Category Archives: Diabetes

A Bad Day In The Life Of A Diabetic

I am a Type II diabetic. Every once in awhile, I write about things on this blog related to diabetes. That’s not necessarily because I feel I need to tell people about my struggles and successes, but because I don’t think that people who aren’t diabetic know what we can go through sometimes.

When I talk about it, I don’t only talk about things that affect diabetics. I have talked about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sugar alcohols. But I did talk about the day I was diagnosed as being diabetic, and I have given some diabetes information here and there.

Now I’m going to tell you a quick little story about my day, just to give you an example of why it’s important for me to try to pay attention to what I do, and what I go through here and there.

During the week, I’ve been sticking to a recent eating plan. My glucose was out of control for maybe three weeks, and I know stress brought some of that on. One thing that helps me overcome stress is putting myself on plans and schedules. In this way, since I set it up, I tend to follow it closely enough to get things done, no matter what they are.

Some quick numbers, since I’ll be talking numbers in this tale. A good glucose range is supposed to be 80 – 120. Some people don’t necessarily do well in that range, and I’m one of them. For me, I should be between 100 and 140. When I’m lower than 100, I get lightheaded and just don’t feel well. That doesn’t happen often, but once last summer I got down to 44 after a very strenuous walk in a lot of heat, and in late spring the same thing happened again, only I didn’t have anything to check the level, but I remembered the feeling after recovering some.

Anyway, during the week, I was averaging around 155, which isn’t bad; slightly high, but way better than the 244 I had averaged during that 3 week period, and better than the 223 I had last Sunday. I give myself the weekend to kind of be worse than perfect, but I might have to rethink that strategy a little bit.

This morning, after a day where, I’ll admit, my wife and I weren’t quite perfect, my reading was 238. My wife gave me breakfast, which was grilled cheese sandwiches, which is good and bad at the same time. I had it on wheat bread, but it does have a touch of HFCS and enriched white flour, another thing not quite as healthy. Then she gave me a cookie she’d bought at the farmer’s market yesterday. I took my medication, which includes my injection, and I figured I would be fine.

After about 90 minutes, I got overly tired. It can come on quickly, and so I went to lay down. My wife said she was leaving to go to do some shopping, and it’s Sunday so I figured it was a great day to take a nap. I went to sleep and slept for about an hour. I woke, but I was extremely groggy. The phone rang, and I barely grabbed it; it was my wife asking if I wanted anything while she was out. I hung up the phone, felt like I just couldn’t move, and went back to sleep. I slept for another hour, awoke, and still felt just as bad. I knew this wasn’t good.

Timing is everything; my wife came home within a couple of minutes, and once she made it back to the bedroom I asked her to bring me some water. Cold water sometimes helps me snap out of it, and with the cold water, I at least felt like I could move again. I came to the computer, ready to do some work, and I noticed problem number two; I couldn’t read the screen. With the browser, I can make the letters bigger, but for TweetDeck or Mailwasher, which I use to check my email before downloading it to my computer, you can’t increase the size. I couldn’t read either, and that was a warning sign.

I knew I had to check my glucose, which I did, and it was 311; ouch! That doesn’t usually happen if I inject when I eat, but today it did. I knew that the water had probably brought it down a little bit, which allowed me to get out of bed in the first place, but that was scary.

I knew I had to eat again, as it had been 5 hours, so I got something to eat, then gave myself a second injection, a smaller dose, which isn’t part of my plan, but I had to get this under control. My wife and I also went out for a walk, to try to stimulate the blood flow. At least I was fully awake at this point, and the walk went smoothly enough.

We got home, and I came to the computer; I could see again. Whew! Now, the thing is that I’m supposed to wait at least 2 hours until after I’ve eaten to check glucose again, and I’ve just checked after 2 1/2 hours; my glucose is at 91; ouch! I’ve brought my glucose down 240 points in 2 1/2 hours, which might be a bit extreme. It’s easier lower than where I want it to be, so now I have to eat something again. That’s not a bad thing because during the week, when I’m doing well, I eat every 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours anyway, smaller meals to stimulate the metabolism, which also helps me lose some weight, along with the exercise. But I hadn’t thought that, even with the exercise, I would see a number like that.

