Sunday, November 25, 2012
Well, ever since I started tracking my food a few days ago, my morning sugars have been lower. Nothing major, I'd still like to see them go down more, but from an average of 180 to around 150 is already good. My doctor said 150 and below is good, up to 180 after a meal, so I'm finally moving back into target ranges.
Today, I went swimming for half an hour, and my sugar was down to 89! Anything in the two digit range is a major achievement for me. I was so happy, I went to the grocery store and bought lots of healthy foods, and now I'm making my signature spaghetti sauce - slimmed down a bit by using no-salt-added tomato cans and low fat sour cream. I'll just make sure I watch the serving size when I pour it, that's when I get into trouble.
A colleague told me about Dream Fields Pasta, which miraculously has only a few carbs per serving; I bought some, and I'll try it out today, along with some salad. I'll invite my best friend over, and I'll just make him regular spaghetti. Everyone's happy.
I'm a pretty decent cook, but I haven't done much cooking lately. Once I get into it, I enjoy it, so I'm definitely going to try a lot of the Spark People recipes and use some of the low-carb/diabetes cookbooks that I've accumulated.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
I've always believed in traditional medicine. When I was 7, I had my first case of pneumonia, followed by 3 more, plus innumerable bouts of bronchitis. Antibiotics saved my life more than once; if the lung problems had not done me in, my appendicitis at age 18 probably would have. So, I've usually trusted doctors, nurses, and medications.
Now, if you're familiar with respiratory illness, you exclaimed, right after reading the first paragraph: "Asthma!" Exactly. Back when I was growing up, only the kids who passed out in the gym were diagnosed with asthma, but I had the classic symptoms of intermittent asthma, triggered by minor colds. A little inhaler puff here and there would have saved me a lot of trouble.
When I was an adult, I was finally treated for asthma with Singulair, Advair, and the occasional rescue inhaler use. All was well, and I did not get sick that often. When I did get a bad attack, the allergist put me on prednisone, a steroid, for a week, which kept me up all night, but gave me lots of energy to clean house, so I did not mind the side effects. I received an informational page about the medicine, which said that in some cases, with patients who take it for an extended period of time and who have family history, the medicine can trigger diabetes. No problem; I had no family history of the disease, and I only took the medication for a week or two a few times a year, so this did not apply to me.
A few years later, my allergist ordered routine blood tests, and my sugar was 384. My doctor patted me on the shoulder and told me to go to my primary physician, or better yet, to the ER. That got my attention, so I drove home, parked the car, and walked across the street to the hospital, where I got admitted. When I said "blood sugar" and "prednisone", the nurses nodded knowingly. After an IV and a shot of insulin, my sugar went down, and I felt so much cooler; I had been hot all the time for a while and had no idea that had been another side effect of the high sugars.
The doctor told me that it would take a few weeks for the prednisone to leave my system, so she put me on insulin, gave me a blood sugar meter, and told me to drink lots of water. I had the luxury of something most people don't have: I had a month to be in realistic denial. I could seriously tell myself that while I might have diabetes, it was more likely that this was a temporary issue. So I had some time to get used to the idea.
Problem was, my sugars kept bouncing back up, and a few months later, I was finally diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. In the meantime, I had talked to my parents about the incident, and my mom told me she had been diagnosed with Type 2, and so had my paternal grandmother - they just didn't tell me, because they didn't want to worry me! I had it on both sides of the family! If I had known that I had family history, I would have never taken the steroids! The doctor told me that, given my history, I would have probably gotten diabetes in another decade or two, but the steroids triggered it off early. I was so angry I could have thrown things - at my family for not telling me, and at my allergist for prescribing me the stuff.
Getting used to the diabetes itself was not even that bad; I had worked with several Type 1 diabetics before and was familiar with blood sugar ranges, symptoms, meters, insulin, etc. Besides, once you've worked with a 7 year old who has had Type 1 since he was a baby, you know you can't complain if you get Type 2 as an adult; at least I was able to eat what I wanted for decades. My anger came from not knowing - not knowing about family history, and not knowing about the side effects from infrequent use.
The morals of the story:
1. Always, always, check the side effects of any medicines they put you on, and don't assume you are low risk.
2. Even if you know both sides of your biological family, don't assume that you know your medical history; ask questions of the most talkative family members until you get enough information.
3. Get regular blood tests to get alerts on problems you may not be aware of; if there is a free screening at the drug store, go. I must have walked right past dozens of free diabetes screenings, thinking it would be a waste of my time and their resources to get tested.
Wishing all of you good health!
