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Musings for the Sweetly Bemused: A Diabetes Blog

Musings for the Sweetly Bemused: A Diabetes Blog
By: lizmariposa

My name is Lizmari Collazo.

I am a Puerto Rican, living in Iowa. A lover of white picket fences, black cats, Winter, and photography. I am a 35 year old who was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes two years ago, on November 17th, 2009, with an A1C of 10.5%.

Those are the numbers that "define" me, but they do not tell my story in full. The journey toward my diagnosis was a rocky, and complicated one, and it is my goal that others would learn, and grow from my experiences.

I am not a doctor, nor a medical professional of any kind, so please do not take my musings as a "diagnosis" or as a treatment for any medical condition, at any time. If you should have any concerns regarding any health problems you may be experiencing, please contact your medical team, or a qualified medical professional in your area, as soon as possible. 

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 Blog Entries
A Diabetes Diagnosis: Finding the Motivation - Mar 22
My faithful readers might be missing some of my posts, as of late, and I dully apologize. Sometimes, life throws us much more than diabetes to handle. :) Close to a ...
A Diabetes Diagnosis: Taking Control - Feb 25
Last week, we discussed how allowing baby steps into our diabetes management plan can help us overcome some of the fogginess, and the fear, that a diabetes diagnosis can ...
A Diabetes Diagnosis: Now What? - Feb 16
It's a place of shock, bewilderment, desperation, sadness, fear, or sometimes, misplaced relief or joy. It's a diabetes diagnosis. Sometimes, it might come at us in ...
The Uncommon Diagnosis Story IS the Common Diagnosis Story - Feb 11
Hello to all, in the Diabetes1 world out there! :) This is my very first blog post, in this community... and I'd like to take a moment to just introduce myself. I'm sure ...
A Diabetes Diagnosis: Finding the Motivation
Posted: Mar 22, 2012 12:16:28 0 Comments.
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  • My faithful readers might be missing some of my posts, as of late, and I dully apologize. Sometimes, life throws us much more than diabetes to handle. :) 

    Close to a month ago, we discussed some of the knowledge basics of Taking Control of Diabetes, the significant role that carbohydrates play in our diets, as well as learning how to read nutrition labels, and how and when to use our glucose meters. We learned that not just knowledge is power, but that data derived from that knowledge is, also, power.

    We reviewed quite a bit of information... and perhaps what is one of the more challenging aspects of managing diabetes is that the weight and volume of this information can be signifficantly overwhelming for a patient -- whether they be newly diagnosed, or often times, a veteran. It may even be enough to make us throw our hands in the air, and proclaim we're doomed, without even starting.

    Which brings us to this week's baby step: Finding the Motivation. 

    Just how exactly do we find the motivation, and the *oomph* to really start doing the things we need to take care of ourselves...? Well, that, my friends is a question which will NEVER stop getting answered during the lifetime you live with diabetes, and for as many struggles as you face in your daily life. However... we'll discuss at least, a few very important steps to get you started.

    Quieting the 'I just can't do it' voice. 

    • I'm too ingrained in my habits -- I just can't do it.
    • I'm too addicted to sugar/fat/salt -- I just can't do it.
    • I'm too fat -- I just can't do it.
    • I'm too old to change -- I just can't do it.

    The fact is... that while there might be some truth to some of these excuses, there are also a lot of lies. 

    For one, you are NEVER too ingrained in your habits to change, especially... when the price of staying the same exceeds the price of changing. If you have found 20 ways around getting nailed by the rising price of gasoline, or 20 different ways to be a cheapskate, then you can change; if you have found 20 different brands to use, in protest of a company giving you crappy customer service, or not doing something your way (or the right way)... THEN YOU CAN CHANGE. If you got mad at your cell phone company and found another one... Oh, guess what? You can change! :) 

    There is no habit too ingrained, which with a little patience, can get changed. 

