Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sweet Victory...

So it finally happened... I've hit 50 and I've encountered my first realization of mortality... I got really, REALLY sick last January.

No beating around the bush... I have Type 2 Diabetes.

Probably for the rest of my life, I'll be injecting insulin, taking pills, and working on a sensible diet and exercise plan. Thank God I'm doing great now, but back in January, things weren't too good for the kid...

Ever since getting out of the Air Force back in '92, I had gained weight...too much weight. The result of bad habits, no exercise, long hours at a sit-down job, no sex, (well...let's say not enough sex...), too much booze... the normal single-guy stuff...bopping through life with nobody around to nag me into doing better.

To the point I was tipping the scales at around 289 pounds!

BTW, did'ja know household scales don't go much higher than 325? I got scared when I saw the end of the scale in the window between my toes.


But suddenly, I started losing weight! My clothes were fitting better...people were saying I looked thinner, I thought I was onto some new wonder-diet that peeled off the pounds.

Just drink a lot of water, and piss the pounds away.

Well, at around 238 pounds, (that's 50 pounds lower, sportfans), I was lookin' good, but wasn't feelin' good. I was woozy, sleepy, my vision was blurry, my legs were cramping, n' I was ALWAYS wanting to get a drink of water.... till one day I woke up sicker than a dog with stomach cramps & fever.

A stomach flu ran through me like a freight train! I was feeling like I'd been run over n left for dead, weak as a kitten, and couldn't keep any food down. One week of laying in bed, and I was almost too weak to walk.

I was now down to 218 pounds. Looking in the mirror, my skin was grey and my eyes were sunken, with dark rings. It wasn't death, but I swear I could see it from there.

I was way too sick. Luckily, I was able to get into a VA clinic where the Doctor immediately prescribed insulin and metformin to reign in a sky-high sugar count, and other stuff to reign in my cholesterol which was also WAY off the scale.

So it life as a diabetic. My blood lab results at the time had my sugar level pegged at 350ml! My a1c was 14!

The cholesterol was...well, let's say you could of used my blood for pancake syrup.

My "wonder-diet" was actually my body devouring itself, since it couldn't metabolize the sugar in my bloodstream any longer. According to the Doc, my pancreas had ceased production of insulin. Although I had plenty of sugar running thru my veins, it could no longer be used as food. My body was starving!

The Doc said if things went on much longer, it'll be coma, then the long dirt nap for me...

Gee! Don't sugar-coat it Doc...tell it to me straight!

But I guess it was what it took to give me motivation. So now I'm walking the Dog to the mailbox and back...walking down to the pond and back each evening, walking around the block after lunch at work.

Ummm...notice the trend here?

Un-sweet tea or water is the drink of choice, my meals are no more than 30-35 grams of carbs, SMALL PORTIONS! No longer is it 3 squares a day...I eat 6 times a day, especially RIGHT before bed. (Yeah! I freaked when the dietician told me to do this but, by God, IT WORKS!)

Now I religiously test my blood n' take my meds...diabetes is often called the data got to test, test, test, to keep things under control.

I've come to realize that my body now harbors a enemy that wants to KILL me, and kill me painfully, horribly, if given a chance. To fight it, I MUST know more about it. Education is the key.

So here's the good news...I just came back from the Doctor today, after 90 days, my current blood lab shows that my blood sugar is down from 350 to 137ml, my a1c was down from 14 in January, to 6.8!!! (YIPPIE!!!)

The cholesterol was still a bit high, but a WHOLE lot better than the maple syrup blood I had back in January. My weight's back up to 240, but that's to be expected using STATIN meds like makes you gain weight. But I swear I'll beat that down this summer.

The big difference is that the thurst, the drowsiness, the fuzzy vision, the bathroom stops are all but gone. My sugar is getting under control.

If anyone who reads all this and has got this far, I beg you, if any of what I've described is similar to what you or someone you know is experiencing, please get checked out. Don't wait, do it NOW. And if you have been told that you're "pre-diabetic"...for God sakes DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

So life for me is getting back on track. I've accepted the realization that if I'm not dilligent, I'll likely die of some diabetic driven affliction...stroke, heart attack, ect. I'm now forever in the fight of my life.

That's what it means to be all grown-up, I guess.

And I bet to really get back into perfect health, I gotta do something to correct that "no sex" thing...


Ralph said...


Its good to hear/read you are finally getting your A1C below 7.0 I am currently at 6.2 and holding and have been for about five years. Most of the time I feel great. When I don't I can almost always trace it back to my bg levels. Lately I found that no matter what I was doing my levels were creeping up above the 7.0 mountain. Turns out eventually the body gets used to the medication/diet/exercise and it becomes time to start making changes again. Yahoo!!! Keep up the good work, your worth it.

Joem41577 said...

Great story! You decribed my "miracle" diet to a T! I went from a raging workaholic to a raging diabetic after major back surgery about 3 years ago. Went from 305 (my digital scale put up the "ERR" after a while :O)to 145 in about 11 months(good for the joints, for the blood, not so much)ended up in ICU for about a week where the nurse told be had I not been as young as I was, would've ended up in the "basement" That was a chilling/motivating thought! Now under a diabetic docs care, I likely have a shot(or two or three a day) But I digress...
Anyway, It was a blast hanging out with you at Field Day! Looking forward to many more!
Joe M.