Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Last Thursday, I began my day shaking with hypoglycemia and ended it chugging water in an attempt to quench the indescribable thirst that can come only with hyperglycemia.

It wasn’t a good diabetes day. In fact, I felt so crappy from the highs and the lows, it just wasn’t a good day at all.

When I got up, my blood glucose reading was in the 70s. No biggie. I grabbed my coffee and repaired to the front porch (followed by two cats and three kittens) to greet the day. Apparently, while I was sitting and sipping coffee and being entertained by the felines (while they were being entertained by birds and squirrels on the other side of the screens), my blood glucose was dropping…and dropping…and dropping.

When I went back into the house and opened the newspaper, I noticed it was shaking. I picked up a pencil and held it between my thumb and index finger. The pencil was shaking, too (try it sometime when you’re low—it works). I checked my blood glucose. Oops!

There have been times when I have been hypoglycemic when I wasn’t hungry. This was not one of them. I ate three watermelon-flavored glucose tablets. I should have stopped there and checked again in 15 minutes, just like I’ve been taught. Also, intellectually, I know that it takes a bit longer for your brain to register that your blood glucose is back in a decent range. About half an hour, from some research I read a few years ago.

But man, was I hungry! And my head just didn’t feel good. I knew that if I got my blood glucose up, I would feel better. To do that, I had to eat or drink something. Since I was in my low-blood-glucose-starvation mode, I chose eating.

I made—and ate—a two-egg omelet. No carbs, but I was thinking more of hunger at that point. Then I scraped the bits of icing left on the bakery container from my granddaughter’s birthday cake and ate that. Somebody had left the remains of a bag of barbecued potato chips on the table, so I polished that off, too. There may have been more. I don’t remember.

After a bit, I went out to run errands. One of the things I wanted was a magazine that’s published by the local newspaper for which I had written the cover story. I knew what the article said—I just wanted to see the pictures. At any rate, they wouldn’t give me one because it wasn’t supposed to be on the streets yet. I got snooty and snippy with the poor circulation people. I’m not normally a snooty and snippy person: Just ask my friends. (Friends? Are you out there?) I then stomped off and did what I should have done in the first place: Went upstairs to the newsroom and got a magazine from the editor.

I was bloated from too much food and thought about canceling my “ladies who lunch” date. I went anyway. I should have ordered a salad. But the hamburgers looked awfully good. It was a new place that was said to have great hamburgers. Far be it from me to miss a good hamburger. Besides, it had been long enough since my morning binge that I was hungry again.

Did I mention the place was said to have good onion rings, too?

As if messing up for most of the day wasn’t enough, along came dinner. I had thrown some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a Crock-Pot that morning with some salsa, peanut butter, and soy sauce. (Trust me: It only sounds inedible.) What to have with it? Why, rice of course! Did I measure the rice? Did I weigh the rice? Nope. I just ladled it onto a dish and spooned some chicken and sauce over it. It was good. I had seconds.

I think there were doughnuts involved somewhere that day, too.

On top of all of that, my continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensor had died in the middle of my errand-running, so I didn’t have instant feedback on what was happening with my glucose levels. I could have put in another sensor, but I like to put them in at night to settle in for a few hours and start them up first thing in the morning when my glucose is (usually) pretty steady.

A full day of too much of the wrong foods didn’t contribute to good diabetes management, and it didn’t do my weight-loss plan much good either.

On the other hand, I felt so crappy from making the wrong decisions on that one day that I didn’t want to do it again. Anytime soon, anyway. The next day, I put myself back on track and have been doing much better ever since.

Maybe I need a day of screwing up once in a while to remind myself why I need to pay attention to my blood glucose management: A day of pretending that I don’t have diabetes and don’t need to shed some tonnage…er, pounds. I will give myself credit for getting back on track the next day instead of throwing up my hands altogether and continuing to repeat my mistakes which, to my detriment, is something I’ve done in the past.

The chicken is good without rice, and I can go back to that restaurant and eat a hamburger but either ask them to hold the bun or set the top of the bun aside myself. Eating a hamburger with a knife and fork might even prevent me from dribbling juice down the front of my shirt. And I’ll get a side salad with it instead of onion rings.

The onion rings there aren’t all that good, anyway.