    *But I have tried, and I can't get a single day of dieting and exercising in place!* 

    Of course we're going to fail. If we can barely climb a hill, why go for Mount Everest? We have to realize that our habits were formed over years, and decades, of mentally stimulating, and instantly gratifying behaviors. It's going to take some time, and some delicate work, to rewrite and rewire some of those messages that we were CONSTANTLY receiving.  

    Many folks fail because a common misconception is that we need to start an entire clean slate of healthful eating and exercising -- from January 1st -- or some other epic date, in order to "do it right." This is just NOT so, and in fact, might be incredibly overwhelming for a beginner. 

    So how do we start, then? Work on small steps, and small habits. For example: 

    • Instead of pursuing an entire day of healthful eating, why not simply try to add vegetables to ONE meal of your day? 
    • Instead of pursuing an entire day of blood glucose testing, why not try to at least test around ONE meal of your day? 
    • Instead of thinking you need to do 15 or 30 minutes of intense exercise, why not just go for a relaxing walk around the block, after a meal? 
    • Instead of sticking to X number calories a day, why not try to focus on not overeating during meals? (You know... eating so much, you can tell your body has long ago told you it was full...?) 
    For someone who has never done some of these behaviors, these are small steps that can pack quite the punch. While these small steps might not seem very large ones, over a small amount of time they can become powerful, ingrained habits... and lead to many more. You might feel so good, health-wise, on your walks... that you might want to add 15 or 30 more minutes to them, or even intensify your pace; you may love those veggies so much that ALL your meals will have to have them. We can create a snowball effect of good habits with just one little baby step. 

    Personalizing your journey.

    Have you ever put on someone else's glasses? It's really quite uncomfortable, and even painful. It's so annoying, you quickly take them off. We never put on someone else's glasses, or their underwear, or use their toothbrush... and frankly, we understand those are intimate, and personal things. 

    One thing we might not understand is that what we eat every day, is also, an intimate and personal thing. We are individual beings, with refined tastes, and often those tastes go unnoticed, and unidentified. In this day and age of technology, and instant gratification, it's really not easy to listen to our internal dialogues anymore. Eating the "wrong things" is often the same as wearing a bra that doesn't fit, or a shoe the wrong size.

    The dieting industry BANKS on that you do *NOT* know what to eat, and will sell you their notions, and ideas, as your own. They know you're going to fail, and frankly, your success is not their goal. Their goal is to even get you hooked for a little while, long enough to add to their bank account. The business of recurring business is their business.

    But you have EVERYTHING you need, within your self... to succeed. Trust me: You *KNOW* which foods are healthy; you *KNOW* which foods your blood glucose meter tells you are a no-no; you *KNOW* that portion size matters and you can read labels; you *KNOW* that food doesn't have to be bland; and you *KNOW* you ought to stop when the belly says you've had enough. Just knowing these five things, you can put Jenny Craig, and Weight Watchers, et al, out of business.

    The rest is merely experimenting with your taste buds. Really, why the heck settle for frozen food, or pre-made food, or live within checked boxes of exchanges? Those programs are NOT personalized; they do not know your height, your age, your specific body wants and nutritional needs... They were not meant with your specific YOU in mind. 

    So... eat without distractions, and buy a lot of spices. :) 

    Not exactly easy, I know... you won't always be distracted. You *WILL* have moments, though, when you can pay attention to your body, your hunger signals, your taste buds. Do you realize that half the time we eat something, we don't even like it, and just eat it out of habit? 

    Yes, it's true... I don't like Hershey's Kisses. They taste like the cheap wax they're made with. Give me 80% fine dark chocolate, any day, instead.

    Aside from the things we mindlessly eat, and mindlessly follow... we give up, because it's simply disheartening to just eat boring food. Healthy food does NOT have to be boring. You don't have to eat boiled green beans, with no salt, in order for them to be good for you. You don't even have to eat them fresh.

