Friday, June 24, 2011

Truth in Advertising?

While wasting time on Facebook the other day, I noticed an advertisement on the right-hand side of the screen.  It said:
“Type 2 Diabetes?”
 “Tired of the hassles with managing your condition?  We manage it for you, proactively!”

There are several things about this ad that upset me, the least of which is that advertisers are gleaning enough info about me on Facebook to target their advertising.  What struck the most discordant note with me is the idea that someone else can manage my condition for me.  Really?  Aren’t we, as a society, lazy enough? Do we need someone else to manage our diabetes?  Isn’t our lack of attention to our health what helped get us in this boat to begin with?

There are so many of us who are working very hard to control our diabetes.  I’m afraid, however, that there are many more who are not.  There are too many people who are in denial or afraid or just don’t understand all that there is to know about diabetes.  It’s vitally important for us to take charge of our care; to be informed and proactive; to not sit back and let diabetes control our lives.  Yes, it’s hard work.  Yes, it’s worth it.

I was curious so I went to the website to see what it was all about.  It was a medical service where you can order your drugs and supplies as well as sign up for discounted medical plans etc.  The website itself isn’t dangerous but the come-on is, in my opinion.  We’ve all seen the ads for this “miracle pill” or that “magical exercise equipment” that try to dupe us into believing that all we need to do is buy this widget and we’ll become just as thin, healthy and beautiful as the people who are in the commercial!  These companies are making millions, and why, because people want the easy road.  People don’t want to work hard to get what they want or need.  They want the “miracle pill”.  How cool would it be to click on a link and sign up on a website for someone else to manage our diabetes?  Just kick back and let them do all the work.  Ahhhh, life is short!

I’m sorry folks, but you better be doing the work yourself or you’re toast.  Diabetes sucks and controlling it is hard work.  I may become tired of the poking and the pills; the measuring and the journaling; the exercise and the constant thinking about diabetes but the alternative is worse.  Advertising that preys on those who aren’t willing to do the work just makes the problem worse.  So here’s my plea for today:  Take an active part in your health!  Do whatever it takes to be as healthy as you can be.  DO IT!  Don’t let someone else be in charge of your life.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Broke the Pound Barrier!!

Did you hear the sound?  No, it wasn’t a sonic boom but the sound of me squealing in delight as I looked at the scale on which I was standing.  Yes, it’s true; I’ve broken the Pound Barrier.

Anyone who has tried to lose a significant amount of weight knows what I’m talking about.  The Pound Barrier is that place on the scale that you just can’t get past.  For instance, let’s say you weigh 140 lbs and you’ve been there for a couple of weeks even though you’ve continued to eat well and exercise regularly.  All you want to do is get to 139 but it evades you.  (I need to interject here that if I weighed 140 lbs I would be beyond happy and not at all concerned about my weight.  I’m just using that as an example, and NO, I’m not about to publish my true weight on the Interweb. :P )  Try as you might that 140 just stares at you day after day, refusing to go away.  Sometimes it’s replaced by 141 or 142, but not the 139 you are dreaming of.  Not fair!

Well, I’m here to tell you that my particular Pound Barrier has been breached.  I am proud to say that I have now, officially, lost 16 lbs since January 2nd.  I’m pretty sure I haven’t been down to this weight in over 30 years. I couldn’t be happier if I were twins.  I stepped on the scale this morning and was greeted with a 1#9! (I told you I wasn’t going to publish that number!  I know that you were secretly hoping that I’d slip up.  HA!)

Here’s the interesting thing; I would like to lose another 20 lbs (wait, make that 19!), but it was beginning to feel like I would never be able to do that.  For some reason seeing the scale go down into the next 10 lb range makes my goal seem possible, even probable.  It’s amazing what a difference 1 lb can make.  I have renewed hope and, dammit, I can do this!  Losing even 16 lbs has made a big difference in how I feel.  My clothes are comfortable.  I have more energy.  I feel “skinny”! Ahhhhhh.  Just imagine what I’ll be feeling like after another 20 lbs!  Look out world, Kate is on a roll!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Victory!! Well, kinda….sorta

Beginning in January, I have been kicking butt and taking names when it comes to taking care of medical business.  I decided that this would be the year that I do it right. Not a resolution but more of a commitment to my health.  No more putting things off or avoiding possibly unpleasant exams.  I’ve done the colonoscopy, eye doctor, mammogram, thyroid scan and dentist.  There are not many places on my body left to examine!  Yesterday I had my latest diabetic checkup.  I was really anxious for this appointment because I’ve been struggling with my morning numbers for about 3 ½ months.  I was worried that my A1c had gone up.  NOT!!!!  My A1c was 6.2, which is down from my last one of 6.4.  Victory!  I thoroughly expected a higher number….creeping up toward the dreaded 7.  I was so relieved.  Dang!  I’m so close to normal!  Well, in a diabetic sort of way at least.

