Popping more pills…

You know, it would have been nice if my doctor had given me the option to try and control my blood sugar with diet and exercise first, before she prescribed me a crapload of pills to take.  I am supposed to up my medications once again tomorrow, which means I’ll be taking 1000mg of Metformin in the morning (2 pills) and another 1000mg at night. Apparently, 2000mg a day is not an unusual dosage schedule, but I have to wonder, is it still overkill? I should have had a choice in this, and I just didn’t. Rawr.

I really would have liked to see if I could control my blood sugar without the meds, because I really don’t plan on being diabetic for the rest of my life. Maybe that is a silly thing to say right now, but I fully intend to reverse this disease to the point that it no longer poses any sort of threat to my well-being. I have no intention of taking Metformin for the rest of my life in order to achieve this, either. Perhaps I am putting the cart before the horse in this instance, but I am so determined to put this behind me already, that I simply cannot think about it under any other terms.

My brain is also a sieve right now, as I can’t remember if my doctor wanted me to keep a log of my blood sugar readings starting tomorrow, or the following week. I hope I don’t have to schedule an appointment just to ask her which it is. Why don’t doctors write anything down for patients anymore? I was just lectured, briskly told what to do in 3 weeks time,  handed a stack of faded xerox copies from some diabetes handbook and sent on my way.  It was a lot to absorb at the time, and my short term memory has seen better days. I guess I’ll have to start taking my own notes. I’m so bad at this stuff..

On a side note, I wanted to thank my friends for their support. I have been in contact with a few people already, and I feel good knowing that some of you can relate to what I’m going through. Well, I mean, I’m actually sorry you can relate, but I’m glad to not feel alone in this! ;) Thanks guys xoxo

Coming out…

Yesterday I decided to publish my blog to my Facebook account. I actually thought long and hard about making this a public blog (well, public to people that know me, that is). I’ve been sort of ashamed of having T2 Diabetes, because to me, it rather graphically depicts my failure to take care of myself. I thought maybe I could just lose a few pounds and make it go away before anyone finds out, but I understand now that it doesn’t work like that. I can’t just put a band-aid on this and squeak by until the next horrible disease manifests. I also realized that everything I am going through right now can only be made better with the support of my amazing friends. I’m not sure why it took me 2 weeks to figure that out, but hey, at least I figured it out.

I suppose the one thing that becomes more difficult now is the publishing of my current photos, which I have yet to take. When I think about that moment coming to pass, my mind is flooded with anxiety, embarrassment, and a lot of questions. Do I really want people I haven’t seen since junior high to see what a mess I’ve become? Why do I care so much? How can I go about caring less? Why am I making this into such a big deal? Stuff like that. I suppose I should take comfort in knowing that everyone I know, knows I’ve always been fat, therefore seeing me as a fat adult shouldn’t exactly be a huge shocker. That does comfort me, if only momentarily.

One thing is certain — this is going to be harder than I thought.

Thinking about my amazing friend Julie makes things a bit easier. Julie is actually the person who inspired me to create this blog. She kept track of her 312lb weight loss experience in her own blog, and shared lots of thoughts and feelings about her journey along the way. She was also great about sharing updated photos from beginning to end, and I respect her so much for doing that. She has shown me that what I must do for myself right now really is possible, and that the outcome really can be stunning, awe-inspiring, and life-changing. I really want that experience. I want a real life. This is what I need to remember when I start letting my shame take over.

So thank you Julie. You are changing more lives for the better than just your own. xoxo

Privacy please…

I ordered my new recumbent bicycle yesterday, and I’m excited for it to arrive. The one area I have really been slacking off in is the realm of exercise.  I actually love to exercise, and I love how I feel afterwards, but it really is all about just taking that one first step to propel me into motion. I am so full of excuses!

For instance, I could have been making the wise decision to walk every day already. So why don’t I? Because my neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks. Yeah, that’s really my excuse, and yes, I am a total flake for letting it work so far. My “logic” is that it would be dangerous to walk so near the traffic (my street is residential, but it can be busy at times), and I also don’t like being so conspicuous. In other words people will SEE me!!! Gasp. Horror. This is actually the same reason I won’t join a gym. I am far too self-conscious to exercise in full view of just anybody. I’m a freak, I know.

So, I did some looking around, and found a really affordable and sturdy recumbent bike to use in the privacy of my home. It should be here in a week or so, and I am looking forward to starting a real exercise regime.  I will also try to get my starting photos and weight recorded around this time, so that I can begin documenting my progress in the blog. I feel like I have lost a bit of weight already, but I’m not officially keeping count until the exercising begins.

