|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
I was feeling pretty crummy for the past several months. I had been trying to lose weight, reached my goal and tried to scale back, but just kept losing. I felt weak and sickly, and was thirsty all the time, even though I was swilling water like a fish. Finally had an incident at work where I almost passed out, and my wife talked me into going to the doc, who tells me I have diabetes. Fasting blood sugar close to 300 and A1c off the charts.
I'm 36, 6'5" 190 (down from about 245 a year and a half ago). No other health issues, don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs, and never have. I run a mile and a half every day, hike, bike, kayak and garden....just generally active overall. No family history of diabetes. I eat pretty good...not perfect, but better than most. We cook mostly from scratch and rarely eat out (4 kids and a gun habit, can't afford it!), and I eat a lot of home-grown veggies and locally grown meat that we buy in bulk. I hardly ever even drink pop or caffeine. And just like that the doc pretty much tells me I get to look forward to an early death from a heart attack after I go blind and they cut my feet off.
They put me on insulin and metformin. I'm counting carbs, and trying my best to spread my food consumption out over the day in a regular pattern, but it's tough working nights on a rotating shift at a job where you can be tied up on a call for hours without warning. Blood sugar is down from around 400 to about normal, and it was actually low yesterday morning for the first time, which kinda sucked, but it's easier to bring it up than down.
Docs seem kinda at a loss for what to do with a young otherwise healthy guy with diabetes. Most of the materials they are giving me seem geared towards people twice my age and weight. Everything focuses on losing weight...I need to gain some. The worst part is my eyes...I went from 20 years of being nearsighted to farsighted in less than a week after they put me on insulin. Eye doc was very helpful and they have me some glasses on order so I ought to be able to get a crisp front sight focus again here soon, but she can't guarantee that my prescription will stay static with the fluctuating blood sugar. No bleeding on the retinas, though, so that's good.
I'll admit I knew next to nothing about diabetes three weeks ago. It scared the heck out of me when the doc told me I had it. The worst thing is not knowing why. They're still waiting on the tests to come back to tell if I'm the type 1 or type 2 kind (assuming type 2)...but I'll admit I'm still a little scared that there's something else going on that brought it on.
I'm not taking it lying down. I'm staying active, embracing the diet, and doing my best to correct the problem, but there's a humiliating realization that I'm now likely medication dependent for the rest of my life, and I'm not really in control of any of this anymore. It's a rough pill to swallow, but it's also made me realize that I need to re-evaluate my priorities. I'm prioritizing time with my kids more because there's a new realization that anything can happen and our time here isn't guaranteed. I also have an even greater appreciation for the wonderful woman I married 16 years ago, who has been absolutely amazing through all of this. And I'm trying to remind myself that God is in control, even when stuff kinda sucks. It's no fun, but it's probably mentally and spiritually healthy to have your world get rocked evey now and then.
If there's any takeaway, I'd say eat what you want while you can, and enjoy it. Because even if you don't, you still might get diabetes!
|Unapologetic Old |
I have been fighting it now for about a year. I am older than you, and fatter...
They finally recently put me one of those continuous monitors. It was VERY eye opening to as what was really spiking my blood suger. Ive been recording what I eat and reading it every hour, so I am getting a solid picture of what I eat and what time of day it shoots up.
For example, I had a couple of cookies, and it didnt move much. But I had a bowl of Raisin Bran in the afternoon and it shot up like a rocket. One bowl, and I didnt add anything but milk. I also saw it was the big dinner I eat, I usually eat leftovers for lunch the next day, so what I was eating wasnt changing much, but the amount and time of day made a big difference.
You are younger and healthier, so good luck and at least they found yours early so you can adjust.
Don't weep for the stupid, or you will be crying all day
Is your doctor an endocrinologist?
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
No, but he referred me to one. She was ok...I kinda felt like she was just making decisions off of a checklist rather than looking at my specific case, but she did order the test to determine if it's type 1 or 2, which imo is important to know. I don't really get to be picky because she's the only one with openings in the next 3 months within 100 miles.
How does that thing work? Is there some kind of probe that goes through the skin, or does it it somehow monitor the blood sugar externally? If the former, how do they keep it from getting irritated/infected? I looked at some of the websites for those things, but none of them were really clear on this. I like the concept, but have some gaps in the details
|Frangas non Flectes|
First of all, I'm sorry to hear it. I got diagnosed a little over two years ago at the same age, so I know how hard this news can be. I was in very different physical shape, however, and thankfully I was able to make some serious changes and recover a fair bit, health-wise.
Yeah, IF you don't make some changes to your lifestyle, and yes, continuously monitoring your blood sugar and taking meds to control it counts. Thinking like this at the very beginning is understandable, but if you want to be around for your wife and kids, you need to snap out of it, my friend. Mindset is crucial.
You're going to go through some ups and downs while you get this dialed in, but you will get it dialed in. Sounds like you eat pretty well, but I'm guessing there's some things in there that will surprise you with how loaded with sugar or processed carbs they'll bear out to be. If that doesn't prove to be the case and this is 100% just latent genetics that happened to skip some generations and express themselves in you, then at least you know now and can deal with it. And yes, it can be dealt with.
You're going to be alright, man. I know this is a big shock, but at some point, an older and mentally stronger version of you is going to look back at this time and chuckle about it looking like the end. Have faith in that.
I believe in the 25th amendment.
My wife has been Type One diabetic almost her entire life. Since came down with it when she was 9 years old. She is not blind, has all her limbs save a couple of fingers and generally is as normal as anyone else. The key IMHO, is that she constantly monitors her blood sugar levels and makes adjustments accordingly. She eats almost everything the rest of do such as pizza, tacos ice cream etc. but doesn't gorge herself on them. I understand your fear and anger but know that diabetes as devastating as it is, is not a death sentence today as it was years ago. Given proper management, good nutrition and exercise, you will be fine. I would recommend a good endocrinologist as well.
I've been a type 2 for 24 years, still healthy in most respects. Find a good endocrinologist, test often, and get A1c tests every 3 months. You'll be okay.
Vision will eventually stabilize. Big sugar adjustments really screw with it. You may be able to shift to just oral meds once your diet is on track. Carbs will do me in. You are not alone getting it at that age. Likely T2.
You can still enjoy sweets and a big meal on occasion once you get things under control. It just can’t get to be a routine.
I’ve been fighting it for almost 2 years now, but I’m 50 with a family history of type 2. Managing diabetes is a math problem of lowering your blood sugar average while compressing your standard deviation. Understand that there will be anomalies that can’t be explained but sleep and stress play major roles in sugar management. I am lucky to have a neighbor/friend that is a diabetes pharmaceutical rep for the last 20 years, a SIL that is a diabetes nutritionist with the licenses to adjust meds, and another neighbor that is a PharmD that all helped me in my fight. Understanding how each drug works to help your body stave off the side effects from diabetes is important. I fired my primary care doc and found a better one because I became more knowledgeable than him and his staff about how best to control my diabetes. The drugs available today are leaps and bounds above what they had 20 years ago. You don’t have to go blind, have your feet cut off, or have a heart attack although those are all things that can happen. Don’t panic.
Get the numbers under control and then get them consistent. Once there you can start to experiment with the drugs that give you the most benefit. The smart drugs do more than just control your sugar by targeting digestion, insulin creation, kidneys, cardiovascular and your liver. I finally found a cocktail that is working very well for me. If you want to chat offline about it, feel free to email me.
"When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” - Nelson Mandela
That rotating shift may be your biggest obstacle to keeping your blood sugar in check.
|His Royal Hiney|
I worked for one of the big diabetes meter companies. They had workers try them out first to get feedback before testing them with the public. I didn't try it but had a couple of close co-workers volunteer.
I do believe it's a small subcutaneous prick that is attached to a transceiver that sticks to your skin with an adhesive. IT stays for 14 days then it's replaced. None of them complained about the prick so I think it's pretty innocuous.
In contrast, when you test your glucose regularly, you have to prick yourself each time at least once a day or 3 times a day if you're taking insulin. Pricking yourself to get a drop of blood to test does get to people. That's the biggest difference or maybe the second biggest difference.
The biggest difference is testing yourself regularly gets you only a snapshot while continuous monitory means just that; you get a picture of how your insulin levels change throughout the day.
And I feel for you that you have diabetes given your stats. It doesn't seem fair.
