Thursday, August 8, 2013

Over-Treater: An Exposé

low
Created using this cool meme maker I found.

There are many facets of my diabetes routine that could use some improving, but treating lows had never been one of them.  I pretty much had the “low-treat-move on” routine down.  But lately, something has changed.  I’m in a cycle of “low-treat-treat-treat some more-high-correct-correct-correct some more-low again-repeat-repeat-repeat”.  What’s up with that?  It’s time for some in-depth analysis, yes?

After some keen observation and deep-down soul searching, I’ve uncovered two causes of my newly developed over-treating addiction.  Discomfort and fear.  In the past I didn’t mind lows so much.  Sure I felt a bit fuzzy and shaky, but it was fine.  Lately, however, my lows seem to be accompanied by an indescribable feeling that is, for lack of an actual description, downright majorly sucky.  I treat and try to wait it out, but every five minutes feels like five miserable hours.  So instead of re-testing after 15 minutes, I find myself eating a little bit more every five minutes just to make that “OMG make it stop” feeling go away.

You would think uncomfortable and scary would go hand in hand, but for me and my lows that isn’t the case.  Or maybe the fear just over-rides the discomfort . . . . I don’t know . . . . it’s not like I’m thinking all the clearly in that situation.  All I know is lately some lows have been popping up where I feel like my rational thought and state of consciousness are slipping away.  It’s usually when I’m home alone and it always scares the daylights out of me.  It sends me to the kitchen determined to eat anything and everything I can get my hands on.

I bet you can guess where both of these paths lead once the low is gone.  I’m left with a high blood sugar from hell.  I hate to be high.  I really really hate to be high.  So I correct.  And when it doesn’t budge, I start to rage bolus.  And we all know where that leads . . . . .

I guess it’s time to check myself in to Over-Treater Rehab.  I’ve figured out what makes me over-treat and I know what I have to do to stop it.  But come on, when I’m sweaty and shaky and my brain isn’t working right and I feel completely horrible and I’m really scared, calmly eating the correct number of grams feels like the most difficult thing in the world.  I know I should believe I can absolutely do it, but I’m pretty sure I can’t.  And that is a huge part of what makes diabetes so freaking frustrating for me.

19 comments:

  1. Oh Karen, I hear ya on this one. When I'm low all I want to do is EAT ALL OF THE THINGS. I'm working on my self control but in moments of fear/clouded judgement all we can do is be patient with ourselves and try harder next time. Just remember we are trying to be a pancreas/calculator/perfect PWD all the time and sometimes we have to cut ourselves some slack - or the good ole D burnout will bite us! Good luck!

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  2. You need something to occupy you for 15 minutes while you wait... video games, or self-pedicure, or a big book of Calvin and Hobbes or something.

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  3. I'm the same way. I normally am great at treating my lows but I always overtreat when I get a low at a store. I was at Target last week at the check-out counter and I grabbed a large bag of gummies. I ate the whole bag. What's funny is that I knew I was overtreating but at the time just didn't care. It was like I was eating paradise. I could not stop myself.

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  4. It always seems so clear once you're back to a normal blood sugar. If I'm at home, setting the timer on the stove for 15 minutes has helped me stay put and then I play on Facebook while I wait.

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  5. I'm converting my tweet into some comment love :) Your DosXX thing made me laugh. I've been spending time with someone new to the D-scene, so my patience and braveness for lows is much shorter than normal. I've been trying hard to use tabs and Level. The Level seems to be the quickest - but it gets old tearing those open multiple times a day. Good luck!!

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  6. I need to be admitted to the over treating rehab too! I'm in the same boat girl, and you are right! Always happens when I'm alone too, which makes it even harder and more scary.

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  7. I have been working on this myself. It's definitely the anxiety feeling I have when low. When my head feels like there is a rope tied around it and i can feel every pump of blood throughout my body I panic. I think: I could eat ten glucose tabs or I can seize! and I always go with the tabs. Sigh.

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  8. Oh Karen, I'm sorry this is happening! It is indeed an unpleasant feeling. Here's a "rehab" idea: Science shows that self-control is like a muscle. When exercised, it gets stronger. What if you exercised your self-control in incremental bits? The next time you're low, uncomfortable, panicked, and overwhelmed with thoughts of SHOULDN'T EAT BUT WANT TO EAT RAAAAWWWWWWR, set a timer or stare at the clock and wait for one minute. Just one minute longer than what those impulses originally would dictate. The next time, try two minutes. Maybe five minutes a few weeks after that. Just do it little by little so that you build up that self-control.


