9.2-Diabetes, eh

Diabetes pictorial label

My doctor had told me that I had borderline diabetes, which is also called impaired glucose tolerance. Well, I was kind of fond of cake and cookies but apparently it’s not so much about that as as it is about getting older, and being sedentary and a bit overweight, plus heredity. I didn’t pay too much mind to it because it wasn’t bothering me any. I was on a diet for a while but then I went off it.

I started to get really, really sick. I was tired all the time and rest didn’t help. I couldn’t breathe properly. Had to have the head of my bed raised up at night to help my breathing. My vision got blurry, especially in the morning but also, periodically through the day. I wondered if I was losing my eyesight. I was making more trips to the washroom than I could count. My feet and hands started to swell up.

I went into the doctor and told her I thought I had a heart condition. She took a look at me and all the things that were wrong and said, “Diabetes”. She cut right to the chase. She said it looked like I had full-fledged Diabetes 2. Well, darn!

Diabetes seeks out the weaker parts of your body and produces symptoms there.

I had the A1C blood test and, of course, my figures were over the moon. I had to learn everything there was to know about diabetes now. That’s the way I am, if something goes wrong, I research it. My first resource was the Internet. I went looking for Diabetes Forums with Chat Rooms and found some. A Microsoft Network group called Diabetes Fun and Friends was very helpful. The were mostly from the southern USA and were very polite about my being from cold country Canada. I found out that there were people out there who had Diabetes symptoms one heck of a lot worse than I did.

I got books to help me understand it all. I learned that Diabetes is a disease where you have some control. You can manage it and are wise to do so, by watching your diet and your blood count and taking pills as required. I studied these books about diabetes and the symptoms.

What had happened to me with the breathing was edema, pulmonary edema and it’s serious and that’s why I had to straighten up. My diet became very, very, very strict and I got a blood testing machine. I leaned how to punch holes in myself with a little jabbing needles and take little drops of blood The machine turned these blood samples into numbers that meant something. I couldn’t get the figures down where they should be. I tried one medication and proved to be allergic to it. Tried another and I wasn’t as allergic but it didn’t work very well. Now, I’m on a third medication was working for while., Diabetes is a progressive disease so, eventually, I made the decision to go on Insulin. I’m 86 now and I’ve been taking Insulin for over 40 years.

I can’t do too much exercise because I have arthritis but that also acts as an excuse. I have to do as much exercise as I can while avoiding that “No pain, no gain” slogan. I ease off when exercise starts to hurt. Slow and steady wins the race. Gentle, low impact exercise is a good thing.

Diet is another story. I eat more whole grains, lots of vegetables and fruit, lean meat in small portions. That part of treatment is under my control.

I don’t mean this Podcast to be a downer but, rather, an advisory in case someone else out there gets the early symptoms. I want to say that it’s not the end of the world. In fact, I’m feeling better now than I have in years, and that’s progress.

I’ve started taking 1000 International Units of Vitamin D daily and my blood sugar counts have improved a lot since I’ve been doing this. We northerners have to watch that we get enough vitamin D because of our long cold winters. Some tests are starting to show that extra vitamin D supplements are also effective in reducing other problems as well. Better safe than sorry, I say, so I pop that 1000 mgs of vitamin D along with a multivitamin, folic acid and calcium supplements.

If you’ve just been diagnosed, bear in mind that coping with the disease through positive strategies will help to control it. You’ll definitely feel better for it. Non-diabetics should note what my doctor often says, “Everyone should eat like a diabetic.”

wavy line

© Sonia Brock 2005