"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, 1946.
The endo is better informed than your primary. The tests for T1 or T2 are important and will determine your treatment. Get those results and ask questions. You might consider getting your thyroid levels checked too as diabetes and thyroid issues often come together.
Metformin comes in an extended release version that can help if you get the squirts. Low doe might not cause issues. Higher does might.
A continuous glucose monitor can be a game changer. The two best options are Dexcom and Libre. Both are stuck to a fatty area and insert a small wire under your skin. Relatively painless unless it hits a nerve. Dexcom lasts 10 days and updates real time to its own receiver or some phones. There's about a 15 minute lag in readings because it's reading fluid not blood. Libre is less expensive off the shelf and lasts 14 days. You need to scan the device to get a reading. There's an aftermarket attachment that I believe makes it send data without scanning. A CGM gives you more data than finger sticks and saves your fingers from getting butchered. Either may be covered all or in part by your insurance as either a pharmacy benefit or durable medical equipment.
Once you know which type you are consider a referral to a certified diabetes educator/nutritionist. They can help with dietary stuff.
On the food front consider a food scale and a carb counting app. It will help you visualize serving sizes and show how much you're actually eating. I found my serving of rice was actually 3-4 servings of rice. What you choose to eat moving forward should be informed by which type you are. Carbs are now a problem for you. Moderation is possible. You'll need to do some research, experiment, and then figure out what works best for you and the life you want.
Regardless of which type you end up being remember it's not your fault. There's some genetic stuff going on. You can still live a long life without complications and thrive. You'll have good days and bad days. Sometimes you'll do everything right and still get shit results that day. Sometimes you'll slip up. Give yourself grace when needed. Get up when ya fall down. Ask for help from your family and friends and even your internet pals. You got dealt a shit hand but how you react is up to you.
Email in profile if ya need anything. I'm happy to listen or offer advice.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
Sorry guys...was up on the roof all day trying to fix a leak. It really has been that kind of a month!
No worries! I know that stuff isn't going to happen to me, because I'm not going to let it. That as just my twisted sarcastic sense of humor reacting to what the docs keep telling me. Sorry, it doesn't always come through so well over the internet. Yeah, it sucks, but I'm truly grateful that it's not something else that could easily be a lot worse. Thanks for the encouraging words, though...I really do appreciate it!
Yeah, working nights in a job where SHTF on a regular basis is definitely not conducive to dealing with this. Just this past week alone, I responded to two overdoses with CPR, two separate fights with guns involved, and three barricaded subjects (one who we were told had a knife and wanted to stab the popo...thankfully ended up not). At least the stress was spread pretty evenly throughout the week . The problem is that I love the shitshow, and I've been resisting going to day shift for years, but maybe the time has come .
Thanks for the info on the continuous monitor thingy. It sounds really useful. There have been plenty of times that I've wanted to check more than my regular 2x a day, but am adverse to using up all those expensive little test strips. I'd be watching that thing all the time if it was live. The thought of having some probe under my skin attached to some device really skeeves me out, though, even more than the finger pricks, and I'm not sure my insurance will cover it. My doc did mention it as a possibility once they get everything figured out, so I'll talk to him about it next visit.
|The success of a solution usually depends upon your point of view|
A couple of things;
-Educate yourself. Having type II and being a first responder at work I have experienced many instances of piss poor experts including mis diagnosing a type II as. Type I, 6 months of almost dying for him. It is your health and you had better learn enough to be a reality check on the experts.
-Continuous glucose monitor. I can't say it enough. I use the Libre Freestyle 14 day monitor but there are other systems. It is life changing! Ignore what you are told, see how your body actually reacts to what you put in it. The biggest issue I had when I was first diagnosed was I wanted it to be black and white, A plus B equals C. It does not work that way. I had pizza for dinner and I am sipping on a Rum and (real) coke. My glucose right now is steady at 124. But if I have the same amount of vodka and orange juice I would be in the 275+ area.
-you must have a life so focus on your A1C. Your Glucose is a guideline but your A1C is about a 90 day average of your glucose. You will have good days and bad days. Don"t beat yourself up over them. Learn what make up your good days good and strive towards them but don't feel too guilty about the occasional bad day.
