Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues. It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on. Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real. The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale. If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Homepage for this blog. I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.
The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name. If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story. The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors. I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.
Here is Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 2.
It seems fitting that in part 2, I write about Type 2. I touched on it a little in the first part of my story, and now it is time to elaborate. I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic in 1999. At first, I was to eliminate sugar from my diet and try to follow the Canada Food Guide. Sugar is hidden in practically everything we eat and drink. Especially in processed foods. Without medication, and struggling to understand the diagnosis, I failed to regain control of my blood sugars. At first, I was constantly testing my blood sugars as high. Not the highest they have been, but consistently high.
After failing round one, using diet and exercise for treatment, metformin was added to manage my blood sugars. It came with a cocktail of other medications. As a diabetic, when you are diagnosed, some medical professionals consider preventative medications a necessary part of the treatment. They add in medicine that you would not be taking if you were not a diabetic, but because you are, they keep stricter than normal levels on things like blood pressure and cholesterol. Soon I was taking 3 prescription medications, and not sure if I really needed 2 of them.
I have acid reflux. Sometimes I forget about it because the medication I take for it keeps it under really good control. There were a few different types I tried, and I am still taking one medication for this. It works and keeps the heartburn and stomach acid at bay. I don’t generally eat really spicy foods, but who knew bananas could cause heartburn? So, this, like my thyroid medication is an acceptable one. I did not agree with having to take the blood pressure and cholesterol medications, but these other medications were acceptable.
Now, with my weight being what it is, I am still on a blood pressure medication. It has been higher than it used to be, and I am working on things with my plan. I am not currently on a cholesterol medication. I hope that I can control both my blood pressure and cholesterol, without medicine; when I accomplish my goals of losing weight. This will impact all areas of my health. If I can be healthy enough to not have to take anything but the thyroid pill, that would be worth all the work.
Now that I am working on a plan for my health, I am eating less carbohydrates, and it is having a big effect on my blood sugars. I am on a low carb; not a no carb plan. I am becoming very sensitive to both sugar, and my insulin. I am having what feels like extreme highs, and more lows. I am new to treating the lows and am learning not to panic and overtreat them. So when I have a low, I have to reevaluate the amount of insulin I am taking. It is on what is called a sliding scale. I am not always sure I am taking the right amounts, but when my body responds positively to the food and insulin, I do feel better.
I used to feel very tired when my sugars were high. I still do, to a lesser extent. Even when they are higher, it is not as easy as it used to be to figure it out. I am not as sluggish when I take insulin. I do have insulin resistance. My body still makes it, but it is not being used properly, or there is not enough being produced by my pancreas. That is why I am taking insulin. My body needs the help. There is a chance that I won’t need it someday if I keep working towards a healthier lifestyle. That is something to strive for, and the fact that I have to lower my insulin doses tells me that it is a strong possibility.
I also have what is called Dawn Phenomenon. Some diabetics have an increase in blood sugars overnight. It is generally thought that it is the body’s way of preparing for the new day, and the extra sugar in the blood is to help you wake up. In diabetics, it can put your sugars up before you even have anything to eat at the start of your day. It is harder to be alert and to focus when your blood sugars are high. I am now in the habit of testing my sugars more frequently, and this is helpful. My doctor advised adjusting the long-acting insulin at nighttime as this may help to manage the higher sugars in the mornings. I have a feeling that I am going to have to become a lot more serious about it and start a food, blood sugar and insulin diary to really get a handle on it.
When my sugars are low, it is still obvious to me. I get shaky. I get really confused, it is hard to think, it is like I am in panic mode. I freak out a little. I sweat profusely out of my scalp, of all places, when I am awake. At night I notice my legs are where I sweat when I am having a low. Luckily, I wake up when it is happening. Also, the frequent trips to the washroom usually have me up through the night. So if I am up, and I feel off, I test to be sure about where my sugars are. I have started keeping juice boxes with me at all times, and hard candy. I am learning how to live with type 2 diabetes. It is not an easy thing to figure out. Not enough insulin allows my sugars to go high. Too much can cause a low, and if my sugars get too low, that can be fatal. I usually take a lower dose of insulin if I am not sure how I am going to react to how much insulin I am taking. I am cautious about taking large doses, but sometimes they are necessary. Type 2 Diabetes is not an easy disease to live with it, but management is the key, and I am on the right track.
I am obsessed with food and addicted to sugar. I am working on both of these issues and changing my habits along the way. I was thinking about how to go about starting this series when I chose the name. Yes, there are other meanings of the phrase Trust Your Gut, but to me, my world revolves around my emotions, food and my health. They all tie together in my life, so when it comes to my health, I have to trust my gut. Am I hungry or bored? Will that affect my sugars if I eat it? How much insulin do I need to take if I want to eat that? All of these things factor into my decisions, and a lot of the time, I am guessing. So, I go with my gut feelings a lot in my day. Sometimes I listen, and sometimes I don’t. I am the only one in control of what I eat, and how much of it I eat. Sometimes I have the willpower to avoid bad choices. Other times I give in and have what I want. I used to feel like I shouldn’t eat at all if my sugars were high before I started taking insulin. Now I can juggle the dose to accommodate for both good and poor choices in terms of food. I hate having to think about the consequences of everything I eat, but it is a fact of my life, and I decide how I want to live it. Working towards living a healthier lifestyle is something I am glad I decided to do. I am still here, and my gut tells me to keep on this plan and it will work, so I am giving it my best shot. Pun intended.