From FBS 275 to 101: Tackling my type 2 Diabetes my way.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in January 2016. My fasting blood sugar was 275. My doctor started me on Toujeo instantly. I forget the dosage, but I recall that the speed at which the changes happened was dizzying. First learning to stick myself in the stomach with the insulin, pricking my fingers and tracking the numbers. It was intense. I had to check with the Dr. every 2 weeks and that meant I had to ask for time off work to get through traffic before the Dr's office closed. This created a problem with the owner of the school that I worked with, so I quit my job. That opened the opportunity for me to go to my parent's home and spend time with my dying father. Fortunately, I was switched to an oral diabetes med before I went 1800 miles away from my doctor. I was prescribed Invokana and glyburide. Here's where it gets fuzzy. I was at my folks from March 4- April 11 or so. My dad passed away on March 31st and his funeral was April 6. One of my dad's good friends has type2 diabetes and as he would deliver a huge grocery store cake, his advice was "just take an extra 'glooberide', that's what I do." My 90 year old uncle is also type 2 diabetic and his advice to me was to get to the endocrinologist. He said, "It's awfully hard to lose enough weight to make enough difference (in your disease.)" I muddled along, feeling awful on my meds. As is traditionally prescribed, I was on a statin and blood pressure medication. At this time I was in the process of making a wedding happen for our daughter. She was married on July 16th. And our nephew was married the following weekend. Then came August. I found myself on all these medications that the Dr. said would make me feel better and I had never felt worse in my life. Granted I was dealing with a bunch of emotional stuff, but I was physically wiped out! So as the dust of all the busy family business settled, it was time for me to "take control". I started reading an awful lot. My sister's friend had given her a copy of the book "No Grain, No Pain." So I read that quickly before I came back home. I opened my old account on Atkins.com and started planning some Atkins20 meals. My blood sugars got very low. At my August Dr.'s appointment I asked if I could go off meds and see if I could control my blood sugars with diet and exercise. She said yes, but not to go off the BP medicine or statin. In my travels on the internet I saw an interview with a woman from Harvard medical school that was making a connection between the use of statins in women over 55 and high incidences of type2 diabetes onset. Hmmmm. That got me thinking because I had been on statins 2 years prior. Then the pharmacy switched my statin from one brand to another and I started having muscle cramps. I ditched the statins. I measured my blood pressure every morning and the numbers were consistently low and I was having dizziness. I ditched the BP meds. I was determined to make changes that would create better health for me without medication. As the TV ads run in the evenings "may cause. . . . this may cause. . . that. . .even in some cases death. . ." Yikes. It's crazy! Back to diet. I have now eliminated all grains and sugar. So far so good. My blood sugar numbers were still not that great. I was now doing low carb high fat. And after reading Dr. Jason Fung's "The Obesity Code", I had been armed with more knowledge about my condition and tried some intermittent fasting to tackle my insulin resistance. But I was still relying on eating a bunch of cheese and cream and butter (from my Atkins days) and also was eating a lot of nuts. My sugars were better, but still not where I needed them. And I still wasn't feeling all that well. Then came the holidays. I made it through okay, considering, but that relaxation of close monitoring did not make things a whole lot better. After the holidays, I left home to spend a month and a half with my mother-in-law and mother at their homes. Then I came home and found I was up 11 pounds and my fasting blood sugars were creeping up.
Fortunately March 1st began Lent. I traditionally try to make a good sacrifice for the season. I gave up smoking 10 years ago Lent. I had bought the book "The Whole30" at the same time that I bought "The Obesity Code" and wondered when I would find 30 days that would be convenient for me to follow that plan. Lent is 40 days. Now that's convenient. On March 1st I began my Whole30 AIP. AIP stands for auto immune protocol. Thanks to the fearless leadership on the Paleo Lifestyles team, I had learned quite a bit about autoimmune conditions from a link to Dr. Tom O'Bryan's presentation. So the timing was right, I was armed with great information and resources. 18 days into my Whole30 AIP, I see increased improvement in my blood sugars every day. And my physical energy is improving. My blood work came back from my physical of March 8th and my fasting blood sugar was 101. When I saw the Dr. at my physical, she said "You look good. How much weight have you lost?" I am down about 20 pounds I still have a number of areas of improvement that are in my power to achieve. When I first got the diagnosis, I was devastated, because that has traditionally meant a hopeless battle and succumbing to medications for the rest of your life. I am very hopeful now and have lots of new weapons in my arsenal to tackle my condition. That reminds me of something that Dr. Tom O'Bryan said that stuck with me: "You should spend an hour a day learning about your condition." There is so much information available to us via the internet and if you are willing to set aside old ideas and try new things, amazing results can happen. I am continuing to try new approaches and find what works best for me. One of the favorite responses I get from people who ask what I'm doing is "Oh, I could never give up bread (or sugar or butter or insert your own favorite)" I'm here to say that if you want something badly enough, you can give up whatever. I know that medication was not working well for me and I will gladly sacrifice my old food crutches for the freedom from meds. It's very empowering for me to take control of my condition in a way that I believe is best for me. That's a great feeling. For the future there is still plenty more room for improvement. Now that I am starting to feel better, it is time to implement a sound fitness plan. I intend to continue this WOE, and look forward to the discoveries I make during the re-introduction phase. It will be a long process, so I still have my work cut out for me, but it is important and satisfying work that I'm doing here.
Thanks for reading. It was just something I needed to write.