Tag Archives: diabetes

Diabetes

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2005.  In the 12 years since we found the right level of medication, the metformin dose I’m on has never changed.  Until today.  Up from 1500mg a day to 2000mg a day, with a promise from me to the GP to also lose some weight with my intent being to reduce that dose again.

Ever since the accident last year, and to be fair, for a short while before it, my sugar has been creeping up and my HbA1c’s getting worse.  I’ve had a couple of ‘soft’ attempts at getting it back under control, but not enough to offset the changes, and so it’s time for a bit of focus.  I don’t want the change to be permanent, I want to be able to reverse it, and I’m going to try hard and delay the ‘inevitable’ slide towards insulin for as long as possible.

It remains to be seen whether my will power will be strong enough to actually lose weight, but I’m going to give it a shot.

I’m pleased the GP was once again willing to work with me, rather than simply sticking me on a new medication or insisting the change was larger and permanent.

Interesting, the only reason I know it was 2005 when I was diagnosed, is because I read back and found the blog posts where I started talking about it, which is a sign I guess that I should blog more often, not because anyone reads them, but just because writing this stuff down is useful for my own memory.

Flu

I’ve been ill.  Although not anywhere near life threatening, it’s probably the most ill I’ve ever been in my adult life.  We suspect flu, and I now whole heartedly regret not getting the jab last year.  I’m on the ‘at risk’ list due to type 2 diabetes, so get the jab for free (and the NHS are not shy in reminding me), but I laughingly say ‘I’ll get it when I’m old’ each time, and decline.  I won’t decline next year.

Normally if I’m ill, I’ll pass the time watching movies or playing on the console or PC.  This time, I was pretty much spaced out the entire two or three weeks, and just stared at the TV for something to occupy my feeble mind.  Between the coughing and the temperature, I was pretty much wasted.  My eating during the illness has been somewhat sporadic, I don’t think I had anything for the first two days, and then it’s been a mixture of bread and other junk.  Can’t imagine my blood sugar results in March are going to be very good.

Frustratingly, during that time, we had some great sunny days and I would have loved to have gotten out with the camera, but I just didn’t have the energy (not withstanding that I was also off work and it would have been a little disingenuous to be well enough to take photographs but not well enough to work).  This morning was the first time in three weeks I’ve been out of the house (other than two trips to the GP), and I’m not sure Tesco counts as a fun destination.  Even doing that has left me knackered.

So I’ve spent a lot of time staring at day time TV, with adverts.  One of the things I noticed is that every second advert during the day on TV is about after 50 life cover, to cover the cost of funerals. And every other advert in between those, is about reclaiming mis-sold PPI, short term loans, or claiming compensation for an injury at work.  What a fucking depressing collection of adverts.

Exercise for the sake of it

I have never been interested in taking part in sport.  I’ve just never found it an enjoyable activity, sure I played football as a kid, and tennis in the street for two weeks of the year, but it wasn’t something I found engaging.  I don’t think PE at school helped, but I wouldn’t say it stopped me either, I just never enjoyed it.

And I never liked the idea of exercise for the sake of it.  Running is great if you enjoy running, but running purely because you feel it is good for you never sat well with me.  That probably explains most of the motivation for things I do – but anyway that’s a different story.

I’ve had a pretty sedate lifestyle (I know, with my physique you would never have guessed right?), although never being able to drive meant I spent my teens, 20’s and early 30’s doing a lot of walking, but these days it’s slowed even more.  We’ve not done any LRP events for 5 years or so, and my job is even more desk bound than it used to be.

There have been a couple of events over the last 12 months which left me feeling embarrassed or frustrated at how out of breath I was.  So I’ve been wanting to make a change.

But the real inspiration for what I’ve done (more in a bit) is Grete (@randomwittering on twitter, and owner of Bookthing, on twitter as @bookthing_uk), my amazing wife.  Grete has been going to the gym (and aqua aerobics) for nearly 2 years now.  I’ve been talking about maybe going for about 12 months, and I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago.  I had two inductions at the local council run gym, the first was good, the second less so.

But I eventually went for a full session with Grete, and have been a couple of times a week now for the past month and a bit with a short break.  I won’t say I enjoy it, it is after all, exercise for the sake of it in its most pure form.  I mean let’s be honest, walking at 5.5km/hour for 10 minutes with varying inclines is great except you never actually go anywhere.  So no, I don’t enjoy it, but it does make me feel good.

