After 1 year his A1C is holding steady at 5.3 (off meds) and has lost 75 pounds (hovering between 75 and 80). Wants to lose 10-15 more ideally, but is currently stalled where he is.
A few newer definitions.... these apparently haven't been around long and are based on the new (to medical professionals) idea that diabetes actually CAN go into remission (what some folks are calling "cured")...
"partial remission" = fasting glucose between 5.6 and 6.9 for at least a year (no meds)
"complete remission" - fasting glucose below 5.6 for at least a year (no meds)
"prolonged remission" - longer than 5 years (no meds)
(for those who ARE medical professionals and want more detail.... http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/32/11/2133 or search "diabetes remission")
For those who have Type 2, this is quite a change. The medical field was saying the return to "normal" readings was simply "diabetes that was very well controlled", and then someone studied something like 120,000 people with type 2 diabetes (without surgery to control weight and no meds), and came up with this study and now the medical field is slowly coming around. =0) Personally I think that calling it in "remission" sounds much better! It gives us hope anyway.
His cholesterol numbers have gone up or down whichever was better.... some go up it's good, some go down it's good... I think they do that to confuse us! *L* But his numbers are going the right direction! Ever so slowly, but moving!
The high blood pressure is just totally gone.
So at a year we are looking at the "partial remission" in a few months, and possibly "complete remission" with the next test in August. And still on no meds! =0)
When we started, I'll admit it was scary. I had visions of testing 10 times a day forever, food that doesn't taste good, needles full of insulin, and medication that lasts forever.... then I started reading about complications!! YIKES!!
Now, it's just life. With the control we have now those complications are very far off, if ever. Insulin never became an issue, and the meds are all gone. They didn't last forever, only as long as we needed them. =0) Our doc has changed her tune (at least with us) and is learning about how it IS possible to "reverse diabetes" (type 2 anyway). Which I consider a win. =0)
I now have a solid foundation of things that are good to eat (and good for diabetes), so no longer have to spend hours pouring over recipes and looking up new ones, and no longer spend hours in the grocery store! *L*
I have found that I shop cookbooks differently now. They have to have the nutritional information for the recipes or have so few ingredients that I can approximate. =0) **For those that are looking for GOOD tasting "diabetic" cookbooks, look at "Diabetic Living" books, and remember herbs and spices do NOT have an impact on blood sugar.... at least not in the amounts that makes food taste good!!!**
Soooooo.... HOW did we do this? If you want to read it it started last Feb in this blog... but I'll put the basics here. (for those familiar, the rest is just a recap)
DH was 311 pounds, eating junk food at work daily, drank 3 sodas (or more) a day as well as coffee loaded with sugar. Breakfast was a breakfast biscuit that had bacon, fried potatoes, an egg and a biscuit, all covered in grease, washed down with a large container of OJ. Lunch was mostly out and mostly fried.
The day he went to the ER because his vision was blurry and discovered that his blood glucose was 450 (not 80-100 like it should be) that all changed, the panic set in (to become our friend for the few weeks). No more soda, no more coffee, no more juice, no more junk food, he ate breakfast at home, and took leftovers or sandwiches for lunch.
*** We now have added some of those back in.... coffee is back with stevia instead of sugar, soda is coke zero and only about one per week maybe... juice is an occasional treat, we have some junk food but have evaluated junk foods for the "least bad" =0), he eats lunches out sometimes, but tends towards the lighter side and not fried now, and we do eat out and not always what's best for us! =0)
We read EVERYTHING. Online, books, pamphlets, heck if someone stuck something to a bulletin board I would have read it. Within the first two weeks, we got on two different meds, and changed one because I didn't like what I was reading about it, then dropped the "big" one entirely when his blood sugar started going too low. We stayed on the other med at half the "usual" dosage.... then dropped it after a few months when we had a better handle on the numbers.