For more information, when someone has high diabetic numbers, the blood thickens, and doesn’t run through the body all that well. That can make one sluggish, but it can do a host of other things to people as well. For me, it makes me logie, but if it gets too high it can also affect my eyesight. I don’t need to be doing that sort of thing all that often, as it’s not good for me, or any diabetic, long term.

However, it’s better lower than higher, so I’m not all that upset right now. At least I can see, and I can eat something and bring it back into a normal level. Still, this is what some diabetics go through, which is why I wanted to mention it here. This isn’t a joke, folks; sometimes, it’s pretty scary. And another scary thing is that there are a lot of you walking around right now, suffering some of the same things, meaning you might be diabetic, and you don’t know it yet, or aren’t paying attention to the signs. I know many people who found themselves in the emergency room with numbers in the 500’s because they kept ignoring signs until they finally crashed.

That’s a terrible thing to have happen to you; read my story of how I learned I was diabetic, which is one of those links above. Please pay attention to what’s going on with you, because the sooner you find out, the sooner you have a chance to take care of it.

Oh yeah, it sometimes brings on depression also; I need to keep a check on that as well.

Bayer 561440 Ascensia Breeze 2 Blood Glucose Monitor System

Bayer 561440 Ascensia Breeze 2 Blood Glucose Monitor System






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Sugar Alcohol Problems

Here’s a short story for you. As you know by an earlier tale, I’m diabetic, coming up on 12 years in September. It’s not always easy to know what to do if you’re a diabetic, and I have to admit that I’m not the best diabetic in the world.

I have a sweet tooth, and these cravings are hard to overcome. There are times when I don’t even know I’ve left the house to get something sweet until I’ve started eating it. That may sound crazy to some, but it’s the truth. Every once in awhile I get my mind just before I leave the house, and look to call someone to talk to, which usually helps me get past the craving. That’s the thing about a craving; if you can get past the time period when it’s really strong, then you won’t succumb to it.

However, sometimes you try to do something that’s not going to supposedly hurt you as much; I say it that way because things like pasta and bread are actually worse for diabetics that pure sugar, contrary to the beliefs of people who aren’t diabetic. With sugar, I get a big bounce, then it goes away relatively fast. With pasta, bread and the like, it’s considered a complex carbohydrate, and it stays with you for a much longer time. I can eat some dessert every single day and have it not affect me all that much, but one serving of paste every day for even three days drastically shoots my glucose numbers.

Anyway, here’s the story. About seven years ago, I was at the casino playing something (this was in the days before I was playing poker), and before leaving, I decided to stop by the dessert counter. They have some of the best desserts in the world there, and my eyes happened upon these giant peanut butter cups. Lo and behold they were also sugar free; I was in my glory! So, I bought 3 of them, as my wife wasn’t with me, and I knew I would be just fine because there was no sugar in them. I felt so confident that I ate all three of them on the drive home; just under 40 minutes.

Pretty much within the first ten minutes of being home, I was in the bathroom, and let me just say that it wasn’t a pleasant experience. I kept visiting the bathroom for the rest of the night and into the next day; it was painful to say the least. Thing is, as I thought about it, I realized that there were other times when I’d had something that said sugar free on it, and my stomach didn’t react quite properly with it, and I had no idea why.

As serendipity happens, my wife and I were going to a diabetic nutrition class that Monday, two days away, and I resolved to ask them about it. I did, and they told me that most people who make sugar free items add what’s known as “sugar alcohols” to them.

Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates themselves, and they come from plants, which manufacture them naturally. They’re supposed to be like sugar in taste, although they have different degrees of sweetness, and they’re not completely absorbed by the body. This means the blood sugar impact is less and they provide fewer calories per gram. Sugar alcohols also don’t promote tooth decay.

