Category Archives: Diabetes

My Colonoscopy Story

Yesterday I had to have a colonoscopy. For those that don’t live in the United States, it’s recommended that once someone reaches 50 that they have one to verify they don’t have colon cancer and to check for other stuff. I at least got to defer for a couple of years since I rarely go see my doctor for a checkup, but I finally got cornered so it was my turn.

Now, these are fairly common, but there can be issues here and there. They do knock you out, and you do risk a perforated colon, internal bleeding, and a couple of other things. So you can’t just shrug it off and say it’s nothing to worry about, though for the most part it’s relatively safe.

My issue is that I couldn’t get any real information from anyone as to just what could happen being diabetic. You have to fast, and with the medications I take, I’m supposed to have food with them. So, what would happen to me going through the process? That’s the main reason I made the video.

But there’s a few things I didn’t mention in the video while trying to keep it under 15 minutes. For one, By 4PM of the day I was fasting I started getting this massive headache, and that stayed with me almost the rest of the night. I couldn’t take almost anything for it because I wasn’t eating, though my wife did give me an Advil eventually and that took the edge off it.

I was really hungry all day, but wasn’t so hungry the day of the procedure for whatever reason. I still craved pizza, though we had fried rice instead since it was much lighter. That’s their recommendation, eat light and get used to eating again, so I ate small portions pretty much every hour because I was really hungry; today I’m getting my pizza! 🙂

They will ask you over and over what your name is, what your date of birth is, the last 4 digits of your social security number and what you’re having done. Initially I worried they didn’t know what they were doing until I realized that it’s a safety procedure that they’ve put into place to make sure that physicians won’t be doing the wrong procedures anymore, what with all those errors in Florida some years ago. They also kept asking me what I was allergic to.

After the procedure you’ll expel a lot of gas, and that makes them happy. This is one of those “dignity” things I mentioned in the video. There’s stuff we wouldn’t walk around doing in public that they’re expecting you to do. Thing is, there’s no smell because your entire system is cleaned out, and what they’ve done is pushed a bunch of air into your body through your rectum so it has to come out. And be thankful it’s coming out, otherwise you’re going to get cramped and it’s going to hurt. I had that problem during the virtual colonoscopy in the x-ray department, where you’re not under anesthesia and just have to lay there and take it. That’s when you’re on either your side or back; once you roll over onto your stomach, since they take the views from 3 directions, even adding more air wasn’t bad at all.

One last thing. In the video I said that I came out of the anesthesia pretty easily. Most of that is true. I felt clear headed and knew exactly what I was saying and what was going on. I even felt that if I’d had to I could have driven home, which it turns out is illegal once you’ve had anesthesia in New York for at least the day. However, when I had to get up and get into the wheelchair, I found that I wasn’t okay at all, and luckily I didn’t just try to force myself into the chair because I’d have fallen and the nurse wasn’t close to big enough to have held me up if I’d gone down. So, always respect the anesthesia.

I also mentioned that I was given propofol, the same stuff Michael Jackson was given by that doctor. Let me tell you, I understand why he would have wanted this stuff. Although I wasn’t happy with the pressure my head felt when it started to take effect, I feel like I slept well in that short period of time, and I ever dreamed; I’ve never dreamed while under anesthesia before. In its proper dosage it’s wonderful stuff, but I can also tell why one should never, and I mean ever, use it at home.

That’s all I have other than the video below, but if you have any other questions go ahead and ask. This is one of those things that, as younger people we avoid talking about because it kind of scares us, but once you reach the proper age you’re probably going to have to go through. At least I’m telling you what might be coming.


 

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The Water Experiment

Many of the regular readers of this blog know I’m diabetic. What a lot of folks don’t really know is that I run a group on Facebook for the support of Type 2 diabetics, which used to be called Adult Onset. It’s not called that anymore because unfortunately many kids that aren’t born diabetic are going that way as obesity figures around the world are increasing.

