Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cure for Type 2 Diabetes?

I've included all 3 parts of my story in this 1 post-
but you might want to read it over a period of a few days.
It's long, but it's important--- to me anyway.
Part I

Once, when I was 17- I was in my history class and I began to feel ill.

The room swirled around me and darkness filled my peripheral vision.
Sweat began to bead on my back, neck, chest and head- making my long hair damp underneath; next- the acrid taste of bile filled the back of my throat.
I felt myself falling out of my desk...and powerless to stay in my seat, I slumped to the floor.

The captain of the football team, who was adorable and had never looked at me twice, was sitting near by and jumped up to help me. Unfortunately when I revived, I threw up on him :(
(Sorry Kemp!) He never did ask me out- and I still feel bad about what happened.

My black-outs continued, once when I was driving my car... very frightening.

Otherwise healthy and in good shape I baffled a few Dr.'s before anyone realized that I had "low blood sugar".
I went to a nutritionist, and was warned that "low blood sugar" was the predecessor of Diabetes. I recall the nutritionist telling me that peanut butter was an excellent food to ward off a low sugar attack...except that it's full of fat, and sugar...but I was willing to try anything to keep from passing out.

Diabetes has plagued my family for at least 4 generations.

And probably longer than that-
The complications of this illness has shortened the lives of my Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Great Uncles, and even found it's way into the life of my 5 year old nephew 11 years ago.

My mom was diagnosed in her early 40's and now suffers from neuropathy (nerve death) in her hands, feet, stomach, and brain. She will be 57 next month.


__________
Part II

For the next 18 years I struggled with low blood sugar, weight gain, dieting, and the icing on the cake- giving birth to my beautiful children- which brought more havoc to my body.

Ironically the only time my blood sugar was really stable- and I lost weight- was in the first 5 months of my pregnancies. There was a clue there- but I missed it.

I ate at regular intervals. I craved protein- lots of it. Sweet things made me feel sick and I didn't want them. I also craved veggies, and salmon, and milk. I didn't completely eliminate all the starches from my diet- but I didn't want them. I also eliminated caffeine- and sodas of every kind.
I never got sick- and I lost over 20 pounds. The OB Dr. was worried, but the weight was coming off in all the right places- and I had never eaten better in my life. I gave birth to a very healthy boy- who weighed almost 9 pounds.

After his birth I went back to the old diet.
Pasta's, potatoes, bread, rice- at least 2 or more of these things were served at every dinner. High Carb, low fat...that was the way to lose weight! Everyone said so- and I did my level best to make it work.

Except it didn't work.
Nothing worked.

I tried phen/fen. Lost 30 pounds...barely eating anything- and most of those foods were carbs.
The weight returned as soon as I went off the meds.

I wanted to kill myself, I really did. Postpartum depression with baby #2 almost sent me over the edge. I was 26 years old.

The Dr. put me on Paxil- the brother of Prozac.
Soon, I quit thinking of ways to harm myself...but I also quit writing...which was very strange for me. It was as if all the flood gates had been cut off- the good ones, as well as the bad.
I had to change meds. Life returned to normal- except that my 5'1 frame was carrying about 70 pounds more than it should have.

That alone was enough to make me want to drive my car off of a bridge, however, I kept looking for a solution.

_________________________

Part III

In 2005, I started reading about the Atkins diet, and the South Beach diet.
I was stunned by what I learned...about how all those carbs I had been eating were turning into sugar in my system. That sugar was causing my inuslin to spike, which would in turn force the sugar levels to drop...hence my low blood sugar.

The reason the peanut butter was an "ok" idea, was because it was full of protein, which helps the blood sugar to level out. A better choice would have been regular peanuts, or cashews, or pistachios, and of course a diet drink- not a Cherry coke to wash them down!

After realizing what I had been doing wrong for so long, I raided my pantry. I gave away, or threw out every box of pasta, hamburger helper, rices, potato dishes, bread mixes, and stuffings or dressings. My sister got most of the stuff...she is/was darn near perfect anyway! :)

I took the list of "approved foods" to the store, and bought everything that would fit into my grocery budget. We began eating alot of veggies and meat. No more "fluff" foods- fillers actually, like rice or bread. And NO more sweet tea (GASP! I'm in the South afterall!), which was hard to give up.