Sounds good, right? Well, the problem is that they aren’t totally absorbed in the body, and for some people, actually many people, they can ferment in the intestines and cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea. Some people aren’t affected at all; folks like me,… well, you get the drift.

How do you know if something has a sugar alcohol in it? Check the ingredients, and if you see anything ending in “ol”, it’s a sugar alcohol. The strange thing to me is that they put this stuff in a lot of things specifically for diabetics, almost like someone didn’t read this information beforehand. By the way, it’s not only diabetics who are affected by this, so if you’ve eaten something you know is supposed to be sugar free and have problems, you probably can’t handle sugar alcohols. And, if you’re lactose intolerant, you probably will have problems with sugar alcohols, and vice versa.

And there you go; a non-marketing post for once, but still part of my mission of diabetes education. I hope you stuck around for the teaching part.


Low Price Guarantee

World Diabetes Day – My Story

Today, November 14th, 2008, is World Diabetes Day, something I initially mentioned when talking about National Diabetes Month. Each year, millions of adults and children learn that they’re diabetic; some don’t learn it until they’ve done serious damage to themselves. Being aware of changes in your body that you can’t explain and not being afraid to find out what might be going on could help you avert major problems later in life. I am a diabetic, and I’ve been diagnosed for 11 years. I’d like to tell you my story.

The Pincushion Effect
duisburgbunny via Compfight

Eleven years ago, I was having the best and the worst year of my life. I got married in May of 1997, my first and only marriage, and I’ve had nothing but a great time ever since. In 1997, I took the very first vacation of my life, which was the week after I got married; man, that was a long time before taking a vacation, but my dad never took a vacation until he was in his 50’s; guess I’m a slacker.

Eleven years ago I also had breast surgery to remove a lump that was causing me pain. It wasn’t cancerous, and I have no idea where it came from, and I’d never even thought about the possibility of it being cancerous, but it was my first surgery ever. And I got it approved and paid for by the insurance company; talk about how knowledge will help you achieve things that others might not know about.

Eleven years ago, a few days after my 38th birthday, I was driving back to work from lunch in another town about 10 minutes from the hospital I was working in at the time. I had a co-worker with me, and we were going through a construction zone. In a couple of minutes, I was pulled over by a police car. The officer came to the car and said I was speeding through a work zone. I said that I knew what the speed limit was and wasn’t speeding, but he said the speed limit was reduced in that area. I said I never saw a sign, and my co-worker said there was a sign that I must have missed. I took the ticket and continued driving back to work, but I did notice that I could barely read any of the signs.

That wasn’t the first day, however. I’d noticed it most of the time for a few weeks while driving home from work. I lived over an hour away from where I worked, and it wasn’t a major highway that I drove on, so there weren’t a bunch of signs, and rarely much traffic. Yet, I noticed that I was having vision problems. I’d mentioned it to my wife, and said that it was only when driving home in the evenings; I never had the problem in the morning. So, on the day I drove home after getting the ticket and mentioning it to her again, she said we should head over to the ophthalmologist to have him take a look.

Diabetes! 217/365
Dennis Skley via Compfight

Talk about serendipity. I had gone to the same place, Sterling Optical, for about 18 or 19 years, and I’d had this same guy looking at my eyes for at least 13 of those years. My prescription hadn’t changed in at least 10 years, and I’d just had an eye exam a month before I got married. So, it was easy for me to walk in and have him take a quick look. He didn’t like what he saw, and said my vision had changed drastically from the last time I was there, and his conclusion immediately was that I might be diabetic.

The breath caught in my throat at his words. Not that I was overly surprised, because it ran in my family, but because out of all my relatives who’d gotten it, I possibly was now the youngest to get it. I figured I had at least six or seven more years before I had to think about it; now it didn’t look that way.

He recommended that I see my primary care physician, which was slightly problematic. I had never selected one because I hadn’t been to the doctors in many years. The last time I’d seen a doctor was 11 years earlier (that #11 pops up all over the place lol); typical American male in that regard, even though I’d had some issues that I probably should have seen a doctor for.

