Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 2

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 2

 

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.
#TrustYourGut

 

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 2

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story

 

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 that 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 Home page 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 the first of many Trust Your Gut stories, I am starting with my own, Tish’s Story.

I have always struggled with my weight.  My issues began as a child.  I have always been overweight.  Growing up, dessert was used as a reward for eating all my supper.  I used to gobble all of my supper as fast as I could and be the first one done so I could have my dessert.  When I was in grade eleven,  my mom and I went through weight watchers together.  I was at goal weight when I graduated from high school and went to university.  Then I was in charge of what happened.  I got sick, in my first year.  I fought mononucleosis and tonsillitis at the same time.  While I was sick, my throat was very sore.  When I was able to be at class, I dozed while taking notes.  Doctors wanted me to eat, they were concerned that my sore throat would prevent me from eating and that the illnesses could cause an unhealthy weight loss.  I was told to eat whatever I wanted, as long as I was eating.

I took that literally and ate whatever I wanted during my university years.  When I finally graduated, it was six years later.  Cafeteria food didn’t always win with the healthier choices.  It was hard to choose salad over french fries.  When I moved off campus and into my own apartment, I had more control over what I was eating, and a budget to deal with.  Eating healthy is not easy to do when you are on a budget.  I still struggle with that now, but it is easier with a larger budget for groceries.  At that time, it was easier to have fast food and the less healthy options for groceries, because they would be more affordable.

As my weight ballooned more and more out of control, I developed other health issues.  I became a Type 2 Diabetic.  I was also diagnosed with thyroid disease.  I take one pill a day for this, and I will have to forever.  I am OK with that.  Then I tested positive for sleep apnea.  I have not started any medical treatment for this condition. These health issues are a normal combination for someone who is considered on the BMI scale to be morbidly obese.

The first time I heard that term, it had shock value.  I didn’t know how to react.  A term like that is really hard to apply to yourself.  Being so overweight that you could die from it.  It’s a lot to absorb when you don’t feel like it applies to you.  I know I am overweight, don’t get me wrong.  But there is some denial there too.  Until the scale hits a certain number.

For me, and this is hard for me to put out there, I weighed more than 300 lbs.  There, I wrote it.  It is just a number, but it is a really significant one.  I remember sharing a different, lower weight with a friend in university, who replied, “No, you can’t weigh that much.  You don’t look like you weigh that at all.  You carry it well.”  This added to my denial of my weight problems.  I didn’t look like I weighed that much, so it was OK to keep going like I was.

Only it didn’t stop there.  I was close to 320 lbs at my highest weight.  At that point in my life, I made a decision, after finding an ad on facebook for Trim Healthy Mama (THM).  What I was doing wasn’t working, so it was time for me to make some changes.  That was my aha moment, as it is commonly called.  What I was doing was not working so I had to make a change. 

I have implemented several changes in my journey to becoming a healthier person.  I am following the  Trim Healthy Mama plan.  If you want to learn more, this is a link for your own research: https://trimhealthymama.com/

I am not on plan 100% of the time, but I have adapted it in my life over the last year.  I have successfully lost 15-20 pounds since I started making small changes.  I am bouncing between the two, and on the verge of two-ville (299.99 lbs).  That is retaking my first small victory, to be under 300 lbs.  The next goal is 290.  Going by 10 lbs at a time is reasonable goal setting at this stage.  Too large of a goal will cause self-defeat because it is too long between accomplishments.  When I no longer have 20 lbs to lose, I will decrease the goals accordingly.  I have a lot of work ahead of me, and a long way to go.

Another change I have made was to become more active.  For a few years, I have been going to Zumba Classes twice a week.  I did extra walking also, my Zumba teacher has dogs, and there was a steady time that I was going to visit and help her walk the dogs.  She and her rescue dogs were rescuing me from being a couch potato.  🙂  In the spring I hope to adopt a rescue dog of my own, so I can start having a reason to walk every day.

I started noticing a trend from people I know, or people that are my friends through social media;  and even on tv, the new show This is Us.  Weight loss surgery is something that people are doing.  This is why I decided to start this blog series.  Weight loss surgery is not for me, and I have my reasons at this point for saying so.  I can still move, therefore if I put in the work, I can make changes to lose the weight.  I am not fooling myself.  I see what happens when I do work really hard, and I have had success with THM.  When I work hard I see results.  It is up to me.  So with that mindset, I am doing it.  For me and my health.

Being a type 2 diabetic is something I would not wish on anyone.  While I am on THM, I have noticed some trends in my blood sugars, the most significant one being I have sugar lows.  This is a new and scary side to being a diabetic.  It also means that there is hope that my body can start effectively producing and using its own insulin.  I have been on insulin for about ten years now.  I take 2 types, one short acting, and one long acting.  I went from 2 needles a day to 5.  This is what a person fears the most when they hear the words from a doctor, confirming that they are a diabetic.  That you have to take insulin. You have to take needles.  It is hard to adapt to this at first.  What do you tell people, when you are taking insulin?  Stabbing sounds violent.  It is what I said at first.  Then I decided it wasn’t the correct term, it was more like jabbing.  Then it clicked.  One morning I was trudging into the bathroom to take my insulin, and I blurted out to my roommate, ” I have to go Jabba the gut.”  It stuck, and he thought it was hilarious.  I have a fantastic sense of humour, and I do love a good pun.  It takes an unpleasant necessary action and makes it funny.

A good sense of humour is something I can be proud of.  It is a part of me that keeps me going.  Laughter is something I do enjoy sharing.  I take great pride in delivering a successful pun or joke.  Sometimes people don’t know that my joke was actually thought about before I tell it. 😉  Some people think I tell too many stories, and don’t want to wait for the punch line.  My sense of humour is a huge part of my coping mechanism, and I rely on it heavily, pun intended.  It is a great deflector, to take the focus off me and my health, and to laugh about something else instead.

It is no laughing matter.  Wearing size 24/26 clothing, and having to take 5 needles a day is no fun.  I have started my weight loss journey, and I am going to keep going.  I owe it to myself.  No matter what your weight issues are, they are yours.  You have to decide that your health is worth the effort.  You are worth it.  Whether your issue is being overweight, like myself, or if you are on the other end of the scale, and underweight, you are worth more than what the number is on the scale.

I wanted to start this series to try and help people like me.  I have chosen my path, and I intend to keep on it.  It won’t be straight and narrow, I am a curvy woman who likes to choose the path less travelled; when I am not forging a new path on my own.  I am hoping that by sharing my story, and other people’s stories, that this series will make people with weight issues start thinking and talking about it.  It is an issue for a lot of people, and by sharing our stories and information, we can help someone out there that needs to make some changes but doesn’t know where to start, or what options are out there.  I intend to write more Trust Your Gut stories, with help from other people, so that someone out there can have their aha moment, and start making changes towards their own healthier lifestyle.