Things my girlfriend does when she is low.

This is a guest blog posy by Alex Carrion. Alex is a plant-based ultra endurance athlete who has run 100-miles completely fueled by plants. He is also Amy’s partner and experiences first-hand what it is like to live with type 1 diabetes without having it himself. 

I didn’t know what type 1 diabetes was until a year ago when I started dating my girlfriend Amy. I had the stereotypical preconceptions that people who were overweight or ate too much sugar got diabetes. I didn’t know there was more than one kind. And I certainly didn’t know what it was like to live with type 1.

Amy opened my eyes to a whole new world. One filled with constant monitoring of blood sugar levels, giving doses of insulin with every meal, having to eat before, during and after runs, setting alarms for midnight and 3am to wake up and check her sugar levels.

I was not only in disbelief at the never-ending requirements to manage type 1 diabetes, but in awe at how well she coped and just brushed it off as part of her everyday life and daily habits.

The reality of type 1 diabetes hit me on our trip to Yosemite National Park in April last year. We had run the Boston marathon the week before and that day had done a 6 hour hike up to one of the Yosemite peaks.

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Right before we went to bed that evening I recall Amy being frustrated because her sugar levels were high and she gave a dose of insulin just as we fell asleep exhausted from the day’s events.

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In the middle of the night I woke to a loud bang and saw Amy stumbling to the fridge of our Airbnb, I thought she must’ve been trying to get water so I turned on the light and asked if she was okay.

When I realized she was responding with slurred words and was not very coherent I knew it had to do with her diabetes.
I had absolutely no idea what to do. I sat her down and presented her with some dates to eat. She didn’t want them unless I put them in a bowl and she could pick them up one by one herself.

I followed her illogical instructions and thankfully she ate them and started to gain consciousness after 15 very long minutes although had no idea where she was.

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This really gave me a new perspective and appreciation of what it was like living with type 1 diabetes. It wasn’t always as easy as Amy made it out to be.

Although hypoglycemia isn’t something we should take light-hearted and I know the importance of treating it quickly, Amy has allowed me to share some of the funnier moments we have had together when she had low blood sugar levels.

Things my girlfriend does when she is low:

  • Eat half a jar of almond butter, when I questioned her the next morning she had the guilty look of a child who ate cake on her face
  • Finish off my favorite blueberry jam spread
  • Laugh uncontrollably for 10 mins while I try and convince her to eat some sugar
  • Cry while I force food in her face and as her sugars begin to rise apologizing for being “overdramatic” – her words not mine
  • Lie in bed drinking a jar of honey like its water
  • Sitting on the kitchen floor with the fridge open having a picnic for 1 at 3am
  • Eating an entire packet of girl scout cookies – justifying this with the quote “but they’re vegan”
  • Eating all of our snacks on a 3-hour run in the first 30 mins
  • Smothering me with kisses because she is feeling goofy and hyper even though she is hypo

All these memories make me laugh and smile. Not only because Amy seems to eat my favorite foods when she is low, but because every day she continues to live life with positivity, optimism and happiness, not letting living with type 1 diabetes change that.

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