Not only that, but my cholesterol continues to be awesome, my thyroid numbers are fine and the scan looked ok, I’m continuing to lose weight slowly and my blood pressure is peachy.  All my hard work is paying off.  All in all I’m doing really well….except for those damn fasting glucose readings.

I came away with a new script for my Metformin and I have permission to play around with my evening dose to see if I can’t reduce those morning numbers.  I like being able to experiment.  I like this doctor.  I also found out something else that may have an effect on my fasting numbers; I should be taking my evening Metformin just before dinner!  I’ve been taking it at 9:00 PM all along.  The doctor told me that meal time is when the body produces insulin so that’s when I need the meds to help my cells accept the insulin.  It makes perfect sense but no one ever told me that.  I thought I needed to spread the meds out and take them 12 hours apart.  Silly me.  The doctor said that she would like to see my numbers in the 90’s more often.  I have a goal.

So, it seems odd to call the appointment a victory when I came away needing more meds but it certainly was a victory.  I’m still feeling giddy.  Even though I couldn’t fix my fasting numbers, I was still doing ok the rest of the day or my A1c wouldn’t have been so good.  This has gone a long way towards boosting my confidence again.  I CAN do this!  I AM doing this!  I’m so pleased to see some positive results.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Sugar Rollercoaster Blahs

I don’t like rollercoasters.  I’m afraid of heights and can suffer from motion sickness.  I don’t understand why anyone would pay good money to be scared spitless and sick to their stomach, but many do.  More power to them.

I think another reason I don’t care for rollercoasters is that feeling of no control.  I’ve posted before about how I don’t like to be out of control.  I may have a control issue.  Hmmmm.  I’m really not a control freak, really!

Other than the amusement park rides, I also dislike the blood sugar rollercoasters.  I don’t suffer from lows in the usual sense, thank goodness, but occasionally my blood sugar can drop suddenly or go lower than I’m used to.  At those times I do suffer from the same symptoms as a “real low” (without the fear of death, of course): shaky, low energy, some confusion.  I hate that feeling!  I’ve had those feelings before and checked my sugar only to find that it’s 83 or some other normal number.  It seems that whenever my sugar drops below 90ish, I get the shakes.  I’ve been told that if type 2’s are used to higher blood sugar readings, their bodies can react just as if the numbers were very low.  I just figure that I’m not normal and when I try to act normal, all hell breaks loose.  That explains so much but we’re not here to discuss my personality issues.  :P

When a diabetic’s blood sugar drops it’s necessary to ingest something to counteract.  Here’s where my rollercoaster comes into play.  I have a tendency to overdo the “fix”.  I eat the wrong thing and don’t stop when I should which causes my sugar to go too high.  That brings on another whole set of symptoms, none of which are pleasant.  Let’s just say that it ain’t a carnival ride.  This doesn’t happen to me very often but you’d think I’d remember from time to time and do things correctly!  I dislike the feeling just as much as I dislike a real rollercoaster. I avoid rollercoasters so why can’t I avoid the diabetic version?  I’m going to say that it’s because my brain just isn’t working correctly at the time and I don’t realize what I’m doing. Don’t laugh, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

In the last week I’ve had 2 “lows”.  With the first one I did my usual stupid stuff and ended up with a reading in the 220’s.  Grrrr.  I felt crappy the rest of the day.  Without insulin, I have no way to lower a high like that.  I just have to ride it out.  Of course, I could go for a walk or something to help but who wants to go for a walk when they feel like crap?  It happened again yesterday.  My sugar was 83.  I ate something….just one something….and my sugar went up to a reasonable level.  I learned!!  I paid attention and did the right thing!!  Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks?  Woof!

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Can One Person Do?

