May 21, 2014

Yes, I Make Mistakes

I received two emails in the last week. Both were asking why I don't list more of the mistakes I make and why I push so hard to help others prevent mistakes. My first reaction was not very positive and I almost deleted the emails. My first reaction was it is none of their business and I write my blog to help educate other type 2 diabetes patients. Now that I have thought about this for a couple of days, okay, I am human, make mistakes more often than I like, but I also don't like talking about each and every one.

Managing type 2 diabetes 24/7/365 is difficult and being on insulin makes it even more difficult. Doing multiple daily injections and not having access to an insulin pump means that I have to pay attention to the number of carbs I consume and test more often than those on oral medications. Ten years has made guessing carbs more accurate than I could have imagined, but I still make mistakes. I have found that a positive attitude and developing good habits have helped minimize the mistakes.

Having a spouse that can eat what she wants has not helped and I have gone to preparing my own meals to have a more accurate accounting of carbs. She does not like me measuring and weighing food when she is cooking. Plus she still believes in low fat foods. Meat is excessively trimmed of all fat and she purchases lean meats. This is completely opposite of my choices.

One big mistake occurred shortly after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The first was purchasing three new “diabetic cookbooks.” Instead of looking at them in the bookstore and determining whether they would have recipes of value, I did not do this until I arrived home with them. They were unusable for me and the recipes all had too many carbohydrates and no nutritional values given. Since they were glossy pages, they had no other value. I donated them to the local library which did not want them either and the put them in the local book sale. In addition to having no recipes that I would use, they also used foods that are not common foods and very difficult to locate in the Midwest.

The second mistake was waiting for almost four months to start insulin. Even cutting the number of carbs was not bringing my blood glucose levels down enough. Metformin and one sulfonylurea were not lowering my blood glucose levels but a little.
Yes, but reducing my carb intake, my weight was starting downward, but my blood glucose levels only went from the 300's to the 200's.

After starting my insulin, and keeping my carb intake down, my weight started dropping. Not that I lost enough weight, but at least I was feeling better and with insulin, I was managing my diabetes and my A1c came down from almost 14 to under 6.5 percent and at one year after diagnosis, to 5.9%. I have only been able to obtain an A1c below 6.0 one additional time, but the majority have been below 6.5%.

One of the advantages that happened to me was about 6 years after diagnosis. Two of us happened to be in the same restaurant and were just talking. I needed to know my blood glucose level and just took out my testing kit and the other person asked if I was a type 1 or type 2. When he found out I was a type 2 on insulin, he stated that he was on metformin. After I had ordered the breakfast, I injected the appropriate amount of insulin just before the food arrived. We continued talking and he said there would be another fellow with type 2 joining him shortly.

Shortly after, his friend joined us. After introductions, we talked until the noon lunch crowd started coming in. We agreed to meet a week later and that was how the group started. Both were on oral medications and having trouble with blood glucose levels and were always surprised at my levels. We talked about insulin and A1cs and both were over 7% while I was at 6.1%. This had their interest and they kept asking me questions about insulin. Within the next six months, both started using insulin and are continuing as of today.

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