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Category Archives: diabetes

Well, that was a cliff hanger wasn’t it? Today my life will change… and then not a word on how it went until now-about 2 1/2 weeks later. I survived it, and my life has changed, but in many ways, the changes are for the better.

Do I like giving myself the shots? No, Double NO!!!! I hate it.  But you do what you have to do, right? Actually, it’s not so much the shots that unnerve me, but the crazy things that occur while giving them. I most often give my subcutaneous shot in the stomach, and apparently, I have lots of capillaries there, because several times lately, I have ended up bruised. (Once horribly.) I can usually tell this is going to happen, when I bleed. Many times when I give the shot, I don’t bleed. (Those are the good ones.) But sometimes, for no real reason, the needle goes in, hurts a little, and leaves blood behind. That’s when I usually bruise. The nurse said that it happens sometimes, and that the concern would be if  it happens too often.  She did not define what “too often” was.

The good news is that the needles are small-both in width and length. I believe they are 31 gauge and 3/16″-the smallest needles available for this sort of thing. It’s a good thing, because I don’t think I would have tolerated long needles very well. (Too many things for them to hit accidentally.)

But the even better news is that I did not have to go on insulin. 🙂 I asked about the Byetta (mentioned in the previous post) and my doctor said that we could give it a try. The benefits? There are 2 that really mean a lot. One is that it is not as likely to cause lows, unless you are taking it with certain medications that contribute to that, and I’m not. I’m on Januvia and Metformin (Glucophage), and those do not cause lows. You could experience an occasional low with Byetta, but not at all with the frequency of insulin. That is a real blessing. Secondly, while insulin makes you gain weight (a known fact), Byetta may contribute to weight loss by suppressing the appetite. While it does not do this for everyone, at least you won’t gain weight, which just adds to the Catch-22 of diabetes.

The chemical action of Byetta (which I affectionately call “Gilly”) was first discovered in the spit of a Gila Monster. (Pronounced “Hee-lah Monster.”  Trust me, you can’t make this stuff up.) It seems that the Gila Monster only eats about 2 or 3 times a year, and scientists thought he had a good thing going. I mean after all, his stomach must empty very slowly. So they somehow translated this discovery into help for diabetics. Byetta is a fairly safe, synthetic version of the lizard spit (which by the way is highly poisonous.) It slows down digestion and the emptying of the stomach, and also helps the pancreas produce the right amount of insulin, while telling the liver not to make so much glucose. It had to be a God-inspired discovery.

But, the bad news…it makes lots of people extremely nauseated. Is there much else worse than death, seriously? But guess what? I didn’t get nauseated!!!!!! God is good. So far, so good. I am only on 5 mcg, and a full dose is 10 mcg, but for right now my doctor is keeping me on the lower dose, since I lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks, and it started to bring my blood sugars down considerably. They are not normal yet, but at least they are moving in the right direction. I started in the 300s, and now I am under 200 for the most part, with an occasional higher reading. Normal is 70-120, with damage to organs possible at 140 and over. So I have a ways to go. Some people get very nauseated when they move up to the 10 mcg. But right now I don’t have to worry about that.

I use a Byetta pen that shoots a premeasured dose, and can be used for 30 days. Sometimes I’ve had bubble problems, but it’s not the same as when you’re shooting into a vein. Still, I don’t like seeing bubbles in the cartridge. Dialing the dose is very easy, and while sometimes the shots sting, often they don’t. So all in all, I’m adjusting. Still, there’s that psychological thing of sticking a needle in yourself. It goes against nature…yes? (At least my nature.)

But actually, Gilly and I are tolerating each other rather well, all things considered.  I mean a girly-girl and a lizard don’t have a lot in common, but we are trying to get used to each other.  After all, I always had a crush on the Geico Gecko anyway…

As most of you know, I’ve been trying to change my lifestyle in many ways. Eating better, exercising, and losing weight. I feel really good about the changes that I have implemented. I am eating very good nutritional food–no sugar, white flour, white bread, white potatoes, white rice, corn or starchy vegetables. I eat lean meat, vegetables (including beans), low sugar fruit, soups and salads. My weight loss has been nothing to shout about, which makes me want to scream, but if I continue to eat right and exercise, it has to come off right? (I’ve lost 2 lousy pounds.) I have exercised a lot, but can step that up even more also. I am doing pretty good with my sleep schedule. I’ve had about 3 slip ups, which isn’t bad for someone who was staying up all night fairly often, and sleeping in the day. Since I’ve changed my sleep schedule, I’m getting a lot more done, and I look forward to each day! I’ve gotten a lot more writing done at a time when I feel brighter and more energetic.

I asked my doctor if I got to my ideal weight, would I eventually still have to go on the needle (insulin) as a long time Type 2 diabetic? I also asked her what my ideal weight would be. At first, she said, 102. I had to laugh because I was very small in high school, and weighed 115 pounds. At 102, my husband would have to use a magnifying glass to find me! LOL! Then she said that was the low side for my height. (About height…I don’t have any.) I’m a whopping 5’2″. (So you can see the problem.) I presently weigh about 186, but I wear it pretty well, and don’t look too fat. She then changed my ideal weight to 138 on the high end. (My choice would be 135.) So I have quite a way to go, but with God’s help, I can do it!!!

The greatest news is…she said that if I get to my ideal weight, I could not only avoid the needle, but I could come off of some of my other meds, and I am on a lot. All my conditions go together–high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, low thyroid (treated), acid reflux, etc. Weight loss will improve everything! I am on way too many meds, so it would be great to come off of some of them eventually. I hate taking all these medicines.

