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Hard to believe it's been a year.....

momto6

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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.

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I'm just so proud of you guys. My dad is in the same place he was. I hope to never walk this path knowing what I know. Both maternal grandmother and my father have type II. Hoping my will is strong enough. I already know what I need to know. Thanks for sharing your entire story. I still say you need to write a book. I'd read anything and everything you write. :-)

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Thank you for sharing this information. So many people I know personally are affected by diabetes, including close family members, and this helps me understand their circumstances and lifestyle much better. 

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Thank ya'll.  =0)

 

kelvan - Just know that sometimes your will is simply not part of the equation with this disease.  There's a lot that can put it off, but sometimes meds are necessary, and skinny "healthy" people get it too.  So IF it does happen, it's not your fault and you can deal with it. =0)  I still don't think I know enough about anything to write a book, but thanks!  *L*

 

fpmomma - Thank YOU!  That was my hope and intention with sharing.  I too have been surprised with the number of folks who have this disease that share once they know we too have it.... I say we, but it's really just DH, though we both deal with the impact.  =0)  I just ask that if you have those family members over for dinner that you make something yummy that's good for them too!  =0)  It's really a bummer to go and not be able to eat anything (or not much).  And it will make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside that you actually went through the trouble for them!

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Kudos to both of you for your hard work and success.  Everyone diagnosed with diabetes should spend a few mornings in a dialysis waiting room talking to and observing patients.  Far too few people take the diagnosis seriously enough.  People can get away with a lot for years but the consequences are ultimately devastating. 

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I am so proud of you!!! Both!  I cringe when I see what many diabetics eat. Even something simple like breakfast cereal, like you said, spikes the blood sugar. Inside I want to scream, "Don't do it! Eat some eggs!"  There are so many options but people don't take the time to look into them, they just shrug and take a few more units of insulin. But you defied the norm, living like no one else, so later, you could live like no one else. You guys rock.

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Thank you both.

 

Plinda, I think that some of the medical professionals don't take it seriously enough though too.  They don't stress the possibility of control, or the importance of it.  (at least not as much as they could)  They don't talk about the possibility of NOT needing the meds or explain why that may be important, especially if you have go back onto them later.  In fact they kind of fight going off them.... not "fight" really, but discourage.  I think everyone could at least TRY to get to the point where they didn't need the meds.  But it's hard for the patient when the doc doesn't necessarily know what to do to get off them, and hasn't run into anyone who has.... like ours hadn't.  I think that ours was trying to be encouraging, and didn't stress the consequences.  (Those first few weeks are kind of blurry to be honest.)  I know ours was THRILLED when we got to "normal for diabetic" numbers and really rather flabbergasted when we told her that we wanted "normal for NON diabetic" numbers. She had to look them up to tell us what they were.  All that to say that while I think that many can have more control than they do, I think that the medical professionals are falling down on the job a bit too, and the medical insurance companies won't pay for the proper amount of supplies to enable someone to GET better control.  So while yes, YOU are ultimately responsible, it's difficult when the "professionals" are not saying that it's a big huge deal.  I know way to many people who just take the pills and make no other changes because their DOCTOR said that the pill would "fix" the problem.

 

Debtbegone....I had to laugh, DH wanted to try cold cereal again, and did just two days ago.  It blasted his blood sugars into "normal for daibetic" numbers which is as high as he's seen them in quite some time (including after birthday cake!!!), so no cold cereal here.  Though I think he would pay a LOT of money to have one that was ok.  =0)  Also that you mentioned "living like no one else", since in the beginning we took "baby steps" to get to where we are now.  Other than the massive junk food dump in the very beginning, everything else has been baby steps, looking for "better" not necessarily "best".... for example kale may be "best" but spinach tastes better and is nearly as good... much better actually for DH because he won't eat the kale, but will spinach!  *L*  

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Breakfast (pick one)

"egg mcmuffin" homemade.... english muffin toasted, topped with 1 egg scrambled, and a slice of cheese  **Made on weekend and frozen for weekday ease.  Heated in microwave.  Sometimes adds sausage or ham (though infrequently because of the salt in the ham).

