Almost from the moment diabetes entered my world, it’s been stealing sleep from me. When I was in the hospital at diagnosis, the round-the-clock attention of the medical team kept me awake. I only had a few nights of peaceful sleep, after I was discharged from the hospital before I had my first horrifying, thank-God-I-woke-up-out-of-my-sleep, hypoglycemia episode.
That changed me.
When I woke up drenched in sweat, heart pounding, and in a daze, it was months before I felt comfortable going to sleep again. The next night, I stayed awake for as long as I could and slept only for a short period of time. This evolved into a nightly routine.
Insomnia became my bestie.
We’d watch movies together after 10pm, snack on crackers and cheese until midnight, and around 2 am, we’d work our way through all the mini-size flavors of Häagen-Dazs ice cream rating them by a spoonful. Strawberry won every time I got a large piece of a whole strawberry on my spoon. However, the plain vanilla was the most faithful, always consistent, and worked well with anything else.
With insomnia by my side and high-carb foods that promised to ward off hypoglycemia, I felt safe. Safe enough to let the Sandman dance with me, gently.
My healthcare providers only saw the weight gain.
They never asked, “Are you afraid to go to sleep?” “Have you had a terrifying experience of hypoglycemia and how are you coping?”
They gave me medication to help with my weight. I needed counseling. Heck, as I’m writing this post, I realize that I still need counseling because the fear is still there.
There are a few differences between those early days of being newly diagnosed and now.
Now, I have many more death-defying experiences of hypoglycemia, most happened while I was pregnant. The worst happened this past Christmas when I passed out and felt the effects of that for 2-3 days.
Now, the Ai system on my insulin pump (Control IQ) is my strongest weapon against hypoglycemia, but the sound of the battle often interrupts my sleep. I hear the insulin pump stopping and starting over the quietness of the night. It wakes me.
Now, motherhood competes with diabetes for the same sleep.
Some weeks, I am content with this being my new normal -rarely getting a good night’s sleep and being well rested. Other times, I get upset and frustrated when the normal stressors of life (financial worries, emotional concerns, spiritual fatigue, work-related matters, marital disagreements, the pain from a frozen shoulder, etc) also steal my sleep.
This picture sums up most of my nights…Motherhood and Diabetes, and Sleep struggling to find its place in the picture.
How’s your sleep quality?