Last Sunday myself and another participant in the group decided we were going to try an experiment. The experiment was the brainchild of another member of the group who I’m not sure is diabetic or not, but he’s one of those health foods guys who loves, well, weird foods; yeah, I called it out. lol Anyway, he stated that if we drank only water for a week and didn’t change any of our other habits that we’d lose our cravings for sweets and desserts. He also said we could still eat whatever we wanted to, including desserts, but that by the end of the week we wouldn’t be craving it anymore.

By the way, to flesh this out, he said that diet sodas and any drinks with artificial sweeteners make us crave desserts because they make us think we’re having sugar without having sugar and suddenly our bodies want real sugar. I’m not really sure I go along with this theory, though I’d read it somewhere else, as studies are conflicting about it; aren’t studies always conflicting?

Y’all know I love my sweets. I’ve talked about my chocolate and love for my Doubletree cookies and peanut butter desserts and such. And of course I’ve talked about my love for cake and the way I must eat it properly.

I also love my diet drinks. Unlike a lot of people, I’ve always liked diet soda, except for Tab; did anyone besides Bobcat Goldthwait really like Tab? The day I was diagnosed as a diabetic I gave up regular soda and started drinking diet soda and other non-sugar drinks and never looked backwards except for the super-very-occasional grape soda; no one’s ever made a good diet grape soda.

It is with this in mind, as well as a mindset that’s always seen certain drinks going with certain foods, that I entered into this experiment. I’m always up for a good experiment as you know.

The first day went well. I actually like water, as cold as possible mind you, and I transitioned into it well. After all, like much of the rest of the country it’s been pretty hot here, and very cold water felt right.

The second day I ran into my first challenge, and it wasn’t a dessert craving but a mismatch of food and drink. I had a salad, and in my mind, salad and salad dressing and water don’t mix. I absolutely hated my salad so I only ate a little bit of it. However, though I always prefer diet soda with my pizza, that went fine. I still had dessert, but I wasn’t craving it.

Truthfully, that’s how the pattern went for the next three days. I was drinking a lot of water because I drink lots of liquids anyway. The guy who came up with the challenge, named Dave, started wondering if I was drinking too much water. You know this deal about drinking 64 ounces of water a day, or at least consuming that much because we get water from some of our foods? Phooey! I drink close to 128 oz with each meal, no matter what I’m drinking, and then I’m a casual drinker during the rest of my day. I always have been, even when I was a kid. He started worrying that I was washing nutrients out of my body and that it might affect the experiment. Hey, the experiment said drink water, not how much, so it was what it was.

The sixth day was problematic, and I know it was really mental. I had my first true dessert craving in a week and I knew what I wanted; yeah, that’s it to the left. lol I was also starting to really want to get done with the water thing, and I determined that I wasn’t going to fully hold myself to it on the seventh day. After all, what would one more day change things anyway, right?

On day seven I drank water up until around 7PM, when I ordered Chinese food. I broke down at that point and had 4 cans of Diet Pepsi Vanilla that my friend Scott had brought me; yeah, that was nice, and it totally enhanced my food. For me, the experiment was over, and I quit with only 5 hours to go. Earlier in the day I went to an outdoor tweetup with the heat around 90° and thus water was feeling really good because it was ice cold.

How did the experiment go overall? Well, not totally according to plan.

One, I really did only have cravings on one day, but I also knew I could eat dessert whenever I wanted so I’m not sure if my feelings were muted because of that.

Two, I gained 4 pounds, and I’m not quite sure how that happened. I didn’t work out all week, though, because of injuries I suffered the day the experiment started during a nature walk I partook of.

Three, I almost started to hate water, and that’s not good. At this point I’ve struck a nice balance between my diet soda, Wylers drink mix and water that I can live with. And I’m going back to the gym, having healed sufficiently to work out again. I need to drop what I gained and then drop even more.

