Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Knowing is Half the Battle

My Mom always taught us growing up that doctors are people too and they can be wrong. This lesson was courtesy of her Father, a doctor. I grew up respecting doctors but always maintained that healthy skepticism. It isn't that I don't trust my doctors, but I make sure I double check their work.

In September of 2005, my doctors were wrong, or maybe more accurately, they were mistaken. I was diagnosed as a Type II Diabetic. I presented all of the classic symptoms and I was massively overweight. I was prescribed Metformin and went along my merry way. I cut out the carbs and managed my blood sugar like I was getting paid for it. Everything was going great until about a year ago when my blood sugar started to creep up with no explanation.

I had great control of my blood sugar. At one point I pulled off an HBA1C of 5.7 (pretty spectacular considering I started at 10+). Fast forward a little more than 4 years and my HBA1C had crept back up to 6.3 and my fasting blood sugar numbers were far higher than I or my Doctor would prefer (140 range). After some in depth research I discovered that it isn't just children that can be newly diagnosed as Type 1 diabetics. I discovered the world of Late Onset Type 1 Diabetes and its dozens of other names.

Newly informed, I made my way to my Endocrinologist's office and we talked about what I had found. It was an easy conversation as he had come to the same conclusion; It was time to run some tests. Specifically, he ordered up a GAD antibody test and C-Peptide screening. Our suspicions were confirmed. I was never a Type 2 diabetic but rather a slow onset Type 1.

The story has a happy ending. I'm now utilizing insulin and controlling my blood sugar better than I have in years. I'll be switching from injections to the Omnipod insulin pump system in the next month and I couldn't be happier with my results with insulin. I'm lucky that I have an amazing Doctor and that we were able to work together but I've read a lot of horror stories about diabetics having to demand tests to determine the correct diagnosis. My story and the others like me show just how important it is to work with your Doctor and to always double check their work. Everyone can make mistakes.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Losing It

I lost some weight when I found out I was diabetic (135 lbs, down from 240 lbs). I didn't do anything special and I didn't join any clubs or follow any weight loss guru. I get a lot of questions about how I lost the weight so I thought I would share my strategy. Fair warning, if you are trying to lose weight you probably won't like my advice. My method is not for everyone but it worked for me.

The short version is pretty simple. Don't eat so much.

Luckily, the long version is just as simple. For starters, don't eat so much. Portion control is the single most powerful change any person can make to their eating habits. The good news about portion control is that as you lose weight, your portions will naturally become smaller and it will be easier and easier to control them. There are plenty of resources out there if you are looking for suggestions on portions but if you want to go the easy route just read the label on your food. The label has a serving size that the vast majority of people ignore but in reality that serving is pretty reasonable and much less than you would normally eat.

Another change every person needs to make is not calling what you do a "diet". If it is a diet you might as well quit now because the word diet implies temporary. If you truly want to lose weight you have to permanently change your eating habits. You have to create good habits that you can follow for the rest of your life. This is why fad diets and a lot of the weight loss programs fail. People lose weight while they are following their chosen diet but as soon as they get back to living the life of a normal person the weight comes right back.

Finally, get some exercise. You don't have to become a gym rat or train for the Ironman. What you do need to do though is get outside, do some walking, ride a bike, walk your dog, play with your kids, do whatever it is you can fit into your day. A little exercise can go a long way.

You'll notice I'm not giving food specific advice. It isn't nearly as important what you eat as it is how much you eat. I'm not suggesting you go on a diet of doughnuts and beef jerky in small portions but if you are eating reasonable portions, you don't have to confine yourself to salads and rice cakes. In general, everyone could cut out some carbs and fat in their diet. However, if you are cutting your portions down, you will naturally be cutting a lot of fat and carbs. Whatever you eat, keep the concept of balance in mind. There should always be a balance of carbs, fat, protein and fiber in your diet. Your body needs all of those things to function properly and most of us get fat because we are eating way too much of everything.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Obligatory Introduction

Whether it is self indulgence or some megalomaniacal plan, I decided to start a blog. An introduction is probably needed to provide perspective to my commentary. I'm 29 which means Bill Clinton was in the news a lot during my formative years.

I'm physically disabled. Specifically, I've been partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair since I was almost 3 years old. In addition to the whole not walking thing, I'm a type II diabetic. My diabeetus is completely under control and after 26 years of the handicapped thing I've got that pretty much handled. I don't mind (in fact I encourage) questions about either.

I know a little about a lot of things. I've got 7.2 billion hobbies at any given time. I'll be posting at completely inconsistent intervals but in the meantime check out my links, they are far more interesting than this blog for the most part.

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