Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
It's Just A Number, It's Just A Number, It's just.....
A couple of years ago my physician expressed concern over my fasting blood sugars and A1Cs, as they seemed to be trending upward each year. She finally convinced me to attend a diabetes education class at the hospital. This was a very intense program, consisting of consultations with a dietitian, a fitness nurse, and several evenings of classes with other patients. It was somewhat informative- but at the time I was in such a state of denial that my attitude was “That doesn’t apply to me.” Honestly. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that it DID apply to me. It has been a source of frustration for me to know, deep in the recesses of my heart, that I must face the issue. A very dear friend of mine (sister by adoption) has been battling cancer for what seems like forever, and just keeps on fighting for all she’s got. What I don’t understand about myself is this- If I were given the diagnosis of a terminal illness, I know that, like my friend, I would fight and fight and do everything within my power to beat the disease. Well, diabetes is a terminal illness. Not as menacingly aggressive like cancer, rather a slow-burning, behind-the-scenes monster that will wreak havoc on every organ in the body if not kept under tight control. One of the most amazing things I learned in the class was this: it’s not that the pancreas of a diabetic person doesn’t produce insulin. Rather, our blood cells are surrounded by tiny little things called insulin receptors. In the diabetic, these receptors form a barrier that will not allow the insulin to enter into the cell. Now- the AMAZING thing… exercise does something to those little receptors that removes (or lowers) the barrier, to allow insulin to enter the blood stream. There’s so much that I don’t understand about it, and medical folks might balk at my description, but that’s my interpretation of how it works. Anyway, HOW COOL IS THAT, that there is actually a weapon, a huge line of defense to fight the effects of this disease! And how UNCOOL is it that I have failed to embrace the power. I have, in reality, been diagnosed with a terminal illness. And I have not even begun to fight. Well, that’s not entirely true either. Before I went to the beach, I had a few days where I felt pretty crummy, and started checking my blood sugar at home. It was not good. Finally the realization hit me that it is time to take ownership of my neglect, apathy, denial, and get busy fighting. I scheduled an appointment with Kay Melvin’s daughter-in-law, Beth, a delightful young woman who is a diabetes educator/dietitian at the hospital where I work. Perhaps the most valuable part of the consultation was her helping me to understand that an ongoing blood sugar of 165 is a TERRIBLE thing- when I had thought it not so bad. I came away with a renewed determination to make a conscious effort to get it under control. This would include counting carbs, exercising, and most importantly, taking the medication that had been sitting unopened in a drawer for over a year. I am so proud of myself! I check my blood sugar every morning before breakfast, I count carbs, I am taking my medication, and Cortney and I walk 1.2 miles three times a week during lunch. My blood sugar is showing signs of improvement, though I may need further medication to get tighter control. Last Tuesday Cortney, Mary and I went downstairs to the physical therapy office and weighed in. We decided to weigh once a week. So that means today is weigh-in day. Mary lost a couple of pounds, Cortney stayed the same, and yours truly GAINED THREE POUNDS!! Now tell me- how in the world could that possibly be???? I’m not wearing heavy clothes, I took my shoes off, all the usual things that one would do when weighing. Okay, so the old me would drive over to McDonalds and order a Super-Sized breakfast meal with lots of fried stuff, biscuits and a large order of pancakes with lots of syrup. I’m counting it as a victory that the *new* me, though disappointed in the number on the scale, returned to the break room and had my normal breakfast of a mini-bagel with WW whipped cream cheese, coffee and a sugar-free, noncaloric drink. Aren’t you proud of me?