Friday, November 23, 2012
Behind my apartment complex is a small reservoir that is being turned into a park. The walking/biking trail around it was finished last year, and even though I have walked parts of it, I've never walked all around.
Well, this morning I did. It took me exactly 60 minutes, counting from the front door, and 6054 steps, making it roughly 3 miles! Even though there was a bit of frost on the fallen leaves, the sun was shining warmly, and so the temperature was quite comfortable. A few joggers, dogwalkers, and bike riders had the same idea.
Being a hobby birder, I also enjoyed the wildlife: sea gulls, starlings, Northern Flickers, and a big hawk I could not quite identify, but I'm guessing it was a Swainson's. Next time, I'm taking my camera, but today, the focus was just on fitness and getting an idea what the trail is like.
My blood sugar was 190 this morning, due to a 2 a.m. snack (nuts and tangerines, healthy, but still full of carbs), but after the walk, it was 122. That's not really scientific, since I had oatmeal for breakfast and took my medication with it, but the walk definitely pulled the sugar down.
Now I'm getting ready for my eye appointment. The only true fear I have related to my health and especially diabetes is going blind, it terrifies me, probably because I've already had bad eyesight all my life; so far, nothing that can't be corrected with glasses, but still, it's scary.
And yes, I have to reluctantly admit, the fitness nuts have a point with their statement that exercise makes you feel good - at least, for me, when it is combined with nature.
It's also good for creativity. On my little excursion, I came up with a cool plan for a virtual walk through parts of Europe I want to start on New Year's Day; I'll let you know the details soon and invite you all along, so keep checking back!
Thursday, November 22, 2012
I would have titled this entry "Of Feathered Friends", but the turkey roasting in my oven right now is far from being feathered, and I don't think he would consider me much of a friend today. This is the first time in my life that I am making a turkey. Usually, I go over to my best friend's house, but their oven broke, and most of the family is going out to eat, so my best friend and I decided I'd make a turkey and we'd eat it in my little apartment.
That means not only cooking, but cleaning. Like most people who love to eat, I love to cook, but I hate cleaning, unless I happen to be in the mood, which only happens about three or four times a year or after watching an episode of Hoarders. But it's for a good cause, so a little vacuuming and scrubbing will be alright.
I woke up early this morning - and despite loving birds, I am not an early bird - because I was excited about cooking today. Of course, I had some breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich, yum, and entered it on the nutrition tracker. Lots of calories and carbs still open for turkey & co!
Then, I started washing and basting the turkey, while my male cockatiel, Carrera, flew first on the kitchen cabinet, then on my head, and watched me. He's the one you see in my profile picture. He loves action, especially anything shiny that makes noise - and cooking qualifies. Luckily, the turkey is white meat only, no legs or wings, so it's pretty unrecognizable as a bird; I don't think Carrera would understand that it's a completely different species, like comparing monkeys to cows.
So I'm taking a little Spark break now before I start cleaning and making all the side dishes.
Wish me luck, and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I'm Suby, Type 2 diabetic for the last 2 1/2 years, and I'm not living with diabetes, more like against it. I don't really think of diabetes as a disease, but my body sabotaging itself in one more way - like natural tooth decay or aging are not enough.
Ironically enough, I was okay with the whole diabetes thing for the first year, kept it under control, went to my education class, all that stuff, but the past year, I've just been annoyed with it. I guess I went into the anger phase after the acceptance phase, kind of unusual.
Right now, I'm struggling to get everything back under control. I've been avoiding the doctor's office and the tests because I know I should be doing better; my blood sugar tends to get atrociously high, and I really don't want to get another medication, I'm already on glimeperide and Actos - besides, it took me a month to learn how to pronounce glimeperide, so now that I can, I don't want to switch.
I really think I can reduce my sugar levels and eventually even my meds, but that requires eating healthier and exercising. I don't mind healthy food, especially when it's on top of a pizza, but the problem is it tends to come in large portions and to be accompanied by unhealthier buddies. I can live without donuts or hard candy for the rest of my life, but I don't understand why yummy foods such as potatoes and pasta have such high carb contents, not to mention chocolate!
Also, I'm not a big fan of exercise except swimming in the outdoor pool, so my fitness regimen regularly collapses after Labor Day weekend; the indoor pool is just not half as much fun.
I've used SparkPeople before but fallen off the wagon; now I got a new Smartphone and realized there is an app, so I can use it on the computer and on the go, so I'll give it another shot. I like the food tracker stuff, just wish there were more nifty report options.
Anyway, nice to meet all of you, and I hope we can all help each other in battling diabetes, exercise, and carbs all at once!
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