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Diabetes Denial

Monday, June 17, 2013

So I just had the scare of my life this past week. A little history: Oct. 31, 2011 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I jumped on the healthy eating bandwagon immediately - just so happened a friend had gotten me the Eat To Live book and I had started reading it even before I had any inkling that I had diabetes. But I did remember the cases in the book where people had reversed their diabetes through diet and exercise, so I started ETL and I was strict with myself on the diet part, then added exercise in about 3 1/2 months into the program. I also read and followed a bit of Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. McDougal, etc. After awhile, I didn't need to be strict, I just preferred to eat that way. I was completely vegan, and completely whole food, plant based in my eating habits. In 8 months, I lost 80 lbs. From a health standpoint, I felt the best I had felt in a long time, and my sugar numbers were completely normal.

In July, I gained a few pounds. Blood sugar numbers still fine, and I really couldn't figure out where the weight gain was coming from, so I buckled down and got even more strict (no Hail Merry treats, no vegan cakes etc.) By the end of July, that few pounds was 10 pounds, then another 10 in August and so on. By January, I was SO discouraged with the weight gain. My doctor was sure I was not eating healthy anymore, but my blood sugar numbers were still great so he sent me in for more testing. About this time, I stopped eating healthy (yes, I know, cut off your nose to spite your face, but that was it, I was just so frustrated and discouraged and I thought I just don't care.) It started with an egg now and then (okay, not so bad) then a piece of cheese, then regular milk when I went to Panera or Starbucks (instead of soy in my latte, the soy at these places is always flavored and sweet and I don't like that) - before you know it, cheetos had re-entered my life as well as a few other decidedly NOT healthy foods. I also stopped checking my blood sugar with any regularity. Don't ask me why, I don't really know. Or maybe I do, maybe I knew the numbers would not be good because of the way I was eating and I didn't want to see it.

I reached an all time high of 230 lbs. I'm disgusted with myself - when I started this journey, I was at 212 and I got down to 134-136 lbs. I was thrilled with the number on the scale, but even more important was how good I felt. I can't even describe how horrible (healthwise) I feel now.

So here's the wake up (as if the weight gain alone wouldn't be enough of a wake up) - I cut my hand a week ago Friday (in the joint, in between my ring finger and pinky finger on my right hand) - very small cut, maybe a quarter inch long, although it was deep. I irrigated with water, sloshed some peroxide on it and continued bathing my dog. When I was all done and had her completely dry, I took a shower, put some antibiotic cream on the cut, slapped a bandage on and went grocery shopping. By 9:00 that night, my hand had gotten quite swollen and was very painful. By Saturday morning, I had swelling up to my bicep along with red streaking (sort of looked like welts) and my lymph nodes in my underarm area were swollen and painful. I went to an urgent care facility who immediately sent me to an ER room where I was admitted and put on IV antibiotics. I was asked about my medical history and I gave it all, but my husband had to remind me to tell them I had Type 2 diabetes. I shook my head and said, no, it's under control, my numbers are good. My first blood sugar test in the ER room was 171 and the lowest I had while in the hospital was 138, the highest at 211. This was while on insulin (only 2 units, but still, I have not taken a single medication including insulin for my diabetes up to this point) I was in the hospital for 5 days, wondering if I was going to lose my arm, wondering if I was going to have to get a central line put in because my veins were not handling the IV. One night, I got stuck 7 times and while I was pretty patient initially, I started getting upset after the 7th poke and probe. My blood pressure was through the roof.

I still don't know why I started gaining weight in July last year. But I do know why I continued gaining weight in January. The doctors told me they were 100% sure the reason my hand got so infected is because of the diabetes. They told me that I was possibly hours away from amputation or worse. So I'm home now, I am back on the whole food, plant based diet. My blood sugar was 196 this morning (no insulin, I am now back at home. )

I can't deny that I am a diabetic anymore. Even once I get my numbers down to an appropriate range, I will always have to remember that I am a diabetic and the best I can do for myself is to control my disease with a healthy diet.

Yikes, this was scary. This picture is the initial swelling. It ended up getting almost twice that size and continued up my arm to around the bicep area.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hi Friends! I also went through a Diabetes Denial. I'm getting on track though.
    1045 days ago
    Oh my! I am so sorry you've been through this. Your hand looks really painful. How did your hand get so infected? I don't understand that part. Oh, and by the way, when I gain weight for no reason (which I have done lately) it makes me throw up my hands and eat crap...just my being rebellious or maybe trying to comfort myself when I'm in the dumps.

    I am glad you are back at home and on the mend. How amazingly scary! Please keep updating your story so we know how you are improving. emoticon
    2719 days ago
  • SKATER787
    That is some serious swelling. I'm sorry to hear about the relapse. Although I think it's quite common for people to celebrate their victory by start eating the old way again. You're not doing anything different than a lot of people. I saw the video Forks over Knives and didn't think it was realistic for most people. Only a small percentage of people can sit around eating vegetarian foods in all honesty. Perhaps, if the culture is supporting it like in India where cuisine is mostly vegetarian, then it's more realistic, but not in the US or Western based societies. Anyway, hope you get better soon.

    P.S. On my #1 recommended read, Jon Barron had good coverage on diabetes. If you're interested in alternative viewpoints, please check out his book as it covers diabetes and all the major health problems in this country.
    2719 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/17/2013 6:21:31 PM
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