By Meagan Esler
After yet another ridiculously low blood sugar (of 36) last night, my husband commented “Your upcoming A1C is going to be like 2”. Of course he knows there is no such A1C. He was exaggerating because ever since I went super low-carb my blood sugars have been much smoother with the exception of some scary lows. There is a reason for all this low-blood sugar madness.
It all started with an eye exam, followed by a complete teary mess, aka me. My eye exam had me devastated at the news that my “long-standing diabetes” had kicked off the start of retinopathy. I sat in the eye exam chair and fell silent. I simply couldn’t speak, which is completely unlike me. I was in shock, and in actual pain from the news. I barely said two words to the doctor after asking if my diabetes/blood sugars had caused the microaneurysms in my eyes. She said yes, but that it was the mildest form of anything, the beginning stage and that it could go away. She said they weren’t leaking and that we were lucky to catch them quickly. She commented that “We would just like them not to be there”. She was trying to be kind and gentle, which I couldn’t have appreciated more, but I was crushed and still unable to respond. In an almost cheerful voice she encouraged me to keep up with my walking (which she must have had on my file from my last eye specialist appointment), and watching my blood sugars. Unfortunately I hadn’t been walking much since my previous appointment with her. I didn’t correct her or try to speak. I just nodded and left as quickly as I could. I felt like I just needed to get away, anywhere I could be alone with all the noise in my head, to try to process the information.
I got into my car after the appointment and tried to call my husband, only I couldn’t actually press the button to dial him. I tried three times but I simply couldn’t. I felt like such a failure. I am 41 now and have had Type 1 diabetes for more than 23 years. It seemed so unfair to go through all that we go through only to be slapped in the face at an otherwise ordinary appointment. I mean, a few months ago I had an A1C of 6.5, and felt pretty good about it. How ironic is that?
I drove home in silence and finally called my hubby. I waited until my voice came back and I could tell him calmly. Of course I cried, despite the fact that I thought I was out of tears by the time I called him. He said “We’ll do whatever it takes. We’ll work together on getting them to go away”. He stopped home that day on his lunch break from work, to comfort me. I couldn’t have been more grateful.
It took me two weeks to tell my sister who quickly reassured me that her own Type 1 husband had gone through the same thing, only to find it went away after some seriously hard work. She understood how upset I was and gave me some amazing support. Once again, I was grateful.
At the time I am writing this, about three weeks after my news, I haven’t told my mom and dad. I have such guilt and feelings of failure and hate to see them disappointed in me. I’m disappointed enough in myself. I know I’ll tell them, I just haven’t found the words yet.
For the past few weeks I have walked on my treadmill and/or biked for 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week and have been eating low-carb. I lost 7lbs in the process so far, for that little bonus I am thankful, but I just hope this is all enough. Diabetes is tricky. I felt confident in my control and thought I had it all figured out but I suddenly feel like I got my ass handed to me by diabetes.
I will see the eye doctor again in a few months. I didn’t know if I should share all of this but I always want to be open and honest in my writing and I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings. I’m currently hopeful but unbelievably scared.