My Continued Fight Against Diabetes

So after a 5 mile run I came home to great news. I got my bloodwork back before my latest doctor visit tomorrow. My A1C was 5.2. December 2014 my A1C was 7.2 and my doctor wanted to put me on a second medication, one that’s strongly linked with causing liver problems.

No, thank you!

I had already been taking Metformin since August 2008. Well, that was the kick up the butt I needed. I joined @MyFitnesspal and started running and by April 21st (my birthday) I was able to stop taking Metformin altogether. I have been drug free since then. I lost a total of 35 lbs since I started that health journey. I have had no problem maintaining my weight loss.

In June 2015 my A1C was 5.8. Last August it was 5.3 and now it’s down to 5.2.  For those that don’t know, the A1C is a blood test that gives a three month snapshot of how your body’s blood glucose level is.  There seem to be some slight disagreement on the exact numbers but generally if your A1C is 6.5 or higher you are considered diabetic.

To anyone who is type 2 diabetic: You CAN beat it. You CAN get off medication. You CAN live a healthy life. But it isn’t easy. It requires a serious lifestyle change. It requires hard work. It requires dedication. The only question is…are you willing to do what it takes to turn your health around? I did. I’m living proof that you can do anything you set your mind to.IMG_20170627_145423_787

Latest Updates On Our Health Journey

latest comparison

Chris Comparison.jpg

I’ve just realized I haven’t blogged in quite a while.  Sorry about that!  So here’s my latest update on our health journey.

We went away on a sort of working vacation in May.  Although we managed to eat within calories most of the time, we were eating out every day.  We were also too busy to get in any real exercise until the last day or two.  After we came back I guess I slacked off on my running a little bit.  My weight crept back up around 5 lbs and I noticed my pants were starting to feel a little snug.  Having gone from size 40 to size 32 I am in no mood to undo all the hard work I’ve put in!

So we made a recommitment to get back to the grindstone.   I tightened up on my calories and got back to running.  Our local parks department is hosting a weekly 2 mile fun run.  I’ve been on three of them and each time I have been faster.  Last night the temperature at the start was 85 degrees.  Luckily the run happens at 8pm so the sun is close to the horizon.  At least I don’t have to deal with the full heat of the sun during my run.  This was still my hottest run ever and somehow it was also my fastest ever 2 mile run.  I came in at 17 minutes and 1.9 seconds.  My legs were like rubber as I crossed the finish line!  Last summer I did all my running on the treadmill.  I will still do a lot of my running on the treadmill but I am committed to doing as many of these fun runs as I can no matter how hot it gets.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Even on the treadmill I am pushing my fitness.  I now run 3 miles on the hill function.  Which involves a lot of hills!

The net result of this is not only did I lose those extra 5 lbs but I am now .2 lbs away from my goal weight of 155!  Now I have to decide if I want to maintain at a range of 150-155lbs or 155-160lbs.  I’m not sure about that just yet.  I love that losing weight through calorie counting has allowed me complete control over my weight.  If I start to gain weight I know exactly what I need to do to get rid of those unwanted extra pounds.  I don’t need to panic or freak out and go back to my old ways.  I am committed to this for the rest of my life.  And my sugar levels are still great.  This morning my fasting sugar was 77.  I’m hopeful I can stay off medication for the rest of my life.

And Chris is doing great, too.  She is a BEAST at the gym!  She loves lifting weights and I am seeing a real change in the way she looks.  I’m proud of her for sticking with this.  She has struggled with her weight for most of her life and knowing I have inspired her to do this makes me feel proud of myself too.  I haven’t been an inspiration to many people in my life.  I love that we are in this together.  We hold each other accountable.  She doesn’t let me off with anything and I keep her going too.  Our relationship is stronger than ever.  We are both in this for life.  And I will post more often to share our journey.

