While talking with a coworker about my experience volunteering with the 2010 Tour de Cure I mentioned I was participating in the 2010 Step Out walk to raise money for Diabetes research as a Red Strider. She surprised me by writing out a check for my first donation. Suddenly I'm 5% towards my goal of $500.

You can see my progress, and donate yourself if you're so inclined, at My Step Out page. All donations are 100% tax deductible and help a good cause.

On a whim I'm posting what I'm carrying in my "pockets." I put the quotes around there because some of it isn't in my pockets, but in the D-Bag I've put together to carry around the medications and stuff I use to manage diabetes. So without further ado we have:

  1. Wallet
  2. Keys
  3. Pedometer
  4. 4GB Flash Drive
  5. 160GB iPod Classic
  6. T-Mobile myTouch
  7. Lantus SoloStar Pen and ~10 needles
  8. OneTouch UltraSoft and ~20 lancets
  9. EpiPen
  10. Glucose Tablets
  11. OneTouch UltraSmart and ~10 OneTouch Ultra Test Strips
  12. Chocolate Peanut Butter Diabeteze Snack Bar
  13. Moleskine Journal for health notes
  14. Black Pilot G2 Pen, Mechanical Pencil, Eraser

Speaking of Moleskine journal I've been less than happy with the last couple I've bought. My first journals from them have taken quite a beating and are still solid and other than a bit of dirt and bending undamaged. The last few I've bought have already cracked on the spines and aren't as well made. After these are filled I'm going to try another supplier. Any suggestions?

Results

Apr. 22nd, 2010 12:00 pm

Four month follow-up appointment today. My ABCs are:

  • A1C: 9.7% (last: 10.0% goal: < 7.0%)
  • Blood Pressure: 130/80 (last: 130/90 goal: < 130/80)
  • Cholesterol: LDL 112 HDL 36 CL/HDL 5.6 (last: LDL 92 HDL 39 goal: LDL < 100 HDL > 40)

Blood pressure is just on the border of good. As always exercise. Maybe swimming. The main thing that stops me from walking is how easy it is to tweak my ankle so it feels like someone is jabbing a knife into me.

LDL is up a bit but not too far outside the healthy range. HDL is still low and lower than last time. I need to research ways to improve that reading. My triglyceride level was still way to high but half what is has been in the past. My Dr. General says that's the best we can do with medication without getting into drugs that have bad interactions. As usual, diet and exercise.

My A1C is going in the right direction we're not done yet. Still adjusting the amount of insulin I take each day and maybe adding some quick acting insulin before meals. I've scheduled an appointment with Dr. Endo and will work with him to get my test results in line. Dr. General is a great doctor but he admitted to not knowing the latest about diabetes treatments and agreed that going back to Dr. Endo was a good idea. One of the many reasons I like this doctor.

Based on my own research Dr. General tested my Vitamin D and B12 levels. I'm a little low on D but B12 is right on the money. No shots for D or prescriptions. Just pick up some over the counter D and take 2,000 units per day.

I also asked for a referral to a nutritionist to get a good idea of what I should be eating. I saw one years ago but have forgotten most of what they told me. Time to go back to class, as it were.

With the questions I had and the changes in insurance the nurse and I forgot about measuring my weight. I think it’s down but I can’t be sure with my scale. I guess I should start weighing myself and making sure I don’t gain a lot because of the insulin.

Adjusting

Jan. 22nd, 2010 11:05 am

I had a follow up with my doctor to check how I was responding to insulin and adjust the amount I take. My blood glucose numbers were lower but not low enough so he increased the amount I take each day. I need to call back next week with my numbers and see if it needs to be adjusted any further.

While I was there we discussed vitamin D and he said that everyone in this region should be taking some. I also mentioned an article I read about Metformin causing vitamin B12 deficiency. My doctor suggested I start taking some B12 supplements and he scheduled tests to see if I am low in D or B12 the next time I have the A1C tests. He also added a some tests, such as thyroid, to see if there were any other problems.

