So I’ve been spending some time each day to solve different programming puzzles. This is helping to stave off boredom with my day to day work. Google Treasure Hunt has provided a puzzle for the last three weeks and I’m doing well so far. Well, I’ve gotten the correct answer for each puzzle. I’ve also used three different languages for each puzzle. Scheme, C# and C++ have all made an appearance.
In other news I had another checkup and my blood pressure is 110/80 (down from 160/110) and I’ve lost another 5 lbs. I know not much of a real update but I wanted to post about something that made me happy for once.
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. ;)
The appointment with the hand surgeon just led to another doctor appointment. He couldn’t find any reason for my finger motion problems. So I’m off to see a neurologist to have my nerve function tested to see if that’s the problem.
I guess the good news is that the hand surgeon said that the bones and tendons in my hand looked good. There were no signs of damage on the x-rays. Other than the one muscle that is not working right which is causing my problem the rest of the muscles seem to be working well.
I’m not sure if I feel better or worse…
I had my appointment with my eye doctor this morning. I think the inside of my eyes is now the most photographed part of my body. I had five more pictures taken of each eye.
Well this is unpleasant, but not unexpected. I just got a call from Dr. Lu's office. He would like to see me after my appointment with Dr. Enzmann on Friday. He wants to talk to me about my cholesterol levels from yesterday's tests. So now I have 5 doctor appointments and 6 office visits in one week.
I am going to be posting more about my health and other issues in my life. Talking about it helps me to stay on track and stick with the changes I need to make. Changes I need help to make. Changes I must make.
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.
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. 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. ;)
I was already having an off morning and when I got into work a reminder popped up with this note from my Mom:
One side of my heart doesn't appear to have proper blood flow when I'm at rest but seems to be fine when I'm exercising. All other tests do not indicate what might be causing this so...
On December 27th they are going to perform a cardio cath and see what they can find. If they do nothing extra like place a stint or ballooning, I will go home that evening. Otherwise, I'll be staying over night.
I've been promised that someone will call me to let me know what happens but I'm still so far away.
I just read this email from my Mom:
Well... Thanksgiving weekend was an eye opener for a lot of us. Had my annual checkup Friday and finally got the results of the heart murmur from last year. Seems I have a leaky value and have been referred to a cardiologist for a valve replacement. However, I do not have any of the symptoms described so hope to defer any treatment until necessary. My doctor says once the symptoms begin, I will have no choice.
It is the valve where the blood flows to the lungs so will experience shortness of breath, chest pains, swollen legs, and zero stamina. So far... I have none of those. Needless to say weight loss no longer is an option... as if it ever really was.
I see the cardiologist on Tuesday and will update everyone after that.
Um... Yeah... So how's your morning?
Well I had my sleep study last night. Some folks were interested in hearing about my experience so here’s an attempt to write them up for you. Before I get started I suggest everyone look at the comment from neuro42. He posted about his experiences so you have some more information for comparison.
I arrived at 8pm and was shown to a study room. The tech told me my tech would be with me soon but I should change into my sleeping clothes and wait for him to arrive. After I changed I went ahead and filled out the survey. There was one for before the study and one for the morning. After finishing the study I put Hudson Hawk (1991) in the DVD player and settled down to watch. Thanks for the choices jw1776.
I hadn’t even gotten through the opening credits when Steve, my technician for the night, walked in and said they had put me in the wrong room. So it was a quick grab for everything and off down the hall to a smaller room with windows. Steve ran off to prepare and I restarted the movie.
When Steve returned it was time to hook me up to all the leads and sensors. So I sat in a chair while we chatted and I watched the movie. One of the great things about Hudson Hawk is I’ve seen the movie so many times I didn’t miss anything while being wired. I found out that contrary to the instructions which said I would go to sleep and wake up at my normal times I was to sleep at 10pm and wake up at 6am.
After we finished attaching the sensors I sat up on the bed and watched the rest of the movie. I also spent some time exchanging phone calls with hollyqueen and loba and quite a few text messages too. Before I knew it the movie was wrapping up and it was about 9:40pm. Steve came back and asked if I was ready to sleep. We decided to wait 10 minutes so I could finish the movie, I had to see if the Hawk escaped again.