Believe it or not we’re going to try the experiment again next week starting Sunday, but we’ll change up some of the parameters. One of those will be no dessert for 5 days; yeah, that’s all I’m promising for now. Another will be certain foods that we promise to give up; no potatoes, grits (that one’s for me), rice or pasta. I don’t have a problem with the pasta but rice… ugh. And for the 5 days no regular wheat, only whole wheat bread; there goes my favorite bread. We’re still debating on the Ritz crackers with peanut butter for my evening snack; I might lose that one as well, which means I’ll have to get creative on what I can snack on.

I’m wondering what Evelyn is going to have to say about this one; heck, I’m wondering what the rest of you think about experimenting like this and if any of you want to try this experiment with Greg and I; Greg’s the other guy who went along with me on this journey. Any takers?

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10 Reasons You Don’t Want To Be Diabetic

Diabetes is the fastest growing disease in the world today. It’s considered as a somewhat controllable disease for the majority of people because if most people could control their weight and live a healthier lifestyle they have a chance to stave it off altogether, or at least reduce their reliance on things such as medications.

I’ve written enough about my being diabetic on this blog to depress everyone. Yet I feel that I need to write about it again. So, other than the links I’ve included in this post, I figured I’d throw out 10 reasons why you really don’t want to be diabetic, and should think yesterday about starting to try to life a healthier lifestyle. By the way, you can be healthy and still get it for many reasons; just wanted to make that clear.

1. The testing. I have to check my blood glucose at least once a day, sometimes as much as 3 times a day. I used to have to prick my finger to check my glucose, and even 9 years later I would flinch whenever I did it; just couldn’t get used to it. Now I have a kit where I can check it through my hand. It almost doesn’t hurt unless I do it incorrectly. Still, I have to test and remember to test because of #2.

2. The numbers. In the early days, when I was first diagnosed, once I brought my glucose down I’d check and my numbers would look great and I’d think that maybe I’d just had an episode because I was eating badly. Thirteen years later, sometimes it seems that no matter what I do, I can’t bring the numbers down. And then, every once in awhile I bring the numbers down too far. So, it’s either the shakes or the lethargy; balance can be tough.

3. The lethargy. Let me talk about the lethargy a bit more. When the lethargy hits you it’s like you’re going to fall asleep and never wake up. Okay, it’s not always that bad, but it can be scary. If I happen to eat the wrong thing, I can become quite lethargic within an hour; sometimes within 30 minutes. It’s a good thing I work from home because there’s no stopping the nap. And sometimes, it’s going to be a major effort to wake up. My scariest episode was being down for almost 4 hours and having my wife have to help me wake up when she got home from work; at least I’ve made sure that’s never happened again.

4. The food. Food becomes tough to gauge, I have to say. If I eat broiled or baked chicken without the skin I can do fairly well, even if I put some sauce on it. Protein in general terms helps keep me more alert. But it’s not perfect, and no one can continually just eat protein. Gauging things like rice is a difficult thing; believe it or not, the same goes for a serving of mixed vegetables, which supposedly has more starch in them, and thus that helps make one tired. Trying to find the right diet can feel mind numbing sometimes.

5. The portions. Sometimes the food is fine, but trying to figure out proper portions can be a trip. When I lost some weight last autumn it followed my trying to eat more food at every meal, believe it or not. That worked, measuring and all, except I was only eating one thing at a time. So I could eat 8 to 12 ounces of chicken and that was fine for awhile. But I found myself hungry and dissatisfied. The counselor I was working with suggested adding some things to it. Those things gave me more energy, but I didn’t lose anymore weight; I didn’t gain any either. It becomes hard finding a balance in how much one can eat to sustain and how much one can eat to lose weight. And I’m not good at that.

6. Insulin. Yeah, I’ve jumped right to this one because I’m on insulin. It’s actually what’s called a slow acting 70/30 mix, but it’s still insulin. Because it’s slow acting it lasts longer than traditional insulin, but it also takes awhile to start working. Insulin actually promotes weight gain; isn’t that an interesting conundrum. So, you work hard to lose weight by portioning out food and going to the gym but if you don’t work out hard enough you won’t lose weight because of the insulin. And you can’t stop the insulin because you need help keeping your glucose down; isn’t that a trip?

