NINJABETIC – Hypo Awareness Week
As it’s Hypo Awareness Week, it makes sense to focus on the topic that plays such a big part in the lives of people with diabetes.
Personally, I find that the thought of hypoglycaemia has more of a profound affect that the actual experience does.
Yes, I’ve come up against those hypos that absolutely knock me for six; In the past I’ve found myself in situations which have left me with no memory of the event and those are the times that have frightened me the most.
However, as quickly as I move on in terms of physical recovery, the psychological recovery is by far a slower process, not only for me but also for those around me as well.
You see, hypos are always at the back of my mind, no matter what it is I’m doing. I’m sure I’m not alone in that respect.
For me it’s now the norm to mentally check off all the possibilities of what might happen when I wake up in the morning, when I leave my flat, when I look at my schedule for that week.
The consideration that comes with making any decision revolves around planning for my diabetes, but the biggest part of that, by far, is planning to prevent and manage hypoglycaemia.
My daily hypo prevention routine is still a learning curve and the temptation to let my glucose run slightly higher than it should is what holds me back the most.
Even 14 years after my diagnosis I still feel that in some situations I would rather run high than risk a low, which leaves me feeling anxious about my decision.
Situations like starting a new job and meeting new people are my biggest barriers and I can’t seem to trust myself enough to just let things run as they should.
That nice flat blood glucose line that I would like to achieve seems to be sacrificed more often than not until I feel comfortable in myself and my situation or environment.
This is something that I must learn to change; I must learn to trust myself and my diabetes self-management much more, but it is a struggle.
I can manage high blood glucose levels; I believe my body has become so accustomed to the symptoms of high’s from my teen and early twenties and my symptoms have become numb over time.
When it comes to hypo’s though, it’s a very different matter. The symptoms are loud, forceful and can, at times, evoke panic in me.
I know that nine times out of 10 my hypos are easily managed within a few minutes and I can move past them without much concern, however there’s always that one that throws me completely off balance; the one that I least expect and always seems to occur at the worst possible time. Those are the ones in which psychological recovery is difficult.
Of course there are people who are in far worse positions than I am. Those with no hypo warnings at all. Those who don’t experience the dizziness, confusion, shaking, hunger, blurred vision; those warning signs that are so very precious and could save us from a lot of damage.
Hypo Awareness Week provides people with diabetes to share the symptoms of low blood glucose (both physical and emotional) but for so many people it’s more than just a week of awareness.
It’s a daily battle. It’s one of those aspects of diabetes that we become accustomed to managing or coping with because we have to, we don’t have a choice in that, but often we become so good at managing or coping with that we forget about the effect hypos have on us.
That’s why it’s important to take a step back and to reflect upon the behaviours that hypos instil in us in order to make adjustments.
What I have taken from this week by highlighting the importance of hypoglycaemia to the public is that I cannot bury my had in the sand any longer and continue to sacrifice my glucose management.
Just like taking insulin and testing my glucose levels, hypos are a part of my diabetes but they are also a part that I can learn to manage.
Regaining my confidence to do that is going to come with time but just like any challenge that diabetes throws at me there will be a way around it. And I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge!