Life As A Diabetic

When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I had no idea how long it had been my secret enemy. I was urinating more often, but I attributed that to getting older and, as a male, the enlarging prostate that comes to someone in his fifties. By then, I was already showing symptoms of nerve damage. Again, I thought these were just the natural aches and pains that come with aging. A tell tale sign should have been the weight loss. Although never obese, I had a a few extra pounds on me. Suddenly, it began to fall off without a change in diet. As a matter of fact, my appetite increased. I was almost always hungry. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted to and it made no difference. I went from 185 to 155 pounds in a matter of 6 months. Little did I know then, that a later symptom of diabetes is weight loss. This occurs because I was unable to use my blood glucose for energy, so body fat was burned in an attempt to provide “fuel”. I was suffering from weakness and fatigue and my vision was occasionally blurred.

Below are all of the posts I have written, in chronological order, on what I have been going through and what I have learned. It is here for you to reference. Read it all or just parts that interest you. There are 3 main queries in search engines that usually bring you here and I have links to them and others. Those 3 are Dawn Phenomenon and Somogyi Effect, and what are the A1c Test and the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel with EGFR. Please write a comment if you feel so inclined. I value your experiences and questions. Bear in mind, this is a work in progress, so it is ever evolving with each new entry.

I HATE NEEDLES


When I was young in the late sixties and early seventies, I experimented with drugs. Nothing heavy, mind you, just the simple stuff like marijuana. Back then, the government and police said that marijuana leads to other drugs, such as cocaine, LSD and heroin. It’s probably the same message, but I’ve been out of the loop for so long, I couldn’t tell you. What I can say is that I would never do anything with a needle. I hate them. As a kid, I was scared to death when I had to get shots. I could never be a heroin addict. I never wanted to try it anyway. Besides, what good could ever come out of tooth-rotting drugs like the big hits of today, crack, heroin and crystal meth?

I like my KitKat bars, though. Around Halloween, I go buy a bag for the trick or treaters that never come. Oh, I’d better go buy another bag, just in case. I live in a neighborhood where only one kid resides. They tend to go to areas where there are lots of other children walking the haunts. Safety in numbers, I guess. A lot go to malls now, where it’s a very safe haven for getting treats. With all these child predators and molesters around, who knows? And because of Disney, there are plenty of hotels. Some advertise to bring your children here. They probably supply candy to their guests to hand out. I know one family that planned to do it that way. In any event, those KitKat bars couldn’t just sit there, so I ate them.

As you get older, the little aches and pains associated with aging start to creep up on you. Sometimes, I go for days at a time with a general feeling of malaise. A little tired and achy. I get an occasional sharp nerve pain. Sometimes, my vision will be a little bit more blurry than usual. I know eyes change with age and I started wearing reading glasses a number of years ago, but this comes and goes. I’m more thirsty and urinate more often now. It’s been that way for a while. I figured that as a male gets older, his prostate grows and you have to go more often anyway. No big deal yet. I’m not worried about a thing. Besides, I never go to the doctor unless I absolutely have to.

For quite a few years now, my mother has been a diabetic. She takes two shots of insulin a day. It wasn’t always like that, but the disease progresses as you get older, especially if you grew up in the era of steak and potatoes. It’s tough to break old habits. Fortunately, diets have changed over the years and I have changed with the times. A couple of years ago, I had a case of the hiccups that just wouldn’t go away. Finally, I went to a doctor and he ran blood work, an upper GI and chest x-rays. He thought I had a lung tumor but it turned out to be a hernia in my esophagus. Along with a couple of prescriptions, he told me to cut out the starches. My blood pressure and cholesterol levels were a little above normal, but no serious cause for alarm. I dropped from 205 lbs to the “svelte” 165 that I am today. He told me then that my pancreas, liver, kidneys and heart were perfect! My lungs were nice and pink. And I’m a smoker. Of course, he told me to quit. I haven’t yet.

My brother Tim is visiting from out of town and staying with my folks. Yesterday morning, my mother made breakfast for us and took one of her twice daily glucose tests. My brother asked if he could take his. His blood sugar level turned out normal at 106. He asked me to take the test. Reluctantly, I agreed. Mine was 200 something. Not good, my mother said. My brother gave me a look of concern. Ah, I’m not too worried about it. OK, we’ll check it again before dinner. It was 238. You are a diabetic, my mother told me. She certainly has enough experience to know. This morning, it was 261. On an empty stomach. She’s going to make an appointment with her doctor for me to get tested. I’ve never been a great one for exercise, but this morning, my brother and I took a 20 minute walk. Every morning, I’m going to take a walk and slowly increase the time. I’m going to adjust my diet again and hopefully, I can bring my sugar level down so I won’t have to go on insulin. Fat is the real enemy. Cinnamon is supposed to help. I’ll do whatever it takes. Diabetes can damage the eyes. It can lead to kidney disease, heart and blood vessel disease and nerve damage (neuropathy). I don’t even want to think about going there.

Next time I eat a KitKat bar, I’ll eat one instead of five. With my broccoli. And an apple.

Thanks, Tim. It’s a great thing you came to visit, as always. Even if nothing was wrong with me.

If you would like more information on diabetes, please click here.

BEFORE THE DIAGNOSIS

“Diabetes is not a disease!”

“Is it contagious?”

The first statement came arrogantly from a friend of mine who thinks I made it up. To him, I was probably trying to elicit sympathy from friends as I sipped on a Bacardi & Diet Coke, my new drink. I knew my days of bellying up to the bar with buddies were coming to an end. His statement was cynical, at best, and, quite obviously, he knows nothing about it. The second question was from an innocent bystander who stepped back upon my pronouncement. Yes – it is a disease and – no – it is not contagious. What I can tell you is that it is often hereditary. My mother has been diabetic for almost 20 years and takes insulin daily. Her older sister is, too. My father has onset. He takes an oral medication. I have researched it over the years because of my mother.

I have no health insurance. My mother tried to get me in to see her primary care physician for blood work and a proper diagnosis. She tried to make an appointment with her endocrinologist, who would not see me without a physician’s referral. This was all going to be very expensive. To just peer through the door was going to cost me hundreds of dollars per office visit and a whole lot more for the blood tests. This is money I don’t have readily available. I knew I had to do something. I went to a search engine and typed in these four words, “free medical clinics orlando” and came back with a very promising hit, Shepherd’s Hope. I went to the website and called the number to explain my predicament. “Yes, we can help you,” the woman at the other end told me. They only see those with no insurance.

I had been feeling rundown for some time, at about 93 percent, before that fateful morning I took my first glucose test. I showed many of the signs and symptoms, but was never willing to acknowledge why I was feeling so achy and fatigued. It’s not unusual to have this state of denial. I lost 25 lbs in a 6 month period, but I had tried to lose weight anyway. For the next 2 weeks, I took this sugar test morning and night and ran anywhere from 200-370. Not good numbers, and it didn’t take a doctor to figure out what my condition was. In the meantime, I’ve changed my diet and have started to exercise. Some days, I am too weak to. Today, I feel better. Soon, I will take a nice, brisk walk.

When I got to Shepherd’s Hope, there were a handful of people waiting for it to open at 6PM. The staff are all volunteers there to help those who can’t afford medical attention otherwise. Depending on location, the clinic may only be open one day a week. A woman came out and assigned us all numbers. Some had appointments. We were to write our names and what kind of problem we have. I put down diabetes. When my name was called, the first thing I was asked about was what made me think I had it. I explained. Then, I went into a private room and waited for a doctor. I guess most of the people who go to free clinics are there for the flu or other simple, treatable maladies. Diabetes? I’ll bet I was the first one to do that. She knocked. “Come in,” I said, “like, I was going to tell you to stay out?” She laughed.

We discussed everything about it. She asked me plenty of questions and I gave her plenty of answers. Do I feel numb here? Tingly there? I told her about the sharp pains I’ve been getting in my toes, a sign of neuropathy. Mostly, she talked of fatigue. She asked me, if I could, what I would pick my overall average blood sugar level to be during the period of my testing. I guessed around 225. The normal range is around 100 or below, give or take a few. I was well above that mark. She got her stethoscope out and listened to me. “Have you ever had pains here?” she asked, as she pointed to my chest. I had. She said nothing more.

“OK, I cannot tell you that you are, absolutely, diabetic. I am setting you up for some blood work and I can’t properly say that until the results come in. I will say that we both know you are and I am going to start you right away on a blood pressure medication, not that it’s too high right now, but borderline, yes. Diabetes will bring about all sorts of complications, such as strokes and heart attacks. This is to mostly protect your kidneys from damage. The previous generation of diabetics didn’t get this and other drugs you’re going to get. Once properly diagnosed, you will also go on cholesterol meds, on top of what your disease is treated with, and regardless of what your cholesterol level is.” She wrote a prescription for Lisinopril, an ACE inhibitor. “We have [all donated] new drugs here I could prescribe free, but they are $100 a pop. If we run out, can you afford to stay on them?” No, I can’t.

My mother has had a series of mini-strokes. Her kidneys are damaged. I asked her if she had taken any blood pressure meds when she was first diagnosed. She hadn’t. This doctor (or Physician’s Assistant) knows what she is talking about. I think you can call it preventive maintenance. She was very good, very caring and professional in appearance and demeanor. The next morning, I went to Quest Diagnostics where they drew lots of vials of blood for all kinds of tests, including A1C, which monitors sugar for the 2-3 previous months. I have an appointment with Shepherd’s Hope on December 12 to find out the results. I will probably be given prescriptions then to get me on the right path. I will have to find a physician after that. The clinic is not there for continuous care. Right now, I’ll take it one step at a time.

I have often read about the benefits of cinnamon in lowering blood sugar levels. My sister-in-law, Lindsay, bought me pills, along with dandelion root tea. So far, they haven’t helped. I’ve always been a firm believer in alternative medicines, and I’ve been looking at other magic herbs, elixirs and anything else associated with “curing” diabetes. Online, I found out about the remarkable benefits of apple cider vinegar, which, at the same time, will eliminate warts. I read about chromium, the magic of bee pollen, how cranberries help and how just about every natural substance known to man will rid you of this dreadful disease. Cancer, too, probably. I wonder, if I switch to eating nothing but a combination of all of these wonderful things, will I be cured? I think, I’ll stick with the conventional for now. Take that, Kevin Trudeau, you huckster, you.

This morning, my siblings told me the best Christmas present I could give them was no present at all, to take what I would have spent on them and apply it towards the medications I will need. They want to see me stick around for a long, long time. Their presents to me will be in the form of money, too. I protested to no avail, but they insisted.

Family, you gotta love them. I feel better already.

Please feel free to ask me any questions. If I don’t know, I will do my best to find the answers.

THE DIAGNOSIS


Tuesday night, I went to the clinic for my blood test results and an official diagnosis on the diabetes. Gulp. I was not looking forward to the inevitable bad news. I sat patiently in one of those “holding” rooms the nurse stuffs you in to wait for the doctor. Why does it seem to last for hours before their grand entrance?

“Hello. I am Dr. Chan.” That was as friendly as he got. He had the bedside manner of a Gestapo agent. Oh well, perhaps his manner was correct, given the somber news he was about to tell me. He scanned over the report and circled the (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel w/EGFR) glucose number. It was 182. That is the fasting number and 65-99 is what to aim for. He went to the second page and circled the Hemoglobin A1C number. Less than 6 is ideal. Mine is 8.0.

“You are a diabetic.” He proceeded to give me strong directives. “You can eat all the fruits and vegetables you want. Do not eat coconut. No butter. Only poly and mono-unsaturated oil. NO SUGAR! Eat more fish. Avoid shellfish. Shrimp. Lobster. Cut all fat off beef. No chicken skin. Drink lots of water.”

“What about cheese?”

“Follow this order,” he said sternly. “Zero, zero, zero. That means you only eat things with 0% saturated fat, 0% trans fat and 0% cholesterol. Two egg yolks a week only. EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE!!! You must eat 3 meals a day. You may have small snack in between.” Protein is essential at each meal.

“What about salt?” I never put salt on anything, anyway.

“You don’t worry about salt. Why you take Lisinopril?” Lisinopril is a BP med, an ACE inhibitor. “You don’t need.”

“Kelly, the Physician’s Assistant wrote me the prescription two weeks ago when I was here. She told me it was to protect my kidneys from damage. She…”

“It does not help your kidneys. You don’t need it.”

“What should I do? Should I finish or stop taking it?”

“I don’t care. You do what you want.”

“But… but?”

“I don’t care. You do what you want.”

“She also told me I will have to go on a cholesterol drug.”

“You may. We see when you come back. OK. Sit on table.” He listened to my chest and heart. “We do another blood test. You wait here for nurse.” And off he went. She came in a few minutes later and asked how things went.

“Well, he certainly laid it on the line. No messing around with Dr. Chan.”

“Nope.” She handed me the diagnostic test request for lipids and glucose. Oh, I have to pee when I go. He wants that, too. She gave me a prescription for Glucotrol. Typical doctor handwriting. I have no clue how pharmacists decipher that chicken scratch. Minus the skin, of course. I went across the hall to make an appointment a month from now for those results. It will be up to me to schedule the lab work. They only need a 24-48 hour turnover time. That will be my final visit to this clinic. I will need to find another doctor. For the rest of my life, I will need to take this medicine (or, eventually, insulin), test my sugar twice daily and have the A1C test done every 3 months. The test strips run about a buck apiece. This is not going to be a cheap disease, especially without insurance.

My platelet count is down. The normal range is 140-400. Mine is 102. He wasn’t too concerned about that. He talked about my cholesterol level. The ideal number is below 200. Mine is 213. HDL (the good kind) is 41. That’s good. LDL (the bad stuff) is 134. Not good. It’s supposed to be less than 130. My triglycerides are high. 190. Less than 150 is best. My bilirubin is high. That’s got something to do with the liver. Other than that, I checked out pretty good.

Last week, I was IMing with by best and oldest friend. He said it was from all those beers and pizza. Cheap women, too. I told him I haven’t had a beer in a long time. Up until today, it was Bacardi & (DIET!) Coke. I typed in that it was from all those years working at the Weiner King, eating all those hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries. Who would think back then that all that junk would take its toll? How was I to know my mother and her sister would get it and be insulin-dependent? That’s something we don’t think about when we’re young. We’re going to live forever and never get old. I said it’s also from all the trans fat that’s in everything today, something food manufacturers have known will kill you for years.

This morning, I popped my first pill. I chose a generic brand because it’s a lot cheaper. Glipizide ER 2.5mg. It is an anti-diabetic drug (sulfonylurea-type) used to control high blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. It’s meant to stimulate the release of natural insulin. With a proper diet and exercise, hopefully it will work. It’s supposed to help prevent heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, blindness, and circulation problems, as well as sexual function problems (impotence). I’m waiting.

A CHANGE IN LIFESTYLE

I just got back from one of my walks. I cannot stress enough the importance of daily exercise. Diabetes is such a debilitating disease. It begins to consume you. God knows how long I’ve had it. Certainly, it’s been a lot longer than when it was officially diagnosed last week and there’s no test to determine when it stealthily crept into my life. There are many out there who have no clue what may be lurking under the surface.

This morning, my arms were tingly from my elbows to the tips of my pinkies, all along the lower part. From my knees to my toes, I go from numb to exaggerated bouts of the same thing. Today is no exception. I’ve felt that way all morning and when I walked, my legs felt like they were made of lead. Sometimes, my toes feel like someone hooked up jumper cables and turned the juice on in quick, stabbing pulses. Then, it goes away. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t feel achy and fatigued. Some days, I have no energy at all. Today, I actually feel better than usual in spite of the numbness. One way to explain the ache is to try to imagine someone taking a knife and scraping the meat off your bones. Perhaps, that description is a little too harsh and I never really feel that bad, but it gives you an idea. At times, my heart pumps so strongly, it feels like it is going to explode out of my body.

Since I began taking the medication, my sugar has slowly dropped. I keep waiting for a small miracle to happen, that I will gain my strength again. I’m sure I will. Little things bother me. Lids on jars that, in the past, were so easy to remove are proving more difficult. Frustrating little things that gnaw at your very fiber. Sugar levels that ran in the 200-400 range are now down to 100-170. 170 is still too high, but it is an improvement. Last night, it was 136. This morning, it was 154. The closer in margin, the better. Saturday night, it was 276 and I have no idea why. That morning, it was 160. I don’t think I ate anything wrong. Other diabetics have told me that’s one of the strange things about it, that there’s no rhyme or reason why your numbers can vary so much. You can eat something one day and repeat it the next and your numbers can be strikingly different.

Every night now, I have to get up about a half dozen times to relieve myself. That’s a symptom. Of course, I drink lots of water now. I have to. Life as a diabetic must take on a very regimented structure. I should strive to eat at the same times every day, in spite of the fact that I am always hungry and sometimes nauseous. I should consume the same amount of calories per meal, per day, too. Food groups must be balanced, such as protein at every meal, especially in the morning. Proper sleep is of the utmost importance. Getting up to pee every hour is exasperating and disturbs the natural rhythm of the mind and body.

I can’t take aspirin or ibuprofen any more, on account of the Glipizide. One of the warnings is to not take any over-the-counter pain medications without talking to your doctor. Instead, I asked the pharmacist if I could take Tylenol. Yes, you can. I think they know more about drugs, anyway. I also told her what Dr. Chang said about Lisinopril not helping the kidneys. She asked me if he knew what he was talking about. She told me to finish taking it and to demand a refill when I go back again. I said I don’t go back for another month and I only have a 2 week supply. Take it every other day, she said. I don’t know, maybe Dr. Chang has been in practice too long. Everyone else at Shepherd’s Hope has been great, but he was not kind to me. The doctors and nurses there, and most of the other staff donate one night per month from their regular jobs. I don’t think pharmacists would contradict a doctor unless they are pretty adamant about it. I started taking it the next day. Soon, I will have a primary care physician. That person will keep close tabs on me and will more than likely set me up with an endocrinologist, who will make sure I am put on the proper path. All diabetics react differently. All need special care.