The headaches began right away, and they lasted for 3 weeks. The first 2 weeks were hellish.
The sugar cravings and headaches were terrible, but the books warned me that it might be tough- and to stick it out. The end result would be worth it- and I would never want to go back to sugar again when it was over. They were right.

Then the weight began to come off. Pound after pound slipped away. Next, I began walking for exercise. More weight came off. My Dr. was thrilled when I went in for my last visit- she told me I was within 15 pounds of her goal for me. My target is a little more than that- but being this close is a very good feeling...

But above and beyond everything- I've slashed my chances of getting diabetes to a very small percentage. This illness that has taken such a heavy toll on my family, Type 2 diabetes - can mostly be prevented with a low carb/low sugar diet and exercise.

I hope the cycle of Diabetes in my family- will END with me. My children have seen my struggles, and my success. I'm teaching directly, and by my example, that this illness does not have to take center stage in my life, or theirs...and it certainly does not need to be the "Life Sentence" that it has become for some.

I know this was lengthy and personal- and if you took the time to read it- then I hope it helps you...and if not you, then maybe it will help someone you love.
I'll always be on my guard against this illness- and ever striving to keep it at bay- but I think I can do it.

Sadly, I'm not sure I'll ever have a chance to make things right with Kemper...
perhaps he's forgotten???

I doubt it :)

28 comments:

The Phosgene Kid said...

Best advice when you go to the market, only buy things on the periphery of the store - produce, meats, fresh things. When you start getting in amongst the shelves; there be dragons...

puerileuwaite said...

Very educational and inspirational post, FM. For you see, diabetes also runs in my family, and I am a borderline diabetic. Fortunately I have a very high metabolism, so my weight is within normal range for my height. But I do have to watch my sugar intake. Thanks for sharing your story.

SJ said...

I am impressed you, as I said earlier rock. Thou Rocketh if you prefer it that way.

Mayden's Voyage said...

TPK-
You are so right! Veggies, fruit, meat, then Dairy...everything else is so scary! (lol- I didn't mean for that to rhyme...but I've been listening to the Beastie Boys- lol!)

Pug-
Men are blessed that way- most of them are- with a higher metabolism....but it slows down for some later on. I've watched it destroy too many people, people I love. I'm glad you are on top of it- really.

SJ-
LOL- "Thou Rocketh"
I might need a magnet for the fridge that says that...just to remind me that at least one person in the world thinks so :) Thank you friend :)

Anonymous said...

I had coffee and biscuits for lunch...busy...so that's all I had..was thinking of bread and coke..am I glad I didn't go for that...I have always been borderline low blood..I didn't know that this is ..this bad...hmmm..I think I would want to have my blood pressure checked once again...have been feeling dizzy...and the rice..the rice..I should really cut that out..Me Hubz and I were talking about changing our diet...vegetables..more fruits...we don't usually eat beef..but we do eat pork...is pork that bad I wonder..we only get lean meat...and only white chicken..I think I should take out pork..more fish..

Sorry...just thinking aloud here...

Excellent Post!..

( ps: waiting for your reply..)

Luxie

Anonymous said...

oh'..I'm sure Kemp there hasn't forgotten you...he!he!

Luxie doo'

iamnot said...

Wow...when can I meet your sister?

iamnot said...

I'm KIDDING!

No really, is she actually perfect?

iamnot said...

Ok, Ok....

I have a major sugar problem. Not direct health related issues, thankfully, but a major addiction nonetheless.
Thanks to you, I did NOT put sugar in the coffee I just got.
The next cup...that's another question.

Scary Monster said...

there may be some out there who will try to warn you to the dangers of the kind of diet that Dr Atkins espoused. DON't ever listen to them. Me was a truly big fat horrendously scary monster until Me read his book. Me did almost everything yous stated in your post and over the course of 18 months lost over 20 kilograms. Me physical & mental health is greatly improved in many ways. You stick to what works for you Mrs.C. Anything to keep that beautifull smile on your face is alright with me!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the sugar issues. I still can't get that stain out of my jeans, and they're my favorites.

-Kemper

Anonymous said...

/bark!

damn this beta it ate my comment!!

now i half to shorten it:

youve inspired me to tighten up on my food thing. im always sneaking out for mac and cheese and country fried steak and sweet potatoes at Son's place....a soul good kitchen in ATL.

at home is salmon salmon salmon. and greens.
boring!

thanks for the journey mayden

/grrrr

Mayden's Voyage said...

