Four months on from T2 Diagnosis....
I had a 3-monthly blood test, followed by another visit to the diabetic nurse.
The results were 'pretty' good.
My HbA1c blood sugar count has dropped to 45, but not quite as much as I'd hoped, but still, overall, OK.
My total cholesterol has gone up a little – but this is to be expected while in the phase of getting things really back on track.
How long will that take? 6 months, a year? Nobody can predict. We're all different. Some people get their numbers down very quickly, some, like me apparently, more slowly.
It probably depends on a number of factors including how long I had problems without realizing it, just how knackered my pancreas is, how insulin-resistant my cells are, just how much visceral fat I had to shift. Plus how strictly I adhered to the LCHF routine – which was 'quite'.
All we can do is try and keep improving things.
I do get frustrated when I see people in the supermarket with a trolley-full of crap. Crisps, 2-litre bottles of coke, oven-ready pizzas etc. etc.
Many of these people are large already and I feel like giving them a kick up the backside as they waddle past, often with overweight children in tow.
Meanwhile I'm peering at the carbohydrate content on something I wouldn't have gone anywhere near a few months ago.
Carbohydrate numbers are printed on all packaged foods these days.
One important thing that the blood tests show is triglyceride levels.
Triglycerides are a type of fat floating around in our blood.
We need them as they are a major source of our energy, but high levels can put you at risk, particularly of heart disease.
Raised levels can indicate metabolic problems, including diabetes.
Mine thankfully have dropped appreciably – which is great.
It is an indicator that things are improving.
However, the nurse all but scotched the improvement saying, 'they go up and down from day to day, and appreciably sometimes. I wouldn't pay to much attention to them.'
So that took the wind out of my sails. Thanks!
Then, further encouragement, 'your glucose levels could just as easily rise again next time you know.' Thanks again!
Once again, she showed little sign of approving of my efforts and I came away feeling a bit like an inadequate dog.
Sometimes I feel she won't be happy till I'm eating carbohydrate and taking medication to deal with them!
I wonder if she's spurring me on or building my mausoleum?
I do know that some of the things I had been eating and drinking were not as good for me as they might have been. I've taken to eating peanuts as a snack and, with all the coffee I drink (mainly decaf) I was taking in over a litre of semi-skimmed milk per day – which has carbs in it – more than whole milk!
Neither of these are particularly good for someone following a strict regime, so I know, with changing other things too, I can do better. Despite this I feel I'm heading in the right direction.
The other thing that can prohibit an improvement in blood sugars is excess stress.
In fact excess stress can cause a rise in blood sugars.
And for reasons I won't go into I've had a fair bit of stress recently too.
Stress can actually be very bad, apart from making you feel generally down, it can cause all sorts of problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
So, somehow I need to get round that conundrum.
I continue to visit www.diabetes.co.uk, sometimes multiple times daily. Particularly when I feel a bit insecure.
I have got to the point where I can offer very basic advice. But of course I, like most of the others, do not and cannot offer actual medical advice.
I do try and offer encouragement and sympathy for those who need it, particularly when things are not going to plan for them.
All we can do is use our own experience, and that of others, to advise and encourage.
Sometimes the best advice is, 'get yourself to the doctor, or A & E.'
We can be blinded by our own fears and kid ourselves that everything is alright when it clearly isn't.
It's sometimes easier for others to spot my potential problems, or for me to spot theirs.
Diabetes is a very serious business, not to be messed with - despite many people's antipathy towards it.
I'll repeat this......
'It's only Type 2,' I heard one person say the othe day, 'most people have it, it's no big deal.'
I continue to learn and visit my virtual friends.
I'm documenting my problems for two reasons:
Firstly, writing things down helps me understand and organize my thoughts (though you might not think so reading this lot!).
Secondly, I want to inform people about diabetes.
It's the most common disease in the western world. It is growing exponentially (or being diagnosed exponentially). And it will continue to grow.
You, me, everyone can make changes. Even small ones can make all the difference.
Equally important is to try and change the way we are advised how to live, and the way we are treated.
This is a bit more difficult.
Treatment of diabetes generally is not bad, but it could be much better.
Perhaps it's fair to say that in an emergency, when forced to go to A & E for example, the treatment is fast and good.
It's more the routine stuff where the problem lies. (If anything about diabetes can be deemed routine).
My diagnosis came about through an old duffer's MOT at my local surgery. I'm not sure how long this initiative has been going nor how widely it is made available, but for me, and I'm sure many others, it is brilliant.
Initial consultations seem to be a haphazard affairs. Some wonderful, others far less so.
Dietary and medical advice vary alarmingly.
There appears a distinct lack of joined-up thinking. This may be because people's knowledge and experience of the condition is changing - and being changed - by recent studies.
Consequently, sometimes people like me are forced to rely on non-medics to seek answers and try and find a way forward.
Some people get follow-up appointments (specialist diabetic nurse, eye screen or podiatrist for example) within days, others are literally sent out of the door to fend for themselves. They subsequently have to rely on pestering their GPs surgeries to be referred – very possibly having had advice from a forum like ours.
Right now, I fervently believe that some people are being short-changed. That's putting it politely.
So, if by reading this 'diary', if one single person is spared the angst of what I or the thousands in my on-line community have been through, and continue to go through, I'll be a happy chap.
I'm normally pretty frivolous and try and make people smile.
The difficulty with that is that when I'm trying to be serious, only serious people with no sense of humour take me seriously!
This time I want you all to listen.
Finally, and I don't normally go with this, but please try and pass this on to everyone you know.
It might just save their life.
Next: More check-ups