When I was dealt this hand, it took me a while to adjust to altering my “set in his ways” lifestyle. I always played by my rules. No one ever wants to think they will get permanently sick. Where did I go wrong in life? What could I have done differently? Believe me, those are dumb questions and there is no truth to them. What is true is that I am sitting across the table from diabetes. I will play my cards right. I will keep a close watch on my opponent. I may not always win, but I will never fold. I will not be intimidated. So it must be true with any disease or disability. It’s the game of life you’re playing and you never let the one sitting across from you get the upper hand.

MY NEW FRIEND

reli-on-diabetes-tester.jpg

Here is my brand new prized possession. It was my Christmas present to myself, thanks to the generosity of my siblings. It will be my friend for the rest of my life. Or whichever wears out first. Every morning, I will test my blood after a night of fasting, assuming that my last meal was eaten early in the evening. Then, I will test it again, just before I retire for the night. I have been using my mother’s kit for the last month and a half. Those test strips run a buck a piece, so that’s been $2 a day. Fortunately, Medicare pays for it, but I could not justify continuously using hers. One day, she would have to run out and that wouldn’t be a good thing. Plus, when I am up for taking a trip somewhere, I would still have to test myself wherever I am. Medicare does not cover me.

I have been keeping a log of my blood glucose levels for the last 2 weeks. This is something I will have to do for the rest of my life, too. On Glipizide, my numbers have come down, although not to normal levels. Last Friday, I began taking 400mg of chromium picolinate (1)(2)(3)(4), an over the counter nutritional supplement. Since I began taking it, my numbers have come down, but I have no idea if it is strictly attributable to that. I will have to monitor my counts for a considerable length of time to make that determination and there is nothing scientific about it since my diet will vary from day to day. Anyone who considers it should talk to their physician first. Of course, I didn’t, but I will when I go to my final visit at Shepherd’s Hope clinic. Who knows, I may be told to stop taking it. In the meantime, life goes on and I have pretty much adjusted to my diabetes since the initial shock and denial has finally worn off.

A CHANGE IN DIET AND SHEPHERD’S HOPE

Last Thursday, I went to Quest Diagnotics to have blood drawn for a lipid panel and a serum glucose test. I also peed in a cup for a microalbumin/creatine ratio. Last night, I went to Shepherd’s Hope for my final visit to receive the results of those tests.

For the past month or so I have made a concerted effort to alter my diet. For breakfast, I generally eat a veggie burger, an apple and a banana. The burger is not consumed as a substitute for meat. It is a source of protein, which diabetics must have at every meal, and it is easily heated up in a microwave oven. Very convenient. For lunch, I eat a mixed greens salad with fake lobster for protein. Fake crab is often referred to as “krab.” I wonder what artificial lobster should be called? Lovster? I am a little more lax around dinner time, but I try not to venture outside of my dietetic parameters. I have been on Glipizide for a month now. I started to take chromium picolinate and magnesium. Of course, I’m taking Lisinopril for blood pressure to protect my kidneys. My blood glucose levels have fallen dramatically. Where I used to range from over 200-400 per day, my levels generally range between around 100-150. That is a very good thing. Remember, normal is 65-99. Interestingly, and in spite of my change in eating habits, my triglicerides went from 190 to 222 from my previous test a month or so ago. Normal is 150 or less. My total cholesterol remained about the same, 213 to 216. It should be less than 200. My HDL (good) cholesterol dropped from 41 to 37. My LDL (bad) remained about the same at 135. The normal number should be less than 130, but for diabetics, it should be below 100. The urine test was done to determine the shape of my liver. No problems there. Less than 30 is the ideal. Mine is 16. The serum glucose test is the same as what I take twice daily when I prick my finger. The first test was 182. Thursday it was 143. That is the fasting number and it must come down.

One thing I have noticed of importance is the way I feel. My strength is returning. Where, on most days I felt achy and weak, I am now the other way around. I’m not ever quite 100%, but clearly a whole lot better.

On my last visit to the clinic, I had the cold and abrupt Dr. Chan who insisted I didn’t need Lisinopril. This time, I asked the attending nurse if I could see a different doctor because of what my pharmacist told me about the benefits of that drug in diabetes and that Dr. Chan would not write a new prescription. I got to see Dr. Velez.

Dr. Velez, it turns out, happens to be a diabetic. I found this out incidentally. I mentioned the Lisinopril and what Dr. Chan had told me. That’s not really true, he said. I told him that my mother is diabetic and when she went to see her endocrinologist last week, she took my first test results with her. I wrote down the drugs and supplements I was taking. The drugs were fine and the chromium may help reduce sugar a few percentage points, he told her. Dr. Velez asked me who her endocrinologist is and I told him. “He’s my doctor, too!” he responded.

Dr. Velez is a very kind and caring doctor. He is also aware of the benefits of chromium picolinate and magnesium. I asked him if they were absolutely safe to take and he responded positively. I asked him about cinnamon and he said he had never heard about that one. I told him my father’s doctor told him it was good for the disease. Well, you can’t expect every doctor to know everything about every drug and supplement, but I’m sure he’ll look into it. I asked him if I would need to go on a cholesterol medication. Yup. No doubt about it. Mevacor 40mg. Knowing that this would be my final visit there and I would, henceforth, have to fend for myself, he wrote me 3 prescriptions, all for 90 day supplies. Through this clinic, for 90 days, I will save a lot of money on the Mevacor. It will cost me $7 per month for the first three months at the Central Florida Pharmacy Co-op. I checked with my pharmacy and their price is $65 for a 30 day supply. Big difference. $21 as opposed to $195. He also scheduled me for more tests to be done in April at the clinic’s expense. This will also save me a tremendous amount of money and will include a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, a Lipid Panel and a Hemoglobin A1C test. By then, I will have already established myself with a primary care physician who would make me take those same tests at my expense.

I really want to thank the dedicated volunteers at Shepherd’s Hope for all they have done for me and the many others without health insurance. If not for them, where would I be today? I especially want to thank the doctor I spoke with last night, Dr. Carlos Velez-Munich, who would be my primary care physician if I had health insurance or could otherwise afford all that diabetes entails. He is a very good man.

If you have it in your heart, please contribute to Shepherd’s Hope or any type of similar clinic that is there to help those in need who might not be able to afford quality care. They are out there. All I did was Google “free orlando clinics” and up it popped.

PRESCRIPTION MEDS AND SIDE EFFECTS

If you have followed my diabetes posts, you know I am now on 3 prescription medications:

GLIPIZIDE (Glucotrol) for diabetes

LISINOPRIL (Zestril, Prinivil) for blood pressure and, mainly, to protect my kidneys from disease

LOVASTATIN (Mevacor) to lower cholesterol and triglycerides

There are some rather interesting side effects associated with these drugs. If I forget what I’m writing or wander off somewhere, I might not remember why or when I did it. If I get cranky or START YELLING AT YOU, it means I now hate everyone and I want to run you off the road. To keep it simple, these drugs also have overlapping effects, but I will only list them once. Some, I have already experienced. I’m not going to tell you which ones, though, and if you ask, I might break into tears.

• Consipation or stomach pain
• Diarrhea (are these top two just so they can cover their butts?)
• Muscle pain and tenderness
• Weakness (duh… the diabetes made me feel that way)
• Severe fatigue
• Fever
• Yellowing eyes and urine
• Dark urine
• Persistent nausea
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Lightheadedness
• Dry cough
• Blurred vision (again, the disease has alredy caused that)
• Sore throat
• Fainting
• Decreased sexual ability (I don’t want to talk about it)
• Rash, itching, swelling
• Trouble breathing
• Vomiting
• Loss of appetite (I wish)
• Easy bleeding or bruising
• Unusual or sudden weight gain (I wish)
• Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
• Confusion
• Mental/mood changes
• Chest pain
• Uneven heartbeats
• And, in very rare cases – suicide

In each case, there is a statement that says, “Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.” I’m trying to explore macrobiotic options. One of the most important thiNs abot tHs florBl gogN roofn jmpofflin gor

I’M LEARNING…

Most people don’t understand diabetes. There are plenty of misconceptions out there. Fortunately, I had been researching it for years before I got the disease because my mother has had it for a long time. Of course, there’s still plenty for me to learn. I seriously doubt anyone who has it will ever quite fully understand what are the right and wrong ways to deal with it. For example, some things may effect you one day and not the next. Why? Who knows. I am going to try to explain some of the areas that I get questioned on by my friends.

Before I knew I had it, I had been feeling below par for some time. When I realized what I had and was officially diagnosed by a medical professional, it explained why I had mood swings and why I was rather irritable at times. Normally, I’ve never had much of a temper. One always wants to believe they are healthy and to find out about this can bring you into an emotional quagmire, which I did kind of fall into. It became almost an obsession for the first month and that seemed to be the topic of most of my conversations. Some of my friends started to drift away in fear that, uh-oh, here comes Diabetes Dave again. I noticed it, too, and began to realize I needed to get on with my life. Granted, it can snowball on you. I wasn’t feeling well at all and that was compounded by my fear. I believe the blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol medications have helped me tremendously. My blood glucose levels have come down and I don’t feel nearly as achy and weak as I used to. Mentally, I have adjusted as well. I no longer think my life will be cut short. Most people can live long lives as long as they maintain a proper regimen of diet, exercise and monitoring sugar and lipid levels regularly.

One fallacy is that we must give up many of the foods we’ve always enjoyed eating. Everyone thinks we cannot eat sugar. With proper drugs, there is no reason to stop eating all sugar. Certainly, I’m not going to play a game of Russian Roulette with myself by buying candy and other junk none of us should really eat to begin with. Where I used to do that, instead I eat an orange or an apple. This way, I get natural sugar and nutrition, to boot. Carbohydrates are the real culprit. They raise blood glucose levels. That means a big plate of spaghetti is no longer an option. Neither are many breads, particularly those made with bleached flour. Rice, potatoes, corn and other starchy foods should be kept to a minimum. Instead of eating a plate full of mashed potatoes, I eat less than a quarter. We need good carbs at each meal. Some say to curb fruit and bean consumption because of it, but my first doctor told me I could eat all the fruits and vegetables I want. Beans, too. Eating a diet in carbohydrate-rich foods with low glycemic indices like fruits, beans and oatmeal may reduce the odds of someone getting diabetes. This also has the added benefit of increasing your vitamin, mineral and fiber intake. Protein is very important with each meal. Now, every time I go to the grocery store, I carefully examine the nutritional facts for fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium content. It’s a pain, yes, because many of the things I would like to eat are somewhat suspect. Once in a while, I’ll treat myself.

Not all diabetics are on insulin. I’m not. I take a pill. Type 2, or adult onset, means that your pancreas isn’t producing as much insulin as it should to properly process sugar in your body. That’s where energy comes from. It could also mean that your organs aren’t doing the job with the insulin, too. It might be a combination of the two. In type 1 diabetics, the pancreas produces no insulin and the only way to get it is through injections. Ironically, type 2 can eventually turn into type 1 as the pancreas stops producing altogether, but never the other way around. That is the fate a lot of diabetics face and it’s not because you’re not taking care of yourself, it’s just the nature of the disease. It is progressive.

Exercise is of the utmost importance. If you remain a couch potato, your heart, kidneys, liver, eyes and nervous system will begin to fail. I try to park far away from a store so I am forced to walk a greater distance. Every little bit helps.

You don’t have to be obese to be a diabetic. I’m certainly not and never was. As a matter of fact, I lost a lot of weight because of it. The most I’ve ever weighed was 205. I settled in at around 185 for many years. The other morning, I weighed myself. 158. All my friends are really noticing it now. I don’t want to lose any more!

Diabetes is brought on by many factors. It could be from a poor diet, especially what’s in processed foods today. New York City recently passed a law banning trans fats in all restaurants. Now I know why. You want to increase your chances of getting it? Keep eating those Twinkies. If you ever have felt that smooth grease on the roof of your mouth while eating something tasty, that’s the trans fats in action. Remember, trans fats have a higher melting temperature than your body. That means every time you eat something containing it, it solidifies in your system and starts to go to work clogging your arteries and doing other nasty deeds. Long ago, the government gave hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils the green light, assuming it was a healthy alternative to the saturated animal fats in other products, like butter. They were wrong. Avoid trans fats at all costs! Studies have shown that vegetarians have a much lower risk of getting diabetes type 2. Lack of exercise will also contribute to greater risks of getting sick. I can attest to that. Remember that genetics play a giant role in acquiring diabetes. If someone in your family has it, there’s a good chance you will, too, especially if you don’t take care of yourself. Age also increases the risk. People over 45 are more susceptible and the odds go up every year. American Indians, Hispanics and African-Americans are more prone to develope type 2. Everyone should get checked for high blood pressure and blood fats as they age.

Quit smoking! That is something that’s weighing heavily on my mind. With every puff, I’m increasing my risks of having heart attacks and strokes. Smokers are more likely to become diabetic than are non-smokers. Alcohol is bad. For healthy people, moderate drinking lowers blood sugar and improves glucose tolerance. There are alcohols diabetics should avoid, like beer and liqueurs. Anything with carbs and sugar. Diabetics who drink are at a much higher risk for eye and nerve damage in the form of neuropathy. No more than 2 drinks a day, if any at all.

Here are some nutritional supplements to take if you have diabetes:

Alpha lipoic acid

Chromium

Evening primrose oil

Magnesium

Cinnamon

Always check with your primary care physician before you take any additional supplements. For one thing, there is a chance that something might interfere with other medications. I will continue to study this disease and report anything I find of interest, that I think is truly of benefit. I will not ever write something that could be questionable. I don’t care what some of those quacks out there are spewing, there is no cure. It is a lot more controllable if diabetics take very good care of themselves.

THE AMAZING HEALING POWER OF GLUCOBATE

I would ask ALL DIABETICS to go to the Glucobate website and explore a little bit. Browse through the links and testimonials. It doesn’t matter which link you click, they’re all the same. If you don’t go to a link, come back and click Here.

 

Remember when hucksters would travel from town to town hawking their magic elixirs from the backs of their wagons, barking out that it would cure whatever ails you? Today, they do it on the internet.

There is no cure for diabetes.

DAWN PHENOMENON AND SOMOGYI EFFECT

A very puzzling aspect of diabetes is the contradiction in everything. Glucose levels can bounce around and there doesn’t seem to be a clear cut semblance of rhyme and reason to it all. Some people experience weight gain. Some drop pounds. I fit into that category. Sometimes, I’m satisfied with the food I eat. Other times, I cannot satiate my appetite, no matter how much I eat. I have to be very careful with that, too, not just with the types of foods I consume.

A friend of mine works for a bookstore in Winter Park, Florida, called Bargain Books. It was very nice and extremely appreciated when John gave me two books, Diabetes for Dummies and Cholesterol for Dummies. You can’t beat good, caring souls. As I was leafing through the diabetes book, I stumbled upon Dawn Phenomenon in the glossary of terms and decided to explore it online. I have this problem and I know many other diabetics do, too.

My blood glucose level is always higher in the morning than it is at night. Why? It doesn’t make any sense that an empty stomach level would be higher. My mother has always said that it’s a mystery what diabetes does and how the body reacts to it. Everything can flipflop around and doctors don’t always seem to have the answers. My father has maintained that what you ate the day before can have that sort of effect on you the next day. Sounds reasonable enough, but then I stumbled upon that phrase. Everyone experiences Dawn Phenomenon, whether diabetic or not. We all have a biological clock. Technically, this one is referred to as Circadian Rhythms and it is rather simple to explain. Your body uses carbohydrates, protein and fat to store energy and during sleep, you use that stored energy to help keep your chemicals balanced. These “macro-nutrients” are converted to glucose stored in the liver and muscles.

Overnight, your body releases some hormones. They come in the form of Growth Hormones from the anterior pituitary gland, cortisol from the adrenal cortex, glucagon from the pancreatic alpha-cells, and epinephrine, otherwise known as adrenalin. These hormones trigger an increase in insulin resistance and add stored or new glucose to your bloodstream. All of this adds up to higher blood glucose levels and a diabetic can have real problems with it.

This activity normally occurs during the hours from 4am – 11am and explains why my sugar is higher in the morning, but what can be done to resolve it? There are different ways to bring that overnight level down and everyone must experiment on their own. One method is to eat a light snack with a slow digesting fat and protein content, such as peanut butter or deli meats and cheeses. The theory is that it holds your blood glucose level high enough overnight to avoid the problem. Some people eat a green apple, such as a Granny Smith or take vinegar supplements to ward off Dawn Phenomenon or Somogyi Effect, which I will try to explain next. Try eating breakfast when you first get up and test your sugar later. There are different things which may or may not work for you. This is not a disease that has any uniformity to it.

Somogyi Effect is often referred to as Liver Dump and usually occurs in insulin-using diabetics and those who go hypoglycemic during the night. When your glucose level drops too low, the liver kicks in and does its best to stimulate and release glucose. One way to try to determine whether you have Dawn Phenomenon or Somogyi Effect is to test your glucose between 2am – 3am several nights in a row without snacking before you retire. If you test normal, it’s likely Dawn Phenomenon. If you test low, it could be Somogyi Effect and setting your target number a little higher before you go to bed may eliminate the problem.

I’m going to try the peanut butter (or cheese) snack before I enter the realm of Sleeptown and see if that helps reduce my glucose in the morning. I’ve been running around 150-160. If that doesn’t help, I might have a small (2 ounce) glass of red wine and see what happens. Alcohol lowers blood glucose and it may do the same thing as eating an apple or taking vinegar pills. Who knows? Like I said, it’s a very contradicting disease and it could be either Dawn Phenomenon or Somogyi Effect. Certainly, I will talk it over with a doctor, next time I see one.

HELP ME FIND THE ANSWERS

Between my two blogs, I have software where I can cross reference information. This is not for stalking or spamming or for any other seedy reason. I do it because I can get a good grasp of questions posed on search engines and how people are directed to my site. This post is not just dedicated to diabetes because it may help with any sort of medical condition.