Grits with butter (1/3 c dry and 4/3 c water, nuked) 1T butter
Sometimes 2 breakfast bars (prefers nurtigrain) if he's in a hurry
Waffles (Nutrigrain (I think) Eggo) infrequently and with maple syrup (low sugar and by the serving size)
Weekends - 2 eggs usually scrambled, toast, sometimes sausages
 
Snack (10am or so and 3pm or so and evenings about 3 hours after dinner)  only ONE of these per snack.
15 pringles chips (low salt)
Nut exactly (snack food)
Fruit cups packed in water (not syrup or juice)
yogurt (chiobani greek)
pudding cup (sugar free)
applesauce cups (low sugar - check carbs on these)
crackers and cheese (1 pre-packaged)
crackers and cheese - Good thins and cheddar or laughing cow (low fat)  (I believe 15ish crackers with this one)
apple 
banana
raw veggies with "low fat" dip... didn't do that on purpose, but bought it on accident once and it actually tasted better, so that's what we buy now.  =0)
It's hard for me to say what he eats when.... these are the things that I keep on hand, and he chooses each day based on what he feels like having that day.  =0)
 
Lunch (with salad most days or raw veg/fruit) plus one of the following
Usually leftovers from dinner
PB (best Piggly Wiggly store brand) & Jelly (sugar free jelly, check carbs and serving sizes on bread, "nature's own" seems to be best) Check serving sizes, actually is an adequate amount, though it won't seem so in the beginning.
Egg salad sandwiches
tuna fish sandwiches
 
Dinner
Usually out of a diabetic living cookbook... but sometimes when a craving hits, stuff that just isn't that good for him, but smaller serving sizes.
"Always start with salad and if dinner doesn't fill you, have a bit more salad at the end." (after he makes carbs for meal (we shoot for 45ish) he'll have a bit more salad if he's still hungry.)
 
Favorites....
meatballs with balsamic cherry sauce, with roasted root veg
Mini meat loaves (cooked in cupcake pan easy to see serving sizes!!) - with large salad  - I may add either low carb veg (asparagus or green beans), or mashed potatoes if the day is low in carbs
Chicken Rolls (Pollo Relleno) with greens and couscous, and steamed carrot sticks
Chicken BLT wrap with fresh veg and dip
Pork Medallions with Lemon-pecan spinach and rice (I tried brown rice, but he really doesn't like it.)
Salmon, asparagus, roasted potatoes and leeks
Basil-Lemon Shrimp Linguine with Baby greens with oranges (salad)
Szechwan Chicken and Veg stir fry
 
If we have something that is high carb (mashed potatoes) I try to pair it with something that is lower carb for the rest of the meal.... Most veg is low carb....  salads change flavor by what you put in them (fruit surprised him, but he likes it), fish or chicken generally can be low carb... and when I make things that have higher carbs (mac and cheese or spaghetti) and make sure that there's a large salad before, and the serving sizes are known.
 
We eat a variety of foods and lots of plants (like 3/4th the plate usually).  
 
But sometimes (like last night was DD's birthday) we have club sandwiches, veg tray, and piece of b-day cake.  (We bought pizza for the kiddos, having 15-17 in the house this evening.)  He had a chicken/ vegetable (peppers, onions, carrots, and broccoli)/ pasta dish (leftover) for lunch.  (**More chicken and veg than pasta.**)  Snacks were applesauce, and pringles, and this evening more veggie tray.  Breakfast was 2 breakfast bars, because he was running late.  
 
Drinks... He has found that he prefers the no sugar squirt bottles to flavor water, better than he likes plain water, so he drinks 3-4 20 oz bottles mixed with those things.  And a cup of coffee with Stevia. (yesterday)
He also drinks Coke Zero (likes it better than other diet sodas) although he did have a diet mello yellow (he thinks) that he liked.  And he likes the diet lemon-aid from Chick-filet.  (but he didn't have those yesterday.)
 
Did that answer your question?  I can keep track for a few days of what he eats.  
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Oh, my goodness, this is awesome! Yes. It answered my question. Thank you for sharing all of it. DH and I have a long family history of type 2 diabetes and I really want to avoid it in the future.

 

I have really enjoyed reading your posts about the progress you and your husband have made over the last year. I love seeing that he is able to eat normal things -- like yogurt, roasted potatoes, sandwiches and crackers with cheese. I need to pay more attention to bread and jam carbs.

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For roasted veg, I bought a "spritzer".... It sprays like a can of Pam, but is whatever oil I choose to put in it (and without the chemicals), and enables me to put a very light coating on the veg.  When roasting potatoes, I generally add other veg in with them.  It "stretches" them a bit and makes them look like more (without adding more carbs).

 

Saltine crackers are 6-7 per serving... I replaced them with "good thins", which give the flavor and texture of crackers without all the carbs (they are made from veg, not flour), AND is 15-16 per serving.... there are a LOT of varieties of "good thins", some are better than others!!  Smash up the ones you don't like and use as "cracker crumbs" in baking/cooking.  =0)
 
With bread, watch the serving size on the packages.... sometimes it is 1 slice, sometimes 2.  Sneaky people!  
 
Good luck!  It's a real pain in the pahtooty in the beginning, but once you get past the learning curve, it becomes normal.  =0)  And it's SO worth it!
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