I have done something new in the past week. It is time for me to be stepping it up when it comes to my health. I was sent information from a friend in an email, about a medical study at the local university. As a person with type 2 diabetes, I was able to apply. I made a call, and I am glad I did.
When I connected with the person working on the study, I was asked some questions on the phone. They needed to know when I was diagnosed, and what medications I was taking. I went through them all and made an appointment for the first session. When I did, the person I was speaking to asked me when I would like to do the second part of the qualifying session. I chose Wednesday and Thursday this past week.
Next, I was given a brief overview of what would happen. The first session was to fill out the paperwork and to get my measurements recorded. They needed my weight, height, waist and hip circumference. Two blood samples were taken, one by a nurse, and the other by the person I would be working with. The nurse used a needle to get a blood sample, similar to when the doctor sends you for bloodwork. They needed to establish some baselines for my sugars and lipids. The second blood test was just a finger prick, similar to what I do to test my blood sugars myself. It is for a 3 month average of my blood sugars, called an A1C test. We went over the numbers, but I do not remember them all. I was assigned a number for the study.
The Bod Pod
I was told on the phone that in the first session, I would need to go into something called the Bod Pod. It was described as an oval machine, shaped like a spaceship. Of course, I asked for the details of what it was used for. It uses changes in air pressure to get an estimate of the fat and muscle percentage in your body. It sounded neat, and then I asked one more question. With the description of the Bod Pod, I asked if they played any Lady Gaga music while the test was running. I made my contact person laugh, and he surprisingly admitted nobody had ever asked him that question before.
Since I am a blogger, and I have this category, I wanted to document the interesting parts here. We will start with some pictures of the Bod Pod.
As you can see, it has a seat inside. I was asked to wear something similar to a bathing suit for the test. My Zumba clothes worked for this purpose. There are magnets to hold the door secure during the test, and there is an emergency release button if for any reason a person would want to stop the test. It has never been used, and I did ask if the person who I was working with for the assessment wanted to test it after my test was done. My offer was declined, as it was uncertain if it would affect the calibration of the expensive machine. I did not test the emergency button.
For a few moments, I could pretend I was Lady Gaga arriving at a music award show.
The person who was assessing me to see if I would qualify for the study did agree to help me with pictures for the blog. They use the equipment for their job, so they are used to it, but for someone like me, it was worth documenting the whole experience.
Since the machine uses air pressure to record the measurements, I was advised of this. I was also warned that just like my ears, the machine may pop while the test was running. Thankfully, although I felt the pressure changes when it was running, it was not a huge difference, and my ears were not affected. For statistical reasons, they run duplicate tests for certain qualifying factors. This test was run twice and will be necessary again once or twice while the medical study is being conducted.
I had to wear a swim cap also, to help with the test. It was okay for me to wear my stockings in the Bod Pod. At the same time the blood tests were run, my feet were also checked. One side effect of diabetes is neuropathy, which affects the nerves, especially in feet. I have had this test before, and I usually feel the apparatus on my feet when it is lightly pressed on the sole of my feet. After completing these tests, I was able to go home, with a pedometer to wear for 7 days, to get a baseline average of my current activity level.
The fitness test.
Day two had a new test to run. First, I was given an explanation of what to expect. I would be fitted with a heart monitor to start with. I do not have a picture of this because it was put right under my sports bra (which I am SO glad I wore that day!)
Next, I was set up for the apparatus to measure my oxygen levels. If you thought the Bod Pod was glamorous, you haven’t seen the best parts yet. I had to wear this frame over my head, which would be attached to a tube that was placed in my mouth. The air goes in on one side, and out the other, to be measured in another machine. I was advised to drink a bit of water before it was in my mouth because my mouth would get dry during this test. The paper towel was there for me to use for saliva. There was a part of the tube made to catch any drool dripping around the mouthpiece. So attractive, I know.
There were goals to beat in the fitness test to qualify for the study. A speed was selected, and the incline was increased at several intervals. I was shown a clipboard with numbers on it. They ranged from 6 to 20, and since I would not be able to talk during the fitness test, I would point at the number which corresponded to the level of exertion I was feeling when asked. I was also advised to give a thumbs up or down as answers to questions and to move my hand back and forth by my neck if I needed to stop for any reason.
To get the most accurate measurement of the air I was breathing, I also had to wear a nose plug. I walked on the treadmill, and if you know me, and you caught the musical reference above, you probably guessed that I had a song in my head while I was walking my way through this test. I will reveal it soon. First, I want to assure you that my breathing was fine once I got settled into the test. I did feel short of breath near the end, but with increasing intensity for the duration, it was to be expected. When my heart rate was checked as okay, and the machine to measure the oxygen I was using as I breathed was full, the test began.
There was a short warm-up period, to adapt to the treadmill and the breathing apparatus. Once I found my groove, the incline was increased. It was increased by one increment until it reached 11.0. At this time I was asked if I wanted to keep pushing or stop, and I chose to stop.
I qualified for the study.