After my visit to the ER last November I had to stop taking Byetta. I however kept up my other medications. Today I went for a follow up with my doctor and my ABCs are:

  • A1C: 10.0% (last: 10.7% goal: < 7.0%)
  • Blood Pressure: 130/90 (last: 130/80 goal: < 130/80)
  • Cholesterol: LDL 92 HDL 39 CL/HDL 4.7 (last: LDL 100 HDL 32 goal: LDL < 100 HDL > 40)

My blood pressure is still on the edge and we adjusted my medication to bring it down a bit. The cholesterol readings are almost in range. I need to increase the HDL level a bit. Of course more exercise would help.

The A1C reading is better but not nearly good enough. So the doctor prescribed insulin. I’ll need be better about checking my blood glucose levels now so that we can get the insulin dosage adjusted. Can I tell you how much I love needles?

With the questions I had and the changes in insurance the nurse and I forgot about measuring my weight. I think it’s down but I can’t be sure with my scale. I guess I should start weighing myself and making sure I don’t gain a lot because of the insulin.

Mean!

Dec. 17th, 2009 08:13 pm

[livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen's mean! She won't let me buy a Contour USB blood meter because I already have two meters. But it's shiny! It's USB! It's pretty with color pictures and did I mention USB?

sulk...

This morning I took my Byetta injection before preparing my breakfast of some Kashi oatmeal, a bit of creamer, some Splenda, and a Diet Coke. I was also a bit bad and had a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup I "swiped" from a candy bowl in the break room. I noticed that my lips and mouth were itching so I figured I was having a reaction to the oatmeal. I had eaten half of it but I stopped and didn't finish. The itching got a bit stronger and when I started having problem breathing I told my acting boss I was having an allergic reaction and was going to the emergency room. Off to Overlake Hospital I went.

At the ER the intake was quick and efficient. Of course there wasn't anyone waiting when I got there. I saw a few people in rooms when I was taken back to mine, but it was really quiet for an ER. In a few minutes I was covered only in a robe with no back and hooked up to machines that go ping. I know they go ping because they did a few times while I was there.

The nurse asked me for an update and my lips were numb, my tongue felt like it was swollen and I was still having problems breathing. She gave me some Benadryl and said the doctor would be there in a few minutes. While waiting for the doctor my tongue swelled noticeably and I started having trouble talking. Also we noticed that the Byetta injection site was red and blotchy. I told this to the doctor and scribe and they left saying they would be back soon.

I could hear them talking out in the hall so I knew what treatment they ordered and I heard the dreaded words "I.V. drip." Taking blood samples from me is difficult. I.V.s are damn near torture for me and this time wasn't any different. The nurse came back and gave me a shot of epinephrine, which I hoped was instead of the dreaded I.V. (No such luck.) Then she explained my treatment plan. First a nebulizer with some steroids to help my breathing, then an I.V. with some other medicine for the reaction I was having.

The next visit was from a tech, sorry I didn't notice her role or name tag. She had me put a nebulzier in my mouth and inhale normally. Every minute I was to take a deep breath and hold it for five seconds. I wouldn't have minded it much except the next treatment started while this was going on.

The nurse started attempting to put in the I.V. and I told her about my history with the record setting 90 minute session when I was about 11. She promised it wouldn't take that long and in the end it was true. She tried for about ten minutes and tried sticking me twice. It's not just sticking in the needle. The part that really trips my triggers is pulling the needle out part of the way, moving it around and pushing it back in. Gah!!!! It takes everything I have not to break down when they do that. After ten minutes she gave up and called in a nurse with more experience.

The experienced nurse took another fifteen minutes trying once on my right arm, which was the same side the first nurse attempted. Then the experienced nurse switched to my left arm and finally found a good site and got the I.V. in place. I asked her to not warn me before inserting the needle and she said she had to or I might jump and ruin the attempt. I explained that the anticipation was worse than the actual sticking and I would tense up if she warned me. Thankfully she believed me and was able to get it done. Off she went to care for other patients and update my records.

