I am diabetic!
I thought I might avoid this topic, but so much of what I’m doing lately revolves around the changes diabetes has made in my life, so here I go!
In October 2019 I was scheduled for a PET Scan (I’ll get into the whys in another blog post). Prior to the scan, they take a blood sample, a prick! Blood glucose level must be under 200 with fasting four hours prior to the test.
Well to my surprise and astonishment my glucose level was 298. I knew enough to know a glucose above 200 is diabetic level. I was shocked, shaken and then excused, to return two days later and try again.
In the meantime, I called my doctor and got a glucose meter and began testing my blood sugar in hopes of bringing it down within the two days until my next scheduled PET Scan. I also began reading everything I could on diabetes, knowing my eating (patterns and diet) was probably going to have to change. I got a hold of a book by Dr. Jason Fung, The Diabetes Code, began watching his YouTube videos and immediately changed from a plant-based diet to a low-carb diet. Not surprisingly I’d been eating a lot of rice, potatoes, bread and even candy, sometimes stuffing my mouth with food even before I swallowed the previous mouthful. And as I noticed what I was doing, I’d say to myself, this isn’t good!
When I returned for the PET scan two days later, my glucose (blood sugar-BS or BG) was 201 and therefore I didn’t qualify for the scan. Thankfully the nurse asked me if I would like to have the test repeated.
Of course, that was a good idea!
And thankfully three minutes later using the same stick, my BG was 198 and I was able to have the scan.
This led me to an appointment with my PCP a week later and several tests to make a determination as to whether I was Type 1 (Insulin Dependent) or Type 2 (usually managed by diet and exercise, but can also evolve to insulin depedent) or later I learned possibly Type 1.5 (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults).
From the results of the tests it looked like I was going to need insulin. And although I didn’t have any of the four antibodies normally found in Type 1 Diabetes, my C-peptide level was low which is a measure of how much insulin is being produced.
I wasn’t producing much. I was started on 10 units of a very long acting insulin, Tresiba. Right there in the office, the Medical Assistance told me how to give myself an injection. I was an insulin dependent diabetic. I went home with a Tresiba pen and told that if my fasting glucose level was over 130 for more than 2-3 days in a row increase the Tresiba by 2 units.
Within days I could tell that I was taking too much insulin and decided to skip a dose. When I started up again I reduced my daily injection to 3 units and gradually over the next few weeks built it up to eleven units per day and then twelve.
Apparently when first diagnosed the pancreas can still be producing insulin on an irregular basis. Possibly this was happening in my case and so a consistent amount of insulin was creating inconsistent results. Eventually, it seemed to level off, as well as my eating habits.
My Endocrinologist wanted me to have a fasting blood glucose under 130. She wanted me to test my BS two hours after eating and wanted it to be 180 or less. Eventually these numbers seemed a little high to me, but getting doses of 1 to 2 units from the insulin pens I was provided was impossible.
Up and down I would go.
I bought a book on Amazon, Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetic Solution (for both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics).
As a diabetic himself, he had done quite a bit of experimenting and testing on both diabetics and non-diabetics. Through years of analysis of non-diabetics, he believes that a “normal” blood sugar is around 83. He has techniques to keep it there. He also recommends a low carbohydrate diet of about 30 carbs a day. This is quite low since a friend who has had Type 1 diabetes for years mentioned her intake is about 30 carbs a meal. The amount of insulin needed in each case is quite different and it gave me something to think about.
I discussed Dr. Bernstein’s ideas with my Endocrinologist and asked for a referral to a dietitian. I looked around town for the most progressive dietitian I could find and was referred to a lady half-way across town. She gave me some good ideas, but unfortunately we didn’t see eye to eye on the kinds of foods I should be eating. She wanted me to add fruit and a protein shake. I did this the day after I saw her and my glucose spiked to over 200. She was surprised and, in essence, said she had never seen this before. I’m not sure she understood Type 1 diabetes or as mentioned in Dr. Bernstein’s book, the medical profession would rather have you on the higher side (with the diabetic complications) than hypoglycemic due to possible crashes, coma’s and death. I still refer to her information and adjust according to my own current thinking, which I’m noticing is constantly changing. My life has been disrupted and my attention changed completely.
People become set in their ways. New ideas are difficult to accept. Without realizing it, I had made up my mind I didn’t want this blog to be about diabetes. When I began to write, dodging the subject just made my writing long and boring. When I said, “Okay, I’ve got diabetes” this story came pouring out.
It seems this is how it should be. Easy, succinct and then move on!