Flip the switch? Extreme stress and bg

By onafixedincome Latest Reply 2017-08-05 14:00:14 -0500
Started 2017-07-31 02:04:31 -0500

So in the last few months, I haven't been as strict as I should be, and my sugars showed it, coming in at 100-150 ish more often than not. I was pushing to get them down again by diet changes, but wasn't getting the result I needed. And then…we had a wildfire.

Less than 3 miles away and moving with incredible speed, the mandatory evacuation line was just about a mile away, and we were under advisory evacuation status, very scary. I have about 150 rabbits, a bunch of chickens and a problem! They have to be moved at night due to heat stress, and we had to go NOW, so multiple trips could be made. (Once evac is mandatory, you get ONE trip out, period. No returns.)

Long story shorter, friend came from an hour away with four additional people and two additional pickups, bless her, and 8 hours later we had everyone at a friend's house 30 miles away, complete with their large cooling fans in dense shade. However, my role was anything but done—they had to be given food, water, and sprayed down every half hour or hour to keep them cool enough to survive. So I was pretty active and very anxious.

My friend that was housing us all, is a good cook. Grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken, roast beef, milk, tea—we had it all, and it was good. And my sugars started to drop like a rock.

I was actually eating quite a lot more than usual, but I was also a whole lot more active than usual, in circumstances of high stress. I would have expected higher sugars, not lower, but something about the whole thing seems to have 'flipped a switch' or something, because the effect has largely lasted almost a month. They're slowly coming back up as I make the occasional idiotic food choice, but I'm also getting some really dramatic lows as well, especially in the afternoons and occasionally in the middle of the night.

I reduced my Levemir (long acting insulin) by ten units and have been paying closer attention to how much I'm moving around during the day. I about crippled myself during the evacuation and return (thank heaven the fire never got any closer!), but survived…so what the heck happened? Why is the effect lasting? And what do I need to do to keep it going, without killing myself in the 100*+ temperatures we have right now?

Input appreciated…! Thanks, all!

12 replies

onafixedincome 2017-08-05 14:00:14 -0500 Report

Well, I think we now know how long the effect lasted—not very! About two weeks or so, and now I'm back to seeing higher numbers. :( Oh, well. Just means I really have to work at getting up off my ass and moving more, I guess! Thanks, all!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-08-03 16:57:32 -0500 Report

HI onafixedincome, thanks for checking in and letting us know what's been going on with you. Wow! This has to have been terrifying. This certainly qualifies as a crisis. And with a crisis comes a lot of stress. I am glad to hear you had so much support. As others have said, stress can affect how you feel physically and it can affect your diabetes. I hope you are getting lots of emotional support, and taking good care of yourself. Please keep us posted on how you're doing.

onafixedincome 2017-08-04 08:27:46 -0500 Report

Gotta admit, it was one of the 'least fun, most educational' events in my life. The critters are doing a great job of support, and since there was no net harm, I'm looking at it as an opportunity to learn what went wrong, what could have been better, and help others SKIP those parts in the future. I always find that being constructive helps get me out of that spiral of 'coulda-shoulda-woulda' that tends to hit with crises…

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-08-03 12:32:35 -0500 Report

I am so happy you are safe. That is the most important thing of all. Stress can go two ways. If you are stressed and active your blood sugar will be lower. If you are stressed and sedate, you will be higher. You ate more than normal because your body was adapting to the situation. Once things settle down your body will adapt again. It is all a part of life whether or not you are diabetic.

Type1Lou 2017-07-31 10:38:14 -0500 Report

Life with diabetes, I've learned, is a constant adaptation. As our bodies and environment changes, we also have to adapt. Your increased activity during this time of stress may have increased your insulin sensitivity, hence the lower than expected BG's. By testing and recording the tests you may be able to establish a pattern that you can share with your doctor, who, in turn, might suggest some changes in dosage/medication. Congrats on coming through this trying time and wishing you well!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-08-03 12:39:09 -0500 Report

Please do me a favor and put this sentence on a banner "Life with diabetes, I've learned, is a constant adaptation".Over the years, I have learned that no matter what happens in life whether or not you are diabetic, you have to adapt to the situation.

People who move whether across town or across the country have to adapt. People who suffer traumatic situations have to adapt. The same is true for illnesses. you have to adapt both physically and mentally. It isn't always easy but at the end of the day it will all work out.

haoleboy 2017-07-31 10:34:49 -0500 Report

Wall fire?
glad you are safe. a friend of the family's mother lost her home in that.
stress hormones can really mess with our numbers

onafixedincome 2017-07-31 11:11:05 -0500 Report

Yes, the Wall incident. A lot of folks lost everything in that inferno—the single scariest fire in this area for me, ever, although 2008's was right up there—although not as close.

Woke up low today, don't know the # because I got called out and grabbed a candy on the way. Been changing things slowly, hoping to hit the sweet spot on what's going on. I swear this is the most frustrating part of diabetes!

haoleboy 2017-07-31 16:37:28 -0500 Report

yeah … had friends that lived up in Concow … the 2008 fire was really scary (we were in Chico at that time).
glad you are safe
all you can do is all you can do … and hope for the best

seldom (if ever) do we get a chance for a "do over"
but every single day we get a chance for a "do better"
☺ Steve

onafixedincome 2017-08-04 08:23:51 -0500 Report

The good news is that the county is being proactive for a change (with the help of some great people and the fire council) and really helping the Wall victims who lost everything. Nice to see.

As always, thank you for your wise words, Steve!

msann 2017-07-31 10:26:57 -0500 Report

i dont know so sorry about the wildfires stress stiil the problem all that you are going thru i know now is not the time but do you have diabetic educator someone to help get your bsl under control and heat for me is not good being diabetic or go to the doctor soon good luck

onafixedincome 2017-07-31 11:08:07 -0500 Report

I've found that the diabetic educators were of limited use after the first six months or so…coming here was much more helpful, to be honest! The summer heat truly sucks; this is one of the consistently hottest summers we've had in years, so I'm watching hydration closely and so forth.

Thank you for caring!! :)