diabetes

Confession of a type 2 diabetic sugar addict

My IG confession

Confession: I’m a Type 2 diabetic who is addicted to sugar & carbs, in all forms… especially soda.

I (semi-deliberately, because mental health issues) misplaced my glucometer and haven’t taken my blood sugar levels for months…after having an a1c of over 12.

I just found my meter and poked my finger. The result? 402.

For those not familiar with the meaning and significance of the terms and numbers:
Glucometer is a portable piece of equipment a person uses to measure their blood sugar in the moment. Three times a person might take a measurement is upon waking, after an 8-12 hour “fast.” This is what I did this morning. The goal is under 200. Immediately before a meal, two hours after a meal, and before bed are other common testing times.

A1C is a blood test taken in the doctor’s office that measures the degree of sugar in the blood stream over the previous 90 days. A 5-5.5 indicates pre-diabetes. A 6 is diabetic.

I have a lot of work to do.

Right now, my first goal is to kick the soda. The measurable goal is to get my fasting blood sugar under 200.

I’ve been drinking more water. I’ve been trying sparkling water… it’s a taste I’m not sure I’ll ever acquire. Sugar substitutes are a non-starter and fruit juices are still sugars.

I’m literally addicted to soda as much as anyone can be addicted to drugs and alcohol. I haven’t been able to say, “no,” when offered. I haven’t been able to leave it alone if it’s around.

I think I need a soda sober buddy. No joke.

Trying to care for me

In the five years between these two photos:
I stopped being employed;
I left a two decade toxic relationship;
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, diabetes, bipolar disorder, and cPTSD;
My youngest child was identified as experiencing High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder;
Two grandchildren were born;
Relationships with my two adult children have been restored and improved; and I’m navigating the ongoing process of co-parenting with the ex.

I guess, my adult daughter could be right about vampire DNA 😂
02/24/2021 – In the four years since the above collage photo, I’ve become grandma to two more grandchildren (4 GRANDKIDS! 😲 🤯); Fought time and time again to stabilize from hypomania & depression; worked my @$$ off to get employment ready; completed two vocational programs simultaneously; and became employed during a pandemic…all in the midst of chronic turmoil and drama.

The smile hides depression and self-loathing…a severe lack of self-esteem and sense of futility. The hair and angle of the pic hide the double chin and side padding of obesity. You can’t see the fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, PTSD, Bipolar 2 Disorder, and Binge Eating Disorder. Yet, I look healthier and happier than ever before… according to an FB friend.

I wrote about being functionally depressed and nothing has really changed. I still pretty much only venture forth from my dwelling are occasional grocery shopping trips and to to work. My ADLs (Activities of daily living) are sporadic – personal hygiene is taken care of whenever I have to leave the apartment or I feel too disgusted by myself. Nutrition is not a frequent thing…I may or may not eat 2 Baked Lays single serve bags of chips for breakfast or dinner. One thing has improved – I’m not waking up gasping, choking and feeling like I may have had a heart attack because I’m using my C-pap machine to deal with the sleep apnea again.

Despite the depression, I did a thing and I took a risk. I applied for a Full-time position within the organization I am currently employed with. It’s a Peer Support position, which I completed my training, with flying colors, just as the COVID shutdown started last year. I just emailed the department that manages such things to ensure my application has been received. It has been received and submitted to the hiring manager.

I’m also reaching out or responding to opportunities to connect with people I’m connected to through my faith community. I’m participating in a book study of Rich Villodas, The Deeply Formed Life. I participate in our weekly Zoom service. Right now we’re discussing how it might look when we start meeting again, since some of our faith family isn’t able to engage and participate often unless it’s remotely. I submitted some ideas, which were favorably received.

Partially because of the diabetes, I’ve decided to join a couple of my friends on a menu planning journey next month. I’m in no way prepared. The logistics of my life are chaotic and kind of overwhelming. So, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to make it a complete success. However, I reminded myself “progress not perfection.” That made my inner perfectionist cringe in horror.

