August 15, 2016

I had just been diagnosed type 2. Going to doctors has always been a mixed blessing to me; four times I found out I was pregnant and it resulted in having four great kids who have gone on to become good adults. Once to find I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, in an advanced form and had about a 35% chance of making it a year; and now this. Well, the babies I had successfully; the cancer I beat; and I had to admit I grumbled a bit on the drive home to tell Dan.

Of course, being a Native American, and having all my sibs and both parents with diabetes (and 3 of 4 grandparents), it was pretty inevitable it would happen sometime. I had beaten it off successfully for 64 years; however, here it was. In a way, I feared it more than cancer or having kids—the kids might turn into career criminals or bring down the country (you have no idea the anarchists that are in my family background as an N-D-N); and, as for the cancer, well, in a friend’s words, I was all prayed up and if the Lord chose to take me, that’s His doing. However, I did not go down without a fight, and we beat it.

But you don’t beat diabetes; I had seen it take my sister’s life early, and make my dad and mom miserable. All I could think of was I don’t know how I cook after this. All I could think of are the things I traditionally make for special events like cheesecake for Dan’s birthday, loaf and stuffing and noodles for Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas dobosh tortes and mint brownies, etc. I found that even though it seemed like a frightful emergency to me, I couldn’t even meet with a dietitian or education person, couldn’t get in to them until September. The doctor just put me on metformin, which I found was the standard treatment, gave me an oral list of what not to eat—everything from potatoes to peas to corn—for pity’s sake, I’m an N-D-N and we eat corn a lot—but no info on what is sensible to eat. The internet was not a large help—it just tells me how dangerous the drug is I am on and tells me to go paleo. I’m a vegetarian and I haven’t met any saber toothed tigers lately. Don’t believe my Chihuahua qualifies…

I find Jacquie’s website and send in a frantic (almost) plea for suggestions and then go into the cupboards in the kitchen and box up anything that might cause my feet to stop feeling and need to be cut off (happened to a relative, Lord knows). My fridge looked like a greenhouse inside—which drove my teen son crazy—no pizza or subs or anything that he seems to inhale as he walks by the dinner table.

September 2016
In September I met with a very nice dietitian who was pleased I was a vegetarian, tickled I liked vegetables, and showed me a bunch of rubber representations of the sizes of servings I could eat. I live on a mini farm: we toss hay bales, we move alpacas, sometimes by picking them up when they’re balky at shearing time, and I can eat 3 T. of beans as a serving? Are they out if their minds? Then a week later, I meet with a nurse who emphasizes there is no way I can control this mess with diet and exercise alone, be sure to do a daily inspection of my limbs because I might lose a foot or hand if I don’t, stay away from crackpots and eat 1800 calories a day and 160 carbs. She divides my plate into thirds and tells me what to put on each third. I research some more and reset the whole thing, since I think what’s on the ADA site is expecting me to give myself shots and thumb pricks are hard enough. Needles are for quilting… Time goes on. I buy a FitBit and find out that even though I am active, I am actually only getting around 3600 steps in a day—so I set a goal of never under 5000 steps, plus all the other things I do. (Just as an aside, did you know walking to the mailbox for the mail has as many steps as sex with the husband? He about died when I told him.)

November 15, 2016
Three-month check up today went well: my A1C went from the initial 10.2% to 7.3% in three months, so the doctor is pretty pleased. She said that was unusual. Everything else is well within safe limits; and other than adjusting the metformin and tweaking the exercise regime a bit, she was happy. She said to continue whatever it was. And I lost 8 pounds.

February 22, 2017
So had my [second] three-month check-up today; doctor was very pleased. My A1C is down to 6.7%, cholesterol is great, and I’ve lost over 40 pounds since last year. I feel fine. So I went out and planted hayseed in our lower field and finished painting cupboards to be installed in the little apartment we are making in the garage…and planted garlic for next year, ran a cultivator over the garden.

April 17, 2017
I find when I try and stay closer to the Eden diet of nuts, vegetables, and fruits, with fewer grains, my GI problems lessen, even when on metformin. I limit myself to a serving of fresh fruit a day; but without it, I develop either IBS, diarrhea, or severe stomach gas, or all of the above. So I have to use some fruit. Fruit seems to help me stay regulated. Yes, not scientific, but what this old body seems to need. It also seems to stop any cravings for other sugars—might be that is psychological, don’t know. It helps me. I am down to 100 carbs a day; below that and I get dizzy and lose stamina, above it and I gain weight.

I have shoulder surgery for a torn rotator. My blood sugar shot up to 150 in the a.m. and stayed there even on semi fast for a week after surgery. I refused pain meds after the first two days thinking they might have something to do with it but it made no difference. It took almost 2 weeks to get it to go back down. So pain causes blood sugar spikes. I simply have to avoid hurting myself.

Lots of PT and OT on the shoulder, lots of exercise, BG comes down, feeling stronger. Lots of fresh veggies from my garden I can tend again; and finding out about arrowroot flour and using other flours to make a low-carb bread that my family likes. I am back to helping run our small group Simple Church out of our living room; life is almost normal.

I allowed a young lady who is trying to divorce a DV guy to move into our guest room—she has four small kids and the general melee is exhausting, between the ex calling all times of the day and night, the threats, police showing up on our porch to do checks as they had been told we were some sort of weird (after all, she’s bi, we go to a cult church, no one does anything for free,so we must be having orgies…), and doing an intervention myself with the police that slows that down. I find that stress raises the BG as well…bummer. I get stricter, walk more and once again push the BG where it ought to be for my comfort. If I weren’t married to the sweetest man in the world, I’d hate men after what her ex acts like…

September 27, 2017
With setting my carb daily goal of 100 carbs, being sure I walk 6 days a week at least 5000 steps, generally more, I have kept FBG in a.m. below 90 mg/dL for the last month, have lost 49 pounds in the last 6 months, and seem to have pretty close to eliminated my headaches. Never had problems with cholesterol or HBP, and looking forward to my next checkup with my doctor. It’s harder to get walks in the winter though because I hate snow…and the fibro is the thing that I can’t seem to get improvement on, so if anyone has any suggestions on chronic pain control, I’d love to hear them, long as they don’t include stuff like bats’ blood and sacrificing my firstborn… I would like to lose around 30 more pounds before the end of the year so may be tweaking down my carbs a bit; my next doctor appointment is in November. I have noticed when I have a fibro flare up my FBS goes up to 100 or so; and I end up semi fasting on flare days; it takes three or more days to fix that. I will be interested to see what the A1C is this time. God is good. Exercise is good. Dancing is good and so are some recipes…

Jeanette Pelton