Mexico Recap V.3 – Hoping to Survive to the Next Day

Part of having diabetes is experiencing low blood sugars. As hard as I try to avoid them, sometimes they sneak up on me when I least expect it; some not so bad, others, bad. The first Sunday we were in Mexico (of course we were on vacation!), I experienced a low blood sugar like I’ve never experienced before-that’s still on my mind. It was by far the worst low blood sugar I’ve had since I was diagnosed 7 1/2 years ago. I was honestly fearful that I would not live to see the light of the next day.

We were walking back to our room from another area of the resort, and my Dexcom alarmed telling me I was low, I thought, that’s funny I sure don’t feel low. I tested and sure enough, I was in the upper 60’s-totally manageable I thought! When I got back to the room, I sat down and treated with Glucolift tablets (YUM). Then I started to sweat profusely and shake. I sat, in a puddle of sweat, and I waited. Then I started to feel really bad. I got up, got the glucagon out of my supply bag, and handed it to Seth, I said, “if things get bad, here’s the glucagon.” I sat back down, trying to harness what was left of any cognitive function to will this horrible feeling away, and then all of a sudden I was reduced to a puddle of tears. I couldn’t take it. It was awful. All that was going through my head was, please, please, let me survive this. Let it be okay. Test, 44, arrow down, re-test, still down, 48. A terrifying eternity. I ate chocolate, I also ate a whole lot more Glucolift tablets. I ate, and ate, and cried, and cried. IMG_5559[1] IMG_5558[1] IMG_5561[1] IMG_5563[1]

I have never in my life cried during a low blood sugar. I sure as hell hope I never do again. I’m so thankful I survived, but the emotional and psychological ramifications of that low are still very present and raw. Hopefully with time they’ll heal.

T1D, Treating Lows, and Paleo

I’ve received a lot of inquiries about how I treat low blood sugars when they occur, living the Paleo lifestyle, with T1D. Not easy, and something that I was fearful, of prior to starting Paleo. Now, I’ve become so comfortable with it, I don’t give it a second thought. Honestly, this was one of the biggest hurdles for me, and the thing I was most nervous about.

Living Paleo, I have far fewer low blood sugars than I used to as a result of being far more stable (props to the Dexcom CGM too, as it makes me aware when I am randomly dropping, or whatever, (T1D is lame)), but we all know T1D, and how psychotic it can be-so I do still encounter them here or there without notice or warning. When I do, this is how I treat them:

  • Honey Stinger, Gold Energy Gel (1 pouch 29g carb)
  • Chocolate Agave #9 Slo-burn Energy (1 pouch, 14g carb)
  • Blue Diamond Vanilla Almond Milk (8oz, 15g Carb)
  • Lara Bars (depends on kind of bar, but typically 19-24g carb)
  • Revolution Foods, Organic Mashups (1 pouch 13g carb! Organic too)
  • POM Juices (~74g carb per bottle)
  • Naked Juices (varies, anywhere from 30-60g carb)
  • Fresh fruit (varies depending on the fruit)
  • Home dried fruit (pineapple, grapes, strawberries)
  • GlucoLift all Natural Glucose Tablets http://www.glucolift.com/ (proudly, a part of the Non-GMO project, they rock, and so does their creator, Chris Angell, also living with T1D)

The honey stinger, vanilla almond milk, organic mashups, POM Juice, Naked juice, fresh fruit, and GlucoLift are fast acting carbs, for me (you might be surprised how fast acting they are for you, too, especially, red seedless grapes). The Chocolate Agave #9, and Lara Bars, are slower acting. It depends on how fast I’m dropping, if I have insulin working, if I’m performing some type of activity, etc.

Here are some real life examples:

If I’m sitting at my desk and it’s 2:30 in the afternoon, with just a faint memory of lunch bolus left, but I’m on the lower side, I’ll eat an apple or other fresh fruit, free of charge, sometimes a Lara Bar. If I am at home, getting ready for bed, after a walk with my Lucy dog, and I’m hovering a little lower than preferred, I’ll pour and drink 6-8oz of vanilla almond milk and call it a night. If I’m hiking and at a good level, but with a lengthy distance, I’ll have a Chocolate Agave #9 (OMG, DARK CHOCOLATE AND AGAVE), tastes like the best dark chocolate frosting, ever, with only 2 ingredients!

Depending on the patterns I’ve seen, I will adapt. I take my lunch to work almost every day, and when I don’t, I pack extra fruit, juices, etc. just in case I need them. Sometimes, it may be a sip, and other times, it might be the whole bottle; either way, I’m prepared.

At first, it really didn’t seem that convenient to me, but it is more convenient than you’d think, healthier (vitamins and minerals, instead of high fructose corn syrup, etc.), and actually pretty easy (can you throw a banana in your purse, grab an apple out the door? Probably!). Apples, pears, bananas, grapes, etc. are just as “fast” as starburst, smarties and caramels.

Is it 100% Paleo, no. Do I always have a choice with T1D? No. I do the best I can.