For that first month we tested 10 times a day... first thing in the morning, 1 and 2 hours after meals (that's 6 more times), before snacks (2 more times) and sometimes at the third hour if the numbers didn't go down, finally before bed.... DH said he felt like a pin cushion! But that was the only way we figured we could get control of those numbers and see what foods raised his blood sugar. The "once a day" plan that the doc recommended did not give us the information we needed, so 10 times a day until the numbers were where we liked them. We ended up cleaning out doc's "free samples" and buying one more set of strips (outside of insurance) until we figured we had a handle on it pretty well. He now tests first thing in the morning.... most days (it really should be every day), tests new foods, and if he just doesn't feel right.
We spent 45 minutes looking at fruit cocktail that first day after the appt. I never knew how many different kinds of canned fruit were out there. And carbs went from 11 (or 15) per serving to over 50!! If you multiply this by how many items there are in the grocery store, you know we were at this for awhile!!! It DOES get better. Eventually we figured out what was best (and that includes taste... "fat free ice cream is awful, and only has about 2 carbs less than the "real" type!! Except "skinny cow" he likes those) and now shopping doesn't take any longer than it did before. Mostly we stay away from pre-packaged anything, and shop the edges of the store.... very little from the middle..... which, come to think of it, is what we did before!! *L*
I asked the doc questions at EVERY appt. If I had a question I wrote it down in a notebook and then asked her at the next appt. She had to look some things up (Like I wanted to know what "normal for normal" blood sugar numbers.) but she was happy to answer the questions. *And there were a LOT!!*
I think.... if I had to say, that the MOST vital thing to getting the blood sugar under control would have to be that testing. You can change how you eat, but if you do not know how that food affects you and your blood sugars, then it doesn't really matter. You can exercise, but again, if you don't know how that affects you, you could be bouncing from highs to lows and creating havoc with your body. And this was probably the hardest part. Hardest for DH because he had to stick himself every day 10 times a day for nearly a month, and it is hard to argue for certain foods when he could SEE the numbers go up. Hardest for me, because a grumpy DH is not easy to live with. Talking him into it was not easy (though he's glad he did it now). And although the doc agreed that it was the only way to get control, she couldn't do anything to get us enough strips to test like that.... she did give us a LOT of "samples" to help, but we did end up having to buy another 50 (or 100) pack off Amazon (best price... be aware of dates, and how soon they expire). We used them before our "prescribed" strips because they expired first. (*We did it this way because we wanted the same strips on the same tester to compare, but for those who are more strapped for cash, you can find a generic tester and strips for FAR less than the prescribed ones we had.)
Why??? Because his blood sugar was under control EXCEPT his after breakfast number. That number was WAY out of whack. Had we tested only in the morning when he first got up (docs recommendation), we would have never known that cold cereal was throwing off his numbers for the entire day. The first thing in the morning number was fine and the rest of the day numbers were fine, but the cold cereal threw him all out of whack. Once we figured it out and made substitutions, he felt better all day long. I don't know how having such a high number first thing in the morning every morning would have effected his A1C number, but I'm certain it would have.
His numbers came down quickly that first month, with changes to diet. And since April (diagnosed Feb) we have mostly been in a maintain kind of mind set. We did NOT stop at "normal for diabetic" numbers but pushed for "normal for NOT diabetic numbers" and once we reached those, just kept doing what we were doing.
I do not say that he's "cured". If he went back to eating the way he was before, I have the feeling that the diabetes would be right back front and center in our lives. But for now, it's not. (It's still there, but not all-consuming like it was.) And since he's not taking those meds, if it ever does come back and can't be controlled by diet, then we can start on the lighter meds with not as many side effects. =0)
It CAN be done... controlling type 2 diabetes with diet.... but it was darned hard that first month. It won't be forever, but getting it done is important. I could tell you what we ate and what we are eating now, but really, it will be different for everyone, the foods affect everyone differently, and you have to see what works for you and more importantly what doesn't.
And ALWAYS work with your doctor, even if they don't think it can be done. YOU may just be the one to change their mind! *L*
Thanks for reading my novelas, and for all your support during this very long year.