7. Medications. There are oral medications one can take, but trust me they’re a crap shoot at best. I was put on 6 different medications before my doctor got me on the one I take once a day now, along with the insulin. But here’s the thing; if I forget to take it, and I do, it could take up to a week for it to start working as it’s supposed to again; ugh. This means that it’s almost impossible to get glucose down again, no matter what I do; almost, that is. Some medications have now been recalled because medication is always dangerous to someone; I’m glad I was never put on any of those, but you just never know when a study will come out and throw you for a loop.

8. Exercise. You have to exercise at some point to help bring your glucose down; there’s just no getting around it. But exercise can have this interesting thing that can mess you up. For instance, it turns out that one isn’t supposed to exercise if one’s glucose is too high; I ignore that one, which for most people might not be the smart thing to do. You could injure yourself if your glucose is too high by doing certain exercises, and since when glucose is high your blood flow isn’t great, pooling blood due to injury is a bad thing. When my glucose is high I only walk and do stomach crunches, no weights, so I figure I might be fine. But there are also times when I might push a bit too much without realizing it and my glucose drops drastically, especially if it’s warm or I overheat. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, usually you don’t know it’s coming and suddenly you’re there. So, even exercise is a crap shoot sometimes.

9. Thirst & Bathrooms. Talk about a weird loop in one’s life. Diabetics can be abnormally thirsty sometimes. This means they drink a lot of water. Yet they can also have to go to the bathroom often, whether they’re drinking lots of liquids or not. Drinking too much water can force your kidneys to work too hard, and as a diabetic they don’t filter all that well so it puts a lot of stress on them. Not drinking enough water and going to the bathroom a lot means your body is losing fluids, of course, but that means you overheat and thus will have other issues, so you need to make sure you drink enough water. But you never know which one will come to pass sometimes. For me, I drink a lot of liquid in the evenings, and thus go to the bathroom a lot in the evening as well. If I drink tea or soda in the morning, I’m going to be going to the bathroom every 10 to 15 minutes eventually; it’s the oddest thing.

10. Fear. The more you learn about diabetes, the more scared you get. I’ve only touched on some of the simple stuff. But I have to be checked to make sure my fingers, toes, feet and legs aren’t starting to get numb all the time. If I feel a little bit of a tingle I wonder if it’s my shoes or the diabetes. My eyesight was what helped indicate that I was diabetic, and you wonder if your glucose is high for awhile if you’re going to drive yourself blind. Most diabetics leave this earth because of heart problems, and thus there’s that stress in worrying about things such as exercise or even shoveling snow, especially when every once in awhile you get a weird pain in your chest that you’re unsure of. Rapid heartbeats are scary; night sweats are scary, and I’ve experienced both. And you don’t even want to know about the chills that sometimes comes without warning, and there’s nothing you can do about them, shower, blankets, heaters, nothing except wait them out, which can take hours. Nope, not fun at all.

I implore you to be proactive on this bad boy. Go to the doctor and let them test you for it; getting it early is a big deal. Work on some kind of eating plan that avoids tons of carbs and sugar. Work out even a little bit, because it all helps. And learn more about the symptoms before you get it, then especially afterwards if you get it. Yeah, there are lots of things that say they can get you under control, even “cure” you. Nothing cures it, but it can be managed. However, if you can avoid it… do that!
 

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World Diabetes Day – 2010

No Sunday question today because it’s an international movement day instead. Today is World Diabetes Day, where those of us who wish to participate write something about diabetes, and of course, being diabetic, I’m going to write something.

