Since my teenage years, I have fought a personal war with food, diabetes, anxiety, stress and did I mention food? I grew up in what I refer to as a “typical food existence” in the 70’s and 80’s. My mother was a homemaker, and she cooked pretty much every day. Meals would include a meat, starch and vegetable and oftentimes a small dessert. There were times when we would have a pizza or eat dinner out, however, that was VERY rare. We played outside constantly, and rainy days were abhorred with a vehement passion. Being stuck inside was the worst thing ever! I was always thin, too thin at times and it wasn’t until I started hanging out with friends, eating pizza and other junk foods, drinking lots of regular soda and being driven around that my journey to Diabetes began.
Fast forward to today. I just don’t leave the house anymore, except to transport my son to and from work and occasionally ride along for very local things. For example, my husband drove to the dump to get rid of some clean out items from the shed. I sat in the vehicle and got out for a bit. Otherwise, there is no need for me to go anywhere in these uncertain times. With the advent of my new “Making a List” initiative, I’ve been trying to keep busy around the house.
Since we’ve been staying at home, I have been neglecting my diet HORRIBLY. Snacking became the new pastime and every evening I was grabbing a bag of crunchy something to munch on. My breakfasts turned into cereal and a banana and my afternoons also consisted of some sort of carb-filled thing. Did I mention that I have diabetes? Oh that. Yeah. So, a few weeks ago, around the same time I started taking daily allergy medication to ensure my cough, headache, sore throat and difficulty breathing wasn’t the COVID-19 plague, I started experiencing an incredibly dry mouth, which I attributed to the allergy meds. I was SO tired and just basically miserable. I was drinking an unnatural amount of water and that says a lot for someone like me who drinks it all day long, about 70+ ounces at least, if not more.
Also, I’d gained about 12 pounds during this quarantine adventure. So, I’d (maybe ~probably~ subconsciously on purpose) avoided taking my blood sugar regularly. What I couldn’t see couldn’t hurt me right? NOPE. WRONG. Goodness I couldn’t have been more wrong. I really felt bad one morning and everyone was home; lots of activity, stress etc. I felt terrible and got out my testing kit. My sugar was 464. FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FOUR. That is stroke/death territory. I drank tons of water, got on the treadmill, ate a high protein snack and it took around three hours or more to get it down into the lower 200 range. Now I had an answer as to why my mouth was so dry and the reason for my general malaise.
I basically had all the symptoms pictured in that chart above on a mild to moderate level. I’ve learned over many years that people, even though they know you have diabetes and may or may not know all of the symptoms, will not be aware of why you are exhibiting some of these symptoms. One of the most insidious of these is hunger. How odd is it that a condition like diabetes, which basically requires you to eat less and choose better quality foods sometimes tricks you into thinking you’re hungry? Boredom, laziness, stress and anxiety contributed to the issue as well. Combine that with a deadly virus in the general population, being forced to stay at home and generally being terrified of going anywhere and I created a recipe for personal disaster.
From the moment I saw that number on the machine, I instantly recognized what I was doing. The sheer terror of how high that number was became a huge wake up call. The scale is already down six pounds (I know that isn’t much more than water/bloat loss of course) but I’ve significantly scaled down my calories, food portions and am returning to my lower carb lifestyle. I’ve done lots of programs in the past that resulted in significant weight loss and an improvement in health. This time, I’m on a quest to find a sustainable lifestyle with fresh foods, much better choices and getting those numbers down. Seeing 140 on the blood glucose monitor is a much better sight for these diabetic eyes. While I’ve always walked a lot for exercise, I’m making sure that I’m doing it more often.
I’ve started going back to the American Diabetes Association’s website to get a better handle on things and I’m putting in a call to an endocrinologist to see if I need any additional medications other than what I’m taking now. I’m logging my food and taking my glucose reading 3-4 times a day to keep better track of it. I’m also learning how to meditate/relax through lots of free, available programs out there. I’m in my 50s now, so I need to knock off the nonsense and take better care of my health. Stay well, be healthy.