Life Changes

Silver sweater.cropped

Is there something in your family’s medical history that scares you? For me, that was Type 2 diabetes.

My mother, her two sisters, and their father had all had Type 2. I believe it is what killed my sister as well. So the family history made it a very real, very dire, diagnosis for me.

Back when my grandfather and my Aunt Edith were diagnosed. the only treatment was to watch your diet and take insulin before each meal. There was no way to check your blood sugar before or after eating, or even check it at home. We went in to the doctor once every four to six weeks to have blood work drawn. As my grandfather wasn’t what you could call compliant by any stretch of the imagination, it was always a stressful day.

He couldn’t get his mind around the fact that just because something was a healthy food generally, that it wasn’t necessarily a healthy food for him to eat whenever he wanted. He loved apples and oranges and would sneak them into his room. And when his blood sugar results came in, he would have a fit. Somehow it was someone else’s fault.

I grew up watching my mother give her father insulin shots three times a day, fussing at him abut his diet, and eating meals on a strict schedule to accommodate for his illness. Breakfast was at seven, lunch at noon, and dinner at five. This never varied.

My Aunt Edith, was extremely strict about her diet. Not only did she know what she could eat, she carried measuring cups and spoons with her to measure everything that went on her plate. When we sat down for breakfast, she and my mother went over the meal plan for the day so she could figure out her bread  substitutes for each meal. And she took three daily injections as well.

Aunt Betty was able to control her diabetes with diet alone. She was the sister with a completely different metabolism from her sisters. Mom and Aunt Edith could gain weight just thinking about chocolate cake. Aunt Betty could eat the whole thing a lose a pound or two. She had never had the diet struggle her sisters had, so the transition wasn’t as difficult.

My mother was fine with diet at first, but after the first year or so, had to go on an oral medication, which was later involved in a class action suit. She died from complications to her diabetes, partly due to the medication. I am now older than she was at her death.

Even in my mother’s time, there was no way to do home blood sugar tests, so you were more or less left to flounder around on your own and hope everything was fine when you went to the lab.

When I was a child I had major ear infections and was in the clinic once a month it seemed, so I had grown tired of injections at an early age. The idea of having to take three injections each and every day for the rest of my life was worse than a death sentence. It got to the point where I couldn’t even watch anyone getting an injection. I still can’t.

As a breast cancer survivor, you might think diabetes would be a walk in the park by comparison, but not for me. Cancer was something you could eliminate with surgery and drugs. Diabetes, as far as I knew, was forever. Once diagnosed, it would be a lifelong enemy. I knew there had been advancement in medication, but it still scared me spitless.

Our daughter is a nurse, and she recommended the doctor I went to see. She assured me he knew what he was talking about. But when he initially insisted I should take a once a week insulin shot, I was dismayed, though he insisted diabetes could be reversed.

The diet I’ve been following was a bit of a challenge at the beginning. Eating nothing but unprocessed foods can be tricky. Eating unprocessed foods, with no oil or salt added is trickier. Eating most of it raw or lightly steamed is hard to get used to.

And it seems there is sugar in everything on the shelf. I had some cans of beans in the pantry–kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzos. Though he’d told me to avoid canned foods, I didn’t want to waste them. Some of the black beans and the garbanzos were all right, as far as sugar.

But kidney beans? I have yet to find a brand of kidney beans which does not contain sugar. After the beans in my pantry were gone, I hadn’t planned on buying more anyway. But I was curious. Some of the other beans have sugar, but not usually every brand. Kidney beans, though, are always sweetened.

And stewed tomatoes. You can buy just about any other sort of canned tomato and be fine. But if they’re stewed, they have sugar in them.

Seasoning blends usually have sugar in them. Some of the Mrs. Dash seasonings I’ve found without sugar, but I’m not particularly fond of them. So I’ve become more skilled at making my own seasonings–without salt or sugar involved.

Salad dressings and most sauces have sugar, not to mention salt. And I really can’t deal with the artificial sweeteners or fat free things. It’s much easier to flavor some vinegar ahead of time for salads.