Running As A Stress Buster

runners fuelrunners relief

Tomorrow I go for what is now going to become a regular 3 mile fun run.  I want to beat my previous time of 31:04.  Hopefully going on these runs with my running club will push me to improve, to get stronger, faster.  It’s going to be chilly tomorrow so I get to wear a new pair of sweat pants I bought last week.

I also intend to use running to help me deal with a new health concern I have.  I have a cataract in my right eye.  My vision in that eye is seriously impaired.  I can see shapes and colors, but I can’t see a lot of detail.  I have a cataract forming in my left eye, too.  I know cataract surgery is one of the most common and simple surgeries.  But it’s still scary.  I hate the thought of anyone messing with my eyes.  I don’t think anyone likes that.  Since I was diagnosed a diabetic, the idea of going blind is the one thing that scares me the most.  Even more than the idea of dropping dead from a heart attack.  Diabetes is a truly horrible disease and it can cause damage to so many parts of the body.  The frustrating thing is my sugar is under control right now.  My fasting sugar is still averaging in the 70’s and 80’s.  Yet this cataract has been getting steadily worse for over a month.  I get surgery on my right eye on the 11th November.  On the 2nd December I go back to get the same procedure on the left eye.  It has been so frustrating lately.  I have to use reading glasses and a magnifying glass to read a book.  I just can’t wait until it’s all over so I can see clearly again.  The doctor told me that cataracts happen faster with diabetics.  She also said getting outside and exposing my eyes to extra sunlight because I’m out more with my running could have sped up the process.  Unfortunately I’ve never been the type to wear sunglasses.

At least I can still run.  Running will help me deal with the stress of my impending surgeries.  It’s bad enough having to go through it once, but knowing that just a few weeks later I have to do it all again with my other eye just makes it so much worse.

Talking of running, the pics above are of products I’m using that help me with my running.  The first pic shows the Access bar.  This is a delicious bar I eat about fifteen minutes before I start to run, or before I start any kind of exercise.  It helps fuel my workout, giving me energy for whatever workout I’m going to do.  It also helps the body access fat stores.  I wouldn’t want to run without eating one first!  The protein shake is delicious and it’s something I look forward to drinking when I go home after a run.

The second pic shows the products I use for my post workout.  There is nothing better than a long soak in the bath after a good workout at the gym or after a hard run.  The essential oils are especially soothing.  The Pain-A-Trate is great for soothing sore leg muscles after my run.  All these products are available from an amazing online Wellness company we shop with.  Running is so much better with them!

Stepping Up My Fitness

leg pic

I really love what running is doing to my body.  Since I started running I’ve lost 25 lbs.  My sugar is much better,  My A1C is in the normal range and I’m off Metformin, a drug for diabetes.

I have joined a local running club.  I went to a track workout last night.  That workout really kicked my butt.  I ran three miles.  But I really picked up my speed.  The first three laps I ran with the leaders of the group.

Which was fun.  But probably a bit of a mistake, too.  I ran an 8 minute mile pace for about six minutes before I felt my pace start to flag.  It was exhilarating to run that fast.  I usually average a 12 minute mile.  It might have been a slight mistake though because my legs felt so heavy for the rest of my run.  It’s a good experience for my first 5K race, which I think will be happening in the next few weeks.

Don’t start too fast.

And run your own pace.

Still, it was a great workout.  I felt it this morning.  But today I’m having a new problem.  I seem to be having a low sugar day.  My fasting sugar this morning was 69.  I tend to average somewhere between mid 70’s and mid 80’s.  So this was a little lower.

Three hours after breakfast my sugar was 72.  I’m used to it being around 120 -130 at this point.

Two hours after lunch it was 85.  That’s definitely on the low side.  Half hour later it had dropped to 78.  I haven’t been active today to cause my sugar to be like this.  It’s worrying because I know over the coming weeks and months I’m going to be running further and probably faster.  I’m going to have to watch I don’t have any sugar crashes while I’m running.  We’re also planning on going to the gym later so I have to worry that my sugar might crash while I’m working out.

