Woes of Lows

One of my main challenges in controlling my blood glucose levels is maintaining control after exercise. I generally tend to spike after working out and then crash around 5 AM (I usually work out in the evening).

One pointer that Gary, my CDE, gave me at my last appointment was to try giving myself insulin right after I finish exercising to combat the post-workout spike. So far it’s been working out really great in terms of the spike, but I’m still trying to find the right overnight basal reduction to make sure I don’t go low in the morning.


Last night before bed I had a blood sugar of 79, so I had a snack, decreased my basal rate for six and a half hours, and figured I was all good to go. I pretty much was until I woke up 15 minutes before class and realized I was low.

I was frustrated, but more worried about being late to class. My professor has a really strict no-lateness policy, but I knew he wouldn’t be upset when I told him I’d had a low blood sugar. However, I still didn’t want to walk into class having him under the presumption that I was late out of irresponsibility and quickly have to explain in front of everyone in French that “j’ai eu un hypoglycémie” (I had a low blood sugar).

For anyone in college, or students entering college with Type 1, this is where it is seriously beneficial to tell people around you that you have diabetes! I texted one of my friends in the class asking her to please let my professor know that I had low blood sugar and that as soon as it came up I would be in class.

About 15 minutes into class I was finally high enough to walk across campus. It might seem like a pretty minor thing, but it was a huge relief to walk in and know that my professor wouldn’t annoyingly say, “Arrive a l’heure s’il te plait!” (Please arrive ON time!) At the end of class I walked up to him just to personally explain what had happened, and he was so gracious about it. (I actually teared up a little after class because he was so genuinely concerned and wanted to make sure I was OK!)

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to deal with sharing the fact that you have diabetes with people who don’t know, and it really just comes down to practice and being comfortable in your own skin. The more often you tell people what that “thing” is you’re poking your finger with or what your insulin pump is, the easier it gets. You realize that you don’t need to get into the complex aspects of it, but you can tell people enough so that they walk away with a better understanding than they’ve ever had before.

Additionally, the more you talk about it, the more you’re forced to deal with it! If you tell people you have diabetes, consciously or not you’ll be thinking about it, and for me, the more I consciously think about my diabetes, the more effort I put into taking care of myself. Diabetes for me has always come in waves. I find that sometimes I’m a master, and other times, I have a really hard time keeping it all under control. It’s a constant effort, but the more you tackle it head on and go into it with a proactive attitude, the better you’ll feel both emotionally and physically!

  • Nabil

    Great insight!

  • Diane

    I am 64 and a diabetic. I have absolutely no problem telling anyone I am diabetic. Some might even think I am bragging about it but I feel the more people know about it the better off everyone is, diabeteic or not. I take blood sugar and inject at the table in public. I don’t flaunt it but I don’t apologize for it either. I think the more comfortable we can make people the more the understand. Being a diabetic should not be shameful.

  • PAT

    To each her or his own. I don’t mentoned it unless I have to. family know about. But I often am told “well you look like you have diabetes”. I did not know diabetes had a look. Folks stero type you if you have it. fat,lazy snd you eat too much.

  • M.S.

    I’m glad to hear your prof was sympathetic! I am not on insulin (I’m on metformin & glyburide) and have sugar-drops when I forget to snack every 3 hours or so. I don’t hesitate to tell people I’m with that I have it, and why I’m carrying low-calorie fiber bars or apples with me all the time. I wish you well.