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Archive for the ‘diabetes’ Category

Lots

That’s what I have to share. In fact, too much for what must be a quick to write post but if I wait until I have time to write a longer post, that will probably never come.

I’m so busy these days that I am getting all lost in the busyness and not enjoying the holiday season. I want just a couple of days to myself to wrap gifts and make lists and maybe make some tamales to share with the family. Just a couple of days. It seems I can’t catch my breath these days and when I have time I am just so exhausted that I don’t have the energy to focus on relaxing and enjoying and doing for me.

I hope that changes. I am trying to change it. I am starting the new year with a planner/journal. I haven’t done that in a long, long time. This one is called bullet journaling and it is new to me. I got my Happy Planner (mini) and a few (very few) accessories but I won’t start until the new year. In the meantime I want to figure out what sections I will put in it. Well, I think with bullet journaling they call them “collections” not sections or topics. I know I want to have a collection for tarot, gratitude, kids’ stuff, blogging ideas, and a section for my diabetes related stuff. I need to sit and plan it out and get some more refills, although I am thinking it may be more cost effective to get myself the paper punch and put together my own refills. We’ll see.

Diabetes. Several things. First, I got my A1c results back on Thursday and I am at a 7.1 which is super! 7.0 is target range for diabetics so I am excited to have made it to that number. And my insulin is working better now that I have learned to concentrate on the carbs I consume in relation to the insulin I inject. AND a big bonus: I finally got my one on one with the dietitian this past week and she asked me if I would be willing to try something different. It seems she has read a lot of articles that show that taking 1000 to 1200 grams of alpha lupeic acid can lower blood glucose, help with weight loss, AND help the pain from nerve damage. I said I would try it. The pain from the nerve damage is getting worse and if there is a chance that this will help, I will take it. The neat thing is that I only started taking it on Friday night and already it is having an affect on my glucose levels which means less insulin that I need to take which also means less weight gain (yes, insulin makes you gain weight). I had been gaining ten pounds  a month and that has to stop! I think this really might work! Yay!

There’s cute kiddo stuff to tell you about but I have to run again. I think we’re going to a Christmas program in just a bit and I’m not ready!

I hope you are all having a great holiday season and stopping, or at least pausing long enough, to enjoy it!

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When I went to the nutrition nurse a couple of weeks ago, she answered one of my questions before I could even ask it. I had wondered about my bedtime blood sugar reading. I usually eat a snack before I go to bed so my blood sugar won’t get too low overnight. However, sometimes I am just not hungry for a snack and I always wonder how high or low my blood sugar should be before I go to bed. She said, while she was going through a list of dos and don’ts, that I should never go to bed with my blood sugar lower than 100. That’s the magic number. So now I know that when it’s over 100, I don’t need to worry about a snack but if, like tonight, it’s only 81, I need to have a snack. That snack can be a small apple or a low calorie yogurt or something like that. Not a huge snack, just enough to bring my blood sugar back up before I go to sleep.

What happens when it gets low? Well, I’ve had it as low as the upper 50’s and it is not a good feeling. At about 70, I get blind blotches in my eyes so that means I can’t drive or do much of anything that requires eyesight. I also get very hot, like a hot flash, hot enough to make me want to start taking off clothes or turning on the fan. Uncomfortably hot. And I start to shake. That’s really scary to me. I start to shake to the point where I can’t even take my blood sugar reading because I can’t hold the lancing device or the test strip or get my blood onto the test strip. It’s really very scary and it also brings fuzziness. Like mental fuzziness. I can’t concentrate and I can’t even figure out what I am supposed to do.

So obviously, the idea is to not let it get that low. I usually carry hard candy in my purse or pocket. I have also taken to carrying a small juice box with me and putting one next to my bed at night time. I have glucose pills, too. I try to cover all the bases. My daughter is also well versed in what to do if I tell her I am having a low or that I need sugar. If my blood sugar gets too low, I can die. Not a good thing. That’s one of the reasons that it is so scary. You know where you’re headed and if it’s too low, you aren’t able to do much to stop it because when I get that shakiness and weakness, I can’t get to the kitchen to get something to eat or to the fast food place down the street if I am in the car. And if I get that way, I shouldn’t be driving so I need to pull over right away. In fact, I usually drive in the slow lane so that if I have to pull over because of my blood sugar, I’m right there. And there is candy and sugar pills in the car. Just in case.

That’s your diabetes lesson today. And a word: if you are ever out and you see someone having some kind of problem where they are shaky or seem disoriented, try asking them if they are diabetic or if you can get them something, like juice or a piece of fruit. You might be saving someone. That’s your bonus lesson.

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November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Here’s something I wrote on Facebook:

Diabetes is not just having to watch your diet. It’s not just limiting sweet stuff and sugary stuff (because everything you put in your mouth has sugar or turns to sugar). It’s not just having to test your blood sugar four or more times a day. It’s not just having to inject yourself with insulin four times a day. It’s not just the possibility of going blind. It’s not just the increased danger of cardio vascular disease. It’s not just having immune dysfunction. It’s not just a life expectancy that is fifteen years shorter than the average American. It’s not just increased medical costs. It’s not just being dependent on life saving medication for the rest of your life.  It’s not just…

It’s all of these things and so much more.

And here’s a link to an American Diabetes Association post about November and Diabetes Awareness.