I’ve written on this topic a number of times, mainly as it pertains to my life. So, to start off, I’m going to share all those previous links here, just to get them out of the way:

World Diabetes Day – 2009

Some Diabetes Information

National Diabetes Month

World Diabetes Day – My Story

A Bad Day In The Life Of A Diabetic

Sugar Alcohol Problems

Diabetic Depression

On Insulin But Not Dependent (from my other blog)

This year’s theme is supposed to be about healthy lifestyles. Well, I’m still going to do it my way. First, let’s talk about things I haven’t talked about before as it pertains to me. Some of these things I can’t prove are related to my diabetes in some fashion, but the timing makes it seem likely. For one, I’m tired often. Over the last 8 years, I feel more tired all the time. Thing is, I don’t sleep more than 5 or 6 hours in a row most of the time, even after I got the CPAP, and I’ve learned that there are times when I wake up feeling pretty good, yet hours later I still feel I need a nap. That didn’t happen before I was diabetic; I only took naps on Sundays back then. Now, sometimes I need to take a nap before I can eat, then want to take another after I eat; strange.

Next there’s hair. The hair on my head has always grown fast, and that continues. However, I now have hair on my chest, hands and arms and a slight bit on my back and shoulders. I never had hair before I started taking diabetic medications in 2003. Now, maybe hair starts growing in certain places as one gets old, like ears and the like, but once again, the timing is suspect. I also shave more; I never used to have to shave more than every 4th day, but now I sometimes need to shave every day.

And my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Now, that one easily could be age and all the things I have on my mind, but it’s strange. I’ll look at someone and not remember their name, and I’m talking about people I just finished talking to that I’ve known for years. I get up from my desk, heading to the kitchen, and will get to the living room and stop because I can’t remember where I was going or why. Now, eventually everything comes back, but it’s still freaky.

Next the healthy part. This was going to be a separate post, but I’ll toss it in now. About 2 months ago I went on a metabolic eating plan to help me with my weight. I’ve been going to the gym now since the last week of May, and I hadn’t lost any weight; I’d actually gained 9 pounds. Since I started this plan I lost all the weight I’d gained and a little bit more. When I was flying back and forth to Ft. Lauderdale last month I noticed immediately how much more comfortable I was sitting on the airplane; sweet! I’ve lost 4 inches off my stomach and some in other areas as well; I’m kind of a happy guy. The weight continues to be my biggest issue (oxymoron), but I stick to the plan during the week, except for meetings, and I get to go off a little bit on the weekends; I can handle that.

Medications… well, that’s dicey. When I remember to take them I do well. My glucose readings have been very good since I went on the eating plan, sometimes to the point where after working out I’ve gone too low and have to immediately eat. My doctor took me off one of the medications, which I see is a positive step forwards. But I still have to remember to take what I have; yeah, I’ll work on that.

Diabetes runs in my family, so I always knew it was coming for me. It doesn’t run in a lot of families, and yet the number of people who are becoming diabetic is growing in leaps and bounds. Some doctors have estimated that by 2050 half the population will either be diabetic or be showing diabetic symptoms; might as well just call you diabetic. If you look through some of those links above you’ll see it’s not easy fighting this thing, or even dealing with it sometimes. But as I wrote in that motivation post some days ago, I try to find something to motivate me and then get back on the plan. And having a friend of mine pass away on Thursday at the age of 42 due to weight issues is enough motivation for me to continue trying to be better when I’m supposed to be.

Everyone’s supposed to be wearing blue today supporting the cause. I don’t always live up to those things (I certainly don’t on days when we’re supposed to wear green or pink because I don’t have those colors), so I’m not going to be out looking for everyone to be wearing these things. All I’m going to say is if you’re not feeling well for a long period of time, especially after eating or drinking something sweet or with a lot of carbs (alcohol), get yourself checked out. The sooner they catch it, the sooner you can get on a program that, if you follow it, can help you live a much longer life After all, just 30 years ago people didn’t live much past 55 with diabetes; these days, if we take care of ourselves, we can live a nice long life without losing a limb or our eyesight.

I’m thankful for that.