    Become your OWN culinary science experiment. Steam, broil, grill, sautée. Use olive oil, and spices; discover thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, savory, cumin, etc. Why make bland food? I will never understand many peoples' desire to make bland food, and feed their kids bland food. 

    While I tried to live the bland life, I'd always give up, and never eat vegetables, or tried healthier ways of cooking... Now, the broiler is my friend, and every veggie dish packs a fantastic punch. I could *NEVER* give up my veggies. No way! ... And a serving of broiled, seasoned asparagus has more appeal to me than a bowl full of macaroni and cheese. Any day. 

    You might think this is not going to happen to you... but trust me, I once weighed 248 lbs. I've struggled with morbid obesity since I was around 7 years old. It can, and it WILL happen to you. One step at a time. 

    Self Awareness is Power.

    The magic of self motivation, is self awareness. Learning to establish, and keep an internal dialogue going will go far in helping us identify the blocks that might make us stumble in our life time path of diabetes management. It is critical to know that not only will our diabetes management vary, but that so will our tastes, our drives, and motivations. We are all individual persons, and we need to address ourselves with as much respect and awareness of that individuality as we reserve for others. Take a moment, today, to go discover yourself. Visualize it!


    A Diabetes Diagnosis: Taking Control
    Posted: Feb 25, 2012 14:28:36 0 Comments.
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  • Last week, we discussed how allowing baby steps into our diabetes management plan can help us overcome some of the fogginess, and the fear, that a diabetes diagnosis can bring. We even went ahead and took our first baby step by discussing "What is Diabetes?" This week, I'd like to visit a few of the steps that we can take with all the knowledge and information that we gained by simply knowing what diabetes is, and learning about the basic problems and challenges that it can present.

    If my readers might recall, we went into a little bit of detail about the basic concept of glucose. Glucose, is a type of sugar in which the body turns ALL the food that we eat (and not just sugary foods); it is the body's main source of energy. Nearly all (about 98%) of all the carbohydrates we consume will get turned into glucose, compared to 58% of proteins, and around a 10% of fats. 

    This basic piece of information is the most powerful weapon we have against controlling high blood glucose levels. 

    Because carbohydrates are the biggest contributors, by far, to our blood glucose levels and needs, it is paramount that we manage, and control their consumption with some care. By controlling our carbohydrate consumption levels, we are essentially, controlling our blood glucose levels.

    Now, carbohydrates and starches may bring some confusion to persons trying to manage diabetes, and often... for the wrong reasons. Dietitians, nutritionists, and TV personalities love to focus on the roles of "good" and "bad" carbohydrates in our diets, and will always outline that we, as diabetics, need to focus on consuming good carbohydrates, instead of "bad ones..." and that's not a bad thing, in and of itself. (If we consume too many "fast burning", so called "bad" carbohydrates, we'll be left unfulfilled, and hungry, and often, with roller-coasting blood glucose levels.) But something folks always fail to mention is that, at the end of the day, it is not so much the quality of the carbohydrates we are consuming, but the AMOUNT of them.

    Most Americans consume a seriously disproportionate amount of carbohydrates in their diets, and while some might argue that the average person needs to consume a diet that consists of 60% carbohydrates, the average American consumes much, much more than this. If, for example, we are consuming double the amount of recommended carbohydrates, and replaced all of those with supposed "good carbohydrates" (which we will discuss later), it won't negate that we were still consuming double the amount of recommended carbohydrates! We will still have high blood sugar... even if those carbohydrates were slower burning.   

    So, how do we know how to make proper carbohydrate meal choices? What are our best alternatives? 

    The truth of the mater is that there is NO diabetes diet out there. There is no real truth set in stone that says you have to follow any one person's plan to the letter; even a dietitian's plan. Your best guides in making meal planning decisions will ALWAYS be your glucose meter, moderation, and your own body. 

    Which brings us to our second baby step: Using Our Glucose Meters.

