post brought tears to my eyes... someone who knows exactly how I feel!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Michelle B.


Due to low life spam monkeys I am forced to moderate comments and I hate it (But I hate spam monkeys more)