I know I pushed myself hard last night, but Sunday I ran 4.5 miles and my sugar was fine the day after that.  This is a new situation for me.  I test every morning anyway, but I’m going to monitor my sugar carefully over the next week or so.  Saturday I’m running a three mile fun run with my new running group.

At least I have GC Control to stabilize my sugar.  I’ve always used it to lower my sugar when it’s high.  Now I’m going to be using it to normalize my sugar when it’s on the low side.  That’s what GC Control is meant to do.  Stabilize your sugar level.  This is a new way to use it.

Does anyone have any advice on how to manage sugar levels and prevent crashes when running or working out?

Drug Companies: A Rant

This blog is going to be something of a rant.  A rant about the way things are in the US.  I’m not attacking this country.  I love it here.  But I really hate the way some things are.  When I turn on the television if I had a nickel for every time I see an ad for a drug company I would be rich man very quickly.  It seems every channel has them.

“Ask your doctor about this.”

“Ask your doctor about that.”

“This drug can help you with…<insert illness of choice.>

Then they very quickly go through a list of side effects. And those side effects are often many and serious.  I’m not saying drugs are never the answer.  Sometimes they are needed.

But sometimes you can help yourself with a simple lifestyle change.

I was diagnosed a type two diabetic in August 2008.  I was immediately put on Metformin.  To be honest I don’t really know how much Metformin really helped me.  My A1C was never lower than 6.6.  My fasting sugar never averaged below 120.  The GC Control shakes made a much bigger difference than Metformin, bringing my sugar down when it was high.  Metformin never did that,

But what really turned things around was changing my lifestyle.  When I started counting calories, when I started losing weight, when I started RUNNING my A1C came down to 5.8 and my fasting sugar now averages in the 70’s and 80’s.

Metformin never did ANY of that!

For many of us, our lifestyle is what’s hurting us.  Mine certainly hurt me.  Once I got that in my thick head, once I changed my lifestyle I helped myself more than ANY drug ever could.

Yet on our screens we are not told that.  We are told “drugs are the answer.”

“Ask your doctor about…”

BULLSHIT!

Instead, ask your doctor if a healthier lifestyle might help.  I think often doctors decide to go with drugs because they don’t trust us to make a lifestyle change that we can stick with.  And they often get a kickback from the drug companies.

When my doctor told me my blood test results he asked me how I did it.  When I told him, he seemed almost as happy as I was.  His assistant came into the room my doctor proudly told him what I’d said.  Doctors want us to be healthy.  It’s their job to help us.

But drug companies don’t make money out of us when we are fit and well.  So they will keep peddling their junk on us, trusting in us to keep relying on them instead of doing one thing that can really make a difference to our lives.

Get off our asses and MOVE MORE!

End of rant.

Setting And Reaching Goals

weight loss pic

When I started my health journey in March this year, I set myself two clear goals.

  1. Get off diabetes medication by getting my sugar under control.
  2. Get down to wearing size 32 pants.

The first goal I achieved as early as June.  The second one I finally accomplished yesterday.

In March I was wearing size 38 / 40 pants.  I was at that borderline stage where some pants fit at 38 but some only fit at 40.  Clothes can be weird like that.

My wife, Christine, and I went shopping yesterday, as we both badly need new clothes.  We’ve undergrown the ones we currently own.  I like to say that.  It’s definitely better than overgrowing them.  In June I had tried on a pair of size 32 jeans but couldn’t get close to doing them up.  I was down to size 34 at that time.  Yesterday I finally fit into a pair of size 32’s.  I didn’t even have to struggle to button them up.  No breathing in or squirming.  They just fit.  So I am now the proud owner of two brand spanking new pairs of size 32 jeans!  Christine also found she had dropped a whole pant size.  Needless to say we are both very happy.