The good news is, although I will need to repeat the measurements and tests, it will not be every time. I will have to wear the heart monitor every time I go, but that is not an issue for me. It is the lease intrusive piece of equipment I have to wear. Except for testing and measurement days, I will be working with a trainer to help me work on my treadmill game. I will want to push myself as I get used to walking regularly again. It is going to be a good change for me, and my hope is that I excel while I am participating in the study. I will not be getting paid for my participation, but if I can lose some weight and increase my activity levels, it will be worth it to me.
The study is testing to see what the impact of regular exercise is on the A1C levels in people diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and people like me, with type 2 diabetes. As the study progresses, I hope to have more to share here. At this time, I am glad I Trusted My Gut and applied for the study. I needed a change, and this could be just what the doctor ordered.
The song I had in my head when I was on the treadmill on day 2 was Good As Hell by Lizzo. As I finished the test on day 2, after I was unhooked from all of the apparatus, I told the people in the room, “I would like to thank Lizzo for getting me through this fitness test.” My statement was met with laughter, as it was intended.
Happy New Year! Here we are in a new year, and in a new decade. I did not magically wake up skinny. 2019 had a rough couple of days during the holidays, and things got a little out of control. When things got bad, I was able to turn it around, and now they are better.
I’m seeing signs of going through the change. I’ve been having hot flashes at night. I am not sure if they are related to the next phase of my life or my sugars or a combination of the two. After a few restless nights, I got up and checked my sugars. They were very high. When someone with diabetes is sick, this is normal, however I don’t always do the right things for my health.
Sometimes I forget to take my medications.
Creating a health tracker helps me to remember, but I have not been using it. With a brand new agenda, I am ready to start fresh in 2020. I have worked really hard to create my health tracker, but I slacked off. I haven’t followed through with using it. So, I am getting it ready this weekend, and I will be using it starting today.
I haven’t been feeling well. I have had a stomach bug and more than one migraine in the last month. When I am sick, I am more likely to skip my medicine. When you have diabetes and you are under the weather, you need to keep taking your medicine. Just like you need to keep eating and stay hydrated. I know this, but I don’t always make the best choices. Especially when I am feeling ill.
Changes were made this week.
I started checking my sugars more frequently and I’m taking my medicine. I bought new vitamins, and have taken them for the last 3 days. The holiday treats are disappearing, and things are going to be getting back to normal. As I think about this, back to normal is not going to be enough for me. I need to do more, and I need to do better.
I bought a sports bra style workout top in November. The goal was to wear it at home, when I am alone, to do Zumba in my living room. So far, it is still in the bag, with the price tag still attached to it. I am going to cut that tag off on Monday and put it on with my shorts and Zumba sneakers. Then I will complete my look with my Zumba headband and dance by myself in my living room. I want to schedule it into my 2020 planner, 3 days a week. My only resolution for 2020 is to dance more. Now that I have put this into writing, I will have to follow through.
Accountability is something which I have learned is important when you are setting goals, but also for building online businesses. I need to get things accomplished to move on to the next tasks. The only person I am accountable to is myself until I have paying clients. Once this happens, I will be accountable to them also.
It is also a term that is immensely important to me and my health. It is so important, I decided to turn my weight loss support group from a beta to a membership group. This was a difficult decision because the current members are in it for free. Their participation means they are getting value out of the year and a half we have spent together.
It makes me sad that some have already left the group, and I understand why they are choosing to leave. I have also learned a term since joining the makeup industry.
Bless and release.
This is such a simple concept, and easy to apply. If someone does not want to buy makeup, let them go, and move on to the next person. It takes a rejection from being personal to being a manageable response.
The other thing I am learning to accept is that having people leave means they are creating space for the people who do need to be in the group. This is a new concept to me, and I am discovering how to include it in my thought process.
It is harder for me to let go of people in the beta group because we have built a connection. Therefore, we have a history. I have been preparing for new members by organizing the posts into topics. This allows for easier management and navigation within the group. I am refreshing the experiences of myself with the beta group as a whole during this process. It will help me to focus on what is working, what is not working, and what to change.
Each new member will be given a free, personalized health record (tracker). It will be designed on two pages, to fit in seven days. I’m planning to meet with each member online before the end of January to determine what they need help with, and what they need on their tracker. I create my own in my agenda, and it covers everything I need for now. I asked the beta group what they would need, and I have ideas on how I can modify what I created for myself to be useful for other members.
It is a customizable concept.
It has been useful at my doctor’s appointments. I have also had it in appointments with a dietician and at the diabetes clinic. I am not giving it the attention it needs, or rather, I am not giving my health the attention it needs when I am not using it. This will change today!
I opened the Membership group to new members for the new year. I am working hard to make sure that people get value out of the group for their membership fees. So far, it has involved a lot of housekeeping in the group. When it is organized, I will be able to create new content and schedule the accountability posts again. I find this so helpful, to just set aside a block of time to schedule posts for a month or two. It frees my time up to interact with the group and makes it more fun for me to be in there with the other members.
I’m not a medical professional.
