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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lisa's Story

One of the nice things about being on several forums is seeing the success stories. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Not Olympic athletes but people like you and I who decided that they were not going to become part of the abysmal diabetes statistics but that they would restart their lives for longer, healthier happier lives with less risk of diabetes complications. I have collected a limited selection and listed them on Other's Stories.

Today this story was posted on the ADA forum. Lisa graciously granted me permission to repeat it here.

Hi! My name is Lisa, I have type 2 diabetes and this is my story.

I am a working mother/wife with four grown children and one grandchild. I am not very athletic, and my most favorite activity is reading my Nook. (Just ask my darling hubby! Oh boy, is he ever sorry he gave me that thing!) Exercise is a challenge for me. I am not into marathons or trendy exercise programs, just old-fashioned walking and biking. I am active in my church and love to help out wherever I can. I love my five cats. Yes, five! I acquired them while working through my empty-nest phase.

My story begins like most of us: hearing that my fasting blood glucose (BG) reading put me over the “limit.” No prediabetes, do not pass go, go directly to full-on diabetes. No “get out of jail free” card for me.

This had been on my radar for quite some time. Oddly, it still took me by surprise. I am on medications for high triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure and allergies. My liver is slightly enlarged due to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). I don’t take medicine for this or my diabetes, but I was advised to lose weight. Gee, that never occurred to me! Still, I sometimes joke that I am a walking pharmacy. The pharmacy knows me by sight. This can be a good thing, actually.

Six years ago, I managed to lose 40 pounds and kept it off two years by eating a very low-carb, high-protein diet and lots and lots of walking and biking. Then a series of unfortunate life events sort of took the stuffing out of me, and much of that weight crept back on. I might have forestalled my diagnosis a few years with all that. Little did I know that the low-carb/high-protein diet was perfect for a person with diabetes!

Since my diagnosis in December 2011, with an A1C of 6.4 and fasting blood glucose of 146, my doctor agreed I should try to manage with diet and exercise. I went home, cried, ranted and then threw out all my junk foods. I went back on my diet program and got to walking again at least for 30 minutes as many days of the week as I could manage. I lost 20 pounds in three months. I’m kind of stuck there now. But, the A1C went down from 6.4 to 5.9 three months later, and then 5.8 after the next three months. So that’s good progress.

The hardest thing to deal with is feeling ashamed for allowing this to happen. I can sometimes feel alienated from others and resentful of my situation when I have to say “no" to certain food—foods that I am, on the inside, drooling to devour! Also painful is that the media tends to focus on the questionable idea that diabetes is caused by being overweight . . . like it was my fault.

Within the American Diabetes Association’s online community, I have found hope and the knowledge that this was not my fault. I have realized that I can manage my diabetes and still live a full, happy life. I found necessary information on what BG levels I should be looking for in fasting, pre-meal and post-meal glucose monitoring. Test, adjust, retest (as my fellow members Alan_S and LizzyLou recommend). Most importantly, I found motivation due to the dreadful complications that can happen to me if I do not keep my glucose levels down.

The most morale-boosting, uplifting thing is chatting with people who understand what it is like to ride the roller coaster of high glucose, then go low, then feel cranky, sleepy, dizzy and just all-around crazy. Who knew food particles on our fingers could affect meter readings? Who else would understand our frustrations? Who else could we ask, “Why are my feet tingling? I only had one baby-size ice cream cone! You mean all that tingling and jack-hammer pains in my toes are from high glucose?” These people "get it" in ways I pray my dear family and friends never will.

So, I will endeavor to remain in the “5% club” without medications as long as I can. I have no problem taking them, if it becomes necessary, if it means keeping complications at bay. I will exercise, eat according to my meter and keep up with my new friends on this community. They offer so much inspiration, motivation and humor in our situation so I can laugh, learn and improve instead of cry, backslide and give up.

Never give up!

Take Care,


Thanks Lisa.

Cheers, Alan
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter


Anonymous said...

a ba1c of 6 or less is technically non diabetic. keep the weight off lose the liver fat. avoid high fructose corn syrup.eat everything you like but in moderation

Grammy said...

Wow, thanks I learned some thing new already with this statement, "tingling and jack-hammer pains in my toes are from high glucose?"

I am just beginning to learn more the past 3 weeks. My hubby just became diabetic. So I have been working on diet change and learning what affects him. But now I am looking at blogs, you are the first.
So will now go read more thanks. :)

Deb L├ęger said...

Loved reading Lisa's story! I was diagnosed just two weeks ago and it feels so good to read the accounts of others going through the same thing. I'm exploring your blog, Alan and learning lots. Thanks very much for concentrating on how it's not my fault. My Doctor (who is awesome) explained to me that mine is hereditary and no matter what I do, no matter how much weight I lose, I will NEVER lose the diabetes. (My Mom's entire family had it and now, at the age of 54, so do I.) When I went into his office that day, I was thinking that I was going to be told that I was prediabetic, which was what he previously suspected. After a disastrous 2-hour glucose tolerance test, he saw numbers that surprised him and I was given the news that I was not prediabetic - I was definitely type 2. After the first few days of wallowing, I decided to turn diabetes around and use it as a tool to get back into really healthy shape. Two weeks later, I've lost eight pounds, watch my numbers coming down and have loads more energy! But there is sooooo much to learn. Thank you for your blog!!

E Astle said...

Wow...this sounds a tad like me, I was tested and I just skipped the whole pre diabetes and went to straight T2. Factor in a few other medical issues and the fact that my pharmacy also knows us by sight!

Pattu Raj said...

Oh.. inspiring for the Type 2 people. I am ticking my symptoms and doubts, while going through the story.

Alan's book was an eye opener and helped me immensely.

Barbara said...

Alan -- I've been following you for a little under a year, and was achieving decent control. However, I am on vacation this week and seeing my morning readings spike -- including after meal numbers. My food variety is much the same, but I think I've gained a few pounds -- could that be significant?

Alan said...

G'day Barbara. I'm also on holiday, thus the delay replying. You say your food variety is much the same, but that is where I would start looking for the cause. Look at the little things that may appear innocuous, such as drinks or treats that you don't have at home.

lisa bradbury said...

I find nearly everything causes my blood to spike. I can really only eat meat fish and veg. It gets monotonous. Especially breakfast. I'm also disabled and house bound so cannot really exercise. Any advice is welcome

Alan said...

Hello Lisa. Please go to this link: http://loraldiabetes.blogspot.com.au/2006/10/test-review-adjust.html

Let me know if that helps.