Now I can’t help looking back at far I have come in a short space of time.  To think in December 2014 the doctor wanted to put me on a second diabetes drug and now I’m not on any!  I still can’t quite believe that.  I monitor my fasting sugar every morning.  I average in the upper 70’s to low 80’s.  I have noticed when I have a good workout my sugar usually responds by being in the mid to upper 70’s for a couple of days.

At my heaviest I weighed 215 lbs.  Admittedly that was a few years ago now.  I wore size 40 pants in those dark days.  I almost went up to size 42.  That was a trigger for me to lose some weight.  I managed to get down to 190 and size 38 pants.  While I still wasn’t happy with the way I looked, I maintained that weight for several years.  Until a medical necessity gave me the push to continue my weight loss journey.

Which brings me to an important factor in getting healthy.  Motivation.  Losing weight, getting fit, they take time and a lot of effort.  As I’m often reminded on the MyFitnessPal site I belong to, I didn’t gain that weight overnight and I won’t lose it overnight either.  Especially if I want to sustain that loss.  Motivation is key to sustaining any weight loss.  It can be long, slow and very frustrating.  I went through a phase where I didn’t lose a pound for three or four weeks.  That can be enough to derail some people.  But I knew I was doing the right activities.  I knew I was losing inches even if the pounds didn’t move.  And then I lost 3 lbs in the space of a week and, just like that, I was off and losing again.

Many factors have contributed to my weight loss.  Counting calories.  Running.  Lifting weights at the gym.  And I’m going to mention the products our Wellness company makes again, because they have also played a part.  GC Control helps regulate my sugar.  Peak Performance vitamins give me more energy.  Our Pro Flex protein shake is always a good way to finish a strong workout.  But on their own they’ll only carry you so far.  You still have to put the effort and hard work in.  Which I have.

Diabetes used to be a slow death sentence.  But it doesn’t have to be, these days.  I’m only going to talk about type 2 diabetes, because I realize type 1 is a whole different dynamic.  I don’t really know much about type 1, though I imagine exercise would probably give some benefit there, too.

Just moving can make a big difference.  A daily walk, lifting weights, running.  Losing weight is all about burning more calories than you’re consuming.  Which with the western diet is not as easy as it sounds.  Even as a diabetic I can still have pasta, pizza, bagels and all the other high carb foods.  In moderation, of course.  I just make sure they fit in my calorie count for the day.

Now that I’ve reached the two goals I originally set myself I have to set new ones.  Because it’s all about moving forward.  Without goals we just stagnate.  So the obvious goal is to maintain what I’ve already achieved.  In a way the hard work is just beginning.  I’m close to my goal weight now.  I’m at my goal size.  Now I want to improve my body shape, work on getting my fitness up.  I might run a 5K in the Fall.  At the moment the temperature is in the low to mid 90’s outside and humid.  Not good running weather.  When the cooler Fall weather (hopefully) arrives I’ll be ready to get out and run at least every other day.

I know I’m not cured of diabetes.  I know if I let myself slip back into old habits my sugar will start to creep back up.  But we’re both committed to our new healthy lifestyle.  I may have reached my goals but the fun is only just beginning.  I’m committed to a life of healthy living.

The photo at the top of my blog was an attempt to show the difference between my old size 40 and my new size 32.  I don’t think the photo captured it quite as well as my own eyes did.  I’ve lost 50lbs altogether since my heaviest.  I’m proud of that achievement.  But I’m also sad I let myself get that way.  Especially as I was a skinny teenager.  In fact I was skinny into my mid 20’s.  I guess I slowed down but still ate as if I was still running around a lot.

I make this vow now…never again will I ever wear size 40, or even close to it!  I finally like the way I look and I love the way I feel.