It makes me feel like I’ve made a positive change in my life which will hopefully result in things being better.  I’m never really going to change my eating habits a great deal these days – I made that change when I found I was diabetic and I’m just about living on the edge of what I can tolerate food-wise (although the last 12 months have slipped a little).  So I needed to make another change.  I’m not fit enough to ‘do sport’ even if I wanted to (which I don’t, maybe American Football, but not much else), and the advantage the gym has is that at least what you do varies during the 90 minutes or so you’re there.

So, thank you Grete for inspiring me to go to the gym, and for inspiring me to make a positive change in my life.

I can’t stop having the bacon cobs for breakfast, but at least I can burn off some of the calories walking nowhere for 10 minutes.

Blood sugar

I took my eye off the target (knowingly, complicit) and my blood sugar control is shot to shit.  The orange line is where I was in 2006, the red line last year, and the blue line is now.  They’re single day snapshots so not perfect, but they’re good enough to kick me up the ass.

Taking my head out of the sand and taking control is actually a good feeling.

Car and Body MOT

March was the month of MOT’s.  The car failed on the usual wear-and-tear stuff and we got it repaired and serviced and that set us back the neck-end of £400.  But then it’s the only time in the year we do actually fork out for the car unless it’s actually broken, so I can’t really complain.

I passed my MOT.  HbA1C result was 6%, which is a little higher than the last one, but still well below the 7% warning level and close to the 5-5% level in non-diabetics.  So that’s good news.  I need to work on it a little more, I liked the look on the nurse/doctor’s face when they see I’m diabetic but have an HbA1C of 5.7%, so a few points off the 6% would be nice.  Usual advice from the nurse, lose weight, do cardio exercise, eat properly, take care of my feet.  Can’t blame her for trying with the advice, and I think she doesn’t blame me for not being able to achieve it all.  It takes me a lot of energy to keep my sugar levels down to below 6%, mental and emotional energy, and cutting out all the other stuff required to lose weight as well would probably be the end of me.

Maybe I’ll try and start walking again at lunch times now the weather is picking up.

So, another year with diabetes, another year with good control, but no rest, have to do that every year, every time, for ever.

March

March.

Time Marches On.  March brings a few things.  It adds another year to both myself and Grete as we have birthdays.  And it brings a round of diabetic checkups (my yearly assessment).  As always, I’m expecting the worst from the blood glucose numbers, and assume I’ll be blind and missing limbs in a few months due to bad sugar control.  We’ll see what the numbers return.

I’m trying to remain upbeat about being almost 40, but with the all crap going on at work, that’s never easy.

HbA1c results are in

5.8, which is really good. My GP is pleased, talked again about decreasing my metformin dose, but I’m loathe to jinx something that’s working. Maybe if I lose a stone or two I’ll change the dosage. He did say I could give up the aspirin if I wanted, since a) my sugar is under control and b) recent research suggests it’s not as useful in pre-heart-attack victims as it was once thought to be. I’ll see how it goes. Out of all of my medication it’s the one thing that has an obvious impact due to the blood thinning.

The other thing is that it’s HbA1c, not any other combination of those letters and numbers even though I can never get it right.  More than half my blog posts and tweets refer to it as Hb1Ac or something like that.  It’s HbA1c.  I’ll get it into my thick skull eventually.

5.8 – I’m chuffed!

Redefine success

When you’re overweight and diabetic, when you know you should be losing weight and controlling what you eat, ordering take-away food could be seen as failure.  It certainly feels like failing.  It doesn’t mean I don’t do it – and in fact, because I feel like it’s failing I usually end up ordering the worst possible thing (more calories than you can shake a stick at), because since I’m failing, fuck it, might as well fail in style.

But it’s not a good place to be mentally.  Food and emotions are already tied together too much (feeling good, why not eat to celebrate, feeling down, why not eat to cheer yourself up, eaten too much, better feel guilty, feeling guilty, why not eat to cheer yourself up.  repeat).  So feeling like a failure every time you order take-away food doesn’t help, it just drives the circle even faster.

So I decided to redefine success.

Now, the normal position is ordering take-away food.  That’s normal.  Success is not ordering take-away food.  There is no failure option.  Every day I don’t order take-away is a success.  I’ve achieved a goal.  I eat the chicken and veg or whatever other bloody meal I can pretend to enjoy and I succeed.  If I get take-away then that’s okay, it’s normal.  Tomorrow I have another chance at success.

It’s a much better head-space to be in.  Might feel like cheating, but I think that it doesn’t matter.  You have to be in control of how you feel to some extent, in order to manage what you eat and actually survive.  If I have to cheat by moving the goal posts to do that then I will.  It hasn’t (and won’t) lead to me eating more take-away food, but it’ll certainly lead to me not feeling so bad about it if I do (which in turn means I don’t eat even more crap), and every day I eat something boring and tedious and with the vague semblance of being healthy I’ll feel like I made progress rather than being stuck with the status quo.