But after eight months of working with this new diet plan, I’ve found a way to have variety in my meals, have plenty to eat without feeling too full, and not feel overly restricted. Eating out can be a challenge, but there are several places around where I can browse the salad bar or order a large salad. One of the Chinese restaurants will steam me a large platter of mixed vegetables.

There are still times when I miss being able to eat whatever I want whenever I want it. But as my system won’t accept some foods yet, that makes it easier. I’m beginning to be able to add more beans and grains to my diet, a little at a time, which helps. But I found the family BBQ upsetting, even though I had skewers of grilled veggies–which were marvelous.

I have another appointment with my doctor coming up later this month. I’ll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, stay happy, stay healthy, and live life to the full.

Are you interested in the story of my breast cancer?

Cancer and the Warrior’s Way is available at Amazon!

Also available for Kindle!

I Know. It Has Been a While…

But you know how things are. Life has a way of becoming hectic at times, and we’ve been through one of those periods lately. But to kind of catch¬† you up to speed, I thought I’d make a short post today.

My mother’s side of the family has always had a problem with Type 2 diabetes. I had hoped to give it a miss, since several people in my father’s family had the exact opposite problem–hypoglycemia.

But in November, 2018, our daughter insisted we go to the Urgent Care to have them look at one of my toes. When she looked at it, she found a small piece of metal embedded in the wound, which was healing far too slowly. Once the doctor there looked at the blood test results, I thought they were going to forget the toe altogether.

With a blood sugar of 417, they immediately sent me over to the ER. After several hours of sitting around and waiting for test results, they treated the toe and put me on metformin until i could see a persona physician. Several years ago, our insurance changed, and several of my doctors were out of network. Due to the whole new patient process to find a new doctor, I’d kept postponing it.

Our daughter is an LPN and she recommended a doctor to me. She had worked with him before and thought I would appreciate his approach to health care. Instead of waiting for me to make an appointment, she came over the next day and made the appointment for me, as well as one with a podiatrist I had seen previously.

My first visit was frantic. Although my blood sugar was down a bit–into the 300’s–Dr. Fogarty wanted to get my blood sugar down as quickly as possible. I hadn’t wanted to use insulin, but agreed to a once a week injection along with twice daily Metformin. The surprise was the diet he had me adopt.

I had been expecting a high protein low carb approach, but no. He asked me what the body ran on. Well, glucose. And then he asked what sort of diet I thought I should be on. Well, since my body’s glucose levels were high, I assumed low carb, which should lower my glucose levels.

Wrong! He told me he intended to flood my system with more sugars, with a different kind of diet. No meat of any kind, nothing processed. No flour of any kind. No added oils or salts. And obviously, no sugar. To keep the glucose levels level, I was to be careful with any starchy vegetables, fruits, and grains, but not eliminate them entirely.

Proteins would come from grains, nuts, and seeds. He suggested quinoa and chia seeds added either to grains or salads.

I thought the man was crazy, but it turns out he knew what he was doing. Score one for the doctor.

I started with an A1c of 11.5. Three months later, in February, my blood sugar was mostly down around 100 in the morning. My A1c was 5.5. Three months after that, my A1c was 5.4 and most of by blood sugars were below 120 after eating.

I’ve also lost 30 pounds in the process.

But with all the meal prep and figuring out what I can and can’t eat, and checking my blood 4 times a day, I have felt like I’m always playing catch up. My novel writing has taken a back seat as well. But since things are about to level out, I think I’ll have some time to get things going again.

I have been un-medicated since about halfway through March, and my blood sugars are still down in the normal range.

Anyway, I’ll write more about adjusting to this lifestyle change in my next blog. I hope to keep a sort of diary of my progress here and share it with you.

For now, have a wonderful summer. Eat plenty of nice fresh veg from your local vendors, and get out and enjoy the sunshine.

And if you like to read, I write fantasy romance, with a paranormal twist. And all my books are on sale at Smashwords this month. I hope to have another book out this summer, and I will be adding my book on cancer and a book on my experience with diabetes and Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritionist diet.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/meleigh53

A piu tardi…