Winning The Health Battle

gc control (2)

The past few months have been immense from a health and fitness perspective.  The biggest thing was getting off diabetes medication.  I’ve been on Metformin since August 2008 and in June 2015 I was finally told I don’t need it any more!  My fasting sugar has gone from averaging around 170 to averaging middle 70′s to middle 80′s.  I have lost a total of 50 lbs since I was at my heaviest.   I’m now at a weight I haven’t seen since my mid 20′s, about twenty years ago.  I’m also fitter now than I have been since my teenage years, since I took up running.  Life is pretty good.

I have to say I have had a little help.  My wife and I shop with a Wellness company and some of their products have made a huge difference health wise.  The GC Control shake has helped me for a couple of years.  It’s designed to stabilize your blood sugar and it really works.  I’ve been using it since January 2013 when my fasting was in the 170′s.  Our products have played a big part in helping my wife with her asthma, eczema and high blood pressure.

We’re looking to help fellow diabetics as well as people who have asthma, eczema, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and many other health problems, including weight loss and people who are just looking to get fit.

It’s never too late to take back your health.  Even the simple act of getting active can make a world of difference.

GC Control In My Coffee

As I’ve blogged in the past, one of the tools I use to maintain my sugar levels is the Attain GC Control Shake.  I’ve been using this product daily for two and a half years now.  I consider it an essential tool in my fight to control diabetes.  I’ve taken to sprinkling a teaspoon full of the powder in my coffee in the morning.  It’s delicious and it’s really helping me keep my sugar levels down during the day.  I can’t remember the last time I saw my sugar go anywhere above 180, even an hour or two after eating.  My fasting sugar is averaging in the 70’s and 80’s.  This morning it was 83.  Losing weight and running are definitely helping, but this amazing product is still an essential part of my daily routine.  And I always have a full shake in the evenings, about two or three hours after dinner.  This helps keep my sugar at a normal level at night as I sleep.  As always, this is my personal experience and I cannot guarantee you will have the same result..

And finally, as I’ve blogged before, I am officially off my diabetes medication, Metformin.  My A1C came down from 7.2 in December to 5.8 in June.  This largely due to major lifestyle changes, especially taking up running and losing weight.

Life is good!

You Want Me To What???

100_1081

Suggest to most people that they would get any kind of benefit from running and this is the response you’re most likely to get.

“You want me to what???”

Yet you can derive so many health benefits from running.  You can even get off medication in some cases.

I did.

Last week I went to the doctor for a check up and my A1C was so good he told me I don’t need to take Metformin any more.  Metformin is a drug I have been on since August 2008 to treat type two diabetes.

All I did different was lose some weight from watching my calories and take up running.  Now my heart rate is down, my blood pressure is perfect. 110/70, and my blood sugar is under control.

All because I took up running.

As we get older we seem to develop a serious aversion to running.  We only run when we absolutely have to.  Yet look at children.  Their natural instinct seems to be to run.  They must be really impatient to get to where they want to go.  And sure, they have more energy since they are young.  I know I was the same and I’m willing to bet you were, too.  Running is a natural instinct.  When you’re young you go out and play.  You play sports.  You play tag.

You run.

Then when you become an adult you put away such ‘childish’ pursuits.  You ‘get serious.’  You get a job.  You sit behind a desk all day.  Then you go home, eat dinner, put your feet up and watch television.  For the most part.  After a while your fitness drops because you don’t run.  So when you end up having to run, to catch a bus, to catch up with someone, because you’re running late, you get out of breath.  And you tell yourself you can’t run any more.

Because you’re out of shape.  Because you haven’t run for so long.

Your body is a machine.  You get out of it what you put into it.  If you neglect your car, if you don’t put enough fuel in the tank, your car eventually runs out of gas.  The human body is the same.  If you don’t exercise enough the body weakens, your fitness level begins to decline.  To add to this, the average diet these days  is mostly junk. Fast food.  Fatty foods.  Excess sugar.  As you age, health problems begin to plague you.   You might put this down to getting older.  But aging is only part of the issue.  If you work on your body, the way you might work on your car, you will get more mileage out of it.  You only get one body.  Isn’t it time you looked after it better?