Nurse! The screens!

I want to be sarcastic about the nurse appointment today, but the nurse was really nice and friendly so it wouldn’t be fair.  I knew I’d put weight on, she asked why, I said bacon cobs.  We had a discussion about grilling bacon, not frying it, and I tried to let her know I’m not stupid, I’m actually reasonably intelligent, and while I know what I’m doing wrong with food it doesn’t mean I can change it.  Finding food without any of the Unholy Trinity (fat, sugar, salt) that’s still worth eating isn’t that easy, so if I find something which keeps my sugars down, doesn’t put my blood pressure through the ceiling and has too much fat – well I’m sorry but I’m still going to eat it.  My feet are still there, my pulse is still present in my feet and I can still feel the little plastic stick thing they push into your toes to prove you still have nerve endings.  She was excited about revealing my blood sugar results until I pissed on her bonfire and told her I’d gotten them on Monday, she took it well.  And oddly, my blood pressure was really good.  ACE inhibitors do have a possitive effect on blood pressure but I’ve only taken two so it can’t be entirely down to those.  Maybe being on holiday helps, but I really thought after the last few weeks at work (which were some of the worst in the last 2 years) that my blood pressure would be somewhere around the height of Everest.  Just goes to show, you can never be totally sure how your body is behaving.

So, all-in-all an okay appointment, she really was nice even while she nagged me to eat less and lose weight.  Can’t really argue with her, and she couldn’t really argue with my sugar results so we were pretty much just shrugging a lot.

The wood pile in the garden is even smaller again – got a saw yesterday and had a go at some of the bigger branches and then snipped some more of the smaller ones.  Which means I’m getting perilously close to the worst bit – bagging it all up – I hate that bit.

And while I’m sure 99% of the world will think I’m being crazy – I’m really pleased at swapping out a dimmer light switch in the lounge for a regular old click on off switch, which means we can now use low energy bulbs in the lamp fitting, reducing electricity bills and bulb replacement costs.  The trip switch worked perfectly, letting me swap the light switch without having to power the whole house down and other than having to get my fat fingers into a tiny space to screw the wires in it was okay.  I’ll probably be fit to own a house by the time I’m 80 at this rate – so you know – we’re making progress.  The actual box on the wall is really ugly, and I may try and replace the whole thing with a more streamline fitting, now that I’ve seen the inside I’ve got a better idea how much space there is to work with (none!).

Car goes in for MOT tomorrow – if that goes not too badly it’s going to turn into a fantastic week.

Mixed bag!

So mixed bag today.  Once I realised I didn’t have any appointments today, I thought I’d try and get a phone appointment to get my blood results.  Rang the surgery and asked for one, and they told me my doctor was working out of a different location today and I should call there – after it took me about 20 minutes to get through.  Still, I called the other surgery, and after another 15 minutes asked for a phone appointment – they don’t do them – but he could see me at 10:30.  So, I ended up with a visit to the GP today anyway.

The good news, from the blood test my kidney and cholesterol results are fine.  My liver results are ‘off’ but they’re always off and this time they’re off by less than they ever have been before.  My HbA1c test was 5.8.  That’s pretty good, and the biggest indicator of diabetes related health.  It could stand being a little lower, more like 5% maybe and I still need to make sure day-to-day control is maintained.

The bad news is that my urine test showed protein, which means although my kidney blood tests are ok, my kidneys are allowing protein through.  Essentially this is caused either by diabetes, or by high blood pressure or by both.  The treatment is ACE inhibitors, which means another daily tablet.  Yay me – see the NHS did get me something new for my birthday – a surprise!  I get to take them for a week and then have more blood tests so now I have another appointment next week to give more blood and then I’ll need another GP appointment 3-4 weeks after that to review the results.

In other bad news – the car needs a new rear silencer (it sounded really bad today), and the MOT is due next week (which we’d kind of forgotten).  I guess I know where the money I’ve managed to save is going this month.

But in other good news, Wickes sell mini-trip switches which are the exact right size for our old fashioned fuse box.  I bought one 5amp one (after being caught out recently buying low energy light bulbs in bulk only to find out they didn’t fit, I thought I’d start with one thing this time and expand if it was the right option) and it fits perfectly.  So hopefully if the Annoying Hallogen Light Bulbs from Hell in the kitchen trip the fuse it’s a quick switch flick to get things back online and no need to power down the entire fricking house.

So tomorrow eye test, Wednesday nurse appointment, sometime between then and next week, car in for MOT.

Then I’ll probably need a holiday to get over all this stuff.