    Yes, that's right. We learn all of the information we need, and much more, one meal at a time, and one event at a time, with our glucose meters. 
    • By testing before, and 1 - 2 hours after a meal;
    • Before going to bed, and at rising;
    • Before, and during, or after exercising;
    • Throughout the day when we are ill, stressed out, or feeling unwell;
    • And as needed, when symptoms present which may indicate hypo or hyperglycemia (low, or high blood glucose.) 
    I will note now that this is a lot more testing than the 1-2 strips a doctor, or insurance company, may allow for you, if you have Type 2 Diabetes. This is an expensive disease, and one in which you might have to invest in some extra, out of pocket, testing strips in order to help you make future confident decisions about your management, particularly, if you are not under any medications. Don't despair, though, bargain department stores often have some affordable, and generic, meters and strips. (By FDA standards, ALL meters must be within the same percentages of accuracy, regardless of brand, so they are no less reliable than more expensive ones... though this might be a topic of argument for many.) 

    Set a Blood Glucose Goal

    Most American and worldwide diabetic guideline organizations, including the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, recommend that diabetic patients keep their blood glucose levels at below 140 mg/dL (7.69 mmol/L) or less, 2 hours after meals, and below 110 mg/dL (6.04 mmol/L), fasting. These guidelines might be different for you, if you are pregnant, or if you have other health issues or complications that might make it risky to reach for these levels. When in doubt, always consult with your Endocrinologist, or your medical team.

    Make meal decisions that help you reach these goals

    • Keep a journal, or a spreadsheet, that helps you keep track of what you ate, and how much of it you ate -- particularly, the TOTAL carbohydrate serving size in your meals. Research the nutritional information label of your foods, or meals, or look up foods on sites like NutritionData, or CalorieKing, for the necessary information. Some of these sites even have "recipe analyzers" which will allow you to get more precise information when meal planning. Always note the serving size, and adjust your total carbohydrate counts accordingly. 
    • Test your blood glucose levels before any meals, and 1-2 hours after meals. Write down these numbers on your spreadsheet, and note the amount of points your blood glucose levels "spiked" after you ate. If your levels rose more than 50 points, or they surpassed your blood glucose level goals, it might be time to cut back on the total amount of carbohydrates that you had for that meal, by either reducing your portions, or cutting out an item altogether. 
    • Make better food choices: By far, the best sources of fiber are non-starchy vegetables, and leafy greens. NOT starchy alternatives, like whole wheat breads, sweet potatoes, pastas, or grains and rices. While it is OKAY to enjoy some of these foods, in moderation, ALWAYS compliment them with non-starchy, fiber-rich, vegetables, and leafy greens. They will greatly slow down the absorption of glucose in your system, and help you attain control with more ease... as well as keep you full. If you allow your meals to consist of at least 50% non-starchy veggies, or leafy greens, you'll have an easier time at attaining control.
    • Rotate your testing: Never assume your evening numbers will translate to your morning numbers. Diabetics are the most insulin resistant in the mornings, and therefore, the most carbohydrate intolerant at those times. Consider making meals more centered around protein rich foods, like eggs, instead of cereals, breads, or starches. If you want to include some of these in your morning, be prepared to incorporate exercise into your routine. (Oatmeal might be good for Wilford Brimley, but it sure as heck is NOT good for me.) Never Assume - ALWAYS TEST. Test, test, test. I cannot stress this enough. Every diabetic is DIFFERENT. 
    • There are no good, or bad carbohydrates. Aside from outright junk foods, ie, foods that aren't even really foods, like ho-hos, or twinkies, there are NO good or bad carbohydrates. All carbohydrates have their proper place, in our diets. Use your meter to determine that place, the best. If you are exercising intensely, it is OKAY to pair a fast acting carbohydrate with a protein, and a fat, for strong, extended release. If you are experiencing a low blood glucose event, always consume a FAST acting carbohydrate, or simple carbohydrate -- ie, something made up of pure sugar or glucose -- BY ITSELF. Do *not* consume something that is slow, and complex, as it's digestion might not be fast enough to raise your blood glucose levels to a safe zone. In any other situation, simple carbohydrates are TREATS; and thus, they are meant to be consumed sparingly, and in moderation. They are not meant as "nutritional powerhouses." At meal times, strive to consume more complex, or slow burning carbohydrates. Try juggling, and spacing out your daily carbohydrate consumption, if you want to accommodate an occasional treat, such as ½ cup of ice cream, or a small cookie. Consider this: Often, a ½ cup of ice cream may have 17-20 grams of carbohydrate, but 1 serving of pasta may have well over 40 grams of carbohydrate. In this case, that pasta is more likely to spike you than that ice cream! (Perhaps, avoid having a starch at dinner, if you are planning for a dessert.)