The following question really bothered me because I don’t know if this person from Decatur, Alabama got an answer that helped and that is only what I want to do here. I wish I could have responded personally, but the information I get does not give me all of the particulars. In other words, I don’t know who any of you are and I don’t need to know.

I am a diabetic with no insurance.

I am poor and have diabetes.

Where can I get medical help?

I have no health insurance. I did a search for “free Orlando clinics” and found Shepherd’s Hope in this area. They got me on the proper path to deal with my disease and I chronicled it here and in ensuing posts. I’m sure there are clinics all around the country that help the poor and/or uninsured. On the federal level, the Hill-Burton Act was passed in 1946 to do just this. My advice would be to go to that site and explore clinics closest to where you live. I would further suggest you first do a search like I did, only replace “Orlando” with your town. If that doesn’t work, try using alternative key words along with your search, such as medical or health, like “free health care decatur alabama” until something pops up. If your search yields nothing in your area, go to Hill-Burton and look through these locations.

Here’s another popular search:

comprehensive metabolic panel w/EGFR glucose

I have a link on this post that directs you to an explanation of it. Basically, it shows your fasting blood glucose level and will more than likely determine whether you’re diabetic or not. Creatinine goes along with that test and is useful in the evaluation of kidney function. This all goes along with

what is A1C test?

which is also linked from the same post. A1C gives a 2-3 month overview of blood glucose levels. Mine was 8.0, which meant I’m diabetic. 7 or below is what you’re aiming for.

I get a lot of questions about interactions between drugs, such as

can I take aspirin with Glipizide?

No one on the Internet can make that determination for you. You must ask your primary care physician or specialist about any drug interactions and possible side effects. They alone know about your condition and whether allergies or other things play into the scheme. You might also try asking your pharmacist, since they know what prescriptions you’re on. They may give you an answer. I’m of the school of thought that they keep up with drugs more than doctors do, but that’s just my opinion. I get the same questions about Lisinopril and Lovastatin because those are the other two pills I take. Ibuprophen. Tylenol. All sorts of questions.

There are many other search questions, too numerous to list here. My advice would be to keep searching, but don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. I’ve read about “Coconut Cures” for diabetes when doctors have told me DO NOT EAT COCONUT! Before I was diagnosed and didn’t know any better, I ate a Thai dish that had a coconut milk base. My sugar was sky high later that night. No way will I believe in any sort of miracle coconut cure or whatever else may be lurking out there. As is with any medical condition, all people react differently. There are no blanket cures to be found online, just like not all diets work for all people. Do you really buy into all those diet pill claims you see on TV?

Please, please, if you have a question about anything, e-mail me at marinadedave@yahoo.com or ask here. I might be able to help steer you in the right direction. I certainly would never, ever steer you wrong.

BENEFITS OF CASSIA CINNAMON AND OOLONG TEA

I ran out of cinnamon capsules last week. My numbers had been running around 120-130 something in the morning. That’s somewhat high, but not too bad. Like I’ve said in past posts, under 100 is ideal. Partially, it’s due to Dawn Phenomenon, which I wrote about here. I could probably do a little more work on what I eat and increase my exercising, too. Last night, my sugar was 160. This morning it was 159. I think it’s because I’ve been too lazy to go buy cinnamon.

In December 2003, Diabetes Care published an article on a Pakistani study about the effects of cinnamon on type 2 diabetics. In the study, 30 women and 30 men were broken into 6 groups. Of that, half were given varying amounts of cassia (cinnamomum cassia), otherwise known as Chinese cinnamon, and the other half were given placebos. The first 3 groups were given 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon daily. After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon ingested reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18–29%), triglyceride (23–30%), LDL cholesterol (7–27%), and total cholesterol(12–26%) levels, with no significant changes in the placebo groups. Changes in HDL cholesterol were insignificant.

Cassia has a long history as both a spice and medicine. It is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree native to southern China and mainland Southeast Asia west to Myanmar. Medicinally, it has been widely used to treat digestive problems, but the most intriguing of all is in the treatment of diabetes. Scientists have discovered that it has insulin-like properties and its active ingredient, called polyphenols (tannins, lignins, and flavonoids), can boost levels of proteins which are crucial to promoting normal insulin signaling processes, a healthy inflammatory response, and increasing glucose transportation throughout the body. Tannins are present in red wines. That may be one of the reasons why small amounts of red wine can be of benefit to diabetics. Cassia might also lower blood pressure, making it potentially useful to those suffering from hypertension. The USDA has three ongoing studies that are monitoring the blood pressure effect.

It seems like a relatively benign form of treatment, although risk factors are always an issue. There haven’t been any long term studies done on cassia to make a firm determination. There is concern about the potential for toxic buildup of the fat-soluble components and some European health agencies have warned against consuming high amounts of cassia, due to a toxic component called coumarin. Although not present in large amounts, coumarin has been found to be moderately toxic to the liver and kidneys. It is where warfarin (Coumadin®) is derived (synthetically), so it may have ever so slight anticoagulant properties, as well. I wouldn’t worry about it. People have been eating cinnamon for thousands of years and I’ve never heard of anyone dying from it or causing any type of harm.

There are various forms of cinnamon on the market. You want to buy cinnamon cassia (cassia cinnamomum), a close cousin of true cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, synonym C. zeylanicum), which is native to India and Sri Lanka. If you can’t find it, I think regular cinnamon will do in a pinch. One is just better than the other.

I strongly recommend all diabetics talk to their primary care physician and/or endocrinologist about cinnamon. I recommend this treatment, unless you are allergic to it. If you decide it might help, I’d start with 500 mg per day, gradually increasing, if necessary. I usually take 3,000 mg per day [I have subsequently reduced that amount to 1,000 mg/day]. The original study took 40 days. Those on insulin must be extra cautious because they may have to reduce the amount they take or at least monitor their glucose more often during the day at first.

Another article in Diabetes Care, in June of 2003, suggests oolong tea, a type of tea that is partially fermented during processing that proved to lower plasma glucose in a test of 20 type 2 diabetics who also took hyperglycemic drugs. They were given 1,500 milliliters per day for 30 days. Their glucose fell from 229 to 162 on average. A group not given oolong tea, but water instead, showed no change. Bear in mind, green tea is not fermented at all and black tea is fully fermented. The only problem with oolong tea is trying to find it. It is imperative it comes from China. Also, 1,500 ml is a little over 5 cups, so I’d think about brewing a nice big pot and turning it into iced tea.

You may also find this article helpful. This particular study reviews herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes. Please remember, you can always ask me questions. I will do everything in my power to find the right answers. I’m not a doctor or anything, but I learn easily and well and I know how to weed out improper information.

Well, I’m off to the health store. I want my BG level to go down.

INTERESTERIFIED OIL

I’ve always gotten along with kids. Years ago, before I became qualified to be considered of grandfather age, many of my girlfriends had children. I used to tell them things while driving along, like, “Do you see that apartment complex over there, called Hidden Pines? Do you know why they call it that?”

“Nope.”

“Because they had to tear out all the pine trees when they built it. The trees are all hidden now.”

I had plenty of examples like that and many times, they’d pass those little tidbits on to their friends when they’d ride around together. I often wondered about Hidden Valley. Do you really believe a giant food manufacturing plant is safely nestled inside of a quaint valley, with babbling brooks and birds chirping in the hidden valley trees?

Back to reality. Fats and oils are an important part of the human diet. They contain fatty acids such as linoleic and help metabolize vitamins as well as being a source for calories. They are used to enhance the texture and flavor of foods. All oils vary in their range of melting properties.

Partially hydrogenated oils have been around since the early 1900s. Originally believed to be a healthy substitute for natural fats like butter or lard, it is cheaper to produce, performs better under high heat and has a longer shelf life. Today, we have learned all about how bad these types of oils are for you, even worse than oils found in animal fats and some highly saturated vegetable oils. Years ago, health officials touted the health benefits of partially hydrogenated oil, also known as trans fats, over saturated fat. It took a long time of studying to prove otherwise. I don’t adhere to any sort of government plot or conspiracy to fool the masses and make big outfits like Archer Daniels Midland super rich at your heart’s expense, but I don’t think these mega-outfits care about you, either.

“They did so in all innocence, trying to do the right thing,” Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest stated. “Everybody thought it was safe. We thought it was safe.”

Today, researchers at Harvard’s School of Public Health estimate that trans fats contribute to 30,000 U.S. deaths a year.

A relatively new oil is over the horizon. Even before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was carefully examining the ingredients on food packages. Recently, I read something new on one of those labels: interesterified soybean oil. Interesting. What is interesterified? Well, I did some research.

As food manufacturers, bakeries and restaurants move away from trans fats because of laws, such as New York City banning them, and federal labeling requirements, something has to replace it, something with the same flair, flavor and consistency that will keep these goods as close to original as possible. The manufacturing process of interesterified oils is very similar to that of hydrogenated oils – without the trans fats. Wow, lucky us! New & Improved! Now, they can put No Trans Fats on their labels and you’ll think it’s a healthful product, since partial and hydrogenation have become such dirty words.

Interesterified oils, in plain English, are a combination of polyunsaturated oil and fully hydrogenated oil. Simple enough to read, but a whole lot more complex and controversial than that. Technically, interesterification shuffles the fatty acids that make up each fat molecule. Like partial hydrogenation, which generates unnatural trans fats, it produces some molecules that are rare or nonexistent in nature. Science News describes this process as “…chemically or enzymatically removing fatty acids from fat molecules and transferring them to other fat molecules. Because this process recombines fatty acids randomly, chemical interesterification is sometimes called randomization.” The article further states that, “To make a fat with new and useful properties, manufacturers typically interesterify blends of different kinds of fats. These blends often consist of a natural vegetable oil and a solid fat such as fully hydrogenated soybean oil. Full hydrogenation forms saturated fats rather than trans fats, which are products of partial hydrogenation.”

A recent study reported perplexing changes in cholesterol and blood glucose concentrations in 30 volunteers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who had consumed an interesterified-fat–heavy diet. Fasting blood glucose levels were elevated almost 20% after a 4-week period, and was linked to relatively depressed insulin and C-peptide. In other words, interesterified fat was found to depress the level of HDL (good cholesterol) more than trans fat. In addition, it raised blood glucose levels and depressed the level of insulin. This strongly suggests that interesterified fat could lead to diabetes.

By the way, the FDA advised manufacturers, including ADM, that interesterified fats containing a stearate content of greater than 20% may be properly labeled as “interesterified soybean oil,” or “high in stearic acid” or “stearate rich.” Key words to consider on a list of ingredients, especially if you are diabetic.

In the meantime, let’s start getting used to dipping our cloned and irradiated lobster in some artificially flavored, drawn interesterified soybean butter. Yum. Is this really what we want our children growing up on? Remember, it took a long time to figure out how harmful trans fats are to the human body. I guess the facts had been hidden in some valley all along, with the pine trees. Interesting, huh?

References:

A Trans Fat Substitute Might Have Health Risks Too http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20070210/food.asp#how

Stearic acid-rich interesterified fat and trans-rich fat raise the LDL/HDL ratio and plasma glucose relative to palm olein in humans http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/4/1/3

Partial interestification of triaclyglycerols http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6238926-description.html

HAVE SUPPLEMENTS HELPED?

I have emphasized the importance of periodic tests to check your average blood glucose values, blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), and kidney function. When I got the results back from my most recent tests, done at the end of April, I was very encouraged by what I saw. I switched to a new doctor since then and he hasn’t seen the report, but I think he will be impressed too.

From previous tests, my triglycerides dropped from 222 to 128. Less than 150 mg/dL is ideal. Total cholesterol went from 216 to123. The normal range is 125-200 mg/dL. My bad cholesterol (LDL) dropped from 135 to 68. The desirable range in diabetics should fall below 100 mg/dL and <70 for those with known heart disease. Unfortunately, my good cholesterol (HDL) also dropped from 37 to 29. It should be > or equal to 40 mg/dL. I don’t know what caused that, but I will research ways to improve it. More exercise will help, I’m sure.

Everything on my Comprehensive Metabolic Panel w/EGFR was fine except for my fasting glucose reference interval, which stood at 126. It should range from 65-99 mg/dL. What totally amazed me was the result of my Hemoglobin A1c test. Originally, I clocked in at 8.o%, a relatively high number. The non-diabetic range is less than 6.0%. This time, my number is 5.5%, an incredible improvement and something I am quite proud to crow about. I attribute this and the other results to several different factors: I am on a prescription medication for blood pressure and to loosen my arteries to protect my kidneys, I take a statin drug for cholesterol, and I take a sulfonylurea medication for diabetes. I do not consume processed sugar and my fat intake is way down. I exercise more than I did before I was diagnosed and I drink a lot less alcohol. I try to eat better overall. Of course, I miss pizza and fried chicken, but hey, you gots to do what you gots to do.

I did a tremendous amount of research on supplements for diabetics, primarily for those with type 2. I really tried to weed out the junk stuff and to make a concerted effort to avoid conflicts with other supplements and medications. Here are the results of what I’ve found and a list of what I take daily. Bear in mind, I made sure my doctor knows exactly what I’m taking and what his thoughts are on each one. Can I say for sure that these supplements have helped? Of course not. I’ve only been taking them for a few months. I would have to have similar test results over a much longer period of time to assume otherwise, and my tests may vary as much in myself as they will in any other individual. I would not recommend any other treatment without consulting your own physician first. OK, I do think cassia cinnamon can be a small miracle for people like us.

1.) 2,000 mg cassia cinnamon. This type of cinnamon may help promote sugar metabolism.

2.) 200 mcg chromium picolinate. May help promote insulin effectiveness and regulate blood sugar.

3.) 250 mg magnesium. I take this because of neuropathy. It may help with nerve impulses.

4.) Omega 3 fish oil/alpha lipoic acid. I alternate daily between these two for heart health and to fight against free radicals, plus antioxidant benefits.

5.) multivitamin

6.) 1 gram apple cider vinegar tablet with min. 35% acetic acid. Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar helps control blood sugar spikes in type 2 diabetics.

1.) 81 mg aspirin. Because my doctor told me to.

I take all of these supplements with my evening meal, except for the aspirin, which I take whenever I remember to.

When he looked over my list, he was amazed. He said that the only patients he ever sees that take these supplemental cocktails are diabetics and those with AIDS. Whether they help or not are subject to further studies. He approved most of them in a round about sort of way by checking them off one by one and saying they seem to be OK. He only questioned two of them. Chromium picolinate may alter DNA, but if I’m not thinking about having children at my ripe old age, it should be fairly safe. He takes it himself. His children are grown. He seems to think it might be of more benefit to help ward off diabetes, though. He was puzzled by the magnesium and when I told him it’s for neuropathy, he just shrugged. That one, he was less sure of. I wonder what he’ll think after reading my test results? I’m running them up to his office this afternoon, but I won’t see him again until the middle of July. In the meantime, please discuss these with your doctor before going on any sort of regimen. Just because you read about them here does not mean they are right for you. Besides, I’m still exploring other supplements. It doesn’t give me license to eat pizza and fried chicken, either, so watch your diet!

HAVE SUPPLEMENTS HELPED?Hmm…

On Monday, I went to see my doctor. I had some back door work done a little while ago and was diagnosed with diverticulosis. No polyps though, and that’s a good thing for a guy who’s soon to be 55. I’ve got to go on a higher fiber diet. That’s the good news.

The nurse took a blood glucose test and my sugar came in at 208. That didn’t make me, the nurse, nor the doctor happy at all. What happened? Here, I was boasting about my proud numbers in my last diabetes post. My A1c had dropped from 8.0 to 5.5. I have no idea what it would be today and I’m not scheduled for more blood work until the beginning of October. I had been crowing about the supplements I truly felt were working in my favor. Today, I’m not too sure. This afternoon, the magic number was 227. I’m certainly not going to stop taking what I do because he had told me on my last visit that everything was safe, that none of the supplements would harm me. Now, if I run out of something, I won’t be so quick to jump in my car to replenish supplies. Besides, everything adds up in cost. I read a lot and listen to plenty of advice from people who have all sorts of natural cures. As a matter of fact, one commenter addressed gymnema sylvestre as an herbal alternative to the prescription drug I take now. It looks promising, but it doesn’t come cheap. It’s about the same price and until I do further research, I’ll stick to my present plan. When I went to pick up some prescriptions recently, I bragged to my pharmacist about my A1c number and how the supplements might have helped. She told me to keep in mind that when I was diagnosed, I stopped eating sugar and that probably had a lot more to do with that number than what I was taking on my own. If I can get my number down to 4.0, then she’ll start listening. By the way, she has faith in supplements.

The doctor instructed me to double up on the Glucotrol (Glipizide) XL if my numbers are high. He wrote out a prescription for 60 pills instead of the usual 30. Unfortunately, that also doubled the price. When I tested my sugar last night, I checked in at a much more comfortable 110. The double dose seems to be doing the trick. I took one in the morning and one in the mid-afternoon.

The same person who mentioned gymnema sylvestre also told me about taking niacin to reduce cholesterol. From what I have learned, it does help. Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks is that it has a tendency to raise blood sugar. One of the things of much concern to my doctor was that my good cholesterol (HDL) was very low. Overall, all my choesterol and triglycerides have gone way down from the Lovastain I’ve been taking, but it seemed to have lowered the good stuff, too. Initially, I was taking 40mg daily, but he reduced it to 20mg. Because of the low HDL number, he decided to take me off straight Lovastatin immediately and put me on Advicor, a combination of 500mg niacin and 20mg Lovastatin. He says this will raise my good cholesterol. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come without side effects, some of which can be pretty nasty. It’s the niacin. They include feeling flush, itching, tingling, dizziness, rapid or pronounced heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, chills, swelling, rashes, abdominal pain, back pain, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Oh, I did mention high blood sugar, didn’t I? About 45 minutes before popping one of these pills, I took a couple of Tylenol to help minimize some of the side effects. Then, I took it, ate a pear and went to bed. I quickly fell asleep and woke up this morning with no ill effects. Maybe, I was a little groggier than normal, a little more light headed, but that was all.