While I was waiting I heard the nurses and the doctor talking about how calm I was and that most people with breathing problems in the ER would be freaking out and difficult to handle. The thing they didn't know was that I was freaking out but having plenty of experience with hospitals I know that thrashing around just makes things worse. So I was using all of my tricks to keep physically calm and relaxed. Also every time I did start to freak out it became much harder to breathe which was a good reminder to relax.

In came the nurse and attached a saline bag to the I.V. and injected the medicine into the bag for delivery. Oh, did I mention that while this was all happening the machine that goes ping would take my blood pressure every few minutes by inflating a cuff to tourniquet levels of pressure? That's how I know that machine goes ping. Because it does if your blood pressure raises or drops too much and mine was reading high. Turns out the cuff had slipped and was giving false readings. So a nurse came running in to check on me and fixed the cuff.

The I.V. didn't take long to deliver the medicine and the nurse came back to remove it, but she left the needle in my arm in case the had to do anything else. Then the doctor came back to talk to me about her plans for me. My treatment was done but they wanted to keep me for observation because the treatment might wear off before the whatever was causing the reaction had flushed out of my system. This was about 10:30am. She asked if I wanted lunch and I knew I was not going to get back to work. Oh well... Needle in one arm. Arm crushing machine wrapped around the other. I had my phone and found TNT was playing shows I liked so it could have been worse.

The nurses kept checking on me and my breathing was fine and while my tongue wasn't back to normal it was getting smaller. Lunch was delivered and it was edible... Well except for the sugar free Lemon-Lime (green) Jello. Bleah.

Two episodes of NUMB3RS and one of Cold Case and the nurse came back and asked if I would walk around for a bit to see if I could be released. I could walk and so we started the discharge process. Removed the needle. Unhook me from the machine that goes ping and they even gave me back my pants. One last visit from the doctor gave me two prescriptions and my instructions. Home to rest for today, back to normal tomorrow.

I drove from Bellevue to Capitol Hill to pick up my prescriptions and there was one heck of a line at the pharmacy. I found out from someone in line that the pharmacy gives flu shots from 1pm-3pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Once I got my prescriptions I had to have a chat with the pharmacist. The steroids were new and the pharmacist mentioned some side effects, which will become important later, and then gave me a bit of instruction on how to use the epi pen. I was amused when the pharmacist told me she used to use live epi pens to demonstrate but accidentally dosed herself onetime so now she just mimes the motions. Not that I needed training with epi pens. Having lived with folks who have bad allergies I have been trained so I know what to do if they can't care for themselves. Fun, eh?

The final diagnosis was an allergic reaction to Byetta. So I'm off of that and now have to change my answer when I'm asked if I am allergic to any medicines. Damn! I thought all the hospital time was my penance and I didn't get the allergies that the rest of the family did.

Then it was off to home, finally. Which wasn't very exciting. I laid down on the couch and watched a lot of Food Network Challenge, which you might have figured out if you follow me on Twitter. :)

[livejournal.com profile] neuro42 offered to give [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen a ride home which was great since I was told not to drive. Here's where those side effects become important. I had taken the first two doses of my pills. As I laid on the couch I was freaking out a bit because my heart was beating stronger than normal and I was a bit on edge from being in the emergency room. While I was writing up this post I remembered the side effects the pharmacist mentioned, so I went and got the info sheet and some of them are difficulty sleeping, nervousness, increased appetite, bone problems (such as pain, broken or fractured bones) and the list goes on. Now I've seen predisone fuck up a lot of people. My ex-wife swelled up like a balloon and had to be rushed to the ER on this stuff. I'm only on it for a short time but I certainly was experiencing nervousness and a panic attack earlier.