Luxie- the problem with caffeine is that it naturally lowers blood sugar- It's ok to drink it- just try to get some cheese, or meat, or egg in your system along with it. The protein will keep your blood sugar from bottoming out.

I have a lot of friends who drink coffee- and have a cookie, or even something "healthy" like a rice cake- and in 2 or 3 hours are sluggish- feel bad- are hungry...and their blood sugar is low. A bag of nuts and coffee would have been a better choice for them.

Iamnot-
LOL- ok, she's not perfect, but close. It's probably all the years she took karate that's helped...naturally I say she's perfect because I don't want her to beat me up :) LOL-

I love Splenda in my tea/coffee. I don't miss the sugar at all.
But it really was hard to break that addiction...one of the hardest things I've done.
But- it was astounding how I lost pounds and inches when I did...it almost seemed like magic. I just had to break the spell first~

Mayden's Voyage said...

Scary Monster-
Thank you... I so agree. We each have to find what works...but the research is out there, and we are living proof that it does work.

Kemp-
Sorry dude. You were so cute in high shcool...I wonder if it was your fault afterall~ for making my sugar spike- and then crash!
:)

Pooch- love you :)
Country fried steak and sweet potatoes are on the list! The rolls, brown sugar, sweet tea, and pie are not :)
I will never, ever, give up gravy! EVER! Mac and cheese are ok every now and then...but not every day :)
Grilled steak is on the list too-

One day I'll cook for you- and I promise- you won't miss any thing! :)
(oh- the fudge is not on the list either, but at Christmas time it is :)

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

grrrehrerhaha

forgot to tell you we laughed our asses off (dont i wish( when we found your note "out already? need more? freya said dont you dare ask for more fudge. youve got a stomach like a south georgia sherriff. grrherhaha

thanks again for the treats...esp. the "black and tans"

i think im going to give up sugar.....but i think my body will go into shock since its used to blue agave breaking down in my liver evey night.

mmmmmmm gravy! and biscuits!

i can live with your menu!!! im coming over~~

/wag

schaumi said...

i've had some relatives who've dealt with diabetes 2 issues. i don't think it's genetic on our part since it's so sporadic. i just think they ate themselves into that condition.
i just try to eat and drink things in moderation............except chocolate it seems.
i had a physical and blood work recently. i'm healthy except for being slightly iron deficient (anemic).
you should feel very proud of yourself for changing your diet AND making it a lifestyle change for you and your family. i'm very impressed by that.

Scary Monster said...

Mrs.C, Mrs.C The game is afoot. Can you come out and play. I think you have a solid chance...

Mayden's Voyage said...

K9-
I need to have a blog party where i just feed people! LOL~
I would love that :)

Schaumi-
Thank you~
I have to say- if it hadn't been for all the sad things I've seen working in the hospital- and with my mom- I'm not sure I would be as driven as I am about diabetes-
But it will come to me if I don't...and I don't want it!

SC- I came out to play :) Thanks for asking :)

Seven said...

This is an important message for many and I love the aspect of you taking control in such a willful manner.
You are 5'-1"?.....I love petite girls....just sayin...:p

The Phosgene Kid said...

Thanks for adding my site!

/t. said...

good
for you, mayden

and all best wishes
that you continue to a ripe and healthy old age -- sj said, thou rocketh! rock on!

/t.

JuJu Martini said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Diabetes runs in my family too, my paternal grandmother has it, and my dad died from the eventual complications from it. I also at a young age, experienced the hypoglycemic episodes which suck! I could use to lose a few pounds which would help a few health concerns for me as well. I recently read an article by Luther Vandross's mother...she lost all four of her children AND her husband to diabetes....she is BEGGING the public to be educated and tested. Personal stories seem to be the most inspiring...and persasive.

the pink reefer said...

as a former nurse, i have seen diabetes take limbs, kidney function, eye sight, and cause nasty things like heart disease and stroke. let's be clear - its the fluctuations in blood sugar that damage the body. let's also be clear - carbs are a part of a healthy diet.

however, BALANCE .... BALANCE ... is key. moderation. and .... making one's calories count. before you put the next piece of food in your mouth, ask yourself - are these 'worthless calories' ...? or do they give my body fuel?

anything that comes out of a box or a bag will probably make you look as wide as a box or a bag if you keep eating it.

carbs give the body energy. if not used, the body will store them as fat. so ... exercise will also keep blood sugar stable.

and that is my lecture for today.

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