Freshly diagnosed with a scary disease, we decided to do what anyone would…go on our pre-scheduled family vacation for Spring Break. We’d booked a lovely cabin in Yosemite with my parents and my brother’s family. The trip had been planned for months in advance, and the weather report included a good chance of snowfall while we would be there. How could we possibly miss out on that?
The doctors told us to simply call in every day to report our carbs/insulin/blood sugar numbers, and that they would review them to see if any dosing changes needed to be done. It was scary, I totally admit it. We were going somewhere fairly removed from medical services, hadn’t yet experienced a low blood sugar event and barely knew what to expect. But, life needs to go on even in the scary parts.
We had a great time. The kids played with their cousins, it snowed a bunch for two days. Sledding, snowballs, exploring, hiking. All great fun! We had access to a full kitchen, which made diabetes a lot easier for us.
We seemed to still be dealing with such variable blood sugars…each time we checked, we had no idea what number to expect. Midway through the trip, we’d had her lowest blood sugar check since diagnosis. 83 mg/dL…while in the car driving back to the cabin from the valley floor. Anna said she had started to feel “shaky” and when we saw such a low number (at the time), we got a little panicky. Worried if the 10 minutes we still had to drive would be enough time to get home safely. Did we need to pull the car over right away and feed her the emergency 15 grams of juice that the doctors had told us about? We opted to keep driving and gave her snacks when we got back to the cabin. Whew, our first low alert. Made it out only slightly shaken (pun intended).
Also a memorable on the trip, it was the first time I tried to do a little correction before bedtime. Anna tested at 188 mg/dL at bedtime one night and she’d been consistently waking up above range. So, I thought that I’d try a one unit correction (half what the normal daytime correction would have been). By the calculations the doctors had provided, I expected her to drop to about 138 mg/dL, which would’ve felt just great to me. Maybe a little out of range, but still comfortably close to it while avoiding a low. But when I tested her at 2am and the meter read 63 mg/dL. I got cold sweats. WTF?! How could she have dropped that fast, that much?! Had I almost killed my kid?! I gave her some juice, but I remained solidly awake. We still had more days left on the trip, but I’d completely lost my will to be there. I wanted nothing more than to go home to my safety net. I wanted (fast, not cabin-speed) internet. I wanted medical journals. I wanted to KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. I wanted CONTROL. I did not want the knowledge to be over with the doctors exclusively. I shouldn’t be calling in numbers to them and not knowing how they were evaluating them, what they were looking for. This should no longer be some secret handshake that only the doctors understood. I wanted the damn decoder ring, too. LET ME IN! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING!
So, I did what anyone would do at 2am.
I drank. I googled. How to dose insulin, how do doctors adjust insulin doses, best books for diabetes, and various other google topics. They all provided a common answer. Think Like A Pancreas repeated as a good solid read. I downloaded it to my kindle and proceeded to read the book entirely by 6am (skipping the parts that had to do with insulin pumps since those weren’t something we were using). Those were hands-down the best 4 hours I’d invested in diabetes since diagnosis. It changed EVERYTHING.