I don’t take issue with natural remedies. In many cases, they can be quite effective and beneficial in treating different ailments, but I question their reliability. The FDA does not clinically test supplements for safety, effectiveness and problems if taken in conjunction with other supplements. For example, you shouldn’t mix ginkgo biloba with St. John’s wort. Sure, the Chinese have been dispensing this root and that herb for thousands of years, but can we say for sure they work better than prescribed medications that have been tested? Without the knowledge of someone well trained, such as a medical doctor, can we be our own physician? If you get a bad toothache, are you going to make tea out of a powdered root or go to a dentist? In many cases, there is no real alternative to traditional treatment. Certainly, in the case of diabetes, every person with the disease has their own fingerprint. Watermelon spikes my sugar. My mother, on the other hand, can eat it and it doesn’t bother her the same way. She has been diabetic for 26 years and has been taking prescribed medicines a long time. To think that doctors and pharmaceutical companies have been conspiring with the FDA in order to fool the public is just pure bunk to me. Of course, crooks exist in every profession, but a vast conspiracy? Come on, now. When billions of dollars are pumped into research and development of drugs that are quite effective in the end, what is wrong with taking them? In my case, every prescribed medication has a generic alternative. How is the doctor getting rich off me or the millions of other diabetics taking the same things? It is my decision to ask the pharmacist to give me the generic version and I don’t think a doctor would tell a patient you can’t do that.

I will continue to explore other treatments and maintain a very open mind, but in the meantime, I will stick with the tried and true. I really don’t think I am as qualified as those who have spent thousands of dollars and many years studying to become the doctors and specialists they are. Most pharmaceutical companies offer free medicines to people below a certain income level. Advances in today’s medicines are absolutely amazing and I am not going to jeopardize my life because of conspiracy theories. Besides, I think some of the complainers are ones without health insurance. If they had it, they wouldn’t have to pay much for their drugs, so they might not be as compelled to seek out alternatives. Think about that next time you bite into your fresh baked cookie made with refined sugar and bleached, enriched flour, something I can’t and won’t eat anymore.

Odds & Ends, Blood Test Results – Taking the good with the not so good

Odds & Ends

I recently had a discussion with my sister-in-law about one of those mysterious liquid supplements that are meant to cure you of all sorts of ailments. I didn’t pay much attention to what it was because I don’t believe a cure-all exists anywhere in any form. We read about some never heard of fruit that Amazon natives have been using for hundreds of centuries. We hear it cures cancer, diabetes, hypertension, liver and kidney diseases and bad breath, to mention just a few. Then, and on the other side of the spectrum, we’ll learn about all kinds of supplements, each designed to perform a certain function to enhance your life and health. Ginkgo biloba for the mind, for instance. My best advice to you is to not believe everything. For one thing, since the FDA (or any other country’s equivalent) doesn’t necessarily regulate natural cures, i.e., herbal supplements, how do you know what it will do if you don’t let your doctor know first? Every person’s body is different. No one pill will work for everyone. Some people have allergies, others don’t. Blood types vary. Men and women are different. Men don’t suffer from iron deficiencies, for example. Supplements don’t always mix well. I’ve often read to not take St. John’s wort with ginkgo biloba. Did you know that? The list of reasons can go on and on and it is impossible to take supplements that promise an eternal life, free of maladies. Besides, my prescription blood pressure medication is derived from snake venom. South American variety. I have a printout that tells me of possible interactions.

“I take Peruvian Ma La Qua Potion every day and I haven’t been sick in 48 years.” – Ellen B., Baltimore, MD

Do you know Ellen B. or anyone who does? I didn’t think so. She doesn’t exist, but her fictional testimonial does.

I average anywhere from 80 – 130 visitors a day now on this website. Am I bragging? No. A good chunk of those hits are from people searching for information on diabetes. One such search is on “coconut cures for diabetes” and one of the very first things a doctor told me after being diagnosed with type 2 was to avoid all coconut like it’s the plague. I know for a fact that I ate a Thai soup for dinner one night before I was officially diagnosed, but testing my glucose levels twice a day, and my sugar skyrocketed. The culprit? Coconut milk in the soup base.

Blood Test Results

Every diabetic must undergo blood work every three months for the rest of their lives to show how glucose levels are and how your kidneys and liver are functioning. The doctor will prescribe and adjust your medications accordingly. A short time ago, I went in for tests and had a follow-up visit a week later.

“No really bad news to report,” my doctor told me soon after he entered the room.

“Good. Then I can leave?”

“No, there are a few things we need to discuss.”

The fasting level of my glucose on the morning of my test was 140. That’s high. My overall level for that 3 month period was 5.6, up from the previous test of 5.5. Not bad at all (Previous test results and ranges can be found here). He proceeded to double my Glucotrol/Glipizide medication, but, at least, I’m not on Metformin yet. Glucotrol stimulates insulin production in the pancreas. Metformin slows glucose production in the liver. As long as my pancreas is functioning modestly, I’m in better shape overall.

“You know I take cinnamon capsules everyday, right?”

“Cinnamon shows a lot of promise in diabetics,” he responded. I used to take 3,000 mg a day, but have since dropped it to 1,000. I give some credit to cinnamon for that 5.6 number.

My cholesterol went up. Originally, I was put on 40mg of Lovastatin. That brought those numbers way down, but at the same time, greatly reduced my good cholesterol, too. He put me on a combination prescription of 500mg Niacin/20mg Lovastatin. This time, my overall cholesterol was 181, triglycerides were 184, LDL was 101 and my good cholesterol (HDL) jumped from 29 to 43. He doubled my medication to 1,000/40. Niacin helps bring good cholesterol up and it did, but 20 mg of the statin wasn’t enough to bring the bad back down. One of the unpredictable consequences of diabetes is that medications are constantly adjusted and when you think you’ve gotten it under control – POW – something else pops up.

“Your urine was very yellow and thick.”

“Huh?”

My blood test said TURBID. That means cloudy. My specific gravity was low. He wasn’t too concerned, but these might be signs of excreting red blood cells, which leads me to his next discussion.

“I’m a little concerned about your platelet count. It’s been testing low, but not too low to warrant further testing at this time. I wouldn’t worry about it yet.” YET? When a doctor brings up something that concerns him, you tend to get a little bit nervous. “If it remains low or drops, we’ll have to set you up with a (bone marrow) biopsy. In the meantime, we’ll keep a close watch on that number from now on.” My red cell count was low, but he didn’t mention it.

“Oh, great news! I noticed that on my last tests, especially since my brother-in-law went through AML (leukemia) and his platelet counts were really bad.”

“Well, you don’t have leukemia because your other numbers are within range.”

“Are there any supplements I can take to increase my platelets?”

“No, but there are prescription medications available. Like I said, don’t worry about it yet.”

OK, I won’t worry, but it will be on my mind. “Does it have anything to do with the diabetes?”

“No. Are you ready for your prostate examination? Remember, we discussed it last time?” Oh, yeah, how could I forget?

It ain’t fun getting old. Does anyone know where I can order that Peruvian Ma La Qua Potion?

HOPE FOR THE UNINSURED

Around the end of October of 2006, I bought 2 bags of candy to hand out to trick or treaters. I live on a street where no children reside and we seldom get Halloween visitors. Few came and someone had to eat all that leftover chocolate. It was gone in days. Little did I know that, two weeks later, I would test my blood glucose on a dare and within a month, be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I have no idea how high my sugar went from eating that candy, how long I’ve had the disease or how much damage I’ve done, but many people could have diabetes or other conditions for many years and not know it. I had symptoms for quite some time and shrugged them off, like a lot of men do. I hate going to the doctor. Constant hunger with a sudden loss of weight, frequent urination and the tingling, numbness and sharp pains in my extremities from diabetic neuropathy were warnings I should not have ignored, but maladies that creep up with middle age and the lack of health insurance were good enough excuses for me to pretend nothing was seriously wrong. Until that day a lancet pierced my finger, those symptoms meant nothing. How quickly life changes. I needed help and I got it, but my thoughts turned to the countless others without health insurance. What about low-income families who don’t go to the doctor because they can’t afford to? Are they aware there’s help out there? There is, but the trick is how to educate them about where to go for treatment.

In the Orlando, Florida area, there are clinics affiliated with PCAN, the Primary Care Access Network that specializes in health care for the underinsured. There’s the Central Florida Family Health Center with locations scattered throughout the area. You pay according to your income level based on the US Department of Health & Human Services’ poverty guidelines. For the homeless, there’s HCCH, the Health Care Center for the Homeless. Also, try the Florida Association of Community Health Centers.

Thankfully, our community is also blessed with faith-based Shepherd’s Hope, nonprofit clinics that provide free assistance in a family-practice setting. Their mission is not one of continuous-care. It is to provide non-emergency treatment to those in need. Presently, there are 8 all volunteer health centers and they are a godsend. Their website states that, of the uninsured population nationwide, 8 out of 10 people are not eligible for government assisted health care plans. Most are hard-working and many work several part time jobs to make ends meet. Putting food on the family table and a roof over their heads are primary concerns and not much is left over.

My advice would be to go to a search engine and explore clinics closest to where you live. I did a search for “free Orlando clinics” and found Shepherd’s Hope in this area. Where you live, replace “Orlando” with your town. If that doesn’t work, try using assorted key words along with your search, such as “medical” or “health”, like “free health care decatur alabama” or “free medical clinics philadelphia” until something pops up. On the federal level in the United States, the Hill-Burton Act was passed in 1946 to help you find health care, regardless of your ability to pay. If your search yields nothing in your area, go to the Hill-Burton website and look through the facility locations. Something is bound to pop up.

Through local and national grants, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and dedicated volunteers, there are countless clinics around the U.S. and throughout the world that are willing to help those in need. Look in the phone book. Call your local government. Ask a friend for advice. All you need to do is seek in order to find and if all else fails, contact one of the organizations listed here. They might be able to steer you in the right direction.

P.A.D. (Peripheral Arterial Disease or Atherosclerosis)

It’s been 8 months (Oct. 21, 2007) since I quit smoking and I wish I had stopped after the first puff almost forty years ago. For many years, I have told younger people that if I had my life to live over, the one and only thing I would change is smoking. I never would have placed a lit cigarette in my mouth. Amazingly, after all those years, it wasn’t as hard to do, not like I thought it would be. I was terrified of quitting, but I knew the day would have to come. After all, diabetes and smoking do not go hand in hand. My risk of heart attacks and strokes is bad enough with the disease alone. Cigarettes are suicide.

To say I have been naive and stupid all these years is a gross understatement. When young, we think we’re going to live forever. All of a sudden, age creeps up on you and you are, well, old. Obviously, genes play a role in what hits you later on in life, but who cares while you still have your youth?

It all started about six years ago with gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GERD. I had a terrible time swallowing food at times. I would feel like a grapefruit was lodged in my esophagus and I felt tremendous pain and I would salivate foam. I could not swallow and breathing became difficult. Then, it would go away and I would be terrorized by thoughts of knowing it would happen again. After being placed on Prilosec OTC and now Previcid and/or Protonix, which I take to this day, it never came back. I never knew heartburn could do so much damage. Does smoking have anything to do with it? You betcha! That and other factors like weight and the types of food you eat.

Next came type 2 diabetes and I have no idea how many years I’ve had it. Doctors say you could be diabetic for upwards of eight years before any symptoms occur. I’ve written many posts on this disease.

I won’t even mention diverticulitis.

Now, I was diagnosed with something else and prescribed a new medication to add to my growing repertoire. Whoopee! For a long time now, while walking, I get pains in my legs, from below the knees down. I can only describe it as very painful and my legs feel like they are made of lead. I pretty much attributed this to neuropathy from diabetes. I do have that problem. For a few weeks now, the tops of my feet have been swollen. I don’t want to take chances knowing I am diabetic. We get our feet amputated and I’m not about ready to lower my height by eight inches and hobble around on knobby ankles. I did the smart thing and went to my doctor. After a careful examination of my ankles and feet, he told me the news: Peripheral Arterial Disease or P.A.D.

Whee!

The Peripheral Arterial Disease Coalition website describes it as narrowing or clogging of the arteries due to a buildup of fatty deposits, or plaque. It is otherwise known as atherosclerosis. Without treatment, all sorts of complications can occur, including that scary old amputation word. The main culprit in my case? You guessed it: SMOKING. That and the fact that my mother was diagnosed with it many years ago. I seemed to have been the one sibling ( and I certainly hope it remains that way) who got the most genes from her side of the family. She and her older sister are also diabetic. She apologized for that and I told her she was not responsible for me. I chose to smoke. Yes, she said, but she should have warned me years ago about impending problems. No way is it your fault, I responded. My mother is a very sweet lady.

My doctor began explaining it and gave me some very interesting information I would like to share with you.

“Have you ever noticed that when young people suffer a heart attack, they generally die?”

“Yes.”

“And older people can have several attacks and survive?”

“Yes, I never really thought about it, but you’re right.”

“Well, the mind has a way of adapting itself. In young people, the heart has so many arteries and that’s it and when an artery gets clogged, you have a heart attack. In older people and over time, the brain tells the heart to build new arteries around the clogged ones, sort of like a bridge. The same thing happens in your legs and elsewhere. With your disease, it’s not quite working the way it should, but fortunately, there are medications that help spur new growth.”

“Hmm. I never knew that.” Actually, I remembered hearing about the heart thing a while back.

He mentioned some newer and more effective drugs, but since I have no health insurance and will probably never qualify for it again, he prescribed Trental, generic name, Pentoxifylline. It is much cheaper.

“It will work just fine, but don’t expect immediate results. I don’t think you’ll notice a difference for four to six months.” That’s the pain I feel when walking for extended periods. Exercise, walking in particular, is very important if you’re diabetic.

There you have it. Now if my doctor and the specialist I am seeing would just find out why my red cell, hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelet counts are down, I will feel much better. Or, maybe, I don’t want to know because I’ll surely have to pop even more pills. But, maybe, that will make me feel better, too. Oh, I don’t know. I guess all I’m trying to say is if one person puts down a pack of cigarettes or never picks one up, then that’s one person who won’t have to go through what I’m dealing with.

PLEASE – DON’T SMOKE

DIABETIC NEUROPATHY

wholetransOne of the many health problems that people with diabetes face is neuropathy pain. It’s one of the reasons why everyone today should pay attention to what your body is telling you. Everything I’m going to say here about my past is still very present today, and in some cases, more so.

For several years before I was diagnosed with type 2, I had very sensitive skin from my abdomen down to the tips of my toes. Occasionally, I’d get this piercing, throbbing and burning pain in my toes, too. There’s no real way to describe it unless you have felt it yourself because all three of those words are mild compared to the real thing.

I tired much easier. My eyes felt like they were hit by a dust storm but nothing was there. I was constantly hungry, including after eating a big meal. I was thirsty more often and I peed more, too. My weight dropped for no reason as my body munched out on fat to feed itself for energy since my metabolism took a permanent vacation from utilizing sugar to help keep my body active. Meanwhile, I was oblivious to it all because I attributed everything to the aches and pains of growing older. While my family and friends watched me lose 40 pounds in a matter of 6 months, I enjoyed the new svelte me while they worried. No problem, I told everyone, my metabolism is changing for the better. Meanwhile, I was damaging my organs with each passing day, and nothing in the end was for the better.

My skin was so sensitive, I had to be very careful in the shower. The direct flow of water on my mesodermal tissue was painful. The tops of my feet were off-limits because of the excruciating agony from water pressure. I won’t even describe the intensity when it hit my you know whats. Direct contact there became an international threat to my manhood.

Meanwhile, like I said, silently, my body was destroying itself from within. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not on my deathbed or anything, but there’s something I’d like to share with you about a recent experience and it’s all about diabetic neuropathy.

To this day, I still feel a constant tingling in my skin. Some days it’s more pronounced than others, but it never goes away and most days, I don’t pay attention to it anymore. According to the federal government’s NIDDK Web site, nerve problems can occur in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart, and sex organs. Whoopee! Lucky me. Nerves contain a network of cells that carry signals and impulses to the spinal cord and the brain. These are called afferent neurons. They also carry signals away from the central nervous system (CNS), these are called efferent neurons. Enough medical jargon. I just wanted to let you know that along with actually suffering from it, I know a lot about it, too.

Toe Jam

Early one afternoon, a couple of months ago, I needed to go out for a while. I shaved, showered and did my best to make myself presentable to the public. One thing I learned a long time ago was to keep the area between my toes dry so athlete’s foot doesn’t develop. I have a regular routine where I take my socks and run one of them between my toes in an up and down motion, sort of like buffing the area dry, and that has kept it at bay for years. Then, I carefully take one sock at a time and gingerly place it over my toes and begin the journey up my foot until it rests comfortably and snugly on my ankle. To show you how smart I am, I do the same thing with my other foot with no help from anyone. I even learned how to tie both shoe laces at a very early age and I can still do that, too.

As a creature of habit and being left-handed, I always start with my left foot. Safely, my sock was up and it was time to go to town on my right one. As I placed the sock over my toes and began sliding it up my foot toward the ankle, I felt a little pain in one of my toenails. Bear in mind that diabetics should go to a podiatrist to have their toenails cut, but for $75 a visit, I can do that myself, thank you, and I am very careful to never let my nails grow too long. Yes, I am very careful when I clip them. I stopped, let go of my sock, and rubbed my toe. The pain was brief, I felt nothing askew and I continued the sock’s journey on the path to its final destination. The pain was gone. No big deal and I shrugged it off.

I must tell you that I also have PAD in my calves and ankles, so I have to be careful about what types of socks I wear. At the same time it, it reminds you of one of the many other problems associated with diabetes.

I don’t remember what I did that day. I probably had errands to run and sometimes, I catch up with old friends at Spatz, the neighborhood bar in Winter Park, where I sip on water with my friends. Watching people drink booze and smoke cigarettes doesn’t bother me in the least. Smoking was extremely detrimental to my health and I will never do it again. This month marks 2 years away from the cancer sticks. I only wish I could have patted myself on my back a lot earlier.