About 9:50 Steve came back and had me lie down in the bed. He made final adjustments to the leads and added some to my legs and arms. There were probably 20 leads, plus two straps around my torso. It wasn’t really uncomfortable. Oh, there was also a plastic thing in my nostrils and mouth.
As we chatted I asked about sleeping positions because I normally slept on my side. He said I could sleep in any position I wanted and if he needed something special he would ask me to move. I also mentioned sleeping with a fan running normally which was a good idea because he went and brought in a white noise machine for the night. After the last adjustments were done Steve left and called me over the intercom from the control room. There were a series of calibrations that involved me closing my eyes, opening my eyes, looking around the room, moving my feet, arms, coughing, snoring and holding my breath. After that it was lights out.
I was in a comfortable position so I curled up with Klaus and started to drift off to sleep. After a bit I realized that while I was relaxed I wasn’t really sleeping so I turned on my side. Then I was out like a light in seconds. I didn’t have a sleepless night and it was about normal for me.
I remember rolling over many times to change from one side to the other. Once my hand became tangled in the leads and I had to wake up enough to get loose without ripping out any wires. A couple of times Steve came in to reattach a lead or adjust the nosepiece. Without a clock or any way to really tell if time was passing I don’t know how long I was awake after being woken up. I don’t think it was a huge amount but it certainly was more than a few minutes.
At 6am Steve came in and woke me up. He had me lay on my back again and then left the room. From the control room we ran through the calibration exercises again. Then he returned for the worst part of the entire experience. I wasn’t really awake but I sure woke up fast when he started ripping off the leads. I lost a lot of hair and probably skin in the process.
There was a shower there in the room but it was 6am and I don’t normally wake until 7am so I headed home to shower and see my love for a bit before work. I washed a lot but there is still the remains of adhesive on my arms and I found a bit of glue in my hair after I was at work. I guess that means I’ll just have to scrub again once I get home.
My advice to anyone who is going through this is:
Relax. It’s not painful and the techs made sure I was comfortable throughout the entire process.
Bring a pillow or stuffed animal to help you relax. Klaus was a big help even though he was too excited about sleeping in a new place with his daddy.
Really wash. The hotter the water the easier the glue comes out.
My first sleep study at the Overlake Sleep Disorders Center is tonight. I guess I’m ready thanks to some information from neuro42, poetry_lady and others I feel pretty prepared for what’s going to happen. In fact my only concern is how I’m going to sleep in a strange room, alone and wired up to machines. Oh, I have to wear an outfit for sleeping too. I never wear anything to bed.
I have to be there at 8pm tonight but they aren’t going to start the study until I normally go to bed which is 11pm. Thankfully I’ll be able to bring a DVD to watch before it’s time to “sleep.” I’ve been thinking about which one to bring and I think I’ll pick an brainless action/comedy to keep me entertained. Maybe a musical. Certainly not any pr0n. The point is to sleep… ;)
I’ll be computerless but I’ll have my phone if anyone wants to send me messages to keep me from being to lonely… ;)
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 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.
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.
When I went to the clubhouse for todays walk someone had locked the door to the exercise room. Not to be so easily denied I worked with a couple of other people there and thanks to my nefarious past and a borrowed credit card we were all able to get in our exercise for the day. I also found another door that might accept the key all the residents have been given to access the pool/sauna/exercise area. So I've gone 2 for 2. 98 more days to go!
There's also a racquetball court in the clubhouse. One of these days when I feel a bit more in shape and my ankles aren't so easy to twist I think I'll give it a shot. More exercise certainly can't hurt.
I've been very bad and haven't been taking care of myself like I should. I can make a few excuses such as having a really shitty spring and getting off track during vacation, but I'm not going to do that. Why I stopped doesn't matter, getting started again does. So last night I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill. Go me! My goal is to spend at least 30 minutes walking or on the treadmill every day for the next 100 days. If I make it I'm going to give myself an iPod Shuffle as a reward.