I really want to thank everyone who sent kind words and pictures during my "adventure" today. (And if you are just finding about my day and want to send me some encouragement I'd love it.) I really have a problem with hospitals and knowing people out there were thinking about me helped me get through the rough patches. Just visiting friends in the hospital sets off all kinds of triggers when I step through the doors. I know they're helping me to get better but all I remember is pain and suffering. It's rare to find an unpleasant test or treatment that I haven't experienced before.

So how was your day?

I visited my doctor for the first time in far too long. Some good, some bad but at least he's decent and doesn't beat me up too much when I'm bad. So here are the results for my tracking.

First the Diabetic ABCs:

  • A1C: 10.7 (bad, should be 7 or less)
  • Blood Pressure: 130/80 (without medication!!!)
  • Cholesterol: LDL: 100 (high end of normal) HDL: 32 (bad, should be at least 40)

My weight was 267.8 which is four pounds higher than my last visit. Still down a total of 16 pounds so I'm going to keep that in the win column. The real good news is my blood pressure. It was really high a year ago so I was taking medication for it. I haven't taken any of my medication for months and my pressure was fine. That's one less pill I should be taking. The doctor refilled the medications I should be taking, which are Byetta, Metformin, Lisinopril and an aspirin.

I need to be better about taking my medication. You all have permission to ask if I've taken my medication.

I gave myself my first injection of Byetta this morning. It was pretty easy but I will have to remember to pull the needle straight out. I kind of bent it on the way out which hurt.

Gila-Man!

Jun. 20th, 2008 10:31 am

This morning was another appointment with my endocrinologist. My blood pressure was up to 160/100 (moving stress and not taking my medication) and my weight was steady at 281. I have to take my medication! Bad bear!

The doctor and I reviewed the readings from my glucose meter. It was easy to see on the chart how taking Metformin has improved my blood sugar readings. They are lower but they aren’t low enough. So he is having me start on Byetta. I’ve been wanting to try Byetta for a while now. Along with helping to control blood sugar it suppresses appetite, which is the largest problem I have with diet.

Byetta is derived from the saliva of a Gila Monster. So if I get a batch made from the spit of one that’s been exposed to radiation does that mean I’ll become Gila-Man? Wouldn’t that be cool!

Survived the week of doctors, but it’s not over. Let’s be honest it will never be over. What I have has no cure and the best I can hope for is to control my disease and prolong the inevitable complications. I’m not trying to be depressing or negative. I have to face the facts and realize that I have a choice. I can make the changes and control my blood glucose level or I can let it slowly tear me apart and destroy my body. I choose the former.

Dr. Enzmann, my endocrinologist, was great. He was clear with his explanations, firm but not condescending with his recommendations and open to my input. So together we came up with a plan for treatment and the changes I need to make in my life. Those changes being diet and exercise. No big surprise there.

We also went over my lab results. My cholesterol is a bit high at 227 mg/dl (<200 is the goal). My LDL can not be calculated and the HDL was too low. The triglycerides was far too high, at 662 mg/dl I’m getting close to a risky amount for developing pancreatitis. I’ve had that twice before and really don’t wish to experience it again. So he perscribed medication to bring my cholesterol levels under control. However, controlling my blood glucose levels will help with the tryglycerides.

My A1C is 10.3% which is not unexpected. I’ve never experienced low blood sugar and my level during the labs was 310 mg/dl. Since I was fasting my levels should have been around 100 mg/dl. Dr. Enzmann perscribed Metformin to begin getting my sugar levels under control. If I can get my triglyceride level down we discussed switching to Byetta.

The last big issue is blood pressure. At Dr. Lu’s office on Monday it was 160/100 and then 150/90. Tuesday night I checked at Bartell’s and it was 143/88. This morning it was 160/110, 140/90 and 120/88. So Dr. Lu thinks I have “White Coat Syndrome” and wants me to pick up a blood pressure meter and check myself every day. He was going to increase my blood pressure medication, but when I reminded him I had just started taking it three days ago he decided to stay the course for a few more weeks.

