So I briefly mentioned earlier in a Sunday Currently that I’m diabetic. The journey started last February at an annual physical checkup mandated by my office. In a great coincidence the doctor doing routine checkups for hundreds of APE goers recommended that I take a fasting blood chemistry test due to the possibility of me being diabetic. The symptoms she noticed? The fact that I’m overweight and that I have wounds on my arms and hands that, when asked, I said doesn’t really fully heal. If you look at the wikipedia article, these are but two of the many symptoms of diabetes, and these are symptoms that are not unique to diabetes. Thank the gods that she registered that recommendation, for it does turn out that I’m diabetic, specifically type 2 (adult-onset diabetes mellitus). For those interested in numbers, here are the relevant ones:
What these basically mean is that I have thrice the normal recommended blood sugar and some issues with triglycerides, but strangely enough none with cholesterol. (Author note: If you guys are interested what these things are, I can talk about it in a separate post so let me know!). I got myself an internal medicine specialist and luckily I think I got a good one. His main thrust for my treatment was upfront: it will have to be a lifestyle change, and that meds will only be an assist. It is his goal to wean me off the meds completely if I respond well to treatment.
I can tell you that at this point I had not yet fully realized the implications of the treatment nor fully accepted the diagnosis. It was going to change my life and I didn’t know how much yet.
My doctor put me on Fenostat to address my triglycerides, and a low dosage of Metformin (any diabetic will recognize that) for the blood sugar. But more important than the meds is the lifestyle change. You know the old chestnut about healthy eating and exercise? Yup, that’s exactly what I needed to do, and laziness is no longer an option. My main drive back to health is my family. I need to stay healthy to be with them, and I don’t want any of the diabetic complications to develop.
Firstly, exercise: there is no set schedule, just a commitment to do anything active for 30 minutes straight at least twice a week. This for me is the difficult one, as I am dreadfully out of shape and out of time. Desperation breeds ways, and I managed to squeeze in walks, play time, and other things in my life. I should be doing more, and this is my goal in the next few months.
Secondly, healthy eating. As my main problem areas are sugar and fats, I simply eliminated these from my regular meals. In specific these are the changes I made:
- No more sugary drinks, specifically iced tea. (I don’t drink softdrinks and alcohol.)
- Switch to Splenda or Stevia to sweeten my coffee. (Sorry, I’m not ready to give up coffee just yet!)
- Any skin is off limits. Chicken skin, pork skin, they’re out!
- Avoid fried. My ulams are now usually grilled, steamed, boiled, or stewed.
- Avoid pork and beef as much as possible. I’m probably down to eating those maybe once a week. I focus on chicken, fish, and seafood.
- Incorporate fruits and veggies into meals. No explanation needed here.
- Cut down carbs, but not totally avoid it. Usually I only now eat half-cup rice instead of full cup, and avoid pasta and bread.
- If possible, switch to whole grains.
- Desserts? Almost none, unless it’s sugarfree, which is pretty rare.
It is now May, and my doctor scheduled me for another round of blood tests, to see how these problem areas are after three months. This is what came out:
Great results! While I’m clearly still quite diabetic (I don’t really think this will go away, to be honest) as per the Hb1Ac number, I’m in much better shape than three months ago, most especially the big decrease in blood sugar. The doctor removed me from Fenostat as my triglycerides are now normal, while increasing the dosage of Metformin.
The happy bonus to this? I lost about six pounds and am able to keep to that weight! While a six-pound weight loss isn’t amazing, I’m quite happy with it and am aiming to shed a few more before I come back for another round of testing.
Best of all, I feel great! Even though occasionally I will have cravings for pastries or ramen (Hi Kira!) that’s not really often so it’s not such a huge impact to my health. I remain positive and ready to fight, and I’m hoping three months from now that I can report a continuing trend.
Thanks for staying with me for the whole entry, which turned out to be quite a lot! I’m just very happy about this and wanted to share with you my journey.