10 February 2011

A health update of a different kind

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have noticed that back in October, I got some news of the health sort that I wasn't happy with and I haven't really shared.  I needed some time to process it, and I also needed some time to be ready to deal with some of reactions I'm sure I'll get.

Some of the more astute and loyal readers will probably have noticed that the most recipe I posted came from a diabetes magazine, which is a bit of a clue.  So I thought I might as well come clean.  While I could have just come across that recipe at some point, you'll be seeing more recipes from that particular publication, as I now subscribe to it.

A bit of background for those of you who may be new(er) readers: For the past few years, I have bounced in and out of pre-diabetes range.  I have lost weight (sometimes on my own and sometimes with the help of Weight Watchers), but when it came back, it could always be blamed on my thyroid condition flaring up.  This would mean I would gain all the weight I had lost plus a few more pounds.  While the extra pounds don't on their own put me in pre-diabetes range, it doesn't help since the first thing they'll tell you is to try to lose weight.

So, when I saw my endocrinologist in October, I took her the labs I had.  I actually had two sets of labs because the first set I had made NO sense whatsoever.  The first set had my cholesterol going up over 50 points in the past year despite me losing nearly 15 pounds (they also had everything else going the wrong way).  So I had a second one done.  This lab was also bad, but not nearly as bad as the first one.

Bottom line: Dr. El-Hajj said that she's worried about me.  Despite me working really hard to lose a lot of weight (my BMI had gone down 3.2 points in a year, which isn't too shabby), my blood sugar numbers had all gone UP, which is (obviously) not the expected result.  Also, I'm Korean (being Asian is a risk factor for diabetes, but Koreans are particularly at risk within that set), I carry most of my fat in my belly (which is a huge risk factor), and I don't know my medical history.

So she decided to put me on an on oral diabetes medication.  I take three pills every day with a low-fat supper (the consequences of having it with a non-low-fat supper are not-so-good), and I have a modified diet now.  No Coke (I never drink any anyway - no loss there.  Well, I drink diet decaf Coke, which my med team agrees doesn't count; it's basically carbonated flavoured water.), no juice (I only drink juice when I'm sick - so no real loss there, either), and fewer pizzas and pastas.  I probably only have pizza about three or four times a year, so that's not a huge hit.  Pasta isn't too bad.  when I do have pasta, I usually cook pasta with a ton of veggies in it.  I rarely just cook a box of mac and cheese and have that as a meal (unless I'm really desperate for comfort food or just exhausted).  The big thing is "no sweets."  So I've been doing a lot of sugar free snacks.  I actually read a lot of the information on the American Diabetes Association's webpage, and they don't ban sugar entirely.  They use a sugar exchange system.

Those of you who know me know I'm not huge on sweets anyway, so this hasn't been a huge hit to my diet, but I have been much mindful of how many sweets I eat and the sugar exchanges - breads, fruits, etc.

I've been selective about who I've shared this with thus far (partly because it's just a LONG story) but also because I really haven't wanted to hear "but at least you don't actually HAVE diabetes!"  And while that's true, and while I'm grateful that I don't have to deal with diabetes or checking my blood sugar daily (or more often) or insulin shots or having to timing my meals just so (my mother's husband has diabetes, so I'm very familiar with the routine), this HAS still had an impact on my life.  And it may for either the rest of my life or until I actually develop diabetes.  I have my next blood draw... well, it was supposed to be late-January or early-February, but I've been down with this bronchitis, so when I'm back on my feet, I'll drag my butt to the lab and we'll see if this newest experiment has been worth it.

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