Getting more exercise is easy. I like walking and we have trails here at the office so I can do it at lunch. It’s the diet that’s hard. So many things I enjoy are bad for me. I’ll have to make big changes in what we buy and cook. Good thing I actually like veggies. ;)

My hip!

Apr. 30th, 2008 07:48 am

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing I stopped taking my Avandia. First there are the warnings about it causing or worsening heart failure. Then today I read an article on Everyday Health about Avandia doubling the chances of bone fractures in patients taking the drug. So I’ll be sure to ask the endocrinologist about other options at my appointment on Friday.

hollyking: (ahead full)

I found a new doctor today. Dr. Lu was decent and full of helpful information and while we talked about my weight it wasn’t a lecture. We discussed ways to exercise and some things to try. I like him because he took time to answer my questions. I have the feeling he will work with me on my back and joint pain problems instead of just telling me to lose weight.

He was quick to refer me to a hand surgeon too. I haven’t been able to fully move my right little finger for a few weeks. Dr. Lu said it wasn’t neuropathy or diabetes related because that would have occurred over a long time. Instead I probably snapped a tendon or ligament in my hand. So it’s off to see a hand surgeon for a consultation. If I had a different career or older we would have skipped it but since I type all day long for a living being short one finger is not fun in the long run.

Thursday morning I go see my eye doctor for my yearly exam. I don’t think anything has changed but why not be sure? Later that day I go for a consultation with the hand surgeon. I hope we can get this taken care of quickly. I don’t like dragging this stuff out.

Friday I see a new endocrinologist. I took better care of my diabetes when I was seeing one back in Portland. So I’ll go see one again and try to get things under control. I want to talk to him about new treatment and medicines. I don’t think Avandamet was doing much for me and I’ve heard of some new treatments. I’m still hoping to get some of that lizard spit for the blood sugar control with the added benefit of weight loss.

I should find some basic cooking classes too. [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and I sorted through our cookbooks and only kept the basic, special and diabetic related ones. If anyone wants some cookbooks we have quite a few up for grabs now. ;)

20.8 million Americans have diabetes and nearly 1/3 of them don’t know it! Your risk increases with age so take the American Diabetes Association Risk Test to see if you’re at risk for developing diabetes.

What is the Alert

The American Diabetes Alert is an annual, one-day call-to-action held on the fourth Tuesday of March for people to find out if they are at risk for diabetes. The Alert’s goal is to raise the awareness that diabetes is serious, you can have diabetes and not even know it, and that taking the Risk Test is an easy way to find out if you are at risk for diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes means that your blood glucose (sugar) is too high. Your blood always has some glucose in it because the body needs glucose for energy to keep you going. Too much glucose in the blood is not good for your health.

Could you have diabetes?

Diabetes is a silent disease. You could have it for years and never know it. During this time, your eyes, nerves, and kidneys may have been harmed by too much sugar in your blood.

Who is at risk for diabetes?

Your risk for diabetes increases as your get older, gain too much weight, or if you do not stay active. Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Risk factors for diabetes include:

  • Having high blood pressure (at or above 130/80)
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Having diabetes during pregnancy or having a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth.

Don’t wait for the signs

Most people with diabetes do not notice any symptoms. However if you should have any of these symptoms, call your health care provider right away.

  • Very thirsty
  • Frequent urination
  • Losing weight without trying

What can you do?

You can do things now to lower your risk for diabetes by:

  • keeping your weight in control;
  • eating low fat meals that are HIGH in fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods;
  • staying active most days of the week.

Today I went back to the new doctor for a follow-up and to talk about my test result. Considering I haven’t been taking any of my medications since September 2005 I’m, relatively, in great shape. My cholesterol levels are within normal limits although the triglyceride levels are high.

Looking at my glucose levels we are going to up the dosages for those drugs and see how it goes in a month. I still want the A1C test and will demand it next time. I explained to the doctor that I do better if I watch the numbers and can see improvement. I don’t feel any different so I need that stimulus to see that the changes are making a difference.