To that end, I decided to focus on breakfast. Simple, quick, easy diabetic friendly breakfasts I can prep primarily in the microwave. The first recipe I found was Breakfast Burrito in a Jar on Diabetic Foodie. Since I don’t have jars, I followed the link to the next breakfast, Mexican Microwave Scramble.

Between the Depression, Hypothyroidism, and fibromyalgia, as well as circumstances in my life, I’m really fatigued & low energy. I’m not sure how I’m still functioning at all. I just know that no matter how close I come, giving up isn’t an option.

How are you doing? For real, sometime sharing helps.

Starting Off Right

I actually started making changes back in November when I got the test results for my cholesterol on November 1st.

Those a pretty scary numbers! They mean I’m at risk for heart disease…on top of the hypothyroidism and diabetes.

I’m a year and a half away from 50. I have three g-babes ages 5 week to three years, and I have a third grader with special needs at home. By my reckoning, I have a minimum of 20 years to go before saying goodbye to my family is an option – as far as it’s within my power to make it happen.

So, after the initial shocked fear dissipated, I exercised one of my superpowers – internet searching.

I decided that nutrition and exercise have to be my solution. I searched for cholesterol reducing foods. There were a lot of them, mostly veggies – which is great. However, I need something other than veggies to eat for breakfast. Especially since I also started going back to water aerobics in the mornings.

Do you know what the ‘Net told me I need to eat for breakfast? Oatmeal.

Yuck.

A) I’ve never been much of a hot cereal kind of gal. To be honest, I’m not big on hot anything. Even in the middle of winter I prefer my coffee cold. Weird, I know.

B) Texture. All the oatmeal I’ve ever had has been rolled, quick, or instant. Mostly instant. Thin and slimy or thick and gooey. No. Thank. You. I never met a bowl of oatmeal that was right.

C) Flavor or lack thereof. Unless it’s the flavored instant, which is overly sweet and usually with extra chunky bits of dehydrated fruit. Then it’s too sweet. Butter & brown sugar are needed just to make it palatable…which kind of defeats the purpose. Yeah? Yeah.

So. Oatmeal. Not what I wanted to discover is one of the number one cholesterol fighting foods. Bonus, it helps regulate blood sugar as well. Ugh.

There was more information the webs gave me, which I found exceedingly helpful. There are other forms besides rolled, quick, and instant. Namely steel cut.

There doesn’t appear to be a significant difference in nutritional values. However, in my opinion, the texture and taste are so much better! I like to crunch and chew when I eat. This gave me something to sink my teeth into. There is a subtle nutty flavor. It’s still pretty bland, especially if it’s cooked with too much water. However, it DOES have some flavor!

Initially, I did the butter and brown sugar bit, but tapered that off and stopped after the first week.

The next problem for me and oatmeal, we’ll, not oatmeal per se, but anything consumed on a repetitive basis, monotony.

I like flavor. I like texture. I like variety.

However, I’ve been in survival mode for so long that creativity and imagination are a bit stagnant, especially when I’m in the kitchen. More about that some other time.

Plain oatmeal, regardless of slightly nutty flavor and chewy texture, gets really old, really fast.

Solution? Facebook crowdsourcing. I wrote a quick post explaining the issue and asking for ideas. Many of them were standard: raisins, apples, cinnamon, and other spices. The two suggestions which stood out for me were peanut butter and bananas.

Two tablespoons of natural (zero additives) crunchy peanut butter and half a banana mixed into a cup of oatmeal is perfect for me!

I can make several servings at once, refrigerate the leftovers, and have breakfast for a week ready to go.

Winning!

What’s your “go to” breakfast? If you eat oatmeal or any other hot cereal, what are your favorite add-ins?

Making Healthy Changes: Why should I care about myself?

Last Monday I had blood work done and on Tuesday I got the news that my A1C blood sugar was back in the diabetic range at 7.3 and that my secondary thyroid hormone was out of balance with the primary thyroid hormone. The doc wanted to start me on Metformin and increase the thyroid medication I’ve been on for about a year and a half that has already been increased once. My weight is also back up to nearly 280 lbs.

