Type 2 Diabetes – A Journey

About 15 years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. My blood sugar levels were just over the limit but I was able to completely manage it by controlling my diet. Over the next fifteen years, my sugar levels were tested yearly and they were always in the normal range.

Canadian and American numbers differ and I couldn’t tell you why. For example over those years my levels were in the range of 5.5, which translates to 100 on the American scale. This would be the normal area.

About six months ago I had my blood tested and my doctor told me to watch my sugar intake because I was getting near the 7.0 range (126 American) which indicates pre-diabetes.

Three months ago, I had new tests and my level was 7.7 (About 140 American). This would indicate that I was diabetic. But the doctor gave me six weeks to improve this.

I was already going to the gym, so I immediately started to watch every bite that passed my lips and lost 12 pounds. I had another glucose test as well as an AC1 test. The blood glucose test indicates the fasting blood sugar levels. The AC1 test is to determine the amount of sticky glucose that has been coating your hemoglobin cells over the previous three months.

I was eager to visit the doctor after the six weeks were up. I expected her to tell me that I had been successful at lowering the numbers into the normal range. But, no, she told me that my fasting glucose level was worse, 8.4 (155), and my AC1 test showed a level of 7.7 (140). Between us, we decided that I would have to go on Metformin, a diabetes drug that should help me back to the normal range. I was prescribed two pills a day.

One side-effect of the Metformin is stomach upset so my pharmacist told me to begin with half a pill twice a day. I have had several days with a lot of pain but I think I am getting used to the medication.

Dr. O. assures me that I CAN eventually get off the pills. She knows people who have done it. But it is very difficult.

In Type 1 Diabetes, your pancreas does not produce enough (or any) insulin, so you have to take insulin, almost always by injection. There are insulin pumps which many people use as well. I have a brother who hasmuch  this type of diabetes and has been living with it since he was 17. (He is now 75.)

With Type 2 Diabetes, your pancreas still produces insulin but the cells that need that insulin become resistant to it. Hence, you have too much insulin AND your body is not able to use it. This can cause many problems, with widely varying sugar levels.

There are many secondary effects of having uncontrolled Diabetes, which I won’t go into at this time.

Dr. O. has not given me a prescription for self-testing – glucose monitor, lancets, test strips, but it is probable that I will have to do this soon. In mid-August I have appointments with a NURSE specializing in diabetes as well as with a NUTRITIONIST.

I have a standing order for blood tests every three months to monitor my fasting glucose levels as well as for an AC1 test.

My next tests are in September. I hope to be able to report on progress in both these areas. I would like both my AC1 level and my fasting glucose level to be approaching 7.0 (126).

I am not a doctor. I am not a nurse. I have no medical training. This blog post is not meant to give advice, merely to be a record of my progress in The Sugar Wars. It is possible that some of the facts and numbers are not quite accurate. If you notice any errors, please let me know and I will try to correct them asap!

Thank you for reading this post and for allowing me to share my Journey with you. – Maureen

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8 responses

  1. Today diabetes is managed much better than 50 years ago. It may take some trial and error but you will be able to find the right balance. Let’s hope it doesn’t involve giving up all the food you love!

  2. Life certainly does throw us a few rocky roads as we stumble headlong into the golden years. You sound like you’ve got things well under control and ready for the challenge ahead. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress. We’re rootin’ tootin’ for ya!

  3. Diabetes runs in both sides of my family and I have 2 brothers who have it as well as my son. He has diabetes since he was 15, a difficult to get it but he has managed well. Hope that all goes well for you and keep the faith. See you in a few weeks.

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