What gets drilled into a diabetics head over and over? “You have to take care of yourself or you’ll go blind, lose your feet, wreak your kidney, die, etc. etc. etc.” Thirty plus years of hearing those scare tactics boil down to a feeling that high blood sugars equal complications. And thus, high blood sugars are bad. This is true enough, but we all know that no matter how hard we try, sometimes highs are bound to happen. That’s why it’s so important to start taking the emotion - and the fear - out of those highs and instead applaud ourselves for catching and treating the high blood sugar! Positive reinforcements beat scare tactics any day - at least when it comes to my motivations.
How about those lows? How on earth has my twisted brain come to view a low as a success? After all, lows can be just as dangerous as highs! The easy answer is that lower blood sugar means lower (which we’ve been told time and time again equal better) A1Cs and less chance of complications. But there’s more to it than that. The more I thought about my reaction to lows, the more I realized that my response is quite Pavlovian.
From the moment of my diagnosis, and for the decades to follow, sugar was taboo. No more cake, candy, donuts, sweet treats - unless they were sugar-free, and back then the sugar-free “treats” were just plain gross. But there is an exception to every rule, and growing up the exception to the “no sweets” rule was a low blood sugar. Even now, I often treat lows with Starbursts or jelly beans or a spoonful of chocolate frosting. If a low gets “rewarded” with candy, it’s pretty easy to start seeing it as a great thing, right? Perhaps I need to treat lows with my least favorite flavor of glucose tablets instead . . . .
So there is a peek inside my warped