  1. Dear Jan. It is extremely difficult to keep one’s cool when you think the house is on fire. Probably the 3 tablets would do unless there is reason to believe that a significant overdose of insulin has occured. I guess one would have to be the Dalai Lama to control the hunger associated with low BG or have the Archangel appear at that moment and reassure us that taking 3 tablets will do. I have heard horror stories(second hand) of a type I that had to eat prodigious amounts of pasta to keep her blood sugar from failing low at times. You wonder if in a few rare cases the bodies glucogon system no longer works. And if having too many lows strains it and could cause it to fail eventually. Otherwise I still believe that an intensive therapy with the inevitable lows is still best. The main downside is that: You wonder if subconsciously the body starts to fear the occaisional low and will make you eat more. than you normally would.

    Posted by Calgarydiabetic |
  2. Can we have the recipe? :-)

    Posted by AndreaBB |
  3. Sure! From the South Beach Century Club recipe spot:

    4-5 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (I use frozen to avoid over cooking)
    3/4 cup hot salsa
    1/4 cup peanut butter
    2 T. soy sauce
    1 t. grated gingerroot
    1/4 cup chopped peanuts
    2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

    Place chicken in 3 1/2 to 6-quart slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients except peanuts and cilantro; pour over chicken.

    Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Remove chicken from cooker, using slotted spoon; place on serving platter.

    Remove sauce from slow cooker; skim fat from sauce. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.

    I had 5 very large frozen chicken breasts, so I doubled the ingredients for the sauce. I also sprinkled in some ground ginger, because I didn’t have fresh ginger on hand. Iespecially liked the leftovers!


    Posted by Jan Chait |
  4. Jan
    I just read your link.I’m having such a hard time keeping my sugars from being so high.I’m on insulin.Doctor wants me to go on
    Lantus,& reg.insulin 3 times a day,before meals. from 75/25 2 times a day which I was on.I fill so bad when I have low’s that I eat to much and then its to high.Its a endless problem I can’t seem to get out of.Is there anybody can help out there. Nan

    Posted by Nan |
  5. Jan & all:
    I’m Type 2 and have shed nearly 40 pounds since January in hopes of avoiding insulin and the needle. I did so well at first but the last couple of weeks, my glucose has gone up and a bulge in my mid-section is beginning to form once more! I know what I need to do…but as you experienced - knowing and doing are two quite different worlds! Thanks for reminding me that the battles we all face are not unique to any one of us. Your struggle has helped me decide to get back on my wagon…get back in synch with what is best for me.

    Posted by GrayingChap |
  6. I also have type 2 and lost 40 lbs and still have more to go, but then lost the spark. It is so easy to slide back and forget that this isn’t just a temporary plan. Thank you for the wake up call and the recipe.

    Posted by cosina |
  7. Oh Jan, I did something similar today. Breakfast at 7:30am was a Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax bar and peanutbutter.

    I decided about 10:30 that I needed to mow the yard. Not the best timing. It took 2 hours. About halfway through I felt hunger pains and ignored them because I wanted to get finished.

    When I came back in the house, I was covered in grass and dust, so…. bath before food, right?

    By the time, I stepped out of the tub I was shaking and gagging. I barely made it to my bed, my legs were jelly. Grabbed the watermelon flavored glucose tablets (yeah, me too) and ate four, followed about 10 minutes later by a Mission low carb tortilla wrapped around some turkey pastrami and some iced green tea.

    For dinner I had a chicken breast and an orange.

    Yes, I need to lose weight, but looking back, that really wasn’t enough food, was it? Hmmmm, and nothing was green at all. *sigh*

    Posted by Ephrenia |
  8. I know exactly how you feel. I have awakened from a deep sleep only to be shaking and sick to my stomach. Every time it happens I’m just a scared as if it were the first time. I get out of bed and trek to the kitchen and start searching. Milk… leftover macaroni and cheese…cold pizza…a piece of cake…any and all of the above. I overcompensate, pushing my BG sky high, and then I really am sick. I know better and vow each time that I will be more reasonable the next time it happens (because it surely will sooner or later). But I seem to never learn my lesson.

    Posted by Patricia |
  9. Thanks for sharing the not so good times along with the good ones. It’s so refreshing to know that others have a bad day - but turn around and get back on track again. Cheers - semi-dry wine in moderation!

    Posted by ChrisB |

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