My victory over diabetes didn’t come easy.  And it didn’t come at all until I changed my attitude to myself.  Until I started to look after myself better.  I’m still a work in progress.  I could still improve my diet further.  But I’m active most days now.  I run four or five times a week.  I’ve also started working with weights.  Because I’ve gotten serious now about my health.  Because I’ve come to realize that I only get this one body.   It’s time to start looking after it better.  I read some running magazines.  I read about people running marathons in their 60’s, in their 70’s.  Even in their 80’s.  Those stories are so inspiring.  Those stories happen because those people understand what has finally sunk in to me.  Look after your body and you can have a long and healthy life.

So now I’m off Metformin I intend to stay that way.  Now that I live a healthier lifestyle I have more energy, more vitality.  I get more out of each day.

I’m somebody who couldn’t run half a block to catch a bus without being out of breath and breaking out in a cold sweat.  Now I can run three miles.  I’m not that fast, but I can work on the speed later.  I’m slimmer, fitter, healthier and generally happier.  Running is still not easy but is anything worthwhile ever easy?

I run because I can.

I run to be fit.

I run to keep the weight off.

I run to stay drug free and keep my blood sugar levels under control.

What about you?

Winning The Fight With Diabetes

blood test results

I’m having a pretty good week!  The kind of week that you wish you could bottle so you can enjoy it when things aren’t going so well.

First of all my fitness is coming up.  Previously I was struggling to run a mile.  On Tuesday Christine and I went to a gym.  I ran three miles on a treadmill.  That’s the first time I’ve run so far in one go probably since I was a teenager.  Yesterday I ran two and a half miles outside.  Running on a treadmill definitely seems to be easier.  I guess because the treadmill is moving and so does part of the work for you.  The frustrating thing is I know I could have run the full three miles or maybe more because I still had the legs to go further.  But I developed a twinging pain across the bridge of my right foot around the two mile mark.  It got worse around the two and a half mile mark, enough to stop my run dead.  Even walking was painful for a while.  I think I’ll have to invest in a better pair of running shoes.

But the biggest news of the week is I’m officially off my diabetes medication!!!

As I’ve written in previous blogs, I was diagnosed a type two diabetic in August 2008.  I’ve been on Metformin ever since.  I’ve been battling the disease all these years.  Sometimes I would be okay, other times my sugar would be raging out of control.  By January 2013 my sugar was raging.  My fasting sugar was averaging 170.  It would surge well over 200 every time I ate.  Nothing would make it come down, other than a long walk.  Even then it would soon surge back up.  I’ve already blogged about how a shake called GC Control lowers my sugar every time I drink it.  I still drink one or two a day.  I always will.

In December my A1C was 7.2.  The doctor prescribed a second medication.  I forget the name of it but I was supposed to take it in the morning.  It can also mess up your liver.  We checked the side effects.

Uh Uh.

I was done.  I was determined I wasn’t going to be put on more medication.

It was time to get serious.

The Wellness company we shop with came out with a new vitamin and supplement pack called Peak Performance.  It has been shown it can lower the markers doctors check when you go for a visit.  Blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol etc.   The photo above charts the differences in our health markers between December 2014 and June 2015.  Improvements all across the board!  It certainly seems to back up the results of a recent study on the effects of Peak Performance.

You can read about the proof on this website:

http://www.freiburgstudy.com

We had been taking them for a few months already.

The past winter was brutally cold.  I more or less hibernated.  But as soon as spring came around I was out there.  I started walking, graduated to running.  My fasting sugar came down from the 120’s.  I started averaging 70’s and 80’s.  I even stopped taking Metformin as my fasting sugar at that time started dropping to the low 70’s and even upper 60’s at times.

I knew something good was happening.

Last week I had a blood test and Tuesday it was time to go to the doctor to see how I was really doing.

My A1C was 5.8!

