I always envied people who experienced a diabetes “honeymoon” period. I used to think, how nice it must be to have some extra time to prepare for fulltime life with diabetes and not quite rely on insulin injections right off the bat! I also always assumed that, after 25 years living with diabetes, that the honeymoon phase had absolutely skipped over me, and I was positive I’d never get to experience it.
Turns out, my diabetes – that saucy little minx – likes to keep me on my toes as it recently surprised me with an abrupt 48-hour window of time in which it seemed like my diabetes was cured.
That’s the only way I can describe what transpired. It was the strangest thing. One day, I woke up, ate breakfast, and took insulin for it – just as I always do. Except instead of my blood sugar spiking or even leveling out after eating, it started to drop, which was strange because I ate a fairly typical meal that morning. At the time, I thought nothing of it and just ate some extra carbs before my blood sugar went too low.
No big deal, right? But this phenomenon happened again, following both my lunch and dinner. It was especially inconvenient in the evening, as I had a volleyball game and wanted my number to be up so I could play. I had some fruit snacks before the game to keep my levels up, but was surprised when even after that, I was dropping by the tail end of our third and final match. I remember being out on the court, trying to track the ball as my team bumped it back and forth over the net with the other team, knowing full well that my blood sugar was going low but feeling determined to stay in the game until it was over. The moment the final whistle blew, I ran to grab even more fruit snacks, and felt both annoyed and confused by the whole situation.
The following day, I decided I wasn’t going to mess around anymore. I wanted to cut my mealtime insulin doses in half to see if that helped me at all. It was a solid idea, but it didn’t prove to do much to help as I again dropped after breakfast and lunch. Okay, so clearly that course of action wasn’t enough. Maybe I could try switching from automated mode to manual on my Omnipod 5 PDM and put myself fully in control, rather than leaving it up to technology. I set a temp basal decrease to ensure I was getting very little basal insulin, and resolved to enjoy my pizza dinner that evening with friends.
Of course, pizza is notoriously difficult to bolus for, so I knew I’d have to do even more extra work in order to prevent my blood sugar from dipping. So not only did I take half the amount of insulin than normal, but I also did an extended bolus so that I wouldn’t get it all upfront. I ate two fairly large slices of pizza and also had a generous serving of chips that I technically didn’t include in my bolus calculations. So imagine my bewilderment when, 2-3 hours post-pizza, I was still going low. I poured myself a glass of regular soda, and it became my companion for the remainder of the evening. I’d take sips as I saw my graph report blood sugars that never went higher than 110, but fluctuated for the most part between 60 and 90.
It was wild, and I was actually getting pretty worried about the whole situation. I couldn’t make sense of it. I ran through all the variables that could’ve caused this to happen – was I wearing my pod in a strange site? Was it because of my period? Could it be due to my activity levels or changes in the weather? I weighed so many possibilities in my mind and came up with nothing definitive, so I went to my next best resource for input…the diabetes online community.
I asked around for input and was – as always – so grateful to the folks who reached out and served as thought partners with me. Based on what I learned, the most likely culprit is hormonal changes. In fact, perhaps it was a bit of a birthday gift from my diabetes as I ushered in a new age/phase in life. It’s still totally bizarre that it happened, but a friend reassured me of her own experiences with the same temporary phenomenon as she’s experienced menopausal shifts. So, maybe…just maybe this was the explanation I was looking for, and perhaps the whole thing happened to signify the start of my upcoming cycle.
I won’t ever know for certain if that was indeed the cause of my temporary reprieve from diabetes, but at least I can find a little comfort in knowing that I got through it (as my blood sugars and insulin needs bounced back with a vengeance the following day) and that I had the support and feedback from friends and strangers alike the whole time.