    Something I also try to do is focus on my breathing. For one thing, it keeps me from breathing shallow, panicky breaths; for another, it gives me a form of distraction that becomes quasi-meditative. Good luck!

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  9. Well, you saved me from an afternoon high. Ate my 15, read your blog, and waited...
    Thanks, Karen!

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  10. Not over treating is hard! I struggle too. I'm sure we all have at some point!

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  11. ****PERSON WHO DOESN'T REALLY HAVE THE RIGHT TO COMMENT ALERT!!****I don't know the feeling of panic...and I'm not sure my daughter does completely because she doesn't know that she could seize if she goes too low...she does know that death is possible but I suppose that seems unlikely to her. She knows how bad it feels though...and knows the desire to fix that as quickly as possible. I tell her to be as still as possible to let the sugar have a chance to get into her bloodstream. Maybe that is something to help? Kind of like a meditation...imagine the sugar going into your cells...think about its journey from your mouth to your cells? Sounds logical now, but when your BS is 50 probably not so much. I like Caroline's idea of setting a timer for a minute...and working your way up. Maybe setting the timer can become as routine as reaching for the low treatment so that a fuzzy brain doesn't have to think too much about it. Thanks for the insight of how it feels and the ideas as I teach my sweet girl how to deal with this on her own:)

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    1. YOU ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT TO COMMENT!!! You may not know exactly how the physical symptoms feel, but you do live with diabetes every day too and you have the benefit of giving us "from the outside looking in" advice which I think can be even more valuable! Thank you!

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  12. my wife and I were going for a walk last night and I always test first. I was at 90 and I knew if I didn't eat something I would go much much lower. I ate a waffle with peanut butter and started off. the waffle has 18 g carb and acts in my system very quickly. my wife pays attention to my talking and walking and the whole time back to the house we talked about what my number would be. in my case, doing the math, eating and getting out of the house keeps me from over treating the low. by the way when I got back home I was at 84 so got to treat again with a small bowl of ice cream 16g carb. this kicked me up to 140 and I was happy. I hope you have a better day today. this is a tough topic because treating highs and lows involves so much science, voodoo, wizardry and guesswork in my opinion, it doesn't ever really get better or predictable.

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  13. I self-checked myself into over-treater-rehab :)The lows really scared me, but the highs just left me so wasted and worthless, I HAD to make that stop. Using something to distract you from over-treating-eating is a good idea -like, knit a sweater! ;-)

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  14. I have found that just eating glucose tabs or juice seems to do the trick quickest for myself. That being said, during the 15 mins of wait time I often want to eat the entire kitchen! It has helped tremendously to have a veggie of choice (carrots , broccoli, edamame) cleaned and cut up waiting in the fridge that I can grab and much on while I wait the 15 mins for the glucose tabs to hit--almost like tricking your brain that you got to binge, but without the guilt and spike after. Might be worth a try!

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  15. Sorry about the over-treating. I'm guilty myself. But remember: Safety first. As long as you're still vertical, you can always deal with the boomerang high... even if it is sucky.

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  16. Card carrying member of over-treaters-anonymous here <---- BUT I have discovered a piece of info that has helped me soooooooo much! Given my weight, and the level my lows are at usually when I notice them (in the 2 mmols/ 36 mg/dl ish) I need WAY more than 15g of carbs to do anything, more like 45g! so, I used to try and treat with 15g, and wait, feeling like the world was ending the whole time, only to have to treat again, and wait, and treat and wait and then say the heck with it all and eat everything (and be high, then rage bolus and be low, repeat, repeat, repeat). I was eating ALL my daily food intake in treating lows. So, now I just start out with treating with 45g of carbs right off the bat... and so far, this has helped, a bit (eeek, i'm afraid to say that for fear i'll jinx myself!)

    Reading this post, post scary stuff post that follows ... your scary stuff is my scary stuff. Just glad your scary had a safe ending

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  17. The one advantage of hypoglycemia unawareness (and maybe the only advantage) is that I don't often feel the need or desire to over treat anymore. Sometimes I miss the 3 bowls of Frosted Flakes at 2 AM.

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