It hasn’t been lower than 6.8 since I was diagnosed a diabetic.  The doctor seemed almost as happy as I was.  Especially when I told him I had even stopped taking Metformin for the past two months.  He told me I don’t need to take Metformin at all.  So it’s official.  My diabetes is well under control.

I’m winning the fight!

I know I can’t get complacent.  I don’t think of myself as “cured.”  If I let my efforts slip, if I fall back into old habits again things can turn around in a hurry.  But since it was my old habits that got me there in the first place, why would I ever want to go back?

I love my new life.  I love the way I feel.  I love the way my legs look.  The products I take are helping but the effort still has to come from me.  They don’t make running any easier.  It still takes hard work, dedication, determination.  I have all that in abundance.

I’m diabetes free right now and I’m determined to stay that way.

I Hate Running!

100_0963

I HATE running!

Let me clarify that.  I hate the way I feel while I’m running.  I hate the way my legs burn and having to fight through the discomfort and that desire to stop.  Maybe when my fitness increases a bit more that discomfort will lessen.  Or maybe I’ll just find it easier to deal with.

So why do I run?

Because I LOVE the way that I feel after my run.  That glow, that satisfaction of knowing I’m doing something good for myself that will have long term health benefits,

I LOVE the way my legs are beginning to look.  I have runners legs now.  My thighs are firmer, my calves have muscles.  I have visible hamstrings!

I LOVE the fact I’m losing inches.  Since I took up running I have dropped two (maybe three) pant sizes!

I LOVE the fact my sugar levels are much better.  As a diabetic this is crucial.  Since I started running my fasting sugar has been averaging in the 70’s and 80’s.  Even today after my run my sugar was 80.

I LOVE the fact my fitness and stamina are improving.  A year ago if I had to run half a block yards to catch a bus I would be panting for breath, my heart would be racing and I would break out in a cold sweat.  Now I can run a mile and while my heart rate is elevated, (it comes down much quicker) I’m not panting like I used to be and no cold sweats.  In fact, no negative reaction at all.

I LOVE knowing I’m getting healthier.

I LOVE looking in the mirror and not hating what I see.

I LOVE discovering new things about myself like that I have the mental toughness to keep going through the pain and discomfort when my body just wants to stop.

So in a nutshell there are a lot more reasons to LOVE running than there are to HATE running.  No, running is not easy.  But have you ever noticed how nothing truly worthwhile ever is.  The good far outweighs the bad.  That’s why I am a runner for life.

Making Lifestyle Changes

Dave Celebrating Dunkin

I haven’t blogged for quite a while.  I know that is something I need to work on.  My life has been busy these days, but that’s no excuse.

I’ve blogged a lot about how the Attain GC Control Shakes have helped me lower my sugar when it’s high, and that’s still true today.  I drink them every day and they still work wonders.

I joined a site called MyFitnessPal.com and learned a lot about nutrition and exercise from reading their message forums.  I now watch my calories and go for a walk virtually every day.  I even run now!  I can’t run for long at this time, but my fitness level is definitely improving.  Just a year ago if I had to run half a block to catch a bus I would break out in a cold sweat, my heart would be hammering and I would be literally gasping for breath. It would take me ten minutes to return to normal.  Now I can run a lap around our local park, which is probably about two to three blocks in length.  No cold sweats and while my heart rate is elevated, it returns to normal within a few minutes.  I walk fifteen laps of our local park pretty much daily.  I run the first lap, walk three or four laps, run a lap, walk a few, finishing up by running the last lap.

I’ve lost 17 lbs in the space of about six months.  I want to lose about another ten lbs then I will be at a good weight.  But the biggest impact my new lifestyle has had is on my sugar.  I went to the doctor in November.  My A1C was 7.2.  The doctor wanted to put me on another medication.  More drugs.  These ones stronger than the Metformin I’ve been taking since August 2008.

No way.