The big change was my blood pressure reading. At my last appointment it was 175/120 in the doctor’s office. Two days later it was 165/93 and today it was 140/90. So that’s a lot better. Of course the huge project that was causing a lot of stress is back under control now. The doctor still wants me to get a machine to check my blood pressure daily. So I guess I’ll pick one up next payday.

Sitting down and talking with the doctor about my test results gave me a lot more confidence in her as my primary care giver. We might have our differences of opinions on some subjects but I really like the fact that she takes the time to answer my questions and explain her views where we differ.

I will have to find out which one of the office staff wears Poison. That’s a triggering scent that’s been associated with [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen for many years. It’s going to be difficult to visit the doctor with Junior HollyKing at attention all the time. ;)

Yesterday I went to see a new doctor. I haven’t been to see one in a very long time but we have insurance coverage now so it was time. In some ways I liked this doctor a lot. She took her time and answered my questions. She wanted detailed information about why I had concerns and didn’t hesitate to order some tests that I felt were needed.

On the downside she wouldn’t order other tests that I wanted. The big one being the A1C test. I can check my blood sugar levels but that’s only a spot reading. The A1C value gives a much better indication of how I’m doing at controlling my diabetes. I know the value is going to suck right now but I would like to know the starting point so I can see how I’m improving.

One of the tests the doctor ordered is a sleep study. The doctor asked if I thought I snored and I had to laugh as everyone knows I snore. The people next door and down the block know I snore. The guys in boot camp used to kick my cot to make me roll over and stop snoring. So in late February I’m going to go talk to a specialist and see if I can sleep while strapped to a lot of machines.

The good news is that I’ve lost another 14 pounds somewhere. The last time I checked I was about 295 and yesterday I weighed in at 281. Not where I want to be but at least it’s going in the right direction.

The bad news is that my blood pressure was too high. Of course stress from work and life has a way of doing that. We’re going to keep an eye on it.

I received my Unite for Diabetes Travel Bug yesterday. It is dedicated to the people of Sibiti in Congo. That’s quite a way from here but I’ll get it started on it’s way very soon.

On December 20th the United Nations released a resolution on diabetes. The resolution designates November 14th, the current World Diabetes Day, as a United Nations Day to be observed every year beginning in 2007.

A startling fact that I didn't know before reading about the Unite for Diabetes campaign information is that every 10 seconds someone dies from diabetes and two people develop the disease.

The International Diabetes Federation has started a new blog called Diabetes Circle that tracks the UN campaign and developments from the IDF. The name comes from their new logo which is the userpic on this post.

For my own part I've started testing and made an appointment to see a doctor and get the prescriptions I should have been taking for the last year. My fasting level was over twice what it should have been this morning.

There has been a few posts on some diabetes blogs I read about a feature story in the New York Times that covers discrimination in the workplace. According to the article and the posts people are not being allowed simple changes that will allow them to function at their workplace. In some extreme cases they are even being fired.

I guess I'm lucky because I've never experience any issues at work because I have diabetes. I don't make any secret about it although I don't go shouting it to the world. Most people at work know because they ask me about the wristband I always wear. I have more problems with my family because they have very outdated ideas about diabetes.

The only work related problems I've ever experienced involve the idiocy of insurance companies. When changing jobs once the new insurance wouldn't cover the supplies for the glucose meter I was using. So I had to buy a new meter and all the supplies it requires. That was more expensive than just letting me keep using my current meter and supplies.

The reason for all of this is ignorance. The worse cases are sensationalized in the news and popular culture and the average person doesn't get any other information to give them perspective. I want to fight the ignorance so feel free to ask me any questions. I'll give you an answer or point you in the right direction to learn more.

So true...

Dec. 26th, 2006 02:42 pm

I was reading a few Diabetes blogs when I came across the following joke:

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

  1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

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hollyking

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