I just got home from a trip to the grocery store and it was disheartening.  My mood has nothing to do with what I purchased or wished I could eat, but what I observed around me.  I found myself in the cake mix aisle; a place that I rarely visit these days.  Before you start shaking your head, I was there to buy a cake mix to make my mother’s 93rd birthday cake.  I bought sugar free if that makes any difference.  Anyway, there was a woman there who was grabbing boxes and boxes of cake mix because they were on sale (buy 8 and you can save 50 cents per box!!)  Who in the heck needs that many cake mixes? The woman wasn’t severely overweight but, let’s just say, she would never be mistaken for Twiggy.

Next scene: a rather portly gentleman who looked old at first, but upon closer perusal seemed as if he was just a well-ridden 60-something year old man.  He was slowly pushing a cart that held his oxygen tank; a cane hung on the side.  I couldn’t help but notice that his cart was chock full of frozen dinners, cookies, soda and other convenient foods.  Not a green food in sight!  Nothing fresh!  I’d have been happy to see frozen broccoli, but alas, there was none to be found.

The final straw was when I was forced to listen to a rather loud conversation between a woman and her son, who looked to be about 8.  The woman had a box of iced cookies from the bakery in her hand and she was arguing with her son, “No, you can’t have any of these cookies.  These are for me!  Remember, I’m buying you that box of Twinkies and I promised you a candy bar if you were good.”  This pair would not be mistaken as the poster children for a healthy lifestyle.  Disheartened.

There is something that you need to know about me; I’m usually a quiet person who prefers to keep to herself.  I detest confrontation and yet I had this desire to preach to these people about what they’re doing to themselves!  I mean, come on!  Hello!!  Is it really that difficult to understand how to eat a healthy diet?  Apparently it is.  (You should also know that I don’t make a practice of peeking into other people’s carts or rating their purchases on the “health scale”.  It just sort of jumped in my face today, for some reason.)

Let’s go back about 20 years to a time when I still had young children at home.  Was my grocery cart filled with fresh vegetables and lean meat?  Not always.  Did I buy packaged convenience foods?  Yup.  Cookies?  Uh huh.  I wish the me of today could go back and tell the me of then a few things, but I probably wouldn’t have listened.  I know how hard it is to try to feed a family in today’s economy.  Look at a grocery ad in the paper today.  The things that are on sale are not the 93% burger and fresh vegetables.  You will mostly see the least healthy foods for the lowest prices. 

As much as I dislike confrontation, I so wanted to explain to these people what they are doing wrong.  I wanted to tell them how easy it is to prepare a healthy dinner for their children or encourage them to eat correctly even if they live alone.  It reminds me of watching a horror movie.  There you are, clutching your bowl of popcorn, watching the young heroine enter the dark room.  You know that the monster/bad guy/creepy thing is there hiding in the shadows!  You want to tell her, “Run away!  Don’t go in that room!!  Are you stupid??”  You have the information that she needs but she can’t hear you.  You could save her if she would just listen to you!  That’s how it felt this afternoon.  I felt like I could save that young boy and his mother from an unhealthy future if they would only listen.

Are we doomed?  Will the “new” plate method being touted by our government make a difference?  I’d like to think so but I’m not convinced. You can’t force people to eat a certain way.  Most people don’t like to be told that they’re doing something wrong or harmful to themselves.  The information is out there, it’s up to each individual to educate themselves and then take action.  Unfortunately, it usually takes a trauma or tragedy to get people’s attention; like being diagnosed with diabetes.

Short of standing on the corner atop a soapbox, what can one person do?  One very easy thing I can do is to teach by example. I can do that for my grandchildren (my kids already eat fairly healthily).  I can live a healthy lifestyle and, just maybe, they will see how easy it can be….and how important it is.  That is what one person can do.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Digging a Hole

<sung to the Beatles I’m Fixing a Hole>
I’m digging a hole for the asparagus to get in and keep my stomach from growling.  Will it ever growow?

I’m digging this hole and its great exercise to keep my body healthy.  Will I ever finish?

And it really doesn’t matter if it grows or not
because I’m moving and not
on the couch.
See the people doubting me who question why I’m doing this
then wonder why they won’t enjoy my asparagus.

I’m digging this hole and it does feel good and the asparagus will comfort me, in a year or twoooooo.  Dum, dum, dum, dum, dummmmmm.