February 16, 2016

Hopeful Diabetic

Sometimes what can’t be changed ends up changing YOU

In June 2015, at 52 years old, I was hospitalized and treated with heart issues and diabetes. Up until my hospitalization, there was never a diagnosis of diabetes. My mom and Dad both got Type II in their 50’s so I was watching for it though.   My A1C on my December 2014 physical was 6.3, but I knew I was most likely insulin resistant due to having metabolic syndrome which included PCOs (polycystic ovariarian disease), being a classic “apple” body type, and being obese. While hospitalized, they came with insulin to inject me (–um hello? what is going on?) at which point the doctor informed me my “A1C was 8.2 -you are diabetic,” and in utter disbelief said to me, “you did not know?” Actually, no, I did not.

In July my internist prescribed Metformin, gave me a glucose meter and told me to watch my numbers and the goal was to get my A1C under 7. Honestly, I was still stunned to be diabetic. How could I be okay last December and not now? In September I got into action to DO something about this. I had suffered with chronic arthritic pain in my back and knees for years, and decided to try a vitamin supplement to see if it really would ease my pain. The ingredients in it (e.g. turmeric, black pepper extract) were touted by the arthritis foundation to help so what did I have to lose? The doctor said try it, if you can just get moving and bring the weight down you can probably get off the Metformin. I won’t say what I took was a magic pill but it really seemed to help my pain and energy. Mobility improved, I lost 20 pounds in September-November and another 10 in December and January. I saw my fasting blood sugar levels drop from 100 to 90.  My doctor seemed pleased to find my A1C down to 6.3 in October. In December I sheepishly admitted to him I had used the Metformin sporadically during November while intensely monitoring my levels. My average blood sugar for the month of November was 105!  He let me stop it with the promise to keep close watch on my blood sugar levels. He also cut my blood pressure medication by half.

I have a few goals. I would love to get off all my prescription meds. I don’t say “lose weight.”  I say, “regain my health” and the way I do that is through consistent diligence in watching my blood sugar levels, portions of carbohydrates, moderate exercise, taking my prescription medications and vitamin supplements daily, positive attitude, practicing gratitude, and sharing my hope to others through social media.  I find that helping others is the key to helping myself. There are days I don’t feel like doing all it takes to manage my health but honestly, I don’t want to let them down!  My 14 year old daughter has a renewed interest in being more active now that her Mom is.  Even my husband is starting to watch his food choices.

I believe any illness in the family affects the WHOLE family and while I am not glad for the illness, I am grateful finally to have gotten my wake up call to start being more pro-active and a bigger participant in my own life. I have met some incredible people through this journey, ones that inspire me to do better, to be better…because my goal is to one day hold my first grandchild, say in 10-15 years. I would love to be an active 60-something year old grandmother, vibrant with health and energy.  I know before my hospitalization, I had few hopes or dreams because I felt ill most of the time, but now there is a renewed optimism about the future, HOPE and purpose in helping others. To me, that is what living is really about.