    Data is Power.

    We have just examined a few of the baby steps that we can take to help us attain proper DATA, to make powerful decisions in our daily diabetes management routines. (Of course, this information is very basic, and it does not account for the impact that your medications, or insulin regimen, might have. If you are learning to manage insulin, it might be advisable to make an appointment with a Certified Diabetes Educator, or CDE, as well as investing in the book "Think like a Pancreas," by Gary Scheiner.) 

    Try applying some of this knowledge, perhaps with just ONE MEAL a day. Visualize it! 

     What baby step will we discuss next week? Stay tuned to find out! 

    A Diabetes Diagnosis: Now What?
    Posted: Feb 16, 2012 14:34:51 0 Comments.
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  • It's a place of shock, bewilderment, desperation, sadness, fear, or sometimes, misplaced relief or joy. 

    It's a diabetes diagnosis.

    Sometimes, it might come at us in a tactful way, but more often than not, it gets thrown at us like a volleyball in a game of tag. "You're it! It's your turn now, to go, and get it figured out!" 

    A diabetes diagnosis may be paralizing for a patient, especially, when little is known about the disease, or when the diagnosis was not expected. However, few medical professionals seem to realize this, nor the need for essential information right from the start to communicate not just the seriousness of the disease, but to ease feelings of helplessness or resignation that a patient might experience. Insurance hurdles, often limiting helpful actions a medical professional might take, usually end up making matters worse. 

    So, what can we do? Where can we start? How do we help ease the fogginess of confusion?

    Well, if Bob's crazy journey in the movie "What About Bob?" taught us anything... the answer begins with "Baby Steps."    

    Bob is right: "All I have to do... is take... one little step at a time... and I can do anything..." Truer words were never spoken by a "crazy" man. 

    See, Bob isn't really "crazy." He's just soooo overwhelmed by looking at the big picture of life, and everything, all at the same time -- that he's distracted from the little baby steps, and the things that matter. His psychiatrist, just wanting to get rid of him, unwittingly gives him the answers.

    Type 2 Diabetes is much like this; a baby steps adventure. Yes, it's an adventure! Just as Bob goes on, exploring a brave, new, and often frightening world... so must we, also, discover that we can do this, and much, much more. 

    Just what do baby steps look like? Well, I find that learning what the problem IS before I even start, can help signifficantly. So, let's begin. 

    Just what exactly IS diabetes? (THIS is the real problem. The equation to solve.) Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not use glucose adequately. 

    • What in the world is glucose? Is this sugar? Well, yes, and no. Glucose is definitely a type of sugar, but it's not 'table sugar,' and it's not exclusively derived from any sweets, or treats, you might like to eat. Glucose is the fuel your body uses to power itself so that it can do tasks, perform bodily functions, exercise, etc. In short, it's the gasoline that powers your vehicle. Your body will take ALL the food you eat (from one degree to another), and turn it into glucose so that it can power itself. Most of that power will come from carbohydrates (around 98% of them will get turned into glucose), some from protein (around 58%), and a little bit from fats (around 10%.) 
    • What does it mean to not use glucose adequately? Well, it usually means that your body's red blood cells, and muscle tissues, etc. cannot allow glucose to enter them because: a.) they are not communicating well with insulin (insulin is like a door man, allowing glucose to enter cells when it's present), b.) there is not enough insulin present in the body to even try to communicate with glucose, OR c.) both a & b.  
    When insulin cannot communicate effectively with red blood cells, and tissues, etc., we call this "insulin resistance." When there is not enough insulin to simply help glucose enter cells, at all, we call this "insulin deficiency." Both insulin resistance, and insulin deficiency, can vary. Some insulin resistance is very advanced (meaning, the pancreas has failed again and again to produce insulin that can communicate effectively with tissues), and some insulin deficiency is absolute (meaning, there is no insulin production left, in any real signifficant levels.) 

