This is the second part of post. Read part 1 here:
Since last summer I felt I was coping and getting better at adjusting my cortisone dose. Now at my trip to Jyväskylä this week I had another learning experience. Guess I’m still not good enough in taking account a combination of stressors when trying to gauge my HC dose.
Before my trip, I had worked a lot and was already pretty exhausted. I was yet again suffering from poor sleep due to stressing about my journey. I was leaving in early Wednesday morning and I had to work the entire night before. I got a bunch of consultation calls during the night so I only got 3 hours of sleep before leaving to Jyväskylä. The trip took nearly 5 hours with taxi to bus station, bus to Jyväskylä, taxi to my friend’s home and then walking to the university where the exercise science symposium was held at. I had taken only 1.5 x my normal HC dose. Idiot me…
Already around 2 PM as I followed the lectures I started to get headache and dizziness, so I took 10 mg extra HC. Well, it did’t help. I was getting brain fog and slight nausea. My heart was racing, and I was suddenly covered in cold sweat. My hands shook. I felt hypoglycemic and nearly panicky for something sugary to eat. My vision started to get a bit blurry. That really alerted me that I was getting pre-crisis and my blood sugar was plummeting. I took 20 mg more HC, drank a lot of water and ate, waiting to feel better. But it didn’t help. I was getting worse by the minute, and in fear I would pass out, I rushed out of the lecture hall and tried to get outside for some fresh air. But I didn’t have the strength to stand so I didn’t make it outside. Instead I curled into a sofa in the uni hallway. I put 20 mg more HC under my tongue. I didn’t want to alert anyone else and thought I’d wait a bit longer for my meds to work. I was already thinking that I’d go into the toilet to inject if I didn’t start feeling better in 30 minutes.
Waiting still for any improvement, shaky and afraid, I called my boyfriend and blurted everything out to him. How I felt so awful and didn’t know if I was going to faint or not and that everything was ruined now, that I came all this way for nothing, I didn’t even have the strength or stamina to attend to symposium and cried I wanted to come home and just sleep… I was more than a little panicky and getting high on adrenaline. My hands were shaking as I squeezed the phone. I guess there would have been shouting involved if I wasn’t still at least partly self-conscious enough not to make a fool of myself surrounded by uni students.
Little by little HC started to kick in and I felt better. I knew I needed someplace quiet and calm to rest, and I couldn’t do it at my friend’s home as I was supposed to be sleeping in the living room. My brain fog eased and I was able to think clearly again. I booked myself a hotel room in the city center. My friend was kind enough to come to the uni to escort me there. We took a cab to collect my luggage from her place and then I went to the hotel. I slept the whole evening there, as well as most of Thursday evening as well. But at least I got enough rest to I could attend to the lectures. I did more than double my HC, too, for the rest of the symposium.
Since my diagnosis, I’ve now twice been close to considering giving myself the Solu-Cortef injection. Is that progress or regress? I don’t know. One thing I could – and should – be proud of is that I’ve recognized my symptoms and haven’t tried to just force myself to cope. Instead I’ve immediately taken more HC and rested. It’s never – repeat – never fun to wake up covered in your own vomit with a bump on your head. Much less so if you end up in an emergency room. So I guess I’m getting better at listening to my body, to an extent, anyway.
My diet recap is cancelled from this week. Partly due to the fact I’m still exhausted after my trip and have slept around the clock since I got home. The other reason is that I went totally overboard with carbs after my pre-crisis scare. Every time I get really low in cortisol, one the biggest red flags for me is hypoglycemia that is also very tricky for me to get in control. Already many years before I got diagnosed, I tended to get reactive low blood sugar that plummeted even when I ate a lot of complex carbs every few hours. Now with AI, it’s really hard for me to get my blood sugar up and it goes down soon after eating even if I take a combination of fast and slow acting carbs and eat protein and fat at the same time to try to slow down the digestion and uptake of sugar.
Now again on Wed I had this massive craving for sugary food and throughout the evening my hands would start shaking, I would get ravenously hungry, my heart would start to race and I’d get drenched in cold sweats. Before going to the hotel, my kind taxi driver (who’s son happened to be type 1 diabetic so he really understood how I felt) escorted me to a local supermarket to get some food for the evening as I didn’t have any with me and was too tired to go to the hotel’s restaurant. He would’ve even accompanied me to the store but I wanted to go by myself. So, still shaky and in the “rush”, I stuffed my cart full of carbs: bread, pretzels, yogurt, salt crackers, candy and cookies (oh, and two protein bars). The whole evening and night I ate something every two hours or so or I got the shakes again.
So, at least I had a carb up – as much as a person who’s carbs are at 250-300 grams per day during her diet anyway needs a carb up… 🙂
Now I’m feeling better and have rested a lot. Next week will bring new challenges… But I’m learning to think that 1+1 = 4 (or 5) with AI.