This group is a support group, not for a plan or program, but for the members. I will not tell them what plan to follow, or what to eat or what not to eat. I am not the boss of the members. We are all adults and in charge of our own lives. Instead, I work on helping them to be accountable for activity, for drinking water; while sharing tips and recipes. It is general knowledge that staying active and hydrated promotes a healthier lifestyle. With the scheduled posts, it is something that the members will see every day, and it will remind them to work on these things.
All members are required to sign a confidentiality agreement, and the standard Facebook group rules will apply. Anything which goes against these guidelines will not be tolerated, and I am very upfront about this.
I have decided on 2 payment options. Members can choose a monthly payment of $54.00 CAD. It breaks down to each member paying for four hours of my time, at minimum wage, for me to run the group for the whole month. As the group grows, people may wish to pay a lump sum for the year. $550.00 CAD is the annual membership fee, and if a member chooses to pay annually, they will save $98.00 CAD on their fees.
I am working from home, and I need an income. It is not a decision I made lightly. It wasn’t easy to tell the beta group members that things were changing. I need to get the word out, and cannot afford to pay for advertising.
Sharing this blog post and sharing the posts from my personal Facebook account will help me to do this. It is going to be better than you can imagine, because I am right there, in the trenches with the members. Not telling you what to do, but reminding you that we are in this together, and we can help each other because of it. One of my goals for 2020 is to help people who can help me in return. I do have to stop doing everything for free, though. My heart wants to help people. I am asking you to help me by either joining the membership group, if you need the support or to help me get the message out to people who do need it.
This is my Facebook Profile for you to find the posts to share:
If you are not already a friend, you will see that my wall is a fun place to hang out. I am not only focused on business building. Sharing fun things I find, creating my own content, keeping it a positive enjoyable place to hang out online. Most of the time it is light-hearted. Once in awhile a dose of reality sneaks in, when I have something important to share. I have room for lots of friends in my life, and I have made some really great ones online.
Thank you for reading, and I look forward to sharing my future successes with you all, dear readers.
I started a weight loss support group. It seemed like I was doing well at the start, with the weight loss. After the holidays, I gained more weight. I was very disappointed, but, I could only blame myself.
Things changed in my life around the same time. I changed jobs. I was a bundle of nerves, and I did it. After working at the same job for seven years, I took a chance. You can probably imagine how surprised I was to be unemployed three months later. Consequently, I am still adjusting. I am choosing to see this as an opportunity to write full time.
What I do have control over is what I eat. I have been unemployed for almost two weeks, and in that time I lost 10 pounds. I gained one back this week. My eating habits and my sleeping patterns need to be scheduled again. With a schedule, I will have more control.
I had an appointment with my doctor. She was expressing concern about my sugars. They were creeping back up again. One positive thing to note was my blood pressure was good we have been working to improve it. I was overwhelmed that day, and I told her I had nowhere to put the emotions I was fighting to hide.
I was having a hard time. There is no easy way to say it. I was struggling in many areas of my life, and I didn’t know how badly I needed help.
The doctor asked me if she could set up some appointments. With tears rolling down my face, I agreed. At the time, I was concerned about my work schedule. It is no longer an issue. I have had two of the appointments, and am working on the others. One is with the Diabetes Clinic. One is with a social worker. I did not know what to think about it.
The social worker was really nice. She explained that she meets with people to help them find the help they need, by connecting them with resources. If there is one thing I am learning, is that if you can use resources which are available to you. Use them to the fullest advantage.
We talked about the loss of my income. She recommended a community food program for fruits and vegetables. I am looking into it this week. She wants me to go to the career counselling center I had gone to about a year ago. In a few weeks, I will meet with her again.
An appointment with the health coach I had been working with back in the fall will be rescheduled. I had every intention to reschedule. Now I will make time. One would think that becoming unemployed unexpectedly would have left me with a lot of free time.
Why am I busier now?
I am working towards a freelance writing career. I am staying up too late and sleeping in. There is a need to make time for exercise. It will come. I need to catch up on chores. I am starting to work on them. We are eating more meals at home, as we have to be careful with our budget. Healthy eating will be a challenge on a tighter budget. I need to fight my way out of this to be able to take the next steps to managing my health, and my life.
I am making my own schedule. Today I went outside to shovel the snow. It was an attempt at a little fresh air and exercise. There had been a little snowfall today. I wanted to feel like I accomplished something.
Winter is hard on my mental health. I am susceptible to seasonal depression. I am adding vitamin D into my daily routine, to see if it helps. Today was a really hard day. I made myself get up, get dressed, and go outside. I didn’t want to get out of bed. Things will be easier in the spring. For now, I keep fighting.
This week, I accomplished a lot
I relaunched my website and I had some appointments. Today, I fought the winter blues and made my way outside. Tomorrow I am going to cook 2 healthy meal options for myself. I can keep working on my own goals, and stop being a victim of circumstances. I will. It might take some time to get things going in the right direction again. Once I make up my mind, things start happening. It is good to be blogging again. I think I need this part of my life to be active to help me to be accountable. Hopefully, this helps a reader one day too.
It’s hard to start over. How do you get things under control again? Let me know, maybe you can help me as I try to help you.