Hello out there. My name’s Sean and I’ll try to share with you my first 9 months as a Type-2 Diabetic and hope it will help you out along the way.
First off I am a Computer Consultant. I am NOT a Doctor or any type of Medical Professional. I barely passed Biology so this is just ME sharing my experience. If it helps you figure out your Diabetes at all or how to work it out, great. If it helps you because you think you might be Diabetic? Great. This is NOT anything that should be used for any Medical reference. Three great resources for this are.
Important note number two if you’re curious about Diabetes. There is two types. Type-1 (Also known as Juvenile Diabetes). Those with that are were born with it for various reasons. Then there is Type-2 which some adults develop later in life. In both cases you’re unable to process Glucose properly which is sort of like having gasoline flooding the car engine and not running the engine as well as it should. Only in this case the gasoline is flooding into other parts of the car and doing things it generally shouldn’t be doing. (Maybe a bad analogy but again.. I’M NOT A DOCTOR. I’m also a HORRID person for maintaining any car – Another day, another story)
So my story. On Dec 19th 2013 I was checked into the hospital with a Glucose level of about 19mmol/l, normally you should be somewhere between 4 – 7. Prior to this in the past few weeks I had noticed heavily increased urination, constant drinking of water, excessive thirst and finally my eyes were so fuzzy I couldn’t read my laptop display from a normal distance. I was almost 210 pounds and 47 years old.
The blood tests came back from the Ottawa Hospital and confirmed I was a Type-2 Diabetic. Not being a doctor or any type of medical professional let’s put that in English. For whatever reason my body could not either process the Glucose in my blood efficiently as it could before (any number of medical reasons) and Glucose was building up in my blood. The urination was from me drinking more water because my body was trying to purge the excess glucose into my urine (and not succeeding very well)
At first I was in a panic. I knew friends that were Diabetic and one that had regularly gone into Diabetic comas. So I was terrified MOSTLY due to lack of knowledge.
First off, I am blessed to be in Canada and was immediately put in touch with an endocrinologist (Diabetes Specialist) who got me on the right medication to help try and control the excessive blood sugars, but more importantly had information on what to eat / not eat.
I also had another massive resource. Friends who were willing to answer questions (no matter how stupid they seemed). Three key people made the difference, one of which was a close friend that went through an amazing level of weight loss (good job Rick!) and someone from my last job who was also Diabetic.
Rick pointed out something easy to understand and important. “Get your weight down to your BMI level or as close as you can and started getting your ass off the chair and move around.” He also explained a simpler form of understanding Glucose release in foods. Some are fast (Can of soda), some are Medium (Apple), some are Slow (High Fiber stuff) which helped me to understand how I might get sugar INTO my body without it FLOODING my bloodstream.
…Best advise ever!
The OTHER part he told me (and I confirmed this from many sources) is be CONSISTENT on your levels of food intake. If you’re eating about 1900 calories a day, stick there. Don’t do 100 today (starve yourself) and then 2400 the next day (Pig out). That just doesn’t work either.
First off, challenge. Stop eating “Sugary Shit” as I keep thinking of it now and limit or control my carbs. Those stupid Vitamin Waters might have some vitamins but they had as much sugar as Soda pop. A standard “One-A-Day” was better for me without that crap.
So my BIG problem was what could I EAT? I had no clue how MUCH sugar or carbs were in anything. I needed some way to KNOW and to CALCULATE.
I did a lot of online searching and found www.myfitnesspal.com which worked out perfect for two reasons.
- It could calculate the proper amount of calories (or close enough) for me to eat for my target weight
- It could show me the carbs, Sugars (and more importantly Fibers and Proteins) in the foods I was thinking of eating
With that at least I could plan out for the day and figure out a breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to meet the calories. Something *I* could work with. So I plugged in what I was eating to see how many calories I was ALREADY eating to see just how bad I was doing before (HOLY CRAP 2800?!?) and then proceeded to get snacks that had minimal to no carbs, high fiber, high protein (Nuts, Granola bars with at LEAST 5 fiber, minimal sugar), high quality cereals like Kasha with at least 9 protein and 9 fiber. No booze either.
I also learned to read the labels on the sides of food and even Beer to understand what they had for Carbs vs. Fibers. Yes in the battle to control my sugar flows, Carbs and sugars are the enemy and Fiber and Proteins are your friends. But it’s ALL in balance because you STILL need carbs and sugars to exist. Just not the amount you get in a large Soda.
Yes I went into a temporary “Panic mode” / “Manic Health Kick”
The OTHER challenge I discovered were my eyes and feeling like I was going to pass out.
My eyesight for the first month was just completely messed up. I couldn’t read a laptop without READING glasses and was getting NASTY headaches.
Then walking to the store I was ready to fall down and felt like I was Hypo Glycemic. Two answers for this.
First my eyes were checked to see if they had been damaged already from high sugar levels (they weren’t) so the answer was (my Doctor and a co-worker explained) is my eyes were adjusting to having NORMAL glucose levels. That mean they were so used to high glucose they to needed to adapt back down. That can actually take up to three months for the process to fully complete.
I began testing my Blood a bit more often when I went back and forth to the store initially and also did something smart. I bought a Fit Bit Flex to track my movement and to calculate the amount of calories I was burning off. I also chose the Flex to see what my sleep patterns were like.
You see I was now eating WAY less than before (but more correctly) but I was feeling hungry and dizzy from this sudden drop in Calories. So I had to avoid Hypo Glycaemia (Severe LACK of sugar which is DIFFERENT level of bad). the Fit bit helped me to know that a 30 minute walk up and back was about 130 calories of effort. So pack an Apple in my pocket and some granola bars in case I felt “off”. (I figured out the Calories provided from an Apple from www.myfitnesspal.com)
Fast forward to today (August).
I slip off my diet a bit here and there but I’ve managed to keep my calories consistently closer to where they SHOULD be. I am down to 172 pounds. I test my blood once before each meal still. I take my required medication.
My glucose is now between 4 and 7 where it should be (consistently) and I feel WAY better from the way I eat. My most recent blood test came back with an A1C of 5.5 (which is where is Non-Diabetic would be at).
My diet is not perfect but I DO walk a lot more often and cycle when I can (even just 15 minutes up to my Office and back)
I’ve also learned from a few trips overseas that my blood Glucose can rise up a bit simply from extreme lack of sleep (My poor pancreas is tired) and a GOOD SOLID NIGHT of SLEEP can do world of good.
I don’t know what the future brings but I can tell you I’m less afraid. I now understand the trick to Diabetes is keeping an eye on the Blood Glucose and ensuring it doesn’t get out of control. If it does start to get whacky I can a few things.
- Check in with my Doctor, get my blood tested and see what I might need to adjust medically.
- Re-think my foods
- Re-examine my sleep to ensure I HAVE been sleeping properly
Just get a blood test and find out and don’t panic. Knowledge, Awareness and a good Doctor can help YOU control it.