    If you have insulin resistance, your pancreas will try to continuously make insulin until it can process that extra glucose in your blood stream, allowing it to enter your body's cells and tissues, etc.

    This means that if you have pre-diabetes, your pancreas has to work a little harder to process that glucose because it is struggling to keep up with the demands. It might take a few cycles of insulin production for it to get that extra glucose into your cells and tissues, but it can still get the job done.

    If you have Type 2 Diabetes, your pancreas can no longer meet these insulin production demands adequately, and your blood stream will start to carry unsafe levels of blood glucose long past digestion. Any extra insulin your pancreas might produce is not communicating adequately, or quickly enough, with your cells and tissues to allow glucose to enter them effectively. Sometimes, the level insulin resistance is so great, that a person may need to supplement with oral medications, or even insulin, to help overcome it. 

    If you are insulin deficient, this means that the beta cells -- the little cells within the Islets of Langerhans, inside your Pancreas, which are responsible for insulin production -- have become exhausted from the constant insulin production cycle, and have "pooped out." A good amount of them have died, if not nearly all of them. Your pancreas can no longer make a safe level of insulin to help keep you healthy, and processing glucose, so that you don't starve. (Yes, our body's cells, and organs, will starve without glucose!) Patients with insulin deficiency, must supplement with insulin therapy, or risk fatal consequences.

    Some insulin deficiency is absolute, and it is brought on by the body's own immune system suddenly attacking these beta cells, for currently unknown reasons, until there are none or virtually none, left. This is called Type 1(a) (or Type 1) Diabetes, and though it is often seen in children, it can present at any age. The fact that it is brought on by an autoimmune attack, makes it distinctly different than Type 2 Diabetes, and it is the main reason why Type 2 Diabetics do NOT turn into Type 1 Diabetics if they become insulin deficient.

    Knowledge is Power
    And this is our FIRST baby step. Now that we are armed with at least, some of the most basic concepts of Diabetes, and the problems and hurdles it may present, we can live with a little less fear. Do you see the light yet? A little bit?

    Is it too much? Read it... just a little paragraph at a time. Try to visualize it.    

    Next blog post, we will discuss what we can do... with ALL this power. :) Stay tuned. 
    The Uncommon Diagnosis Story IS the Common Diagnosis Story
    Posted: Feb 11, 2012 13:07:31 0 Comments.
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  • Hello to all, in the Diabetes1 world out there! :)

    This is my very first blog post, in this community... and I'd like to take a moment to just introduce myself. I'm sure that with time, I'll get to know many of you a bit more closely. As many of you may know, my name is Lizmari. I am a Type 2 Diabetic, as well as a person with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Depression, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. (Yes, I'm just a little box full of FUN! :))

    Life with many endocrine illnesses hasn't always been easy -- but it has been a learning challenge, as well as a challenge to my own will, and self motivations. It's, particularly, not so easy sometimes, to know where an illness begins, and another one ends... especially at diagnosis time. But I'd like to believe that I've learned a thing or two, over the years, about some of the individual nuanses of each of my conditions. 