Anyway, I got home, went about my business and at bedtime, I sat on the bed, kicked off the shoes and began to unroll my socks; one at a time, starting with my left foot. I told you I am a creature of habit. As I peeled off the right sock, I noticed something immediately. That toe I felt pain in earlier was now coated with dried blood. Hmm. What’s this? Upon closer examination, I saw that the toenail was split down the middle up to the root and the right half was completely torn off. Gonesville. I rubbed my toe. How did that happen? How did I not know it?

As you cringe in horror over what I had done to myself, here’s the clincher. I didn’t even know it. I felt no pain. How’s that for diabetic neuropathy? How’s that for dying nerves?

You see, it’s very important that we take care of ourselves when we are young. Sure, I never thought I’d be in this shape when I should be relatively healthy and carefree at 57, but it does happen. There were signs coming my way I never paid any attention to, like what I described earlier. I was aware that my nails were becoming more and more brittle over time, especially the ones on my toes, but I was stupid or naive or both. My mother has lived with the disease for over 25 years now. Does it run in your family? Think about that food you’re eating. Think about my toe.  In 2006, nearly 21 million Americans had diabetes. The number grows by leaps and bounds daily. Do you want to be one of them?

132 thoughts on “Life As A Diabetic

  1. I was recently diagnosed with type 2, and was mostly in the dark about it (and worried about the symptoms I was Having). I want to say thank you for explaining some of the things that were happening to me. I was always active but have been fatigued, I have been putting off going for walks until I felt better, now I realize that I had better go when I can.

    Thank you again for your blog.

    Mike

  2. I guess I’ve been writing these posts to vent and to tell others about the disease I have and what I’ve learned. If only one person gets something of benefit from this, I’ve done my job.

    Thank you, Mike.

  3. Interesting blog. I got here through reading about Fred. I still live on the land that used to be the Washington state commune from the 70’s. Quite a few of us still here in a neighborly relationship. I’ve had diabetes for a number of years and have had great success with using “Byetta” for help controlling my blood sugar and is aiding in weight loss. I highly recommend looking into this. Several friends have also had very good results with this.

  4. Thank you, Ann.

    Fred’s a very good guy. He’s left a lot of comments on individual diabetes posts scattered throughout my blog. I have a lot of respect for everything he’s said and even though we’ve never met, I certainly consider him my friend and I hope the feeling is mutual. I think it is.

    I still believe in the philosophy of the 60s and I would more than likely feel right at home if I passed through your community. If I trek up to the Gainesville area, I will stop in on Fred. That, we’ve already discussed.

    I took a look at the “Byetta” website. I had not heard of it until now. At this time, I’m not injecting insulin. I take Glucotrol/Glipizide, but I think I will start taking Metformin soon, too. I’m in no hurry to start sticking a needle in my body, but I will certainly ask my doctor about Byetta when I see him next month.

    For everyone else, here is a link to the Byetta website. It’s something type 2 diabetics might be interested in:

    http://www.byetta.com/index.jsp

  5. Recently diagnosed 29 year old, 170lb male. Lost 25 lbs in 3 months. Want to thank you for your blog. Drove myself to the e.r. last tues and had a 900+ blood sugar. Needless to say I was in the i.c.u for 6 days. I have insurance through school and they only pay $5,000 room and board total. I’m scared to get my bill. Do you know of any state programs that may help pay for previous medical care?

  6. Jeremy –

    I’m sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. Fortunately, a lot can be done to help control diabetes. I found out in time before it did any serious damage to my kidneys and I did quit smoking 13 weeks ago (and counting!) I sure hope you found out, too, in time. 900 is a very dangerous number, but I heard about a guy, a heavy whiskey drinker, too, who had a number over 1100. He’s still alive and still drinks, but I don’t think it will last with that type of lifestyle.

    Please comment back or e-mail me with more information about what state and town you live in and what medicines you take and I will do my best to find out everything I can about assistance. Programs are available, but there are certain restrictions based on your gross income. There are also pharmaceutical programs and some drugs can be provided free or at reduced cost. My e-mail address is located on the main page.

    Good luck and please keep me informed about how you are doing. I wish you all the best.

    Dave Knechel

  7. Hey live in Philly. Taking 70/30 insulin. Getting it down to high 100’s the past week with alot of work to go. I’m an unemployed student so hopefully restrictions won’t apply to me. I appreciate your help. J

  8. Boy, Jeremy, that’s much better than 900+!

    Outside of Philadelphia, you can try The Clinic in Phoenixville:

    http://www.theclinicphoenixville.com/

    (610) 935-1134

    They help the uninsured, underinsured and those with inadequate medical insurance. Also, through The Clinic you may be eligible for pharmaceutical company assistance. They are located near Valley Forge, which is not all that close to Philly, but they may know of a clinic that’s closer to home. At least, that’s a starting point.

    Also, your school health department will be able to proffer much needed advice, if you haven’t tried that route yet.

    Please keep me informed. If all else fails, I always have tricks up my sleeves.

  9. Hello. I just want to mention that about 8 years ago my back finally gave out due to being in the floor business for over 30 years, and now my body is feeling it. A few yrs back my Dr said I had Diabetes which I never had before because my job was so physical everyday.. But when my back and my neck put me to a halt, a year or 2 later my PCP told me I had Diabetes 2. I never had any systems except by the pain I was always in and had surgery and it relieved my back and neck somewhat. Then out of the blue a few yrs ago he said I had Narcolopsy for I could not stay awake for anything.. I would sometimes take 2 or 3 naps a day.. Then he gave me Rydalyn to keep me awake and it worked for awhile, but now after not even an hour goes by and i am falling asleep.anao energy, I am alone, it’s like a phobia cause i can’t leave the house, and the state gives me 25 dollars a month to buy food..S

  10. Boy, Bob, you have some real problems there. If there is anything I can do to help you, I will. In the meantime, have you talked to your doctor about medical assistance? Also, if your doctor declares you 100% disabled, you should be eligible for Medicare and food stamps. Medicaid, too.

    Please let me know if I can help. You are never alone. I am here and so are others. Never let yourself get too down over anything. Trust me, I have been down before because of my problems, but I always bounce back. Get back to me.

  11. hi dave i was perusing your blog because ny niece (almost 32 yrs old) is having tremendous difficulty with her diabetes. she is afraid to go to sleep tonight because she knows that her blood sugar could drop to deadly levels. she has an unbelievable number of health problems that have been directly related to uncontrolled diabetes. of course the fear of dying because you go to sleep and your sugar bottoms out is enough to do a real number on the ole stress situation which in turn can kick the ole diabetes thing in the rear and so on it goes. just like the dog chasing his tail. her mother (my dear sister) stays in such a quandry over how to help – dealing with the medical problems -reassurance – etc. while having wittnessed for herself – a patient on the floor where she was nursing – dying in her sleep from a blood sugar crash. finally sister told daughter the same thing that i thought – do what you know is medically correct – say your prayers – and just go to bed. then they both cried. i did too when sister was telling me this a little while ago. i don’t know what the final plan was but i guess ( no, i truly believe) that that was the best advice anyone could be given. whether you think you might not wake up tomorrow or not. thanks for sharing all of your wonderful thoughts with whomever is lucky enough to stumble upon them, as i did. you are so smart to have done the research and maintain such a reasonable outlook. i plan to refer my “sugar weary” sister and niece to you as soon as i can ring their phones and knock them out of bed in the am. i hope to find both of them in better physical and mental states than they were a couple of hours ago. thanks for the opportunity to let me say all of this. i hope i don’t sound like a rambling fool. just on old southern belle worried bout my sweet gals.

  12. Thank you, Barbara.

    My sugar is always the opposite. It’s too high! I keep adjusting my medications and I hope between my doctor and me, we will find a good balance. You didn’t tell me what type of diabetes your niece has, type 1 or type 2. My guess is that she is taking insulin and she might be overdosing herself. I’m not a doctor and I can’t really proffer any advice, but she should definitely keep in touch with her primary care physician to find out why her body is in a constant slump.

    Normally, at night, your body undergoes a shift in glucose and insulin levels. Known as Circadian Rhythms, you start releasing glucose stored in the liver while the pancreas cuts back on insulin. This is a natural thing and it is meant to prepare your body for an active day. That’s one of the reasons why most people don’t generally have hyperglycemia at night, as long as their sugar level is somewhere around normal when they retire. In other words, sugar doesn’t normally bottom out at night. Is her liver functioning properly? How are her kidneys?

    For sure, prayer and a whole lot of support from family and friends do help tremendously, but she needs to see her doctor about the complications she now has from the disease. There’s got to be something that can be done to get her back to a normal balance.

    Yes, please keep in touch with me. I will do all I can and I certainly wish your niece my best.

    Dave

  13. This is an interesting blog. My father is diabetic. I remember to this day, before he was diagnosed, he was sitting in front of the TV, downing glass after glass of sugar-filled lemonade because he was feeling dehydrated and really thirsty. At the time, he didn’t know he was making matters worse. Then the vision got blurry and it was time for a doc’s appointment. It’s nice to read a blog like this that incorporates humor and life experiences with medical facts. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thank you very much, cusesoftie. I try to take life’s misfortunes and turn them into positives. It was a shock to find out I was diabetic, but I had been studying the disease for a couple of years because my mother has been type 2 for almost 30 years now. I was always looking for things, such as supplements, that might help.

    Your father’s experience reminds me so much of all the Halloween KitKat bars I ate just before I was diagnosed. I have no idea how high my sugar was. Fortunately, my A1c in October came back at 5.8, below the 7.0 doctors are comfortable with. My doctor was elated. Now, if I can only keep it that low.

    Thank you for your comment, too, and please give your father my best from a member of the club.

  15. Hi Dave been reading this page so I thought I would share with you that about 15 years ago my husband and I had were applying for some life insurance we had driven out of state to visit both our parents when the hospital called us he had Diabetes and was at risk of going into a coma he was over 700 we flew back home the next day leaving my car in CA.! I knew nothing about this as no one in my family had ever had it. Luckily he is a vet so at least he has good insurance. I am in the same boat as you I have none. Anyway I purchased a book called Reversing Diabetes. It helped me a lot I followed it I don’t follow it anymore but it taught me a lot. his Dr. in the beginning was amazed at how he was controlling it and even asked him how he was doing it he told his doc about the book and said it is all through food. I used to get angry that they never would offer food info over pills. As he is older now (67) and is now on 1 pill per day. He tests everyday and is never over 140 and is below 100 a lot I realize that every one is different but here is some of what I do.

    NO Dairy products, I use only extra virgin olive oil, no fried foods, he eats the same times every day every four hours and never the same thing more than once per day, breakfast is oats with blueberries and bananas (used to be raisin Bran but will explain why I changed him to oats in a min) and that is at 9:AM lunch is light sometimes just fruit or a turkey sand never mayo tho mustard only if he eats a few chips it is Sun chips only, and that is at 1:PM Dinner is at 5:pm portions of meat is never larger then a deck of cards 2 veg. and salad and i put a lot of raw veg. in his salad with no more than 1 TB low cal Italian dressing and no more than 1 slice of 12 grains wheat bread per day if he has a baked potato it is dry remember no dairy. He does eat pasta whole wheat noodles only tho. Then he has a snack at 9:PM no sugar added ice cream or no sugar added pie. and he will eat an apple or orange in between lunch and dinner

    The reason I changed him to oats was about 6 months ago his cholesterol got high I had just a bit over 30 days before he was to go to the Dr. to be tested again and they wanted to put him on a pill so I did 2 things I changed his breakfast to oats with blueberries and removed most all of his salt this meant nothing from a can and i used a substitute salt and dash when we got to the Dr. we had lowered his cholesterol 115 points in just over 30 days so I keep to that even now no can food except for a few things like tuna but no can soups or veg. only fresh or frozen veg. only and homemade soap only etc. and I kept him on the oats. I never tried the cinn tho if I make him pancakes he loves them so I will give him them sometimes for dinner I make my own batter and I do put a bit of cinn. in the batter no butter of course and no sugar added syrup. anyway food is very powerful some people can change their diets and some can’t and byt he way he used to love kit cats too. Take care Dave God be with you …Sharon Day

  16. oh one more thing Dave I purchased a rotisserie oven a few years back best thing ever I cook all my meats in there cause remember no fried foods..Take care…sharon

  17. I try to eat right. I don’t always do it, but God knows, I try. I take 10mg of Glucotrol and 2,000mg of Metformin every day, plus medications for blood pressure and cholesterol. I take 40mg Lovastatin and 750mg of niacin daily.That is well ove 3,000% of the recommended dose of niacin and I still have probems with my triglycerides and good cholesterol. I have other problems, as well, like PAD and a nasty little blood condition called thrombocytopenia. In 2 year’s time, my body just started to fall apart and for the past 3 days, I’ve felt horrible.

    I’m glad your husband is doing fine under your guidance. Diabetes is a really tricky disease. Thank you for sharing your experiences and recommendations and may God be with you and your husband, too.

    Dave

  18. I was blessed by having your website sent to me. I was diagnosed a year ago with Type 2. It’s been a long expensive year with my doctor puting me on so many different medications. When I had side effects from one he would just put me one a different pill and kept me on the others. I was taking 3 different pills but still couldn’t get my blood sugar below 180. I went back to my old doctor and he put me on insulin and Glucophage. Now my levels are close to normal but not quite there yet. All these doctor bills and medicine are killing us, even with our insurance. Do you know of any way we could get some help concidering we do have insurance? Thanks again, Lou

  19. Hi, Lou –

    I hope you are adjusting to life as a diabetic. It took me a while to accept the fact that life would never be the same, but today, it is a normal life I live with a few changes, like no more KitKat bars and half a pizza. Although my diabetes has progressed over the past two years, it is nothing I can’t live with. My medications have increased in dosage, but I am not yet on insulin. My A1c tests have all been below 7 so far.

    If you care to write back and tell me all medications you are taking (or e-mail me: marinadedave@yahoo.com) I can get a better grasp on potential alternatives, such as generics and supplements that may help save you money. I’m sure you have a copay plan. Also, there are other things to consider, such as your income level and what type of health plan you are on when it comes to help from outside sources. For instance, depending on your income level, you may qualify for a free or reduced rate source for some of your prescriptions. I’d like to help you as much as I can, Lou, but I will need a little more information. In the meantime, you might ask your pharmacist for generics on any and all prescriptions except for insulin. You should ask for the availability of 90 day plans on medications. If any are available, it will save you money. Depending on your income level, you might be able to find clinics in your area that will charge less for office visits and/or blood tests. There are different roads to take and different methods to tailor fit your needs. Pharmaceutical companies sponsor programs, for instance. Let me know if you feel comfortable giving me information, or talk to your doctor. Believe me, anything you tell me will be strictly confidential and I will go out of my way to help.

    One thing that’s important for a diabetic, aside from exercise, exercise, exercise, is supplements. You should take fish oil every day, along with a multi-vitamin with minerals. I take magnesium. Depending on your age, you might take chromium picolinate and a baby aspirin. I strongly recommend taking 1,000 mg of cassia cinnamon daily. Most importantly, talk to your doctor before you take anything, because some supplements may interfere with medications you take now or will be prescribed in the future. There are a lot of adjustments necessary with diabetes and managing the disease. Please contact me any time regarding questions or anything at all, including support. I am here and I am here to help. Thank you for coming to my blog and please keep in touch.

  20. Dave, I just read all you have regarding diabetes. So
    sorry you have to live with this. My son is a doctor.
    He was diagnosed diabetic I, shortly after participating
    in a 26 mile run in Carmel. Ca. at least 15 years ago.
    Because he had and still is exercising, at 59 he says his
    internal organs, so far, are stable. Diabetes affects, heart, kidneys, etc. {that is why it is so vitally important
    that as a Diabetic, you really care for yourself.) Even though he has access to information and knows how to care for himself, insulin, and all that, Even though exercise is highly recommended for keeping the body strong, It still is extremely hard to be sure your blood sugar is properly regulated and stable. He and his daughter a triathlete, run together, so you might be interested in reading her article. You can find
    it as “Triathlete Diva” scrolling till you find “How Not
    To Kill Your Dad” They, were on a run and he thought
    he was ok, because he had checked his blood sugar and
    it was as it always is when he runs. However, even being a Dr. was not careful enough. Thankfully he was not alone, or else! I wish you well on your life’s long run with Diabetes, and commend you for offering your
    information. Diabetics, it is of most importance you
    take your care seriously.

  21. Thank you, Betty, and thank you for sharing the information on your son, the doctor. I try my best to contain the disease and I am still not on insulin, only I know it’s a matter of time, since it is a progressive disease. I’m surprised your son, at his age, went straight to type 1. Although very rare, it is not at all impossible, but type 1 usually afflicts children.

    You neglected to tell me where to find Triathlete Diva. Please let me know and I will go there and read.

  22. Probably had Type 2 and did not know, or too stubborn
    to acknowledge treatment.

    Triathletediva.com/Running with Diabetes.

    Thanks Weezie!

  23. With all due respects Dave, there is a tom of information that is not correct on this site. Are you really seeking advice from veteran users of certain issues or not?

  24. Dave, re: Neuropathy… do you have nerve pain in your
    feet? If so do you take anything other than magnesuim
    for the neuropathy? I have severe nerve pain in foot
    area and have come across a recommended topical pain
    reliever called Neuragen. If you are unfamiliar see at
    http://www.neuragen.com for some information. Let me know what you think I have not tried it yet.

  25. Sorry I missed your comment, Beatrice. I take magnesium daily. I also take 2 Tylenol PMs before retiring, along with 50 mg of Elavil for pain and it seems to help. I’m not familiar with Neuragen, but I will look into it. Right now, the neuropathy is the least of my problems.

    Thanks.