She did add another dose of Glucophage ER (Metformin), so now I take (2) 500 mg tablets of Glucophage, and one tablet of Januvia for diabetes. Perhaps the added Glucophage will help to bring down the blood sugar even more. It is coming down, but very slowly. (And I had numbers in the 250s to 300.)

Unfortunately, I found out that the vertigo (dizziness) that I have been suffering from, is due to a sinus infection, so once again, I have to take antibiotics. I am so tired of this, and worry that I am taking far too many, but I have no choice. I just got over antibiotics for a second urinary tract infection (since December.) And so it goes. 😦

So I have my work cut out for me, and it’s never been easy for me to lose weight, but if I do my part, I will eventually have success. I am committed to this way of eating, and my husband loves it also, so he is a great support. (He says that if I get down to 138, he’ll have to go on high blood pressure medicine! Cause I’ll look so good.) LOL! 

Please pray for me to achieve my goals. I go back in early July. No, I won’t have lost all the weight by then.  Not even close.  But I’ll be happy with whatever I achieve, as we have a vacation during that time also. I need to lose slow and steady for it to stay off, and be a healthy weight loss.

So my whole life is changing drastically–sleep schedule, eating habits, and exercise schedule. I like the changes, and am feeling better. Change is good…

Please see other articles that I have written here: http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

Tuesday was a very rough day for me. I had a doctor’s appointment in a city about an hour away, and my husband went with me this time. (I was so glad that he was with me.) He originally thought he could see a client while I was at the doctor, but that didn’t end up happening.

I knew that it was not going to be a pleasant day. For the last several days that I have checked, my blood sugar has been 243-300 fasting, so I knew that wasn’t good. Also I have had several urinary tract infections in a row. (One was just treated with Cipro in December.) A few weeks ago, I started getting very bad side pains, unlike any pain I’ve ever had with a urinary tract infection. It lasted about a week or so, and then went away. Then unfortunately, it came back. Needless to say with blood sugar that high, and in pain, I was not feeling very well.

As many of you know, there has been a lot of stress in my life continually, for the last three years or so. My step-dad (since I was 7 years old) died almost 3 years ago in May, leaving me as the primary caregiver for my elderly, ill mom. And there were many problems with my teenage daughter before she moved out (after graduating from high school.) Lots of drama. My health has not been good for awhile, and there have been some major life stresses lately also. (Stress is terrible for diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol.)

When I went today, the tests showed that my A1C was 10.5, an all-time dangerous high for me. But for the last year, I have been having high A1Cs.  (Not that high though.) I had a lot of glucose spilling into the urine, and I also had a urinary tract infection. (More Cipro, and I’m disgusted and disappointed. Seems like I live on antibiotics lately. My doctor says the high blood sugars make my immune system weakened. That may be true, but I think there’s more to it. Seems like no one should have this many UTIs.)

You’re probably wondering why I’m not already on insulin. (I’ve been on oral diabetes meds for quite a long time–many years.) I fully understand the dangers of high blood sugars. My mom and biological dad were both insulin dependent diabetics. (My bio dad died just a little while before my step-dad.)  I also know what life is like going low unexpectedly, when you’re on insulin, and that frightens me also. We’ve had some very close calls with my mom, and usually when I was with her. I have saved her life several times. She doesn’t get the symptoms of low blood sugar in time to help herself. Then she begins to act confused and almost drunk, and I know she is going low quickly. I have to spring to action immediately. No matter how many times I go through it with her, it is always frightening until I pull her safely out of it. I spend a lot of time alone, so going low is definitely of concern for me. And trying to find the proper dosage, the shot factor, etc. I know I can learn to do it if I have to, but I sure don’t want to. (Indulge my rant, please.)

Anyway, the verdict is, I have one month to show a decent weight loss, to bring the sugars down considerably, and to exercise. I am not terribly overweight, (I wear a size 12-14, but I am short and every pound shows.)  They say that getting the weight off helps all of it–blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, etc. Losing weight has not been easy for me in recent years.  (Menopausal lady that I am.) I usually will drop a few pounds in the beginning, and then I get stuck. But my best diet is Sugar Busters, an earlier version of South Beach. Basically it’s protein, low carb, (whole grains only), vegetables, and some fruits. It’s a very healthy diet without white starch–like sugar (my favorite), rice, white potatoes, white bread, etc. (It’s no fun, but neither is the needle.) She (my doctor) wants me to lose 2 pounds a week (pray for me), by the time I come back, in a little over a month. It may sound easy to you, but I just don’t drop weight easily. However, if the needle doesn’t motivate me, I don’t know what will. Trust me–I’m motivated!!! Really, it’s not just the needle, as I know I can get over that. I already have to take my blood sugar several times a day. It’s the weight gain, the hypoglycemia, the domination of your life, etc. that goes with insulin. (I’m sure many of you are probably on it already.) You become a slave to it, and it changes your life forever. I can vouch for that, having taken care of my insulin dependent diabetic mom for quite awhile. But it keeps you alive, and I realize that when the oral meds no longer work, there is no other choice.  Diabetes is a devastating disease that can harm every organ in your body. I hate it!!! (Another rant!!!)

So we will see if I can get my act together, and start getting on my treadmill daily (first thing every day), and exercising to my aerobic workout videos. I went grocery shopping tonight, so I have the right foods in the house now. So…tomorrow’s the first day of the rest of my life, as they say.

But for now, I’ve got the blues…the lowdown-no good-diabetes blues…

Please view more articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html