Ok, so I couldn't do it. This was going to be a No-D month for me. Since I completely unleashed that which is "D" in November, December would be full of stories related to my family, my hobbies, my faith. . . anything but Diabetes. But, then. . .
My blood glucose started climbing and no amount of exercise would bring it down. In an effort to share with you the power and the value of the online community, I want to share this story with you. If you are not currently on twitter or taking advantage of sites like tudiabetes.com, dlife.com, etc. . you are really missing an important piece of your diabetes management.
A few months ago, I had seen a few tweets saying things like, "BG too high, no #sweatbetes today" or "dang, I'm too high to work-out." Because of these comments, I specifically asked my GP when should I NOT work out? Is there a point when my BG is too high and exercise could be dangerous? He basically answered that if I feel that I can exercise, I should try since that's the only way to get my BG down.
I had seen the effects of exercise over the previous few months. I was 480 one day (which would've sent me to the ER if I were on the Dr. Oz show.) My Dr. explained that it was because I hadn't been working out and that my choices were simple; work-out or die. I went home that afternoon from his office and started walking. I walked for 45 minutes and got my BG down to 190. I felt triumphant! I felt VICTORIOUS! I also felt nauseous.
Since that day, I've experienced a few days a week where my BG has been over 250, even 300 and I dutifully break out the jump rope or start walking. Occasionally, my stomach will start to hurt, I'll get nauseated, feel like I can't catch my breath, but I push through and get my BG down below 200. This last week, late in the evening I was at 424 and once again, changed into my workout gear despite feeling like I would really rather step out in front of a bus. I jumped rope for about 20 minutes and started feeling nauseated again. I rested for a minute, then I started getting cramps in my stomach and in my legs. Before I knew it, I felt like I was having an asthma attack. I couldn't catch my breath, I was hurting, sick to my stomach, home alone and more than a little frightened. I assumed I had just gotten my heart rate up too high, so took an extended rest and got on the computer while I waited.
I tweeted with some of my friends: @Diabetic_Iz_Me, @sajabla, @rpederse and @devilishly_diab. (If you don't currently follow them, you need to add them to your list!) They shared my pain, talked about high BG levels and how horrible it feels and generally encouraged me and talked me through my fright. . but then. .
I tweeted that I was going to work out some more because I had only gotten my levels down to 324. @Diabetic_Iz_Me aka Cherise quickly tweeted back, "you're not over 250 are you?" but I didn't see it, I had already started my work out video and would come back to this message 30 minutes later.
As I finished my exercise and had gotten my BG down to 212 I came back online. Hmmm, why did she ask that? The following 1/2 hour was full of information, links to websites, stories of what "could've been" and an overall education that I SHOULD have gotten from my Dr. when I had asked a few months ago!
People with diabetes are generally told not to exercise if their BG is over 250 with ketones present or if it's over 300 AT ALL. To exercise in this state can put you into a state of ketoacidosis requiring immediate medical attention. This can be deadly if not treated. The symptoms of ketoacidosis; yep, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing. So, the next day, I was still having trouble breathing and went in to see another partner at my Dr's office and he confirmed that this is true, and I, indeed, could have a serious problem if I hadn't paid attention to my body. He said many people just assume they're out of shape and try to push through it, and they end up in the hospital. Lesson learned.
But, the existence of this condition is not the only lesson learned here. I also learned the absolute value and power of the diabetic online community. I valued this group previously for their care and concern when I had written in the past, but they had now possibly saved my life with information that I truly needed. They've always been there with a shoulder to cry on, ready laughter when I joked and information to help me cope with this chronic condition, but the information and concern they showed that night was unbelievable. So, to you, my DOC, thanks for everything! I'm still struggling with managing this disease, but I'm never alone. Help is never far away!
Thanks also to the friends who have since heard this story and offered their assistance at any time. My mom even offered to spend the night whenever my husband travels out of town so I'm not alone. I am well-loved and hope that my appreciation for you all is evident. Hugs to all!