I was raised in a different time; you only went to doctors when your mother took you, when you broke something, or when you were on death’s bed; that was the rule at the time. My wife wanted me to go to a doctor, but I took a detour step first. Since I worked in a hospital and the emergency room was right behind my office, I went in there the next morning and talked with the physician assistant about it. He took a quick glucose test, saw that my number was just under 300, and told me I had to see a doctor; if it had been 50 points higher he’d have had to admit me.

That was that. I called this one doctor with whom I had a cordial relationship with, he took me in, diagnosed me, and started me on the first round of what would become regular check ups and visits with someone about diabetes, including education. Though I’m not the best patient in the world, I do know how to take care of myself and how I’m supposed to eat, and I follow it more often than I don’t follow it, which is a good thing.

Within a week my glucose came down, which was a good thing otherwise I couldn’t have had my surgery, and over the course of the last eleven years I’ve been pretty good for the most part. If they hadn’t changed the high limit from what it was when I was diagnosed I’d be considered as almost perfect for nine of of the eleven years.

As time has progressed, I have had to go on medication, and presently take two different pills a day and two shots of insulin, which I started a year ago on November 2nd. I’m not considered dependent, as it turns out there are different variations of insulin, but it’s helped me boost what the pills can’t do on their own. If I can drop some weight, I could probably get off insulin; but, as some of you know, that’s not quite as easy as I wish it was.

The main point of this story is that everyone needs to pay attention to symptoms that may not necessarily be what you might think are diabetic symptoms. My mother noticed my dad’s diabetes because he started losing a lot of weight, which he himself didn’t notice. I’ve met people who noticed it because they were having numbness in their limbs, and many people notice something wrong when they’re going to the bathroom all the time, or constantly thirsty. Here’s a link to many of the symptoms of diabetes, things you should be looking at if you notice any of them occurring with you or your friends and family members. Caught early, at least you have some kind of fighting chance.

There, my contribution to World Diabetes Day. If you get a chance, check out this interesting post on the day, with videos no less.
 

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National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month, and it’s something I care about wholeheartedly. If you’ve gone back into my blog, you know that I’m diabetic, and I’ve written on diabetes a couple of times, including my battles every once in awhile. Luckily, since I’ve been home, I’ve gotten my glucose numbers back under control.

Unfortunately, though I’m not considered an insulin dependent person, I am on insulin, and though it’s not as bad as I’d thought it would be, having to give myself injections twice a day isn’t much fun. I don’t have to start spouting numbers of new diabetics every day. It’s not always something you can easily control, as it runs in my family, but it’s something that we can keep from getting way out of control with knowledge, exercise, and communication.

To that end, I’d like to direct everyone in America to this link of activities taking place across the country this month highlighting this terrible disease. For everyone else, there’s this link talking about World Diabetes Day, which is November 14th.

Can diabetes be solved? Honestly, I don’t know. But I’ll never give up my fight, and I’m sure someone will eventually figure something out, with the help and funds of others.

HFCS Is Good For You,… Not!

I did say it was video day, right? On Diabetesaliciousness blog, she wrote a post that I’m not going to link back to because, well, some of the initial language is pretty bad and I don’t roll that way. Anyway, it’s a rant that I approve of against a new series of commercials popping up on TV trying to convince the American public that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is actually good for us.

Trust me, nothing can be further from the truth. I can’t even believe I would have to begin telling a lot of people about this stuff, but it’s basically taking a lot of heat for many of the health issues most of us have, especially diabetes. I’m not going to start posting a lot of statistics here; instead, here’s some links you can check out if you’re really interested:

Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

That should be enough for now. And, oddly enough, I didn’t copy the same link each time; all the articles have the same title, and there’s plenty more. So much for originality. Anyway, on the first blog I mentioned, along with her rant was this very sarcastic video, which I present to you now:

And there you go. The biggest problem we have is that it’s in almost everything processed, so you really have to check closely to see what the ingredients are in your foods. I’ve pretty much gotten most of it out of my diet at home, but who knows what I’m eating when I’m on the road. Do the best you can; I’m going to try.

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