Diabetes: The diagnosis that changed our lives

Diabetes

Just about three months ago Stephanie was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. At first, we were all a little devastated as we had already begun making serious changes to our diets and paying attention to the various health issues the three of us face. It sort of felt like a punishment initially; but then we realized that this may just be the catalyst that motivates us to decide to take control of our health and well being; and it was. 

When Steph first had her blood-work done, her A1C  was over 10 (a normal A1C is below 5.7). Our physician didn’t give her a choice in the matter. Stephanie had to start insulin injections and begin oral medications.

For those who don’t know: “The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the body, red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.” Source 

Now there are many ways to manage diabetes, but we are already firm believers in the power of food and it’s ability to revitalize our bodies – even to heal them from the abuse we have inflicted on them for the last 40 years. You see the three of us (Stephanie, Paul and I) all have health issues, and all of our health issues are related to the abuse and misunderstanding of food. I have high cholesterol and lack a gallbladder, Paul has high blood pressure, and Steph is diabetic. We are all overweight and we all smoke cigarettes. Basically, we were leading unhealthy lives, and then sitting around wondering why we never felt good, or why we can’t lose weight… the list goes on and on really. We are your typical American family – eating fast food, snacking because we are “too busy” to cook, ignoring food labels, and all of us looked at food as a comfort for our emotions instead of fuel for our bodies.

So even though we had started making small changes in the food we eat – Steph’s diagnosis lit the proverbial fire under our asses. I started studying food and then started making the same things we always loved to eat, but in much healthier ways. Small substitutions at first: Olive oil instead of corn/canola/vegetable oil, coconut oil instead of butter, tortillas and flat breads instead of white/potato bread. As each day passes we add new foods. Less meat – more fruit and vegetables. I am not going into too many details for this post, but I plan on sharing much more with you all about the specific changes we made, and how we are making them. The bottom line though is that we are NOT on a diet. This is not a fad – this is a life and behavior change. This is a process and I am looking forward to sharing it with you because we aren’t depriving ourselves anything, nor are we doing things in such a drastic way that it becomes unsustainable; like trying to live on cabbage soup as some “diets” suggest. Here’s the thing – it is working. 

Yesterday Stephanie had her 3 month follow up and received the results of her first blood test since her diagnosis. Her A1C went from over 10 (super bad) to 5.6. Our physician was positively giddy! We spent the appointment sharing with our doctor the things we have done, and she was simply amazed at the results. Stephanie will still be on oral medications for a while – but she is already off the insulin shots. It wasn’t a miracle – it was the result of dedicating ourselves to making the changes we needed and even wanted to make. Our doctor thinks I should write a book (seems to be a theme in my life), and she is currently working toward her Doctorate with her focus being diabetes. So I am going to write, and hopefully help our super awesome physician with her research even if it is just a success story for her to include in her projects. I can’t stress enough though how important it is to have a good relationship with your doctor – a big part of why we made the changes we did was because we trust her and listen to her, and she (unlike many physicians) listens to us and learns about us as individuals and tries to work with us instead of just prescribing and forgetting. 

The other main ingredient in all of this? Support. Between the three of us and our physician we have all the encouragement, support, and resources we need in order to make these changes and celebrate success. Since changing our food habits – we have all lost weight, and we are all inching closer and closer to eliminating any medications from our lives. Without all of us working together, it would be much harder to accomplish. 

So anyway, I haven’t decided if I am going to start a new blog completely dedicated to health and food or if I am going to incorporate all of that into this blog; but either way – my focus has shifted, and I think I have finally found the way to put my research and writing skills into useful practice. 

Are any of you diabetic? What other health issues are you facing? Is there something health or food related you would like to know more about? I am excited for our future of healthy and delicious foods, and I am excited to share with you all the things we learn along the way! 

 

8 thoughts on “Diabetes: The diagnosis that changed our lives

    • Story – I saw a great article the other day about natural foods that help with MS symptoms. I’ll try to find it for you! One woman improved so much she was able to walk again after being confined to a wheelchair for years.

      • I am feeling pretty good about the nutrition program I am fortunate enough to be part of now. Beginning April 15, my neurologist said he wanted me ‘to walk again’ and he outlined how he wanted to do that, including exercise. I started walking to lunch July 11, with a walker, for the first time in over eight years. I had just purchased my third electric wheelchair. They have a life of five years. This week I am walking to breakfast and every day, and to lunch in addition every other day. I am very pleased, and credit sleep and exercise highly in the mix that made it possible.

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