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I’ve Joined A Health Club

In April I asked this question on a Sunday; Do You Take Care Of Your Physical Self? I gave my answers, but I can’t say that I was overly happy with myself and the answers I gave. Truthfully, I think I’ve done a lot of stuff, but nothing close to what I should be doing.

So, I decided to join a gym. Okay, it wasn’t as easy as that. As with everything else in my life, there’s a mini story to it all.

Two Fridays ago my wife came home, upset because her gym was closing, and the one the guy had transferred her account to, since she was paid up through April 2011, was about 20 minutes away, and she didn’t want to have to go that far to workout. For probably the 10th time I suggested she visit the gym I used to belong to for about 5 years in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Back then it was called Sundown; now it’s called Gold’s Gym, and it’s about 5 minutes away, only because of stupid lights because it’s maybe a mile and a half from the house. For some reason my wife has always hated the idea, but this time she was amenable to going to have a look.

As soon as we got there I could tell from the outside that things had changed. There was a sports therapy building next to the gym, but the sports club is where the gym used to be. We walked in and things were drastically different. I learned there had been a fire in 1994, a year after I stopped going, and they changed a lot of things around. It’s way more open now than it used to be, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

This is what you see when you first walk in. It’s the front desk, but it’s also a juice and smoothie bar. You can buy both healthy and non-healthy snacks in the machine, though not too many non-healthy choices are given. You can also buy muscle building stuff that I’m not paying any attention to; I don’t need to get bulk at this point in my life.

The place has a rubber track you can either walk or run on. It has tons of treadmills and walking machines. They have a lot of Nautilus-type machines geared towards building muscle by pushing weights, though some are for toning also. They have a large free weights area, something I used to do in the past but I think I’m going to stay away from them this time around, at least for six months or so. They have workout classes with some of the latest routines like
Zumba; no, I won’t be doing any of that either. Supposedly they might have some stretching classes, but I didn’t see that on the schedule. I really need stretching more than almost anything else. And they have these other machines that work more with your own weight than true weights; my wife and I use those most of the time.

And they have these things, a pool and a hot tub. I don’t swim, and even though the woman told me it was only 4 1/2 feet deep, that’s just not happening. The hot tub might be something else, though. She said it’s kept at 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and my mind can’t figure out if that’s comfortable or not. I love Jacuzzi’s, so I’m thinking I might like the hot tub, which is only 3 feet deep, but I asked if I could wear a shirt and shorts in there, since I don’t have swimming togs, and I’m not sure I want to expose the world to this body just yet; she said yes. Now all I have to do is get over this thing about sharing a large tub, and you can see it’s large, with other people in it; I don’t necessarily roll that way. The woman there said she’d actually walk me into the pool if I ever get the urge, but I just can’t see me getting the urge. Bad memory of pools, and the last time I was in one was October 1976; ugh!

We started with a 7-day pass to see if I’d even go to the club, and I went 6 days out of 7, though a few of those days I barely made 30 minutes, and one day, Sunday, I made 10 minutes because I twisted my knee and it wasn’t getting better trying to walk it off. We then decided to officially join on Sunday, and now we have a contract for a year. I’m going to work hard on making myself go at least 3 times a week, and my wife loves working out, so if I have to wait until she gets off work to go, so be it. But as it gets warm I also know I’m going to want to get walks in at the lake. No matter; I know I need to exercise this summer while I’m home, and if I’m paying for it, I’m hopefully going to get it done.

These days I border between being outright sore and being really uncomfortable. I don’t feel good after working out, and I don’t feel juiced; sorry Zig, but those endorphins aren’t quite popping for me yet. But I’m going to try. I have a guy working with me for 60 days to see if I show measurable improvement; man, I hope something changes. I need to do this; I’m 50 and diabetic, my doctor says I need to lose weight, and I need to help the medication work.

Okay, your turn; what are you gonna do?

Esprit by Spirit ET-8 Folding Treadmill

Esprit by Spirit ET-8 Folding Treadmill

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