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That’s about four inches and it’s the size of the tumor that yesterday’s CT scan found growing outside of my gall bladder. From what the doctor says, the CT scan shows that it is “acting like it is cancerous.” The next step is a needle biopsy which should happen within the week and the gastroenterologist has already put in a referral to the oncologist. Approval for oncologist consult should take a couple of weeks, at least.

I’m sort of in shock. The doctor says it will have to come out, whatever it is, because it is protruding into the colon. So best case scenario is that it only has to be removed. But it is very likely that there will be a need for “follow up treatment.”

I managed to hold it together enough to call my three kids and tell them, and then my mother. I learned that hearing bad news is bad but having to relay the bad news to someone you love is far worse. So I guess we all have some more waiting to do. I wish the wait to be as short as possible.

I want to digest this news so that I can let my mind think about other things. Right now it’s kind of tough to think of anything. I’m sort of numb.

With luck, I can distract myself in a day or two so I can write and post here. I have a lot of ideas for posts.

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Diabetes. If you can prevent yourself from getting it, do. It’s not a nice thing and not always easy to manage.

After being diagnosed in 1999, I managed my diabetes with oral medications then later, when I had no insurance, I watched what I ate and exercised. It wasn’t under control but for  someone with no insurance and no financial resources to see a doctor for medication, it was “not bad.” Then last Christmas I turned 61 and all hell let loose. I started getting symptoms, which when combined, I knew it meant my diabetes was no longer going to let me take care of it on my own. It reared it’s ugly head and asked for professionals. I was able to find a free clinic that approved me and was immediately put on oral medication. My HA1c test (a test that tells the doctors the amount of sugar in my blood for the past three months) came in at 14.4. It should be 7 for diabetics and 5 for non diabetics. Mine was obviously whacked! After two weeks on oral medication, I was no better so they determined that my body had stopped producing any insulin at all, which means that the oral medications had nothing to work with, and I needed insulin.

Thus began this journey. About a week later, I was approved for the Oregon Health Plan (state medical insurance for low/no income). I got in to see a doctor right away because the insulin needed to be adjusted as the free clinic had started me on the lowest dose of long acting insulin. So the new doctor doubled the dose and added meal time fast-acting insulin injections that I take just before eating. They help maintain my sugar level low so it never gets super high in any 24 hour period. It’s still not as it should be but it’s getting there. (A fasting of 175 is much better than what I had before insulin, which was in the 590s.)

So I am learning to deal with the fast-acting meal time insulin. It has been just under a week and in that time I’ve had three “low episodes.” A low episode is when you don’t have enough sugar in your blood. And it will kill you. Quickly. I was able to handle the first two which were both in the 70s. Then today, I got to where I could only see blotches of color and I was sweating so much my clothes were soaked, like dripping wet, within about two minutes. How low was it? 59. What do you do for it? Eat Life Savers or other kind of sugar source, eat sugar right out of the bowl, drink juice, put icing from tube icing inside your cheek. There are also sugar pills but I didn’t have any. So I used Life Savers and fruit juice. It almost didn’t budge. I repeated the juice and candy and it was still only at 64 a full forty minutes later. I ended up eating a whole personal size watermelon. Finally, I got it to 90 and I knew I was out of the woods. But that was a scary hour. I thought I was going to die…from low blood sugar.

I need to talk to the doctor and show her my numbers. I need to know the cutoff number. When I take my blood sugar before insulin, what number should tell me “don’t take any insulin?” So until I figure that out, I’ll be a little scared of injecting myself again.

So yeah, don’t get diabetes.

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The Scoop

It has been a while. Since my last post, I have been to the free clinic and gotten an excellent exam. I was there for four hours, every bit of it was with a nurse or doctor or lab tech. Not much sitting and waiting.

I got a prescription for my diabetes medicine. I did tell them that my diabetes does not respond to only one medication. I need to take a combination of two medications. However, in an effort to save me money on medication, they decided to start me out with a high dose of metformin only. It’s not working. My fasting blood sugar (which should be about 100 to 120) has ranged from 302 to 600. It’s not only depressing but when it is that high it makes me feel really sick, and very sluggish. I was so desperate yesterday that while I was in the clinic neighborhood, I stopped in, almost in tears. There wasn’t a doctor to see me but they gave me an appointment for this afternoon. I’m hoping that they will either prescribe a second medication or try a third dose of the metformin in the middle of the day. Currently I am taking 1000 mg twice a day.

On another note regarding the free clinic, I also walked out of there last week with an order for a mammogram, a colonoscopy, a hearing test, and an eye test. All completely free. I am really surprised at the services that professionals have donated so that people like me can get medical attention.

It has been quiet, as I can’t do too much with such low energy. However, our weather has graced us with a few semi-sunny days in the past week so I did get out for a hike with the boys. Actually a half a hike because the trail we took was longer than we thought and I couldn’t make it all the way so we turned around. Still, I think we managed about 1.5 miles, at least, maybe more. It was also Spencer’s birthday. We spent the day at Chuck E. Cheese. The boys loved it and it was in the middle of the day on a weekday so at times we were the only ones there. I think we were there for about six hours! We had a food problem. The buffet had a total of four slices of two different kinds of pizza and no salad. It took them over 45 minutes to bring out more. They eventually brought it out and the manager also sent over a large combo pizza just for us and then they refunded the original purchase and gave the kids a bunch of game tokens. So the afternoon was free! Yay. The kids loved it and we loved watching them play the games and have fun. Win win.

Anyway, with luck I will get the prescription thing sorted and I will be feeling better in days. I’ve missed blogging but just have not been up to it.

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