-Metformin has been my friend but don"t be afraid to force your doctor to try different meds if you think they might be better for you. It should be a partnership and if it doesn’t feel like it is maybe you need to change docs. My diabetes doc and I had a very rocky start almost to the point of changing docs but once she figured out that I was taking it seriously and I figured iut that she was listening to what I had to say we actually made a good team which is why I can drink rum (occasionally) and have an A1C of 5.9 and I expect to bring it down a little by Dec.
“Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat.” - Vince Vaughn
Libre offers a free FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor, just go to their web page, fill out the questionnaire, have your doc send in a script to your pharmacy and you will get one free sensor.
You should check with your insurance to see if they cover it, and you'll need a smart phone to connect and read from the sensor.
Good way to monitor and find out if you like it, better than pricking your finger
22 years ago at age 30 I was in nearly the same boat as 92fstech. Probably not quite as active and healthy eater - but pretty good.
I started loosing weight and my thirst was off the chart.
Doc started me on oral medication, then switched to insulin. Once I got my A1C in check, weight came back. The proper insulin level allows the body to absorb protein/nutrients - at least that is the way I see it.
About 3 years ago my Endocrinologist pushed me to get a Dexcom CGM - and as others have mentioned it is a game changer. Instead of getting my glucose 4 to 6 times a day with a finger prick - the App on my iPhone gets a reading every 5 minutes. I love the data and trends. Now when I’m on a 20 mile road bike ride with my wife I can adjust my intake to avoid the LOWS - the low blood sugars SUCK.
Feel free to hit me up if I can help - not an expert, and my A1Cs aren’t perfect- but I’ve discovered I can live with a faulty pancreas- not something I thought for the 1st year or so.
I was diagnosed Type 2 this past spring. 5'9" was 224lbs. Once I knew what was going on I took action. Just changing my eating habits no soda or real sugary drinks I got my A1C down to 4.5 and my fasting blood is between 80 and 90 now. Dropped down to 202 this morning my goal is 175. Go see an endocrinologist and the dietitian.
The doc who first diagnosed me gave me metformin right off the bat. I took one and felt like I had no energy at all! I hope you can beat it. Good luck and cut out the carbs as much as possible and don't substitute fatty meats as that is what many people do and it is not good.
Always the pall bearer, never the corpse.
|hello darkness |
my old friend
Lots of good advice here. Check out the Dexcom continuous glucose monitor. I have been using one for years and it really helps. The Dexcom has display arrows to show you trends that might have your glucose either increasing or decreasing. The Dexcom can be set with programmable alarms which are very helpful to force you to pay attention. The Dexcom has literally saved my life since I live alone and low blood sugar can be tragic in the middle of the night.
As said before glucose isn't just a math problem. Your body does strange things. For instance my sugar tends to be stable all day and then sometimes in the middle of the night it climbs for no reason in the middle of the night. Probably just my liver spilling sugar and it is a real pain. Happily the Dexcom will let me know when this happens with an audible alarm. Stress and illness can make sugar levels very difficult.
Physical fitness is important. Activity can increase and help how your body absorbs insulin so keep active.
My biggest issue with Diabetes is the loss of freedom. It is depressing that I can't roll out of bed, grab a quick breakfast and go do something fun. It takes some planning everyday and that gets a bit frustration.
Keep your chin up. Yes Diabetes sucks. It's a disorder that will force you to make better health choices. It isn't cancer.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
Has anybody here been able to kick the insulin altogether and just do metformin? Or even get off the meds altogether just through diet and exercise? I know it's probably a little early to hope for that, but it would sure be nice to know if it's possible. Honestly the needles and the meds haven't been too bad...much better than death...I just hate the idea that I'm dependent on them forever.
I'm up to 1000mg of metformin a day this week.
She wants me at 2000, and has me stepping up 500 a week. So far it hasn't been too bad...I have religiously taken it with food, and I'm budgeting an Activia Yogurt as one of my carbs at those meals (a tip I got from a diabetic buddy). So far no stomach issues. We'll see if it continues.
|Frangas non Flectes|
I was on Metformin for about a year. Never had to do insulin. I got my diabetes under control with diet and lifestyle changes and got to stop taking Metformin. It may or may not be possible for you, depending on your body, but I was able to.
I believe in the 25th amendment.
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