Monday, October 10, 2016


by Karen

We all know someone who is diabetic.  Just like everybody these days knows someone who has cancer or someone who has died from cancer.  I think this  growth in knowledge speaks to more education being  undertaken about these diseases as well as the fact that people are more willing to share stories of various progressive illnesses.

When I first got diagnosed with diabetes, one of the first things I had to learn was about blood glucose and blood sugar.  I had to learn about carbohydrates as against starch.  I also had to learn more about how my body works and how it uses the food that I eat to not only generate energy but also how my insulin, which is naturally produced reacts to blood glucose.

I won't bore you with the details of this but suffice it to say, I should have paid a lot more attention in biology class.

In the first few days after diagnosis, I usually stopped at my local pharmacy to get it checked.  Part of the problem was that I was afraid to stick myself with a needle (lancet). The second and most significant was that I did not have a testing kit.

When I decided to get my own testing kit (no matter how much my pharmacist and I like each other, I think I was beginning to bore him), I looked online for not only affordability but also I had to do some research regarding the readings. When my doctor sat down with me she spoke to me about what my blood glucose readings should be like.  She explained how my body breaks down food to convert it into glucose and how it then uses that glucose to allow me to do the things that I do, like exercise.  

One thing that I never really understood about diabetes is how come if my body is not breaking down the glucose in my body, why in certain situations my blood sugar goes down, and I need something sweet to eat.  It was then that the explanation came about white blood cells and AIDS.  She explained to me that insulin is similar to my white blood cells.  It is produced by the pancreas.  The pancreas releases insulin to break down the sugar in my body.  If there is too much sugar in my body, my pancreas will release insulin to combat it.  The more sugar, the more insulin.  After awhile, the amount of insulin that is being released plateaus and it becomes meaningless.  It is no longer breaking down the sugar in my body and this is how insulin resistance comes into play. 

So, the first step was diet.  I couldn't really starve myself so I had to relearn about complex carbs, how they work.  I had to start reading labels again.  One thing I have become very savvy about is reading labels.  I try my best not to buy prepackaged foods.  I try to cook every single meal and whenever I have left overs I take it to work. 

However, I am a working woman with a busy life and so, especially in the mornings, I have to use stuff that is already packaged.  To wit, bread and sardines have become one of my favourite breakfast items.  Ever since growing up in Jamaica, I have always loved bread and so as I was now deprived from eating white hardough bread hot from the ovens of Captain's Bakery slathered with lots of butter, I had to find a bread that would not only fill me up but be healthy as well.  Enter Rudi's whole range of breads.  They are not the fanciest and they are certainly not the cheapest but they taste good and they do what they are supposed to do.  My favourite from this line is their Honey Sweet Whole Wheat, their Seeded bread as well as the regular Whole Wheat bread.  I have also tried their gluten free burger buns which are absolutely delicious.   You can find them in the frozen food aisle in the supermarkets. 

But back to blood glucose testing.  So I have now purchased the whole kit & kaboodle of blood testing.  I went with Embrace.  One, the test strips are much less expensive than One Touch and it speaks to me which I find to be quite helpful.  

Keeping a track of blood glucose is for me the most rewarding aspect of being a diabetic. Seeing my blood glucose fall from the alarming heights of 178 mg/dl to 140 and then down to 125 tells me that my diet and exercise regime is working. 

For the past 5 days my fasting blood glucose has been below 100 mg/dl.  The highest I have been in the last 5 days is 140 and this is because I had a pack of Cheez-Its (snack packs). 

This morning (10 October) was my fifth day waking up to a below 100 fasting blood glucose.  I am tempted to call my doctor and share the good news but I want to wait some more and see if it will continue. 

On Saturday (8 October) I did a weigh in at my doctor's office.  I have lost 17 pounds since I was diagnosed.  The jacket that I am wearing in this picture is one that I have had for over 5 years.  Today is the first time since I bought this jacket that I was able to wear it in the way it is supposed to be worn.  My weight loss goal is 2 pounds per week.  I have surpassed that goal by 1 pound entering the week of 10 October.  

I have upped my walking from 30 minutes per day to now 45 minutes per day.  I now do a mile in 16 minutes, up from 24 minutes.  I ran full out for 2 minutes last week and all my clothes are fitting once again.  I feel absolutely proud of myself. 

As soon as I have reached another milestone, I will no doubt share this with you guys.  

Thanks to everyone for reading and I do enjoy the comments.