  26. Elavil is used to treat more than just depression. In my case, it’s for neuropathy pain and not for depression. I asked the pharmacist about it once and he said it’s almost like aspirin today. It’s used for a variety of different maladies. I’m certainly not depressed and I never notice any difference in my personality. Besides, I take it before bed. It helps me sleep, but it’s not habit forming. A number of years ago, I had the hiccups really bad, for almost 2 weeks. They were driving me nuts so I finally went to see my doctor. I was a new patient then, but I had researched how to get rid of hiccups online. One of the medications used to treat them is thorazine. Thorazine is used to treat schizophrenia. I’m not schizoid, but this new doctor wanted to know how I knew about thorazine. I told him I read about it online. At first, he was reluctant to believe me, but it was true. Needless to say, I went home, took the drug and passed out. The next morning, my hiccups were gone. Finally, I had gotten a good night’s sleep.

    My point here is simple; sometimes, prescriptions are written to do more than what most people think they are for. I’m not schizophrenic by any means, nor am I depressed. Elavil is one of those old time remedies for an assortment of problems. In my case, it has nothing to do with depression. By the way, I wrote about my hiccup experience 2 years ago, HERE.

  27. I have a serious problem sleeping. Can fall asleep and
    within ten minutes pop up and be up and down for the
    rest of the night…. Your use of Elavil to help get a good nights sleep interests me because I need to be alert for driving in cases of emergencies Not questioning your use to pry about your state of mind. Also because of compatability of drugs I have asked if you take other BP medicine along with Coreg. A few months ago my husband had a second heart drug added and the combination gave him acute heart failure. Docs have also suggested my husband try Elavil but he takes so
    many different drugs for heart, kidney maintenance,
    pain, etc. I hesitate to have him add another. He was put on antidepressant drug in the hospital (not Elavil) and it was unsuitable with the rest of his medications causing him to react in a very negative way.
    Standing up, and jumping out of bed, tearing out his
    IV’s, and catheter. It was scary! He had no idea what
    had happened, and wears a warning of that particular
    drug. Docs used to argue that if one person can tolerate
    a drug why not another, but today we know our tolerances can be different. I personally need cholesterol
    medication and have been on three different kinds. The
    pain in my muscles can be intolerable once it builds up
    in my system. My husband has absolutely no side affect with use of the same drug. Thank you!

  28. Hopefully, Beatrice, the information on Elavil helped. Like I said, I’m not at all depressed and its function in my case is purely for pain. The amount I take at night is worn off by morning. Oh, I might be a little more groggy than I would be without it, but it doesn’t really affect me much. Sometimes, if I feel no pain, I don’t take anything, or I might take a couple of Tylenol PMs instead. Ask about it. It’s one of those cheap medications now, and I always ask the doctor AND the pharmacist about any drug interactions because, after all, we are just humans. With a nod of approval from both, I feel more comfortable. The pharmacist was who told me it wasn’t addictive at all.

  29. Yes, helpful! I had never spoken with anyone who
    had used a depression drug for pain, even though I have
    read of its uses. Thank you

  30. I tried to understand your articles here. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Still I have no clue what will happen if diabetis is diagonosed; are there any medicins to really cure diabetis? Or will the doctors just deal with the symptoms?

  31. There is no cure for diabetes no matter what you hear. The only thing you can do is keep it under control. Symptoms range from being thirsty or hungry more often to nerve pains. Many people show no outward symptoms at all, but damage is being done internally to the kidneys, liver, eyes and other organs, particularly the heart. The possibility of strokes and heart attacks increases tremendously. That’s why it’s so important to take care of yourself. Why do you think I have so many problems now? I didn’t know I had it for so many years. In the meantime, a time bomb was slowly ticking away inside my body.

  32. Elavil – generic Amitriptyline – is a tricyclic antidepressant. This is a catalog of side effects for the medication Amitriptyline – brand names Elavil and Endep, which is sometimes prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.

    But it helps for diabetics?

  33. Elavil (Amitriptyline) is used for different things. In my case, it eases diabetic neuropathy pain at night. It makes me tired and helps me go to sleep and stay asleep. For the most part, it’s used to treat depression, but it doesn’t effect me in that manner because I’m not depressed. It’s also used for chronic pain and anxiety.

  34. I said I don’t use it for depression. Many anti-depressants and pain medications are interchangeable. Just because I take it for pain does not mean I’m depressed at all.

  35. I don’t take it for depression either.
    Dave, did you know it is used in pediatric wards for pain? I was surprised to find that.

  36. Hi Newbie. How are you!
    David, sorry, didn’t mean that. He has no pain either. What could he use, if any med. ?

  37. If Toussaint doesn’t have any pain, I guess he doesn’t need any pain medication. He needs to see his doctor for diabetes medications. I don’t know what he’ll need because everyone is different. Insulin for type 2 is a last resort when pills stop working.

  38. So I just google for diabetic meds to know more. How to get glucose down with medication. There must be a way?

  39. Ina, I am not a doctor. Neither are you. A doctor must make a determination about how bad his diabetes is and what medications to put him on. All you can do is help him eat more healthful meals. One of the big keys is exercise. Cut out as many trans and saturated fats as possible. Cut way down on simple sugars, like refined, and carbohydrates. Don’t eat a whole baked potato. Eat half. Put different toppings on it, like spices and a little olive oil, instead of butter. In the event of a sweet tooth, eat fresh fruit instead of sugar. Natural sugar from fruit, like an orange, has fiber. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar. Carbs, too. Feed him a sweet potato instead of a regular one. Cabbage is a free food. Eat less red meat. Chicken is fine, but dark meat has more fat than white and it’s the saturated kind. First and foremost, don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world. It just means no more cupcakes for Toussaint.

  40. Ina, they are a lot of different medicines for diabetic2, and also it can be kept under control sometimes simply by your diet, exercise, and just choosing healthy habits. Like Dave said there is no cure for it, but I do know my Sister-in law was diagnosed with diabetics2, at which time they placed her on medicine. After she researched it she changed her whole way of living, her diet increased her exercise and after a year maybe a little longer she is no longer on medicine and her blood sugar is normal. If that doesn’t get your sugar back to normal then you will be on medicine the rest of your life, and it can get to the point to where you will need daily injections. That is only after everything else fails, diabetics is hereditary and has a lot to do with your weight and eating habits. I watched Dreama go from medicine daily to injections daily to completely changing her lifestyle and today she takes nothing, her sugar level has stabilized. I also watched her work her behind off and it is not easy to control it by loosing weight and eating right.

  41. I hope my husband will keep his behind though, just his belly can go. :) He has such a nice ))

    Thank you SIH, I think there is some hope then that he will do well. He just needs to do a.ss I tell him!

  42. Please all of you listen re healthy advice. My husband ignored everything. Wouldn’t take pills properly. Skipped drs. appts. Ate Candy bars, etc. I lost him in 2002 after 38 yrs. of marriage. His was a sudden death with many complications. He waited until he had a collapsed lung before showing up at the Drs. Oh, and by the way he was only 58 yrs. of age.

  43. I’m very sorry you lost your husband, Carol. I no longer eat candy bars and the only time I skip a medication is when I forget. Last year, towards the end of the year, I felt pretty bad. Eventually, it got bad enough for me to see my doctor, who I see every 3 months anyway because of the diabetes. I had pneumonia in my right lung and I spent 5 days in the hospital, including Christmas. It turns out that 2 lobes had collapsed and I had no idea I wasn’t breathing out of my right lung at all. My point is that I had something terribly wrong and both my regular doctor and the hospital doctor told me I came within inches of death. It is imperative that we take care of ourselves, especially as we age, and definitely if we have other conditions, like diabetes, that put us at a much higher risk. You certainly have my deepest condolences. Some men are very stubborn and that’s too bad.

  44. Marinade Dave, make sure you or your doctor routinely checks your blood pressure. Any indications of a higher reading is an indicator often beyond the BP readings, as a procurer for other potential problems that can often have resulted such as potential eye damage or other organ damage(s). Really now, take that seriously, your doctors would agree.

  45. Lots of interesting information! I will ask my Dr. about Elavil as I have trouble with waking up after 4 hrs. of sleep. Trazadone is what I was prescribed and I think I need a change. I am atype 2 diabetic and have some neurapathy.

  46. Hi, Phyll. I now take 50mg of Elavil nightly, up from the original 10mg. Recently, my heart started to go bad and it’s a very rapid decline. Because of the night time heavy and erratic beats, I had a terrible time falling asleep, fearing that it would be my last night on earth. I asked my doctor for some sort of non-addictive sedative and she gave me a prescription for one that would be compatible with the Elavil, Hydroxyzine HCL 25mg. Now, I go to sleep with no problem. I would ask your doctor for that one and see if it works for you. I am glad you found my Life As A Diabetic page and that it was interesting. It is my hope to do whatever I can to start discussions and help others if I can. Thank you for writing and please let me know how things progress. You must have experiences you’d like to share. I’d like to read them.

  47. I have been reading you forever so it seems. A great blog here.
    I have a 10 year old granddaughter that was diagnosed at the age of 3. She is type 1. That was the hardest thing we have ever gone through. I hated giving her the shots the counting carbs etc. But today she has the pump. She loves it a lot better. I wish you well with this. It is never easy no matter what age we are.

    Take care and keep up the great job you do here.

  48. Thank you very much, shyloh. One of the best things in life is technology. We sure have come a long way from the early days of diabetes. Thankfully, your granddaughter will be able to live a relatively normal life with that pump. You’re right, it is never easy, no matter what the age. I wish you, your family, and especially your granddaughter well.

    I appreciate the compliment on my work here on the blog. Please come back and make yourself as comfortable as you can.

  49. Snoopy, I feel sympathy for anyone who acts like that. Did you read my earlier comments? If so, you would understand what I’ve been saying about them. They are weak people and weak people have trouble controlling their actions. I feel sympathy for anyone who should be smart enough to act like the adults they are. They need help. They are no different from the people who bash them and I feel for them, too. They sit at their computers all day and shit. That’s exactly what transpired with the Anthonys. Blaming everyone else for their misery. Who else is miserable? The little people who spend their day shitting on others.

    As a reverend and religious man, I believe Richard Grund has compassion in his heart for those people no matter what and he prays for them. What is wrong with that? He must feel sympathy for them because the loss of their grandchild has led them so far astray.

  50. Dave~~ I am glad that you can feel that much compassion for these people. I cannot feel compassion for anyone who deliberately sets out to destroy another human being.

    I was referring to myself re the sugar coating and gaining popularity. If I said that I condoned what the Anthonys are doing, I would be a hypocrite because it would not be true.

  51. I will add that Cindy is not weak. She is a very strong person. Manipulators can fool the best of us.

  52. Plenty of people are strong on the outside and weak inside. Look at Nixon. I do not condone her actions one bit. I think it is sad that someone can fall so far, so hard and so soon. That is all. I am not defending her or making excuses as you accused me of doing. You’ll notice that no where in Grund’s response did he pour venom over the Anthonys.

    In Hornsby’s comments, which you are obviously well aware of, he wrote, “Unfortunately though, the public has become a lynch mob and has blind hatred for Casey, expects everything to make it into court as evidence, and do not analyze the case dispassionately. I cannot do that and will not do that, as a commentator or as a lawyer.” Allow me to replace Casey’s name with that of her mother. As a commentator on this blog, I try to analyze this case dispassionately, but I do have feelings toward the people involved. All of them. I can love my brother, but that does not make him my friend.

    On that note, I am going to bed.

  53. Dave~~
    My use of the word *excuse was a mistake and I apologize. You are a good person. If you was not, I wouldn’t be here. I can blame it all on my foul mood after reading all Cindy’s accusations towards other people. I wont do that, instead, I will take full responsibility for stupidity on my part and I am sorry.

  54. Dave~~thank you. Hey, I just read all todays comments and one of commenters still has it in for me and this seems to be ongoing. They say if you can’t take criticism, a blog is no place for you so I will don my big girl panties and forge on with a smile. Now, if you were mad at me, that would not too good sir.

  55. Dave, Have you heard anything about a vaccine for type 1
    diabetes, for children. I found this article today in US
    WEEKEND magazine. USWeekend.com but I could not
    find it there. it is fairly short. If you are interested and can
    not find it, I can send by mail to you. It was written by
    an Allyson Dickman

  56. Hi, Beatrice! No, I haven’t heard anything about a vaccine for type 1. I tried usweekend.com, but that wasn’t it. I Googled Allyson Dickman and found the article at usaweekend.com

    http://www.usaweekend.com/09_issues/091108/091108think-health-diabetes-vaccine.html

    A vaccine for type 1 diabetes?

    Each year, more than 15,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 (previously known as juvenile) diabetes. That means every day about 40 children find out they need regular insulin injections to keep their bodies functioning properly. Researchers now are in the early stages of developing an easier treatment for the disease.

    The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International is funding the development of an oral drug to control the autoimmune response in type 1 patients. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School hope to retrain immune cells so that they’ll tolerate the body’s insulin-producing cells instead of attack them. They have established a two-year plan to evaluate and test the drug, which one day may be used as a vaccine that would prevent at-risk individuals from ever developing type 1 diabetes.

    Want to volunteer with JDRF? Its text-messaging program, DiabeTXT, gives advocates access to information about walks, conferences and other opportunities directly on their cellphones. To get involved and receive alerts, you can text ACTION to 56333.

    Thanks for that info. I see she’s rather active in other areas of health in her series of ThinkSmart articles.

  57. G’day……I am from the Australian outback……diagnosed 4 days ago. I read the lot Dave…..well done mate.
    type 2….medication to bring the levels down….and then onto insulin. yay.
    pretty pissed off at the moment……however….I will cope. i am 61.i have been married and have had kids……I can handle this.

  58. *
    Dave Knechel
    Life is short. Words linger.

    …….thoughts create…….so be careful what you think.
    Brian Hand….(thanks Lyn)

  59. G’day to you, Condoblake – My world was caving in when I was first diagnosed a few years ago. It was all about acceptance and no one wants to believe they have a disease. I went through rejection, but now, I’m used to it and the diabetes part is like a walk in the park compared to some of my other health problems. Now, I will have to go on insulin and let me tell you, it’s as if I am living the nightmare all over again. Mostly, it was the fear of having to stick a needle in myself, but you know what? I tried it yesterday and it was a huge hurdle. It didn’t hurt and I can’t wait to bring my sugar back down to normal. I’ll be posting soon about it. Diabetes is a progressive disease. Eating right and exercising are so important. If you ever want to talk about it, I am usually around and I know exactly what you are going through, believe me.

  60. Thank you, Danna. I’ve thought about vinegar for a long time, but I’ve never imbibed for medicinal purposes. I think I will take a ride down to Whole Foods this week and buy a bottle of raw apple cider vinegar and give it a try. My sugar has been terrible. I really do appreciate your concern. That’s very, very kind of you. I’ll let you know after I try it for a while.

  61. My brother was diagnosed a few years back with simillar diabetic problems. He has been on this bizotic diet of all sorts of healthy foods. He found a specialty shop near where he lives that caters to diabetics. He always has these foods that look and taste like the real thing but ingredients are exactly what is called for in a diabetic diet. I questioned it until I tried. Not bad at all. He has been doing this for a year now and has gotten control of a lot of what was ailing him. Good luck in your endeaver.

  62. Hi, twinsdad – Bizotic diet? I’ve never heard of it, but I will research it. Unfortunately, there are no stores in the orlando area (that I’m aware of) that cater to diabetics. I am sure I can find out more, though. Thank you for this tip and for just stopping by and offering your support. That’s very nice of you. Please wish your brother continued success, too.

  63. Dave – Just reading through your latest post on Ashton, and noticed that for NYEve, you were having a sugar-free drink to toast in the new year. I don’t know if anyone ever warned you about aspertame which is in every sugar-free mix these days, but it is poison to the body. Take notice whenever you buy anything sugar-free these day. I noted that you were not feeling well over the holidays this year. Perhaps you are aware of this already. I am waiting for the day when these manufacturers stop with the Splenda (also bad) and aspertame and put in Stevia instead. Some orange juice brands are using Stevia already – thank God! Sorry if you’ve already written on this subject matter.

  64. Hi Dave,
    I’ve been reading bits and pieces about your health since I started reading here a couple of months ago. Diabetes is a tough diagnoses because it is life altering. Sorry to hear that.
    You have to change so much: Life style, food diets, no sugar, etc. You mentioned you loved KitKat bars. I like them too but what I really love is StarBursts, just another one of my addictions.
    I can’t imagine what I’d do without sugar. It’s sinful. When I had my children living at home, I used to buy 5 lbs of sugar a week. Once they moved out and I was alone in the house, I was buying 5lbs every 2 wks. Which is still alot for one person. right?
    I’ve had my blood glucose tested before and it was normal. This was 9 months ago. Is this a sign of a different type of diabetes? I feel okay, but sometimes I worry.
    Btw, what you described, weakness, fatigue, weight loss. My cousin described the same symptoms a few years ago. She was finally diagnosed and lives an okay life. She’s adjusted very well and actually she eats more healthy than she ever has. So that’s not too bad.
    Take care of yourself. :D

  65. Hi, thejbmission – Yup, diabetes is a tough disease to deal with, but I have adjusted now after knowing I suffer from it. Just like time heals all wounds, it also softens the initial shock. I have learnded to eat one piece of pizza instead of three, and to eat it with a salad. One of my weaknesses has always been chocolate, but instead of candy bars, I eat small pices of dark chocolate. There are always methods to circumvent trouble areas, but that’s not to say I’m all that regimented. I still fall off the wagon, so to speak, when it comes to food.

    Fortunately, I never had a big sweet tooth, so I had no problem with that. Splenda is a splendid replacement, too. So is Stevia. I would definitely try to curb your sugar consumption if I were you. in my opinion, it’s like walking into a fire. Eventually, it will burn you. Try the pizza method, only eat fresh fruit to supplement your sugar needs. Sugar from fruit has fiber and it slows down digestion. Simple sugar you buy in a bag is junk and it goes right through you, raising glucose levels like a rocket. Most people can handle it, but is life worth living on the edge, where you keep pressing your body?

    Had I known I would one day be diabetic, I would have changed my lifestyle years ago. I quit smoking 2.5 years ago and only have a drink or two once every couple of months. As a matter of fact, I really don’t enjoy drinking anymore.