Not interested. Why?

Well, first off, I’m pretty sure that the reason for the blood sugar increase, the worsening thyroid imbalance, and the weight gain is because I haven’t really taken care of myself, or felt the desire to take care of myself, for a long time, especially since March of this year, probably earlier, but, I can pinpoint a significant event in March that still brings tears to my eyes.

In my past writings on this blog, I would have gone into excruciating detail about what happened in March and what’s happened since then. However, I don’t want to operate that way anymore, for several reasons:

  • First, I hurt people I care about with my public airing of our relationship issues and interactions. I don’t want to hurt the ones I love.
  • Second, I have learned that the reliving of my traumatic experiences, even in writing, is a symptom of the PTSD and the more I stay focused on what is traumatizing and upsetting, the more I feed the anxiety and depression.
  • Third, I have limited amounts of time and energy. I can use it all up by retelling all that went before (an impossible and impractical task) or I can get forward focused and solution oriented.

This change is not an easy one, since it’s been my modus operandi most of my adult life. However, just as changing my eating and lifestyle habits are necessary for my wellbeing, it is an absolute must.

So, here I am, depressed, overwhelmed, and not really giving a crap about whether I get healthy and live a quality life for as long as possible…at least not because of any positive feelings or hope I have for myself. Instead, the best reason is that my six-year-old, who experiences High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder and has a lot of behavioral issues related to that, needs me healthier and stronger so I can better meet her needs. Secondary motivations are being a positive and interactive grandmother for my two grand babies, who are now almost 20 & 8 months old, and being an example of hope for the future for their momma, my oldest daughter, who is 22, overwhelmed, and struggling with her own self-esteem/self-care issues.

My research indicates that nutrition is the biggest co-factor for just about everything I’m experiencing. More to the point, the way I eat is slowly killing my mind and my body. This means it’s also affecting my relationships and my ability to parent, be a good friend, and member of society. Basically, I feel like my physical & mental health, as well as most of my relationships, are on a negative, cascading, downward spiral.

Now, I’m faced with a decision: Do I commit to necessary changes, no matter what, OR do I allow the apathy, discouragement, depression, anxiety, fear, and tangible obstacles keep me on this slow roll to self-destruction?

Obviously, committing to making changes to improve my health and relationships is the preferred. However, the big question is how do I push through the physiological, biological, neurological, and psychological realities of depression, PTSD, and 46 years of physical, auditory, visual, kinetic, and mental self-destructive habits that feed off of each other?

I have taken a set of first steps. I’ve opened up to a few closed/secret groups on Facebook that have people I trust and people who are on similar journeys of health and significant life change, about what is going on with me and what I’m trying to do. Now, I’m also doing so here. I’ve reached out directly to a couple of people who are farther along in their journeys and asked them for their mentorship and support. I’ve also started working on researching why certain eating plans might help with certain conditions and have a general plan of action in place.

I’m starting with Whole30 as the foundation. I found Whole30 free downloads that cover the basics of the plan and a variety of specifics, including shopping lists for omnivores, vegetarians, egg & nightshade free, low-histamine, and low-FODMAP diets. I’m combining the last three because the multiple health issues I have and their symptoms could indicate Histamine Intolerance, IBS/GI issues exacerbated by FODMAP foods, and (unscientifically reported) symptoms of reactions to nightshade foods (more about nightshades, here). It’s entirely possible that none of these conditions are scientifically provable conditions. However, I need to do something besides let the doctors put me on lots of medications I have trouble remembering to take and that have a host of side effects of their own. So, this is what I’m going to do.

Essentially, I’m going sugar-free, grain free, dairy free, citrus/acidic free, and simple starch free . . . all foods that make up the majority of what my six-year-old and I now eat. I told her about this last week and she cried. I’m trying not to. Eat to live, not live to eat, right? If this way of eating will reduce the brain fog, fatigue, chronic pain, insomnia, depression and host of other issues I’m struggling with, surely it will be worth it?

Next post, I’ll provide a list of foods which remain open to me and see what recipes I can find that will make them palatable.