Stress? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Stress…

You guys may recall that I posted a video back in May after my first doze of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. I posted the video in the hopes that it could be of assistance to other Type-1 Diabetics who were considering doing the smart thing and getting vaccinated against the virus. Now, I’m not here to debate the merits of vaccination or to argue about what any individual person’s choice may be. Based on my life and my thoughts on the matter, vaccination was a smart thing for my family and I. I have no regrets.

Without writing out the entire content of the video I posted, I’ll briefly describe what happened after my first dose. I walked into the pharmacy about ten minutes before my scheduled appointment. My blood sugars were relatively normal. Bear in mind, I wear a continuous glucose monitor. I get the injection. Less than an hour later, my blood sugar spike to above 22.0 mmol/L! A couple of important details to point out include the fact that it climbed from a normal range to that level in about an hour and that it happened SO fast that my pump didn’t even register and have time to set off the “High” alarm at 14.0 mmol/L like it’s programmed to. Still with me? Good.

I’m used to having things screw up on me on occasion, so I drank some fluids and slowly bolused and brought my blood down to a normal level before going to sleep. It wasn’t until a week later when I was at the pharmacy filling out one of a bajillion prescriptions, that the pharmacist asked me about any symptoms after receiving the vaccine. I told her I hadn’t suffered any symptoms that I knew of. My blood sugar had spiked, but nothing vaccine-related. She was shocked at the spike and asked me fill out a form for the health authority as she felt it may have been a side effect of the vaccine.

It took a few weeks for the health authority to get back to me, but their determination was that the spike in blood sugars were a result of “stress associated with getting the COVID-19 vaccine.” Wait. What? Are you fuckin’ kidding me? So, I’ve been getting near-constant injections and needles almost since the cradle, I’ve had scores of vaccines and immunizations and I used to work a job where my life was genuinely in peril on more occasions than I can count, and you think getting this particular vaccine “stressed” me out? What a joke! By that definition, why didn’t everything I listed above cause a massive and rapid spike in blood sugars? None of it ever has…

I was pretty pissed off at this response and I made it clear to the caller, who wasn’t a doctor or health professional but simply passing on the information to let me know I was good to get my second dose. I explained that I was in no way stressed about getting the vaccine and that the health authority’s assessment was inaccurate. In fact, besides being a little tired I was quite relaxed and chatting with the pharmacist while getting the vaccine. I explained that I felt that it would be foolish to write this off as something trivial, considering Saskatchewan has somewhere near 100,000 people with Diabetes and it could potentially be dangerous for someone with less control than I have. The caller assured me that everything was documented. Great.

I can just imagine that if I DIDN’T wear a continuous glucose monitor and had as much experience as I do with managing my own blood sugars without an ER visit, the night would have turned out quite differently. I would have easily gone to bed, given that I was sleepy from the extreme high. Without any monitoring, the pump would have continued with nothing more than the base rate of insulin and I could have faced some dire results.

According to article posted by Diabetes UK, “common ingredients in the coronavirus vaccines include sucrose (a type of sugar) and salt.” Well, ain’t that a bitch??? That would have been nice to know. The article carries on by later indicating that the body produces an immune response because of the vaccine. The “body needs energy to produce this immune response, so it may release some extra glucose (sugar). This is what leads to your blood sugar increasing.”

Setting aside the fact that I can’t help but feel that this is something that perhaps I should have been warned about, the combination of existing sucrose in the vaccine (however minute the amount) mixed with my own body’s immune response resulting in the release of glucose into the bloodstream is what resulted in my spike in blood sugars. I would have liked to assume that the health authority should have known this. Unless the immune response is what they meant by being stressed. Who the hell knows?

I attended Coronavirus Vaccine 2: Electric Boogaloo, last Friday and this time I was ready. Extra Gatorade and fluids were available and I watched my blood sugars like a hawk. I’m happy to report no issues, besides the typical crap one feels after getting any immunization. I felt exhausted for a couple of days afterwards, but since I made a point of incorporating my meals around the vaccination, there was no reflexive release of glucose by the liver and my blood sugars stayed consistent. But this just goes a long way towards making it clear that when I complain about how Type-1 Diabetes affects EVERYTHING, I’m not exaggerating. ☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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