    Thank you for reading this page. I really hope you cut back on your sugar. Remember, though, starchy food turns to sugar in the body. Fatty foods can be just as harmful, and salt is an enemy. Try to cut back on all three of them. Believe me, you get used to it once you change your attitude about food.

  66. Thank you for the advice regarding my sugar intake. “Diabetes, insulin, pancreas, glucose” for whatever reason has always been confusing to me. Even with some medical knowledge, I find the pancreas a very complicated organ.
    I don’t have a weight problem so I hadn’t given my sugar addiction much thought. I’ll have to assess that because it might not be a sugar addiction but a coffee addiction…because that’s when I use the most sugar of my day. It’s just one big unhealthy cycle. I’m really going to have to work on this. lol..
    Thanks for the health tips though. I’m glad to see you take care of yourself and don’t ignore the disease. Good 4 you. Stay strong.

  67. My pleasure, thejbmission. Simple/refined sugar is no good for you. In my case, my pancreas isn’t so complicated anymore. It doesn’t do much work, if any at all manufacturing insulin. That’s why I take shots. I still take metformin because it reduces glucose production in the liver.

    Any time you have questions regarding diabetes, please don’t hesitate to ask. I would do anything to help keep a person from becoming diabetic, and I would like to help people that don’t know much about it.

  68. Just discovered your site today. How interesting. I am a retired nurse, short and squat. I tested my BS every month and at 73 thought I was home free. Then one evening it was 300. I thought something wrong with the meter. I tried every meter in the place and it was still the same. My doctor didn’t believe me. I went a yr without treatment until I landed in the hospital with a BS of 670 and dbl pneumonia. This was 5 days after I retired at age 74! I tried walking the track but my BS was 50 points higher after walking than before. My own internist and critical care doctor had never heard of such a thing so I had my grand daughter who is a nurse ask an endocrinologist. First thing he said was stop walking. Second thing was insulin. I have Lada a type of Type 1 that comes on suddenly in old age, just when you think you’re free. There is type 1 in the family. So now I have that which is under very good control even though I had thought I would never be able to give myself shots. I do. Still can’t walk because I also have interstitial lung disease which came on because I had parrots and got bird fanciers disease. I’m not too tired when I am breathing OK. My desire for food is greatly diminished. I don’t even like to cook anymore. Still short and squat though. My father had type 2 which caused him all your symptoms. He said the only benefit was now he could be a male model and was a perfect 36. He was fortunate enough to go to the Joslin Clinic which researched in Canada and the family history is + for diabetes for hundreds of yrs (the Quebec people kept beautiful records). My kids have not learned from me, though. They don’t care about prevention. Thanks for hearing me out from the dark interior of Central Florida where really the medical care is third world country except for the Mayo Clinic which I have been so fortunate to have used. Thanks

  69. Hello, Henrietta – That’s some ride you went on. All those years without diabetes, although you most likely had it for years, like me, and didn’t know it. I’m happy you found out. Like you, I had pneumonia in December of 2008, but only in my right lung, which collapsed. I didn’t know that, either. I was in the hospital for 5 days. In February, I was in for 6 days on the cardio floor. Diabetes is nothing to kid around about. My other problems are mounting, but I make due.

    I know type 2 can turn to type 1 and never the other way around, but it’s very rare that someone would go from relatively healthy to type 1. I have heard of people getting it like that, but I have never met anyone. I take over 20 prescription medications daily. I don’t know about you, but it gets old. Of course, that’s not including the insulin I take twice a day, Lantus.

    I, too, should have heeded the genetic warning signs. My mother has been a type 2 diabetic for years and years and so are her two sisters. Fortunately, none of my siblings are. I still go through hunger pains when I just ate, and I have minor problems with neuropathy. One thing for sure, I’ve put on 20 lbs. since going on insulin about 4 months ago and I can’t get rid of it. My nurse tells me it means the insulin is working. I don’t know, but my A1c is usually pretty good.

    I just recently heard something about that bird disease. I’m sorry to hear about it. I know with the problems diabetes brings on, there’s not much room for other problems, of which I have a couple not related to it. Such is life, I reckon. I never heard about walking raising sugar, either, but I often tell people there are differences between 1 & 2, I just don’t know them. That’s something I will remember.

    Dear Henrietta, thank you for coming in here and telling your story. Please feel comfortable, and do join in and keep us company. You certainly seem to be a lovely person.

    Again, thank you very much,

    Dave

  70. G’day Henrietta, I am from Australia. Diagnosed with type 2, 6 months ago. I had a reading of about 30…..which on your scale is approx 900. I fail to see why the two countries have to use different units of measurement.
    I have just had a quick read up about Lada…..i didnt actually know it existed until now…..it has been laying in wait for you!….family history is SO important……your kids will eventually take notice…….WRITE it down for them in formal manner…..maybe if they see you have gone to this trouble for them they will realise you really mean it…..and are not just being an “old person”.
    My diabetes is under control. I have dropped from weighing 99 Kg..(219 lbs) to 83kg..(180 lbs, since diagnosis……and i have done this purely through diet……no fat, no butter,,,,no sugar….etc etc. I will eventually start exercise…walking….but not yet…..soon. Like you i am squat….i am 5’5″ tall.
    I feel strongly there is a “mindset” which i have adopted….it is an attitude towards food. I need GOOD food…..and i DONT NEED lots of it. Only small quantities.
    You sound like a nice soul Henrietta, I can only imagine that the medical care in Florida varies greatly from the care here……i live in what is called the Outback….i am in the centre of the state called “new south wales”……the average temperatures in summer are well above 105 degrees F…..(42C).and they stay there for the entire summer. Winter and autumn are a welcome relief……..we are just entering autumn now and the temp is a most welcome 76 F….(26c). The climate here,however is very dry…..very low relative humidity….18% is normal, which makes the heat more bearable. Winter can get down to about 23 degrees f……we LOVE winter.
    ANYWAY…..enough of my rambling….i hope good things for you Henrietta…keep your mindset POSITIVE….think good thoughts…..which i am sure you do anyway !
    Brian
    Condobolin NSW
    Australia

  71. Hey Dave, stumbled on your website and have been reading over the last couple of nights. I appreciate your candor regarding your condition. It made me laugh and cry at times. My husband has Type 2 (diagnosed a few years ago) and doesn’t share with me much about his condition. I’ve started taking notes and will be watching for signs that his condition is progressing. Actually, I know it’s getting worse. Looking forward to reading more on your site. Keep up the great work. And, Thanks

  72. June 2, 2003 “D” day for me! Similar progression as U. Now average 140 to 160 on the blood sticks but holding 6.5 +/- hemoglobin A1C. Use meds & suppliments, fish oil daily. Gave up on the cinnamon capsuls. Tried Byetta for 7 mos. now back to 2,K metformin w/ Glipicide & Alogliptin. Father from Spain & mother has diabetes; have tried to alert my son BUT he is 39 and has my hard head. Not looking forward to insulin shots in addition to the hormone shots I have to take. Blog brought out allot of pent up emotions in me but glad to find another in my shoes. Life must go on and I have to do my part. Can’t go 2 gym or do the walks as before due 2 shoulders & hips hurting & limping (osteoarthritis) but found I can still ride my bike and get exercise w/o pain. Look forward to future updates on U & others posting.

  73. Hi – I’m sorry about the mess with the Anthony case. I just wanted to say that I actually came to your site because of the Anthony case, but then stayed more to read your diabetes story – wow, I could have written that myself!! I was diagnosed last summer – or should I say I diagnosed myself last summer because my “now former doctor” did a “Wow, how could I have missed that?” on my blood work months before. Last Jan., I started feeling really sick. I was starving all the time, like you, but I would eat a few bites and feel sick. I started being thirsty all the time and of course then running to the bathroom constantly and my gosh, I was dropping weight like crazy. My doctor ran tests in March, said everything was ok, come back in a couple of weeks and started me on Prilosec. I lost more weight, kept coming back every 2 weeks until finally on 7-3, I walked into her office and said to her, “I think I have diabetes. Look at my lab studies again from back in March.” Gosh, lo and behold, she “missed” the fact (even tho it was highlighted in yellow marker with a big “H” for high by it) the fact that in March, my glucose was 391. Well, guess what, by July 3rd, it was 591!!!! My heart was irregular and I was throwing PVCs. She gave me a glucometer, some Metformin, and sent me home! My daughter, an RN, was FURIOUS – told me that I needed an endocrinologist AND an attorney. Thank heavens for the endocrinologist. After my former doc sent me home, 2 days later, my vision completely screwed up and I couldn’t see hardly anything. Luckily, after a few months, that cleared up. My last A1C was 5.7 and I’m doing much better on Janumet. Anyway, just wanted to say God bless on your walk with diabetes and here is hoping we both lead long lives without complications.

  74. Dave I will come back when I have more time and read this entry. Looks very interesting. Mr. Katfish was diagnosed with Diabetes type 2 a couple years ago, has severe neuropathy,and RSD related to injuries from years of roofing…..as well as some other injury related problems. I asked about you taking coumadin because he takes it. After your response I realized he takes the coumadin for atrial fibulation not the diabetes. I’m glad to hear you don’t have to take coumadin, it sucks!
    I’ll refer my Mr. to your page.

  75. Dave, I am a diabetic 2, a retired experienced RN, who took care of diabetics for years, and also saw the damage and progression of this disease. Two years ago I got the diagnosis (albeit caught early), and began my serious researching and reading.

    This note is to complement YOU on not only your research, but your extensive sharing of such information in a very comprehensive, easy to read and yes, even to me, a wonderful experience of new learning.

    I thank you for your unselfish caring and sharing the massive time it took to put this all in writing. Really a must read for all of us, but especially for those diabetics who are truly trying to make the best of this serious diagnosis.

    Yes, I found you through my Casey readings, where again, you are way above the crowd.

    YOU are making a difference in the lives of many.

    Again, Profuse thank you’s, janetgk

  76. Thank you very much, janetgk. I would always do my best to help others. Because I have a blog and like to write, it was something I had to do. I hope it has helped others, or at least inspired some to help people they know. Yes, it took me a long time to write, but it was well worth it, especially after reading your comment. I will be writing more. Boy, you made my night.

  77. I just read your posts on this illness. My daughter had gestational diabetes. The baby was born five weeks ago and is healthy. They were both in danger the last few months of her pregnancy. The baby was in the neonatal unit of the hospital after she was born. All was well. The baby had to have her sugar monitored with the glucose strips. And all the other tests to make sure the baby didn’t have any damage. ( none, praise God )
    Now that my kiddo has been thru this, she is at risk of developing the disease. She has changed her diet, takes Omega-3’s, Vitamin D, 800 mgs a day. She worked very hard to keep the glucose levels low when she was pregnant as we all wanted that baby to be born. Oh, we all have great health insurance thru work and thru the Canadian system, but it is still a burden. She pays 20 % of the costs excluding hosptial which is no cost, but we have to pay 100 % up front and then get the 20% back in about a month. Still a burden if you have three kids who always need something. I wish you the best my friend in your battle with this.

  78. Hi Dave, I didn’t want to make this about what a wonderful Health care system we have in Canada, because there are plenty of shortfalls. I just finished being treated for cancer ( I am clear as far as I know ) and there are plenty of drugs that my plan at work does not cover and they are all expensive . So, I get to suck it up for the rest of my life with these drug costs for the suppression of the cancer and then shots to counteract the side effects of the other drugs. But I can’t imagine having to fork over the full amount of the costs, which over the past year must have been including the surgeries at least 100,000.00.

  79. Hi Dave. My mom woke up. She has really bad slurred speech. They are pretty sure she had been in a diabetic coma. I pop in and see her while I am at the hospital. She remembers me and the girls, but she thinks it is March 14, 1960 something. I was not born then…… They are going to start therapy soon to see if she can walk by herself. Hopefully she gets well soon. My dad is really stressed. It is hard to be mad at her because she is like a little kid, so who knows maybe things will be better now. Off to read you new post.

  80. Hi, Laura – I am so happy your mother woke up. I didn’t know she has diabetes. She was very lucky. A lot of people don’t live through a diabetic coma. I’m very glad you aren’t so mad at her now. You are a wise and comforting friend, mother and daughter.

  81. Dave,

    If you wouldn’t mind explaining what the A1c is, I’d sure appreciate it. In attempting to hit the link posted I got the “The website can’t display the page” message. The link for the Comp. Metabolic came up so I’m reading there now, only to have been interrupted a half dozen times by my little (wonderful but complicated) little boy who is forever and always THIRSTY, among other things. The A1c, I believe is one of the items I can’t seem to make out clearly on his prescription.

    Also, I so want to thank you for so caring about all who responded to this post with their own questions, suggestions and concerns. It says much of you.

    Feathers

    I will have to fix that link when I have the time, Feathers. Meanwhile, an A1c tests your sugar (glucose) over a 3-month period, to see how much is in your blood overall. What that piece of paper says is to go to your doctor or a lab to get the test done. Don’t get one of those home kits from Walmart. You want your son to have the most accurate one he can get. If he is diabetic, he will most likely be type 1. I am type 2. In a nutshell, type 1 means the pancreas isn’t producing insulin. The good thing is, he can go on an insulin pump. I can’t. Thirst is a definite symptom. Don’t worry. Believe me, I will be right here if you have any questions at all, and I mean ANY. I will help you as much as I can. Meanwhile, take a look at this link:

    http://www.diabetes-blood-sugar-solutions.com/a1c-blood-test.html

    You know, I will do anything I can to answer questions and concerns. Trust me, if your son is diabetic, and he very well could be, it is not the end of the world. He will live a normal life. Please let me know.

  82. Oh, Dave. You’re so kind! I don’t know what the heck to think, right now, as we wait for all of the referrals to come through, so we can figure this all out.

    He’s SSI/CMSN (Children’s Medical Services Network) due to his disabilities and his last blood tests came back indicating that he’s hyperthyroid, which is unusual, as most are hypothyroid, which is more easily treated. There’s a disagreement between his Endocrinologist and his Cardiologist, who maintains his heartrate is too low for him to be hyperthyroid, having fallen over the past few months from 96 to 70 bpm. The Endocrinologist disagrees, and I won’t go into all of those reasons, now, as they don’t really pertain to the diabetes but to say that because he has major cardiac problems, he wasn’t placed on thyroid medication right away, as they attempted to determine the best course of treatment: kill the thyroid with radioactive iodine or try medications first, which broke him out in a terrible rash, and so were discontinued.

    He wasn’t placed on anything else because of the PV. He produces (since birth) too many red cells which make his blood thick, to make a long story short, and so blood has to be drained to reduce the number of red cells and healthy white cells infused, every now and then. That had to be first, then, because of the strain to his already compromised heart with the thicker blood flow.

    After that process his endocrinologist found something in his “numbers” that alerted him to the possibility of diabetes, which could be causing the thyroid to not function as it should? Have you ever heard of such a thing? Can one become hyperthyroid when the pancreas isn’t functioning properly? And if he is Diabetic, will bringing that under control correct the hyperthyroid?

    I’ve read so much on the internet but haven’t found anything conclusive. Some sites say there’s a connection between hyperthyroid and diabetes and some say not.

    Because there are so few endocrinologists who take my son’s medicaid, he, the doctor, is just inundated with patients so I can’t just call and barrage him with a million questions. He’d rather I not, anyway, until the tests are done and the results are back. But just getting that done seems to be taking forever. Time was when all we needed was a prescription to see any doctor we needed to see, but that’s all changed and referrals are necessary, and those can take days, as well as what appointments need to be made take longer. It took more than 6 weeks to get in to see the endocrinolgist. That’s just the way it is. There are so many sick kids and not enough doctors to treat them. They do the very best they can, and I can’t fault any one of them. They are being paid a small fraction of what it would normally cost, to treat these kids, as you well know, and I commend them for their dedication, but I’m anxious.

    I am most grateful to you for writing about your experiences because it has so well helped me to better understand what my son is going through, and it most certainly seems to me now that Diabetes, more than the thyroid, is the culprit, though some of the symptoms are the same.

    Sleeplessness.
    Restlessness.
    Shakiness.
    Extreme thrist.
    Constant Hunger.
    Recently began to wet the bed, when he does sleep. He’s so exhausted he doesn’t wake up, and the amount is copious! He soaks everything and so I have to be sure to put a Goodnight on him.
    Gazing off into space as though he’s having trouble seeing so all of a sudden, and then it passes. He does wear glasses.
    Every now and then he will hold his hands to his chest, but he had an Echocardiogram and other than a distorted aorta, which was probably due to the openheart, his cardiologist said his heart is better than it has ever been, even if it’s beating slower. The endocrinolgist says it’s because he’s more fit that his heart is beating slower now. I agree with that assessment, but I’m not a cardiologist, nor is the endocrinolgist.
    Deep breath.

    Last night I woke up at about two in the morning to find him wide awake and just sobbing! He wouldn’t tell me why and everything I suggested he answered with a negative. Does your tummy hurt? No. Does your heart hurt? No. He was just crying and crying, and I know mood swings/depression are common with diabetes, aren’t they? Perhaps he just didn’t feel well.
    Also, as of late, he’s preferred darkness to light, which is to say that he’ll go into his room to play, but in total darkness. Time was when he had to have a light on, but no more.
    Does any of this sound familiar to you at all?
    I put a call in to the doctor and they are going to move his appointment up. We’ll be doing his blood work as soon as they call.

    It’s a lot of blood and it’s hard to get out of him due to hair thin veins. It’s ususally four/five vials. The doctor wanted me to wait until two weeks before the appointment to have the tests done, to be sure all of the results were in. They include a complete urinalysis and Glucose tolerance. Will he have to drink the glucose solution for the one particular test?

    Gosh. He goes through so much, and he’s such a good patient. He’s so utterly brave, unlike you, Dave. Smile. They’re always poking him with needles for one reason or another and he just bites down hard, buries his face in my armpit, and takes it.

    That’s why he’s my hero.

    Anyway, if you could read through the list and tell me what applied to you, I’d so appreciate it. And since you’re this master chef, suggestions on what I might feed him would be helpful too. He’s a 12 year old with a 7 year old mentality, and prefers the usual, pizza, burgers and chicken nuggets. But he loves veggies! Grapes are about the only fruit he will eat though, and he’s not much for sweets, though he does like cake. Any suggestions?