I cooked another curry recently, by the way. A beef and chickpea Vindaloo. It was perhaps the spiciest, hottest thing I have ever put into my mouth. It was delicious, but far too painful. I also used too many chickpeas. They spiked my blood sugar to 133, which is still within normal range, but I’m averaging around 105-115 postprandial (2 hours after eating), and would like to keep it that way.  I will have to adjust the recipe before I can actually recommend it. It has promise, though. :)

Sleep…

I am finding it difficult to stick to a routine of taking medicine at the same times every morning and evening. This is supposedly a somewhat important aspect of getting the most out of your diabetic medication. So is having a fairly static meal schedule, but I’m failing at that, as well.  So, yesterday, when I happened to read this article, I felt like I’d been given yet another hurdle to jump.

I have had Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder for as long as I can remember.  Well, literally since I was about 13 years old. This disorder prevents me from having any sort of predictable schedule of any kind — be it work, sleep, meals, etc.  I may be able to sort myself out temporarily, but it slowly unfurls itself, and I am carried right back to where I started… sleep chaos.  Hence, my aforementioned difficulties.

I’ve been trying to treat every post-waking up time as “breakfast” or “morning”, even if it is at 10pm.  I will medicate and have my morning meal as if this is a normal morning time, and do the same at dinner, even if dinner occurs at 8am. Seems straightforward enough, until I begin prolonging my sleep time for 2.. 3.. sometimes 6+ hours. Sometimes I will be awake for 24 hours straight before I am able to sleep again. Then, when I do sleep, I tend to sleep for very long periods of time, like 10 to 12 hours or so. This is where the confusion and worry really sets in, in terms of maintaining my medication schedule and meal times.

I haven’t missed any doses yet, but I just feel a bit scrambled-up and out of control lately.  And with regards to that new study, I am twice as concerned. I definitely need some sleep help!

 

Spicing it up…

Today I start upping my medication, as per my doctor’s orders. My blood sugar has been hovering in the normal range without fail ever since I began testing myself over a week ago, so I’m not sure why I need to increase my meds, but whatever. I’m doing what I’ve been told because I just don’t want any more delays in treatment, and I don’t want to give anyone any reason to think I’m not taking this seriously.

When I lapse into a hypoglycemic coma, I’ll know who to blame. ;)

On an entirely different, more awesome note, my boyfriend is simply the greatest human to have ever lived. Seriously, I don’t know what I would do without him. Granted, he’s in Texas and I’m in California, but hey, details.

He is an even more ardent foodie than I am, and he is responsible for exposing me to a huge amount of foodie goodness that I never would have known about otherwise. He is always making sure that I am able to procure good yummy things to eat from time to time, and is incapable of allowing me to subsist on ramen and other bottom-feeding items when I am particularly impoverished.

He sends me delicious care packages sometimes, and this week, he really sent me a doozy: a box filled with 8 different, wonderful, amazing, high quality spice blends for cooking my favorite things on earth — curries! Sweet curry, hot curry, Vindaloo, Rogan Josh, Balti, Garam masala, something called Northwood’s Seasoning (not curry related, but still apparently awesome for chicken and fish), and Chili 9000, which is a special blend for making chili (and with a name like that, how can it not be bad ass?).  He ordered them from this great spice company called Penzeys. He has been very concerned that my limited diet will drive me up a clock tower with a rifle, so he thought it would be prudent to give me the ability to really cook some flavorful dishes for myself. Is that sweet or what?!

I cooked a Rogan Josh curry last night, and for my first attempt at a curry, I have to say, it was super delicious. I did my best to add minimal salt (maybe 1/8 tsp), used olive oil instead of butter (or ghee), and non-fat Greek yogurt. So, I’m sure, in more ideal circumstances,  it could be better. But hey, it was diabetic friendly and tasted like heaven to me. Nothing but 10s across the board as far as I’m concerned.

Thank you Dan. :)

Anxiety…

Based on a single blood pressure reading at my doctor’s clinic, I was prescribed blood pressure medication. This Rx was given to me in lieu of my diabetes medication. The offending blood pressure reading was 160/93.  Pretty bad, right? Both the systolic and diastolic were above normal, but still technically “mild” range.

I suppose it might have interested my doctor to know that during that blood pressure test, I was experiencing a mid-grade anxiety attack.  You see, as the nurse assistant was wrapping the blood pressure sleeve around my arm, she asked me what I would be wanting to talk to the doctor about that day, and I responded with something like, “I don’t even know where to begin!”.  She then informed me that I could only choose a single issue to discuss due to time constraints!  I didn’t expect this at all, so my heart rate shot way up — I could feel the familiar pounding in my ears, and when that blood pressure reading popped up on the display with a beep, I was hardly surprised to see the result.

