Sunday, September 04, 2011

I wasn't expecting much at my last visit to the doctor's last Thursday--as a diabetic, I need to see her every 3 months.  And I have to have my blood drawn for tests on how my blood glucose is doing--the A1C primarily.  I've been a diabetic for five and a half years, and I've had my ups and downs with it. 

The last year and a half hasn't been a great year, but it was better than before when I was catching my blood sugar spiking to 342 on the meter 2 hours after a meal.  I would go for a half hour walk to see it drop to 160, a more normal range.  On top of that, I was having trouble getting my blood pressure to get below 140/90.  It wasn't too bad, but alarmingly, it wasn't getting better.

When I've been checking lately, the fasting bg (first thing in the morning) has been normal--120-135, and before bed, around 160-170.  I didn't notice any spikes.  But I still dreaded the last A1C lab result.  But it showed improvement--6.8, much better than 7.1 that I had last March.  I blamed it on Valentine's Day. 

The scale at the doctor's office showed a drop of nearly 10 pounds (actually, 7.5, but I went home and in my underwear on my home scale, it was 10, maybe that isn't totally accurate, but it makes me feel good).  And the nurse murmured that my blood pressure was 120/80.  I almost asked her if she was sure, maybe do it again.  I was shocked--my bp hasn't been that good for years. 

The doc and I talked about it for about a half hour.  She asked if I had made any changes.  I didn't know what to say, because I have worked harder than I have lately with no results to show for it. Reflecting about it later, I realized that Dennis and I had worked harder on controlling expenses overall which included less going out for meals and cutting back on the grocery bills.  I ate more apples and bananas,nuts, peanut butter and  included more fiber whenever I could, to the point I even got sick for awhile.  We ate simpler meals with less meat.  I passed up dessert at night, didn't feel the need.  If I ate a sweet, it was usually at work when I was on my feet all day and sure to work it off, but I brought fruit usually to head off the temptation.

I didn't expect any improvements, but since the changes were minor, I didn't feel like I deprived myself.  I even added 2 pumps of real carmel syrup instead of the sugar free kind to my grande latte a few times.  I drank a caramel macchiatto that was made by mistake last week--the first one I have had in five years.  It would have been tossed out, and it was just a small one, so I caved.  I had that caramel macchiato on my mind while I went to get my lab test done on Tuesday. 

The books on managing diabetes mention that you don't have to give up the occasional dessert or treat, but to work it into your plan and work around it--watch the total carb intake and exercise.  Of all the changes recently, the one that had to help the most was the less eating out.  But honestly, I didn't feel deprived.  I had been reading about how the food industry has totally manipulated America--we have no idea what we are eating.  Every meal has sugar, salt and fat amped up to incredible amounts to the point that it has destroyed the American palate.  We don't appreciate plain food anymore.  From my own experience, I can guess what has hurt me the most over the years.