    I’ve got squash and cucumbers and egg plant and red sweet peppers and melons (he so loves raw peppers) and what not growing in the garden, but they aren’t any where near harvesting. Darn.

    Thanks, Dave.

    O, and just one more thing, I’ve been giving him double amounts of fishoil vitamins (gummies) and vitamin D’s for a while now. Should I throw in some extra C? I’m still looking at two weeks before we get to the doctor.

    You know, you do so many good things for so many people; just focus on that, okay? Let the rest go. You’re better than that.

    Feathers.

    During the testings for the thyroid, his blood counts were off, which was frightening because he’s always been AML, or pre-leukemia. At birth he required

  83. P.S. I’ll be leaving you a tip as soon as I can. It won’t be near as much as you deserve, though. Trust me on that.

  84. Feathers~~I noticed you mentioned that your son has PV. My youngest daughter has Essential Thrombocythemia. Her bone marrow produces too many platelets. ET is like a sister disorder to PV. I have belonged to a MPD support group for the last ten years. I am going to put a link here to their support group. It is amazing how this group of people reach out to help each other.

    http://www.acor.org/mpd/xmpd-net.html

  85. Thanks so much Snoopy. I’m so glad to be here, where people really seem to care about each other, and don’t just pretend to.

    Regarding your daughter, do you worry about Leukemia? My son has to be tested for it every 6 months.

    Our kids sure have a way of making us keep the faith, huh?

  86. Snoopy, I just clicked the link you gave. I’ll be there for a while. Like you no doubt do, I devour this stuff.

    God go with you always, Snoopy.

  87. Feathers~~I am very familar with blood disorders. Like you, the more we learn about a disorder/disease, the better we can help to take control of the situation.

    My daughter is on hydroxyurea, a chemo drug in pill form. She is also on aspirin. I know alot of folks with PV are on hydroxyurea or interferon. There are also some who have to have phlebs periodically. Like all chemo meds, there is a risk of leukemia but the percentage is quite low compared to some of the older meds used years ago.

  88. Feathers~~the link I gave you may not work. Joyce Niblack used to be the list owner. She had PV but passed away a couple of years ago. I see her site has more or less closed down. A couple of regulars took over for Joyce. I get an email from the MPD support group at midnight each day. I will see if I can find you a better link in the event you ever want to join. I will also google to see if I can find the group.

  89. Both of my parents were diabetics. As well, my grandmother. My mother always cooked accordingly. Even growing up we ate healthy. I have two siblings. We aren’t diabetics. Seeing the doctor regularly for screenings is a plus of course. We cook and eat healthy too. For many years I worked so we could have adequate health care.

    My husband and I are self-employed. My husband was in a horrific car accident when he was 16 yrs. old. He has weathered years of pain, including severe arthritis. But, he was determined to earn a comfortable living for his family. We have been in business for twenty-two years. I had purchased a private health insurance policy and the company went bankrupt. We had the policy for years . To make a long story not quite so long the insurance company had to accept us even with pre-existing conditions. My husband has had cancer and a heart attack. The premium was almost $2,500 a month. Now, several years later we pay $4,600 a month. I think that there should be a cap on what insurances companies charge. But, I still don’t know how I feel about Obama’s health care reform. My insurance is very expensive, but we also receive excellent health care. Okay, I am just rambling.

    I don’t understand why people are not working that have diabetes. My husband was in a wheelchair when I married him. Surgeries over the years have improved his life tremendously. He walks now with a slight limp. Possibly, the health care reform is what our country needs. Everyone should have adequate health care.

    Deb

  90. Snoopy, thanks so much. I’ll be following the link. You’re right, though, the first link didn’t work; but it got me poking around a bit more, so I got all caught up again at John Hopkins. I always seem to end up there.

    I am so sorry to hear that you experience so much pain. I was going to ask why you are in a wheelchair. It’s arthritis, correct?

    You’ve sure had your share, haven’t you, Snoop? I’ll be saying some extra prayers, especially for warm sunny days and cute gardeners, as well as for the well being of your daughter.

    Deb, I don’t think Obama’s health care policies are the answer, but I really don’t want to go there, lest I not only ramble but ruffle a few feathers. With the economy faltering, I dont believe the American people are prepared for the high cost of socialized medicine, besides; and from what I hear (Snoopy would be an authority on this) from Canadian family, they pay for it dearly, in the way of taxation. I certainly don’t like the penalties attached for those who remain uninsured, under his policies. Some are barely able to keep their heads above water now, and so many are flat out sinking. To think that now they may face severe fines and penalities if they don’t have it, seems most unjust to me to those who just can’t afford it; such as the small business owner’s I hear from who will have to lay people off to meet the government requirements. More people out of work on top of fewer doctors who are willing to accept Medicaid. This could turn into a medical disaster.

    I have yet to hear anything positive said by any of the myriad of doctors who care for my son. They’re all pretty much opposed, and feel that there’s a far better way.

    One doctor ranted and raved about how every uninsured American could receive free coverage but for the special interest groups/lobbyists and all of the pork barrell spending. I think he may be right. Thing is, we don’t read these 10,000 page bills to see all of the garbage that’s in them to see what nonsense so much of our hard earned dollars are being spent on, and so that we might scream and demand that our legislatures begin to really work for the people.

    Oh, darn. I did it, didn’t I? I rambled. Hope I didn’t ruffle any feathers. My apologies if I did. It’s only my lame brained opinion.

    Smile.
    Feathers

  91. The only drawback with our Medicare here in Canada is; the waiting time for surgery is a bit longer, unless it is emergency surgery. We have a shortage of doctors. They cross the border and work less hours for more money. Otherwise, noone dies prematurely because they cannot pay for medical care.

  92. Wow. Snoopy. You’re pretty amazing! And I am most pleased to know you, by the way.

    Your garden also sounds so utterly amazing; which causes me to think that I need to get on out there and till up the whole darn back yard, having long since threatened to bury the pool and grow tomatoes!

    At best my veggie paradise is a pathetic 30×5 and 10×10, and runs along a fence. I had to thin things out this evening, as the melons are becoming rather tangled and the string beans are thriving in our neighbors yard, as they are growing through the slats of the fence, and for which they are grateful. LOL

    How do manage a garden so large? O, I know — you acquire the help of really cute gardeners. I need not have asked. Smile.

    How well I recall the days of the ’50’s. Well, the later fifties. Polio was far more commonplace, and even so as to have stricken within the family. My very best friend, back when I was six had polio. Her father was a lot like your husband, only he fashioned a trike that she could ride by pushing forward on two extended pedals that accommodated her braces. We had great fun on that trike, and so that I’ll not ever forget it!

    O, man, I just recalled the sugar cubes, though as I recall they didn’t come to our neck of the woods, NW Washington State, until the early 60’s. They were dispersed through the schools, and I supposed that for all whom I knew who had polio, it was the sugar cubes that spared me.

    You certainly are a wonder, Snoopy. Detwill; and I will think of you now, I am certain, every time I attend my garden.

    Feathers, fondly.

  93. Feathers~ I do appreciate my health care. I know so many ppl who don’t have health care. For me, I personally don’t want health care reform for myself. I am being redundant. Okay, I need to stop rambling. I am not putting into words properly how I feel. Possibly, I know that I will ruffle feathers. A chicken with no feathers, I am pathetic.

  94. Debbie,

    I’ve not noticed that you have rambled, nor that you have ruffled any feathers. Most certainly not mine.

    I commend your husband for not letting his disease get the better of him, as I have seen so many do. Most certainly Snoopy hasn’t either.

    Where there’s a will there’s a way, as they say, and the thing is, I think, is just not to give in or give up!

    I also want to commend you for marrying a man who was wheelchair bound. It speaks highly of your character, as well as your love for him. It so pleases me to hear this, having seen so many relationships shattered when an illness has been discovered or an injury that debilitated.

    A dear friend of mine wasn’t diagnosed with breast cancer until it had progressed to Stage 3. Though it was her option to keep the unaffected breast, she decided not to change the cancer occurring in that breast and so opted for a double mastectomy. Because they had no medical insurance, reconstructive surgery using implants was out of the question. Within three months of the surgery, and while she was undergoing intense chemo therapy, her husband left her and their children. He just couldn’t handle it, he said, and she hasn’t survived this yet.

    Sigh.

    And perhaps it’s I who is rambling now?

    Thanks, Debbie, for sharing.

    Willow

  95. Make “change” “chance”. Sorry about that. My brains moves faster than my fingers, or vise versa.

  96. Wow, that was weird! I just saw Dave’s face flash across the screen! You know the picture of him with his palm frond hair? :-)

  97. After reading Dave’s Life As A Diabetic, I have to think more on how to respond. The story was all too familiar and after taking a big gulp, I am left without words. G’night Dave and Good dreams. I am ever so glad you quit smoking. You are a good soul and I am so glad to be here. Until tomorrow and until I get the lump out of my throat……life is good and so are you.

  98. I am so glad I read this entry!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My husband has neuropathy and I wonder what the difference is between Diabetic neuropathy and…genetic neuropathy??? Also, my husband’s father has type II diabetes. My husband is always worried he will get diabetes too as he gets older. So I wonder what diabetic neuropathy PLUS genetic neuropathy would be like. I wonder if its possible. omg.

  99. Well, viviennekisses, I don’t really have an answer for you, but I know that diabetic neuropathy effects the nerves in the extremities and since our feet are the farthest from the heart, they get the least circulation and because diabetes turns veins brittle if left untreated, the nerves aren’t nourished properly and end up dying. That’s the pain – dying nerves. With a diminishing blood flow, that’s why people end up losing their feet and legs. I have neuropathy and PAD, so my legs will give me lots of trouble later on. I take a medication for neuropathy pain called Elavil, which is used to treat a lot of things. The pharmacist told me it’s been around for so long, meaning tried and true, it’s safe. It’s not a narcotic or mood altering drug unless prescribed in heavy doses. Usually, I just need Tylenol and one of those and I’m fine.

    I don’t know how old your husband is, but if type 2 diabetes runs in his family, I would recommend that he get an A1c test every year.

  100. Thanks for the response Dave. My husband has a bad heart so he gets quite a bit of blood work done annually. Last year he was screened for diabetes for the first time, but he has not developed it. I am not sure of the test he had, though. So I will have to ask him when I see him next. My husband takes pain killers for his neuropathic pain as it is quite severe and has affected him since he was a teenager. Thanks again!

  101. MD,

    You are a gem. I rarely go to personal Web sites and then just skim first page. I love http://www.ted.com, http://www.stumbleon.com, fastcompany.com. But, I read every word of your main Web site. Your personal journey to figuring out how to improve your health and living with diabetes was warmly personal, caring, humble, and very helpful. Your litany of complications so closely parallel mine.

    I believe in the connectedness of everything.
    I have/had GERD and continue on the Prilosec generic med. I’m your age and am finding that it takes a lot of work to learn how to work with diabetes in general and then specifically for myself even though I took the $1500 ADA course (that was when I had insurance). I smoked too. I quit a few years ago and now chew nicorette gum. Like you, I have basically not worried about my overall or general health and didn’t listen to my body. I am sure it was talking to me before my legs went numb and I needed to drink gallons of anything at a time. Like you, I’m a lot better, but the neuropathy goes bad to worse to horrible to a lot better ??? No rhyme or reason except for not exercising. The dawn high glucose flummoxes me too, but experimenting with low glycemic carb, fruit, and small amount of protein (last nite, rye bread with Smart Balance, fresh blueberries with light sprinkling of sugar, but at a slice of whole ham–87 this morning!) Have stopped all cold cuts due to cost and high sodium.

    To contribute, over the next week or so, I’ll send you a summary of my experience with confirmations of what you found, what I am trying that you suggested and then things I have found more related to exercise, stress, and intention, if you think it would be helpful.

    You got motivated. I did too for the things that were easy for me. I have had to work at things that are not and still am. You didn’t talk much about motivation, discipline, and sticking with it. As someone who struggles with routine, I thought some of the things I have found that help, might be helpful to you or others.

    Please let me know, if you think additional input would be helpful to you and your readers. I hate to take the time, if not what you’re looking for and I won’t be offended if you don’t think it would be helpful.

    Just so far:

    100% Confirm–MOVE AND EXERCISE critical
    (hardest thing for me–don’t like to sweat; came from NY and have a hard time with heat and humidity here most of year) Athletic until I started working)
    Really working for me:
    60 minute hand-turn timer–only allowed to work or do something sedentary for an hour then I have to be moving or walking at pace to raise my heart rate for 5 to 15 minutes–I use timer for that too.
    -Working to get to 10,000 steps/day by adding 200/day–long way to go

    -Also find that committing every morning to do three new healthy things (I can do three things) really is adding to my good health habits.
    Today is kegel exercises while typing, glass of red wine, free weights for biceps and triceps. If I do these same things 4 days in a row, then I have to make them habits and can’t count them as new anymore.

    -CINNAMON SEEMS EFFECTIVE, but as you say hard to know when we’re taking meds, moving more, changing what we eat.

    -100% confirm changing what we EAT FRUITS, VEGETABLES, 100% WHOLE GRAINS, LOW/NO FAT DAIRY, LOW FAT/LEAN MEAT important and this was easy for me and helped with the weight loss–takes research too
    no easy for me is eating 3 meals a day, but have lost 50 lbs, haven’t gained weight in almost 4 years–a real victory for me, since I was always gaining) (have a lot more to lose (in interest of openness, my goal is to lose 125 lbs over next 3 years to get to ideal weight for me–never overweight when young, but progressively overweight since my 20’s)
    easy start though with immediate impact is to
    -STOP ALL FAST FOOD (VERY HIGH saturated fat, sodium and carb)–stop french fries, hamburgers, fish and chix fast food sandwiches (been off for years–can’t eat the stuff now) Unless you’re willing to research healthy options in fast food just stop; will save you money too–a lot of what seems like healthy options on their menus are terrible–deliberate misleads in my opinion
    -NO FRIED CHICKEN–anything fried; I didn’t grow up on much fried food, so doing without fried food is not hard for me. I know some love fried food, but truly if you stop for a month, you’ll feel better and it may not even sound so good
    -NO REGULAR SODA
    -NO TRANSFAT–meant for me no store bought cakes, doughnuts, cookies, pies–almost all have transfat. Again, unless willing to read labels and research, stop
    -NO FROZEN MEALS, due to sodium, same goes for frozen meals as above
    A few more no or stops that helped me, but above good for now.

    -Most important, if it is a NO kind of food, can’t be in our house and shouldn’t be in yours; my husband (good weight, fairly fit) loves ice cream brownies, cookies. Ice cream only comes in the house as a treat (e.g., go to TCBY or small container). Homemade cookies and brownies are better (as are berry cobblers, hmmm), but my husband hides them after we’ve had our portions, so my son and I don’t get tempted.

    Again, I appreciate so much that you took the time to chronicle your journey so far. I am going to try chromium picolinate, magnesium, and alpha lipoic acid. You commitment to exercise inspires to keeping me going with mine. Apple cider vinegar sounds like a great no risk addition too. All of those things are cheap too compared to meds.

    Horrible time for us without jobs, no money, but a great time too. Learning so much I never would have learned.

    Please let me know if you’d like me to do a summary to contribute to what you’ve already done.

    Debbie Deland

  102. I am also a Type 2 insulin dependent diabetic. I am in my early 60’s with all the ups and downs that you write of. Suggestion. You might already know this but the best doctor, in mine and other’s opinion, is a Endocrinologist. They’re the specialist so to speak and what a difference they can make.

  103. Hi, Beth, and welcome. I know the importance of an endocrinologist, believe me, but without health insurance and at $200 a visit, I can’t always get to see one. Yes, they are the diabetes specialists. Thanks for reading, and PLEASE feel free to contribute anything you can.

  104. Dave…. U never cease to amaze me. Ur research on Diabetes is to be commended! Read all of ur article, which was very informative and helped me learn about the disease. I was totally ignorant about the causes and complicated “sugar levels” and interaction with other organs of the body.

    My 24 yr. old daughter, a recent college grad in mass communication with a minor in English (aren’t parents proud) and currently working as a news director for a local TV station began to feel rundown physically. Family doctor ordered the “glucose tolerance” fasting test, no I don’t remember the numbers, she did get a little “shaky” on the last draw. He placed her on Metformin and altered diet (no more dorm snacks). Reduced carbs and increased fiber, especially at breakfast (3:30 am for her).

    .Will have to read more of ur articles to understand more clearly. I have not be able to ascertain whether her medical analysis and medication is for lack of insulin production or insulin resistance?
    So, will steer her toward ur site and continue to research Type 11, u are a wealth of knowledge.

    Hope this note finds u healthy ,wealthy, and wise, I know ur in many respects!
    boxcarbob

  105. Sorry I fell asleep so early last night, boxcarbob.

    I wrote about my experience with diabetes in hopes that someone, anyone, would benefit from it. There were so many signs that something was wrong, but I ignored them. No one should have to go through the same things. Also, there are tons of people out there without health insurance. If this helps send people in a direction where they can find help, then I’ve done my job.

    Thank you for sharing your daughter’s experience here. This is a tough disease, but it is manageable. Hopefully, by sharing our own individual experiences, we can learn from each other. That’s all I’m trying to do.

  106. Hi Dave. I have found a wonderful site: naturaltreatmentsite.com Mosey on there and see if there is any information that may be useful to you. As far as cinnamon goes, why not try a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a teaspoon of raw honey in hot water, morning and evening. Two months ago I started getting gout/arthritis,rheumatism (not sure what it was because i did not have it “diagnosed”), but I followed what I found on the site to the T and in 2 weeks I completely healed myself. I did not take any medication at all. I know of course diabetes is far more serious, but it really is worth the read, I think. I also use the alkaline and acidic food list to help me choose the right foods to eat. Apparently the honey and cinnamon is an absolute MUST for both you and I. Hope this is helpful to you.

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