I know that state-funded medical care isn’t exactly the creme de la creme or anything, and as they say, beggars can’t be choosers. However, I’m new to this, and I had no idea that I would be asked to make separate appointments to discuss separate health issues.  (Is this “the norm” now?) Perhaps I am just more naive than I thought, but I went in there that day hoping to crack into a couple of issues that are important, and I did not foresee being immediately shut down and forced to choose just one. It’s not like I was there to talk about a sniffle or have her look at a suspicious mole. I was there to discuss my possible diabetes, my untreated PCOS, the tumors on my adrenal glands, my depression and anxiety, and my sleep apnea.  I even asked the assistant, “How am I supposed to be able to prioritize so many potentially horrible problems, and just pick one?” She was no help, but did steer me towards the diabetes issue, so I stuck with it.

So, with my anxiety switch fully flipped, it’s no wonder my BP was elevated. Never mind the fact that every visit since then my BP has been normal. If she knew a single thing about my medical history, she would also know that I have never had any blood pressure issues in the past, either. But apparently that doesn’t matter to my doctor, since she has pigeonholed me as just another fat, apathetic diabetic. And since I’d need to make a whole separate appointment just to tell her “I have bad anxiety issues”, she’ll never know why that BP reading was so artificially high.

Needless to say, I haven’t taken my blood pressure medication yet. I hear it’s a real bitch (and horrendously dangerous) to ween yourself off of after you’ve gotten things under control. I don’t want to have a stroke because some uninterested doctor who couldn’t pick me out of a crowd decided I needed to be on it based on one sketchy blood pressure reading. No. No no no.

I have so much more to say about my health care experiences thus far, most of it terrible, but I don’t want to be too much of a downer today. I just wanted to say that if they are going to leave so much self-diagnosis and medical footwork to the patient, then I am also going to question the validity of some of my so-called doctor’s decisions.

Diets: My Long History

I was a fat kid. In fact, I was a fat baby. 9lbs, 10oz. I even got stuck during labor, and had to be removed with the salad tongs..  um, forceps.  I don’t really know what it’s like to be “thin”, “skinny”, or even “average” weight. I’ve always had the chub, and I always knew it. My mom was heavy, my aunt was heavy, and my maternal grandmother was heavy. My older brother was heavy, too.  Fortunately, my aunt, mother and brother were all able to have gastric bypass surgery and lose the weight.

I am the last surviving fatty in my immediate family.

My mother, in an attempt to lose her own weight as well as help my brother and I slim down, had us on various diets from the age of 9 onward. Nowadays people would cringe at that, but back then, I don’t think it was frowned upon as much. I remember my first Weight Watchers meeting, and along with my brother, being the youngest people there. It was a very adult environment, and my kid brain wasn’t able to embrace any potentially useful information, mostly because it felt like I was being made to go to school at night, too. I now realize it was probably just easier for my mom to take us with her than to hire a babysitter. But at the time, it sucked.

We fell off the Weight Watchers wagon multiple times, mostly because my mother would bring home junk food in a moment of weakness. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to shoulder my mother with a lot of blame for my weight issues, but the fact is, I was a kid and had no say in the grocery shopping habits of my household. I ate what I was given, and I snacked on what was there, and there were rarely ever any fresh veggies or fruit, but always a big selection of ice cream, chips, soda, cookies, and candy. Make of that what you will. Needless to say, Weight Watchers, the 1980s version, anyway, was not a success for me or my family. I hear lots of great things about it these days, but I’m afraid my bias is too deeply embedded to permit me to have another go at this point.

When I was 14, we all started on Jenny Craig. I liked this program because it forced us to purge our entire kitchen of anything non-dietetic. Our cupboards and fridge were filled with Jenny Craig products, and everything else was reduced fat/calories/sugar free.  We picked up our weekly bags of Jenny Craig food, and had our (sometimes dreaded) weekly weigh-in, and stuck to the program for quite a few months. I lost close to 40lbs on Jenny Craig.

Gradually, however, we started rewarding our weigh-in successes with stops at the fast food joint on the way home. At my last weigh-in, I had gained 10lbs. Eventually, my mom decided that Jenny Craig was simply too expensive to continue with (read: she had some HäagenDazs in the freezer with her name on it, and I was standing by with a spoon of my own), so that is where it ends. I am still disappointed with that failure, because I was quite content on that program, and had I been able to afford it myself, I would have continued on it. Such is life.

I have tried many diets since, all with varying amounts of success. Obviously, any weight loss I did have was gained back twofold. Atkins was interesting, but I never felt healthy despite having lost weight on it. I also grew bored very quickly on that diet, and this is coming from someone who thinks bacon should be canonized. I realized a while ago that what I must do is quite simple: change my eating habits, my lifestyle, and my attitude towards healthy food. Simple, yes, but the motivation was lacking.

Type 2 Diabetes is one hell of a motivator.

So, there is my dieting history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The effects it has had on my brain and my food attitudes are still working against me to this day. I am in learning mode now, though, and my desire to change those attitudes is stronger than ever.  I feel that I have already taken some huge strides towards permanently changing my food perceptions, but I still have so many miles ahead of me. One step at a time, right?