It’s 2 AM and my blood sugar is 47 mg/dl. I got my period yesterday, so after two days of running high, my blood sugar has literally plummeted. I’m trying really hard to keep myself from falling into a hole of self-pity, but it’s not easy. I can’t run because last week (two weeks prior to my marathon), I strained my hip flexor. I’ve been doing physical therapy, cryotherapy, acupuncture, rest, ice, and compression, but yesterday, when I nervously laced up my shoes for a run, I couldn’t even run a mile. That means my marathon is out. And this morning I woke up with a cold. It’s raining out and I’m behind on deadlines. I feel like the Alexander from Judith Viorst’s picture book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
These are the days that I am glad I stayed on my anti-depression/anti-anxiety meds. These are the days that writing helps. But what’s helping me the most right now is a conversation I had a few days ago at the local JDRF walk. I’d signed up to volunteer weeks in advance, but as the day grew closer, I wanted to back out. I am very much a “good intentions, poor follow through” kind of person, and I never seem to learn my lesson. I continue to say yes to various events and responsibilities and then wish I hadn’t. Anyway, I knew I couldn’t back out of this one. The JDRF walk was scheduled on a Sunday in a park that is walking distance from my parents’ house. My kids were excited to go and people were depending on me. I gave myself a pep talk, and even though we woke up to freezing weather and predictions of rain, the boys and I headed to the event.
My expectations for the event were not high. JDRF, like its original name (the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), seems to target a younger audience, and at 46 years old, I feel like I’ve aged out. I’d participated in the walk for the last several years, and the majority of people are families and friends supporting a teenager or a child with Type 1. I’m thrilled that the organization exists for many reasons, but I wish there were a branch of the organization that focused on adults with Type 1. So I went to the walk because it’s a great cause and I wanted to do my part, but I wasn’t expecting to get anything back.
I was working the registration table and started talking to a dad, who told me a story about his son’s soccer game the day before. The boy’s blood sugar had been running high, and after a correction, it plummeted. The game was about to start and the dad worried a juice box wouldn’t be enough to steady his son’s blood sugar for the game. I nodded knowingly. It sucks. I pulled out my tube of glucose tabs and told him how I carried them with me when I ran. We stopped talking when we were joined by an older man wearing a Notre Dame Football coat who noticed my glucose tabs. He was a tall, imposing figure and stood out among the mostly under-18 crowd. I learned that he’d been diagnosed when he was five years old and went on to play football for Notre Dame. We discussed the frustrations of managing blood sugar swings and exercise. We were an odd group of three, with nothing else in common, really, except Type 1 diabetes. But standing between the two men in the middle of frigid weather under dark skies, I felt connected. I felt understood and I was glad I came.
It’s now 10 AM, and my blood sugar is back to “normal.” I’m still injured and sick with a cold, but, like Alexander’s mom says in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, “some days are just like that.”
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Amy Mercer: Amy S. Mercer is a freelance writer living in Charleston, SC, with her husband and three sons. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 14 years old and has written two books about living well with diabetes — The Smart Woman's Guide to Diabetes: Authentic Advice on Everything from Eating to Dating and Motherhood, and The Smart Woman's Guide to Eating Right with Diabetes: What Will Work. (Amy Mercer is not a medical professional.)
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