I have not taken the new drug he wanted to prescribe me.  Instead I looked into what I needed to do to get healthy.  For the past two weeks my fasting sugar has been averaging in the upper 70’s to the low 80’s.  Down from the 120 average I had in November.  I go back to the doctor in June.  I’m really hopeful that my A1C will be drastically lower.  My ultimate hope is it’s down enough for me to be able to get off Metformin.

Actually, I have a confession to make.  I haven’t taken Metformin in nearly two weeks.  I test my fasting sugar daily.  If I start to see a rise in my fasting levels then I will start taking the drug again.  Now I just need to add some form of weight training to my fitness regime.  I know extra muscle helps the body absorb sugar.  I have some free weights at home.  I intend to join a gym soon.

Being diagnosed a diabetic isn’t necessarily a slow death sentence.  There are things you can do to improve your situation.  It’s just a matter of wanting it  enough and being motivated enough to maintain a new healthy lifestyle.  I am determined to get my body back to a healthy weight and keep it there.

The first picture was taken about five years ago when I weighed about 215 lbs.  The second picture was taken a few weeks ago when I weighed about 176 lbs.

With enough will power you can achieve anything.

Diabetes: My Personal Story

August 2008 is when my life changed forever.  My wife and I had been to a convention.  It was a chaotic three day event with barely a moment to breathe, let alone eat healthy.  At some point I must have been bitten by a bug of some sort.  Right at the top of the back of my thigh.  What started as a bite quickly blew up into a full blown absess. I had to endure a five hour flight sitting on this thing.  I was in agony!  I popped Tylenol all the way home like it was candy.  That was the longest five hours I’ve ever experienced.

I went to a doctor the day after we returned home. He told me it would need to be surgically removed as it was now too big to lance.  I was admitted to hospital the next day.  As is usual, I had a blood test after being admitted.  Purely routine.  Or so I thought.  I had the surgery.  I then woke to the news my fasting sugar was 320.

I was informed I was a diabetic.

I didn’t really understand at first exactly what that meant.  I’d heard of diabetes, obviously, but I didn’t really know that much about it.  I remembered reading an autobiography written by a soccer player called Gary Mabbutt.  He was type 1 diabetic and he had to inject himself with insulin before every game.  You’d never have guessed it if you’d seen him play.  He used to cover every blade of grass in every game and was often one of the hardest working players on the pitch.

Once I was out of hospital, the first chance I had, I bought a book, the Dummies Guide to Diabetes.  What I read frightened the life out of me.  Now I knew what I was up against.  Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, liver failure, amputation…the list goes on.  This horrifying disease can cause so many dreadful complications.

I went through the usual phases:  Denial.  Anger.  Why me?

The years since have been a constant struggle.  My A1C has been up and down.  My fasting sugar levels have been up and down.

My emotions have been up and down.

Now, I’m controlling it.  I’m exercising.  I’m eating a (reasonably) healthy diet.

Now, my A1C is up.  My fasting sugar levels are up.  I can’t be bothered to exercise. 

Now, I’m back in Control.

Etc.

The endless vicious circle.

This has been my life for the past six years.

It’s a rollercoaster ride.

It’s a whirlwind.

It’s a never ending vicious cycle, just waiting for the next time I fall off.

But at the end of the day I’m determined to win, to keep a good quality of life.  My biggest fear is going blind.  I actually fear that more than dying.

The one constant positive is the GCcontrol shakes I’ve blogged so much about.  They really do help.  But they are not a cure.  They are only a tool.  They are only at their most effective when combined with exercise and a decent diet.  I don’t eat anywhere near as healthy as I should, yet they continue to lower my sugar when it is high.

With or without the shakes, the battle goes on.  I’ll continue to post updates.  I just wanted to share my story.  To anyone out there who has been diagnosed as a diabetic, maybe it’s only just happened, I will say this.  Hang in there.  It’s going to be a bumpy rides.  You will have your ups and downs, just like I have.  But you can fight it with the right tools and with enough determination!