One of my biggest fears as a “person with diabetes”, is causing a scene because my blood sugar has decided to ride the express train downtown into the the core of the earth. Over the years, I’ve gone through ebbs and flows where I develop this really intense anxiety about being “that guy” that does something so disruptive, it causes an entire room to gasp, and stare, and point, inevitably call 9-1-1, and then look at me for the rest of time like I have a weakness. (No one is allowed to know that!!!)
So naturally, when my best friend since childhood got engaged and subsequently planned the most stunning wedding of the century, I panicked a little. The whole shebang had a lot of firsts for me. And firsts for diabetics can be alarming things. Not only was I a first-time bridesmaid, but a first time bridesmaid at a 4 day affair, with people I’d known my entire life, at a traditional, 45+ minute ceremony where I’d have to stand in front of roughly 200 familiar faces while being silent, still, and calm with a radiant smile on my face, watching my glowing friend say her vows to the man of her dreams.
I was a ball of emotions. I went from anxious, to terrified, to pissed off that I couldn’t be anything other than over the moon, to over the moon, then back to anxious.
This wedding was like my own personal Super Bowl. The girl that was getting married is the kind of friend that doesn’t miss a single beat, and that acts cool as a cucumber always, but only because she’s worked so hard to wrinkle out details about things like votive placement years in advance. She has the ability to put on such a seamless production, I’m convinced she and Beyoncé have the same people. Not only that, but I have been close with her and her family for exactly 20 years. This was an event that I have dreamed about with her for equally as long, and there was absolutely no way that I was going to tolerate disruptions, interruptions, or any reason to not be able to keep up with her over the course of her nuptial extravaganza. I was going to get this bitch married with the happiest smile on both of our faces if it was the absolute last thing I did.
Not two days before this entire event popped off, I had the worst low of my diabetes career. I sat at my desk sweating and shaking, thinking “OMG WHAT IF THIS HAPPENS ON SATURDAY, SHE’S GOING TO KILL ME AND I’M GOING TO KILL ME AND THEN I’M GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE SHAME FOREVER.” Of course, like the guardian angel she is, she texted me concerned after seeing my Instagram post about the gnarly low, showing all the compassion in the world about discovering my frightening incident instead of focusing on her table runners and flower arrangements. But in the back of both of our minds we I’m guessing we were thinking the exact same thing, “LOW BLOOD SUGARS ARE NOT INVITED TO THIS WEDDING.”
So, despite the frightening blip on my track record so close to show time, I did my due diligence to ensure that exactly zero people were aware that one of the bridesmaids was concealing an insulin pump under her layers of chiffon. Or that in the purse under the first chair on the right, closest to the church door, wasn’t just filled with tissues and mascara, it was stocked with Swedish Fish, KIND bars, and extra test strips. Or that while she was practicing not locking her knees standing with a bouquet in her hands, she was racking her brain to recall the direction of the arrow on her Dexcom that she last saw before entering the church.
It took a little bit (ok, fine, a lot a bit) of preparation. But like any wedding, that’s the key to success. So since I know many of you are in the middle or end of wedding season, here’s how I prepped to keep my diabetes on the DL during someone else’s most important day.
- Make a List, Check It Twice
Write down all the supplies you typically use in a day. Multiply it by 3, call your Rx, and see how much your insurance will let you get away with buying at once. Then pack it all up strategically so that you can carry an entire day’s worth of supplies around with you in your bags so that no matter what happens, you have back up on-deck.
- Pretend That A Simple Low Will Literally Stop The World On Its Axis So That If/When It Happens, You’re so OVER Prepared, The World Keeps Spinning Instead
ALWAYS bring low supplies with you. Everywhere. And not like healthy, good-choice low-supplies. The quick-hit shit: CANDY. JUICE. Whatever works, and works fast. These are the times where I’m simply not willing to sacrifice time and convenience for calories and the long-game. Do whatever it takes. Put some candy in your boyfriend’s suit coat, a friend’s purse, a tote bag in the corner, random spots through the venues you’ll be in (if you think that’s necessary). This way you can detach from all your gadgets and still feel confident that you’re covered in the event that your numbers start to tank.
- Talk About It
I had the luxury of being a part of a wedding party that I knew very well. The bride, and two other bridesmaids had been my roomies for many years, my parents, boyfriend, and brother were at the wedding, as well as all of my high school and many college friends. So I essentially had 45 nurses on deck and ready to act. But sometimes, people need a little reminder. Just voicing that “Hey, guys, I’m bringing a bigger bag to the ceremony cuz I need my shugs shit, anyone need to throw their chapstick in?” Breaks the ice and makes it much less sneaky/awkward that you’re schlepping an extra sack of goodies around with you.
- Wear The Dress Beforehand
Like I typically do to break in high heels, I did a few dry runs with my brides maid dress. I tried it on with all of my strapless bras and my GirlyGo Garter before the big day to see where my pump was most comfortable, and concealed with the dress. I knew it was going to be a really long day, and if I wasn’t happy with the fit of things, it was going to feel like a really long, frustrating day. This also took a lot of the guessing game out of the actual event because I knew what it was all going to feel like when it all came together.
- Eat & Drink Water, Especially After Boozing
Sometimes, being in a wedding can be a bit demanding from a scheduling perspective. But the key to feeling great and having more predictable numbers is CHUGGING EVERY DROP OF WATER YOU FIND, and squeezing in some nutrient-rich, high protein stuff. With all the activity and racing around, plus the false highs caused by adrenaline spikes, you can find yourself in a really weird place if you don’t pay attention. Also, I tend to wake up in the 70’s if I’ve been drinking and go to bed without eating. Now is not the time to sleep through lows, so make sure you eat something, or adjust your night-time basals if you’re worried you’ll dip in your sleep.
- Pick A Hooch, And Stay With It
As we’ve recently discovered, a glass or two of white wine seems to mysteriously help lower blood sugar (#Science), but I’ve never been to a wedding where I’ve had only a glass or two of anything. When it comes to boozing at weddings, try to stick to one type of drink. Consistency really helps me when it comes to metabolizing the alcohol, specifically the sugar in the alcohol, and it ESPECIALLY helps me with my hangover the next day. The less switcharoo-ing I do, the better the next day is. I also get bad lows when I’m hungover, and absolutely not one person on this earth has the time or energy to be BOTH of those God awful things.
- Time your Tests
When you’re tearing up the dance floor or draining the bar/catching up with old friends, you often forget to check or test. This is when I made the rule for myself that bathroom runs = Dexcom check-ins. This way I’m at least checking in every hour or two, and I don’t have to worry that by being super active or socially distracted I’m not missing a low or a crazy spike.
- Give Yourself A Break
A wedding weekend COULD NOT be farther away from reality than really any other event. If your numbers aren’t a steady 112 the whole time, who cares! As long as you’re not feeling sick or your energy levels are shot from combating highs and lows the whole time, it’s really okay! The most important thing is that you’re present, having a good time, and making the dance floor your biatch.