Christmas Time! (With a shed load of hypos…)

Personally, I LOVE Christmas. Wintertime is honestly my favourite time of year! Nestled on the sofa all snuggled up in my woolly blanket with a mug of hot chocolate, finally reaching the temperatures it is acceptable to wear my thickest scarves and biggest jumpers and those truly magical moments that you’re wandering down the street in the evening with beautiful Christmas lights twinkling everywhere you look. Christmas time is truly wonderful don’t you think?

As a diabetic December is generally (and thankfully!) no different. I still enjoy all those little moments – I’m just mostly hypo for them all…. To give you a rough idea, from 1st of December to the 16th (so a two week period) I’ve had a grand total of 42 lows. Under 4.0 mmol/l. Yeah, I counted. 

That includes a 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, several 2.8s and 2.9s. It’s been….. interesting. Lots of the lows were actually in a 4 day period last week, so I had low after low after low and it was not easy! I am so sick and tired of lows at this point now. 

The worst low was the 2.2, as it wasn’t one of the best situations to go low in really. To give you a little context – I get off the bus from two streets away from my block of flats, literally only turning a corner and I’m home kind of distance. I’d already had a 2.8 an hour and a half earlier but been perfectly fine since.

So, 6:10 I climb off the bus after testing to check I was good to go, 4.9. Halfway down my road, with my flat within reaching distance I suddenly think “I’m low”. My only symptom was being a tiny bit shaky – normal with a 3.9! But, I just had this instinct that I was really low. Really, really low. I decide I test there and then, lo and behold 2.2. Problem was, my mum was currently sat on a train on the way home from London having been in a meeting all day, ironically a diabetes meeting. She’d done this plenty of times before with no issues but there I was stood there wondering what the hell to do. 

Unfortunately, when I’m extremely low I tend to low-key panic and call mum instead of treat the low, but thankfully this time I knew this wasn’t sensible and had a double hypo treatment and then proceeded to call mum. 

No answer. Fabulous. 

I try a second time. But nope, I can’t even ask my mum what I should do. (It hadn’t entered my head by this point to sit down on the bench I was slowly wandering past). At this point I started getting a tad scared, because although I’ve had my fair share and more of scary hypos, I’ve never been stood on a dark street completely alone other than a few strangers, feeling almost totally fine and yet a number that low. My heart was racing and I’m fairly sure it had jumped into my throat because all I could think was that could not afford to collapse right there.  

Luckily, I noticed a text had just come through from my Grandma starting with ” Hi Jess, I thought I’d call you when you got home…..”.  Bingo. Grandma. You don’t know the relief I felt when she picked up the phone!

I didn’t even let her start talking, I just cut her off by announcing my blood sugars. I think it was a bit of a shock for her to be honest – sorry about that! But from then on I was safe. She got hold of mum (somehow she has this talent of contacting her when I can’t….) and then kept me on the phone chatting after instructing me where to sit down, how much Lucozade to take etc. She was brilliant. 

At one point I think we had my mum on the phone to my aunt (who lives with my grandma all the way up in London), her then passing info onto my grandma sat opposite each other, then my grandma relaying the messages and questions to me! It’s amusing to think of now, but it wasn’t a great situation to end up in. 

I won’t bore you with the stories of all the other lows I’ve had, but I think I’ve seen the first aiders at school more in this one term than I had the T.A. trained for hypos in the entirety of year 10 and 11! They’ve been so good with me, because most of my lowest hypos have been stood randomly around the site – never in my nice warm study room. It’s a tad embarrassing to have the first aider called out to you and then it becoming a small scene – not fun. But what can you do? 

Hypos are never fun at the best of times – but they’re the worst when you have lots clumped together and on top of that having some more serious ones scattered throughout out. It really has taken everything out of me – I’m utterly exhausted.

Christmas couldn’t have come at a better time. I have the luxury of no work for a few days and no pressure to hand in homework or worry about upcoming tests. I have time to recover from the avalanche of lows and even a little time for me to finally enjoy my favourite season!

**I have been proactive in using low suspends, temp basals and snacks to conquer all these lows. I was just up against a lot of things that induce hypos enough on their own let alone all combined at once. 

If you have any experience similar don’t be scared to share them in the comments!

Starbucks’ #RedCupCheer!

“What the hell is #RedCupCheer?” is what you’re probably thinking right now. 

Starbucks UK has given the Children’s Hyperinsulinism Charity, @CHCharity on twitter, the amazing opportunity to win a £1000 donation!  Our job is to simply drink a shed load of coffee or hot chocolate in their trademark red cups with @CHCharity #RedCupCheer written on the side!

I was born with Congenital Hyperinsulinism, so my pancreas was continuously giving out insulin so that at 20 hours old (after a day of seizures) my first ever blood sugar reading was 0.3mmol/l. I had my pancreas taken out as my strain of CHI was untreatable with medication, resulting in my being diagnosed with diabetes a week later. 

The donation means everything to the charity, because the money may go to research into better medications with less side effects and preventing the babies from going through major surgery and becoming diabetic. It could also go towards connecting families and bringing them together because nothing is better than meeting people in situations just like yours.  

So join us and make us louder with #RedCupCheer for @CHCharity – retweeting any tweet containing both of these will help us! Or maybe you could even head into your local Starbucks (not forgetting a sharpie to write our twitter handle on the side) and grab yourself your own red cup and tell us about it on twitter with #RedCupCheer. Even searching @Jess_Burton3 / @AtoniB / @CHCharity to go and have a scroll and retweeting my trip to Starbucks this morning will help us! Please feel free to help us in any way you can. 

I have a feeling that by the time this finishes on Christmas Eve, I will  know my way round Starbucks’ menu incredibly well!


⬆️Me in Great Ormond Street hospital before I had my Pancras out – so many babies with CHI have photos just like this one.