Tag Archive: diabetes


 

A few months ago I read an interesting article by a woman who is Type One diabetic. She talked about the mis-understandings people have about her illness, how much people don’t understand.

What people do not understand is that Type One develops when a person is young and will never go away. What people don’t understand is how she can manage her diet and still eat most of what she wants. What people don’t understand is that medication alone will not control her illness, she must take insulin. There are no cures by eating Iceberg Lettuce or Okra or Cinnamon pills.

And one of the things she gets pissed about is having her chronic illness confused with Type Two diabetes. Because, after all, people with Type Two are just lazy. If they ate right and exercised, they wouldn’t have this illness anymore.

diabetesOh, I wish that was true.

Since last August the monster I was always terrified of reared its ugly head. My blood glucose numbers were at high levels, enough that my doctor called me and told me to pick up my new medication and start taking it immediately. My A1C was a 12. I knew I was tired but I also work a lot along with a bunch of volunteering.

The diagnosis came after I worked to lose weight and change my diet. I exercised and stopped eating white bread, white sugar, white rice. I saw my belly get smaller and I thought I had made headway. I managed to lose 40+ pounds and thought I was safe.

But no.

At first I was able to get my A1C down to 7.3. I worked harder, walked more, gave up soda and flavored coffee. Instead of losing weight, as I had seen other friends do after their diagnosis, I gained weight especially in the tummy area. So I doubled down, made sure I did that mile walk minimum daily. I ate more salads and only dark chocolate. I don’t eat after 9 pm and drink a ton of water. And my morning numbers are still high.

So much for dieting and exercise.

The sad fact is that Type Two diabetes is hereditary. Just being in certain ethnic groups puts you at risk, such as African, Asian, Native American, Latino, or Pacific Islander ancestry. If your parent is Type Two, there is a 10-15% chance their child will have it. Both of my parents, one grandparent from each side, and at least one great-grandparent on each side had it. Worse yet, I was gestational diabetic with almost all of my pregnancies. My last child weighed ten pounds.

Lately, I have felt as if I was a sitting duck and there was no avoiding this diagnosis.

diabetes vegetablesThe truth is, you don’t get Type Two without a genetic pre-deposition. My mother is a thin woman who walks regularly. She does not fit the profile while I do with the extra bit of weight and two desk jobs. We are both dealing with Type Two but she doesn’t have to take insulin. I do.

You can talk to me about alternative treatments because I am willing to listen. I might even be willing to try it. But don’t sit there telling me I am lazy and not willing to work the diet. Don’t sit there and tell me if I just work it, I will be cured.

It might be comforting in some weird way to think that Type One and Type Two are different beasts altogether. It’s like you want to have a pity party because your illness is worse. Sounds like the kind of fights that happen between autistic moms who tell Asperger moms their kids aren’t really autistic because their kid is functioning while a different kid will never be able to take care of themselves or talk or get out of bed.

At their essences, both forms of diabetes are the same. The body has too much glucose and the pancreas cannot do its job without supplemental assistance. I can’t just lose weight by exercising and working my diet to make it my Type Two diabetes go away. I have tried. And I really resent people who don’t get it, even fellow diabetics.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go to bed. Getting plenty of sleep is one way to control your sugar numbers, so I hear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wear Red!

Are you looking around and seeing a lot of red?

But then you think “Oh, it’s Friday. People are getting excited for the weekend.” Considering the snow event we just had, it makes a little sense that people want a little fun.

Rhinestone Dress Brooch ($29.00); picture from http://www.shop.heart.com

Another good look tells you it is mostly women wearing red. Those women who are not wearing red are wearing cute little dress pins.

What’s going on?

Well, it is the big “Go Red” day sponsored by the American Heart Association.

It is an effort to make women more aware that they need to take care of their heart health. I am more than aware of this issue because my paternal grandmother had her first heart attack at the age of 40. Plus, her husband’s family had a history of diabetes that also affects heart health.

The scary thing was checking out the website on the page about understanding your risks. Women make about 60% of the deaths from strokes. Just being post-menopause puts you at greater risk. And women tend to have slightly different symptoms during a heart attack than men and get their health concerns pushed aside.

However, the American Heart Association encourages people to get on the treadmill, start an exercise routine or find a way to be active. Work on a diet that has heart healthy foods with a calorie count no lower that 1200 calories per day.

Then they throw out that great little fact that 1-2 pounds per week is what healthy weight loss looks like and not 20 pounds in two weeks.

For those of us who promised ourselves to move more and eat less, to finally lose those nagging pound it is a great reminder to get back on that goal. I don’t know about you but I have been battling and fighting. My tummy measurement is under (just under but I will take it) 42 inches.

Picture by solrac gi 2nd

Like everything else, it is tough. I love eating sweets and bread. My  coffee must have creamer in it and I like the sweetened variety. But I also like fruit and vegetables. The husband and I are making the effort to eat more salads at dinner time. I am trying to stay on my big liquid intake.

The point I am trying to make is that this kind of weight loss does not happen over night and those of us working on it need all of the encouragement we can get. 

If that means going red for one day, I am doing it.

How do you work on heart health?

Last week my older two boys went to the Methodist Ash Wednesday service. I was glad they went although my 18-year-old, who sat through the Catholic version at school, told me the services were almost identical.

It was another lesson about being a part of the church on days other than Sunday, seeing how your religious belief can be a part of everyday life. Since I stayed back to be with the younger children, I decided that I needed to work on a special Lenten sacrifice. I decided to only eat one piece  or serving of chocolate per day.

What was I thinking?!?

I love chocolate. If possible I would –and do- eat several pieces a day. When I stop at the Shell station and they are having a two Hershey chocolates for $1.49, I get them. If I am lucky one is in my purse the next day. Most days, I am not lucky. 

If I could avoid the sinus headache, I would drink chocolate milk. During my last pregnancy, the doctors were very concerned about my blood sugar numbers. But I was finding the chocolate restriction nearly unbearable.

In order to have chocolate in my diet, I was looking for the smallest serving size possible. Then I would load up on protein to make the sugar breakdown in the safest manner possible. I was willing to figure out my diet to avoid getting a daily insulin shot but still have my chocolate.

I am insane to think I can last the next five weeks with only one piece of chocolate when there are three boxes of thin mints in my freezer. Can I make it thorough?

I am not sure.

The first challenge came on Thursday when I realized that the Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls I had just bought was going to be the only bit of chocolate for that day. And it was 10:00 in the morning.

The next day I had a single Fannie May Pixie. A single Pixie is a delight that should be followed by another to prolong the joy. But I didn’t. I left it at one piece.

So far so good.

I have managed to stick to my rule of one piece or serving per day. On Sunday I had a hot fudge brownie parfait. Today, I kept it to one Dove™ Promise square. If I can keep this up, perhaps by Easter I can finally hit the next dress size down from where I am at now.

Let’s be honest, Jesus gave up so much more for us puny humans so that we could have eternal life. Giving up chocolate is the least I can do and I think I can make it to Easter if I really try hard enough. Being that I am an example to my kids, I want to make it all the way through. That is just one way of showing your faith, everyday, to your kids.

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.

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