    As I post and share, in this community, my goal is that we all come away a bit more aware that diabetes (and endocrine illness in general) is not a black and white affair. Each and every one of our experiences will be different, and not exactly "textbook" based. We may know the many classic symptoms that represent diabetes, but even deeper than these, an awareness that our sense of health is "off" is sometimes all a person needs to trigger curiosity, and persue more adequate medical follow up. 

    And so began my journey with diabetes... 

    I was merely, a busy Human Resource professional, for a local manufacturing company. A young person, excited about a career with promise. Perhaps a little too excited. The job was stressful, and filled with "busybody politics." 

    It was Winter of 2006, when I started noticing things were not right with me -- I started having these odd chest pains. I had recently gained a lot of weight, and I guess I chucked it up to being busy, and not really paying closer attention to my eating habits. But, nevertheless, I went to my Primary Care Physician, and I expressed my concerns. 

    At the time, the doctor ordered some labwork, as well as a stress test, from the local hospital. The stress test came back fine, but looking back at the labwork? That was not so fine -- the fasting blood glucose level was 143 mg/dL! But NO ONE told me anything about it. No one said there were any issues at all. (I actually found out when I happened upon the paperwork, long after diagnosis.) 

    Through 2007, my health just deteriorated even further. I began having bouts of anxiety, and clinical depression, and was hospitalized for some time. I was placed on many strong antidepressants (some of which, undoubtedly raise blood glucose as a side effect), and my weight just fluctuated considerably. I was rarely able to be at work, and had already exhausted my Famy Medical Leave. The last medication I was on, the doctors ran some blood work, and simply told me that I had "Fatty Liver Disease," but never followed up on that, nor on my blood glucose levels. I was never told what it really meant, or what I could or should do to fix it. What's worse is that Fatty Liver is a classic potential marker for diabetes, and it simply went ignored. Near the end of 2007, I had a major seizure at my desk, at work... and was promptly fired, when I was not able to return the following Monday. 

    I had just ended the year on a very bad note. I was balding quite considerably. I had lost 40 lbs. I was quite scared. After that, I lived on the sofa, for many a weeks and months, depressed, and confused. I hardly ate. I had a few jobs here and there, that I struggled to keep -- and often didn't. I was basically, a shadow of who I used to be.

    I began developing infections -- even massive abscesses requiring hospital intervention. I recall, on one occasion, being so sick... my husband just insisted I test my blood glucose level. It was 150 mg/dL. It had been around 3-4 hours since the last time I had eaten. (And not very much, at that.) I knew right there was something wrong... My father had had diabetes, so I just KNEW there had to be something wrong. I decided to visit a local free clinic for the uninsured, that's hosted in my local community... and the doctor there said there was nothing wrong!! Nothing wrong. "Oh, if you care so much, just lose a little weight, but you're fine."

    Five months later, the chornic yeast infections began... and the blurry vision. And the unsatiable thirst. I was finally diagnosed by the head LPN, at the local Planned Parenthood, who on a hunch, tested my glucose in urine levels, and sent me for an A1C. My fasting blood glucose that morning was 235 mg/dL, a full 12 hours after having eaten a single thing. An A1C of 10.5%. Even with those numbers, the PCP at the Free Clinic was still in denial... still questioning to herself that there was anything wrong... Still acting like "well, did you see any other bad numbers in your meter?" -- How many more bad numbers does one need? It's a very high A1C!

    This is a very condensed story... but the moral of it is that it took me near 3 years to get an accurate diagnosis. LISTEN to your body, be insistent. If you have ANY doubts at all, use the power of the internet, and get second opinions when you have the resources available to get them. Don't take a no for an answer, if you are very concerned there is something wrong, and you feel your medical team is just not listening to you, or dismissing you. Just because someone is not presenting in a coma, or on their death bed, or passed out from high blood glucose levels, or with glucose levels over 500, does not mean they do not have diabetes! 

    Our community needs medical professional awareness as much as it needs patient awareness... and I hope that every one of my musings, here, can help contribute even a little grain of sand into that vast beach. :) 

    I'm glad to be here. Glad to share. 



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