In the Sparring Ring.

No one ever said diabetes was easy. And no one ever said it was fair. And it was never more evident than yesterday morning ,when my well-intentioned self woke up early to hit the gym before work.

I felt groggier than usual, but thought it must be because I was up late watching The Bachelorette  Civil War documentaries on the History Channel. I grabbed my Dex though, and saw that I was hovering at 70mg/dL.

Decision number one of 1,000,000 for the day was in front of me: should I still go workout with that blood sugar? I was already up, and usually my BG tends to rise within the first half hour of me waking, especially if I have a cappuccino with some milk in it that adds carbs. I decided I would go for it. Gym clothes went on, work clothes were packed, and I headed out the door, fresh brewed cappuccino in hand.

By the time I pulled in to the gym parking lot, I knew something was up. The Dex hadn’t alarmed yet, but I was too tired to chalk this up to just being sleepy. Shunk goes the lancet: 58mg/dL. Crap. Decision time again. I needed sugar right away no matter what, but the question was should I still go work out, now knowing I had a bona fide low and that this would be tricky, at best?

I looked at the clock: 6:54 – 6 minutes until boxing class started. I thought about that damn alarm clock going off just 40 minutes earlier, and all the effort I had already put into starting my day off right. Yep. I’m going to that class, I thought to myself.

I know this wasn’t an ideal situation, and I know that I would have caused myself a lot less trouble if I had just treated the low, turned the car around, and gone back home. But damnit, I had gotten up early. I had committed myself to morning workouts. I had a helluva day ahead of me and this was going to be the only hour I had reserved for myself. An hour to sweat out the stress, do something good for my body, and get in my workout. And did I mention the getting up early part? I. Just. Wanted. To. Work. Out., low blood sugar be damned. I popped a GU pack while simultaneously turning my basals down 80%. I knew the result of 18 grams of CHO, an early morning workout (read: hepatic glucose output, comin’ at ya!), and the lowered basals would likely be a stubborn high BG an hour or two after boxing, but still I had to play it safe. I couldn’t go into the workout with only lowered basals and risk continuing to fall. In retrospect, I might have assuaged things by only consuming half the GU, but it’s hard to tell yourself that when you’re 58 and heading into an  intense workout.

 I erred on the side of safety, and as predicted, an hour and a half later, I stepped out of the gym showers and heard the wail of the DexCom HIIIIIIIIIIGH as I neared my bag, which contained my DexCom receiver.

Awesome. From 58mg/dL to 235mg/dL in less than two hours. And 60 minutes of that was me getting my ass kicked by a boxing instructor. What a fabulous way to start the day. I cursed. I dosed. I dressed for work.

I went to Starbucks for more coffee and some breakfast. Choosing the clear plastic box that contained the most meat and cheese and fewest carbs, I bought my food and fuel and headed back to the car. And I wondered to myself how diabetes managed to be so doggone volatile all the time. So unpredictable. So unfair. And so…there ALL the time.

It’s not the grand idea of diabetes that drives me nuts. It’s not the notion of eschewing carbs and having to take injections that bothers me. It’s mornings like that one where I’m forced to worry about diabetes so much. It’s those time where I feel like I can do no right for this disease, and that I’d be better off if I could make peace with living a boring existence without workouts and exciting foods and a life so that I could just control this disease. It sucks to start off your morning fighting with diabetes, especially when you’re trying to do something good for your health.

There are times like yesterday morning where I wish I had a face to put on diabetes. Because then I’d put it right there on the punching bag in my boxing class, and I’d sock it to the ‘betes something wicked.

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What type of gu do you use? some are slower acting than others… i.e. hammer gels or honey stingers which means they won’t spike your sugar as much. If that were me (i know everyone is different) i would have taken the gu when i woke with the 70, left the basal and perhaps mini bolused, then by the time you hit the gym the gu has kicked in and the mini bolus (very very tiny amount) will work when the gu hits.

I understand your frustration. I think all of us go through it. It’s so easy to sit back and play armchair-diabetic and make suggestions about how to handle it better next time but until someone is in the same situation at the same time they don’t know how hard it is.

Not picking on ya Gillian – you make good points, it just that in the exact same situation before getting good advice on how to better handle it I would have done the exact same thing and been mad at myself and frustrated too.

Sometimes it does suck to be us! I feel the frustration in your experience. At least you managed to get back on target later in the day- what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger (or at least wiser). Between your own experience and the tips above (what a great forum for sharing strength and experience!) perhaps you’ll have another approach to try the next time you get in a similar ‘early-morning-pre-workout-low-&-rebound-high’ 😉

All I can say is Amen sister! I couldn’t agree with you more. Ugh

Thanks for the tips and for the commiseration everyone – I think the scenario and how it played out will lend itself to making better future decisions – although I say that and then emotions take over when they actually do happen!! Sometimes just knowing though that everyone has days like this is enough to lighten the load. Thanks you guys.

@ John, Advice is exactly that advice.. take it or leave it. I find that in the group that I train with (who are mostly all diabetic women) sharing our ideas has really helped… some you use some you don’t but we all have come away with something useful from each others experiences… its not being an armchair diabetic especially since its coming from a diabetic training for an ironman who had been in those frustrating hard situations countless times. We all have.

Had to comment on this article… for lack of a better cliche “You hit the nail on the head”. The stubbornness to not let the diabetes get the best of you(infront of the gym). All the way to the feelings of why in the hell diabetes can be so unpredictable/aggravating. Just wanted to say you’re not alone out there.

Thank you Richard 🙂

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