Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Summary

A lovely Christmas. We even managed to eat some vegetables.

Our holiday was kid-free, which makes for a very laid-back and relaxed time. One parent was away, the other lives far away, and my sibling was sick. No gatherings for us.

Dr. Parts got the mutual Christmas present of this beautiful television set up in our living room. It looks great, and us old folks can read much more of the words they put on the screens.

My foot pain is back, and with a vengeance. I'm entertaining the theory that it actually is nerve pain, rather than the sesamoiditis. That would make it diabetes related, even though I obviously have great circulation and no evident tissue damage. I talked with a senior person recently, though, who blames her current foot trouble on a years-ago bunionectomy gone wrong. Surgery sounds good-if it could reduce the pain-but what if it just produces more pain, or a more complicated problem?

My numbers continue good, usually under 100 in the mornings.

I'm thinking about making a plan for good exercise habits in 2007. I'm considering this whole body vibration thing, since Soloflex is a nice local company, and they have a WBV platform at a reasonable price ($395). But is it just another gimmick? Or would it really give me an opportunity to continue with some level of fitness without having to stand on my own two painful feet?

I'm still thinking about it all.

I'm thinking about dietary choices. I'm thinking about vegetarianism/veganism as a healthy basis for a diet for a type 2 diabetic. PCRM has a great series of educational classes about diabetes, diet, and treating type 2 diabetes with a very low fat vegan diet. This link will take you there. It's good stuff, and, my experience has been, when I follow this diet, either by following Dr. John McDougall's program or any other verylowfat, high fiber, lowprocessedfoods, vegan diet plan, my diabetes numbers behave most politely.

And it's not as hard or as wierd as one might think. It requires thinking creatively, especially if you're new to considering non-meat-centered meals. But our disease requires thinking creatively, and reordering our lives, and our meals. One benefit of a very low fat vegan diet, for diabetics, is that most of us can eat without portion control! Eat until you're full? When did you last hear that in a diabetes education class?

Will this be the year for us to commit to this dietary change? Or will it take something more serious for us to be truly motivated to reclaim our health through our eating?

I'm still thinking about it all.

Keep on keeping on, friends. I hope you're thinking about what you want the new year to look like in your life. Or perhaps, what you want your life to look like in the new year.

Is it time for me to take another percoset yet?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Weight Loss Summary 2006

This year, I've kept a calendar up in my bathroom. Every day, I've stepped on the scale and recorded this weight on the calendar.

I started the year at 186. I'm currently at 170. I'm about 5'6".

I've gone from the category labelled 'obese' to the category labelled 'overweight.' Now, neither one of those categories is great for a diabetic, but overweight is closer to where I want to be. When I look at the numbers for 2006, it looks like I lost about 5 lbs in January, none in February, 5 lbs in March, none in April, and about 5 lbs in June.

June was when I started having foot trouble. Since then, I've been down as low as 167, but 170 seems pretty stable for me. 171 is an alarm weight. If the scale says I'm 171 or higher, it's time to cut back on the treats.

I mostly stopped eating greasy breakfast burritos five days a week. I replaced many meals with SlimFast Optima bars.

I think I earned a gold star for weight loss for 2006.

I feel a little guilty for patting myself on the back - and in public no less - but I did good!

Weight loss goals for 2007?

1) Remain at or below current weight of 170 lbs.

2) Find and build a good habit of exercise that will not injure my feet

3) Lose another 15 lbs, if possible. That would put me at 155, which is the top end of 'normal' range for my height.

4) Build muscle tone. Build muscle and lose fat.

We'll see how I do on these.

I bought a new notebook computer, which should enable me to post to my beloved diabetes blog more frequently. Perhaps this will result in more knowlege and fewer opinions. Or perhaps not. Either way, I'm feeling pretty good on this winter day.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tragedy in Southern Oregon

I'm saddened by the tragedy of the Kim family, lost in southern Oregon. Here's a link to my local tv channel, the one which we watch most often, and their story on the Kim family.

And, no this does not particularly relate to diabetes.

Last Thanksgiving season, we were visiting my mother in Brookings, which is on the southern tip of the Oregon coast, and driving to Dr. Parts' dad, in Grants Pass, which is almost directly east of there, but there is this annoying mountain range in the way. It was just the two of us, and our little dog, Snickers, who's about 25 lbs and short-coated.

Now, you must know that Dr. Parts drives a big ole' truck, a heavy-three-quarter-ton Dodge Ram, with a Cummins engine and a hemi and four-wheel drive. And Dr. Parts knows how to drive. He grew up in rural Oregon and has hunted and fished for most of his life. He used to have a CDL and used to make his living driving big-rigs. He knows how to drive.

He likes driving in the countryside (read: godforsaken wilderness with no cell-phone signals and no shopping). On this trip last fall, he wanted to find one of the less-well traveled routes over the mountains.

And he did. We were on the same route that the Kim family attempted to take this year. We were traveling in opposite directions; they were going west.

He headed up into the hills, and I started praying. Now, his truck is a high-clearance vehicle. And remember, he knows how to drive. We had filled the tank in Gold Beach. We were traveling to visit his dad, who, in his retirement, volunteers as a search-and-rescue worker for Josephine County and dad's wife, who is a no-nonsense nurse and former nursing instructor.

The day was beautiful, blue and clear. Up in the mountains, the road began to climb steeply. I kept an eye on the mileage. I cannot drive his truck, and I wanted to know, if I had to walk out (this was before the foot problems) whether I should go back or go forward. There was a dusting of snow. It was beautiful, like a Christmas card. We stopped in a grove of fir to give the dog a break. Okay, Dr. Parts peed against a tree, too.

We continued upward. The pavement ended and we were on gravel. The snow got deeper and covered the road. It was eight to twelve inches deep. The sky was now white-that is, about the same color as the snow. It was no longer picturesque to me. It's hard to describe how steep parts of that journey was, both to the left-going up- and the right-falling away- of the road. It was a little scary.

We had several changes of clothing. We had warm hats. We had emergency gear for the car. Even the dog had a coat. We had flares.

We did not have extra food. We did not have extra water. Brilliant diabetics! We rarely have lows, so it was dismissed as no big deal, but, we didn't know how long this trip would take us, or where our next fast food / roadside store / lunch opportunity would come.

We encountered one family on ATVs. They were up in full snow regalia, searching for a Christmas tree. We arrived at a Y in the road. There was a warped plywood display with a faded map stapled under plastic. Dr. Parts got out and studied it. I looked for directional signs. This way to Gold Beach. This many miles to the nearest phone. This many miles to McDonalds. There weren't any signs.

The second half of the route was harder. I really didn't like it when our vehicle was making what seemed to be the first tracks in the snow this season. Or was it this century? Hard to tell up there.

After clearing the peak, eventually the snow disappeared. At that point, on our journey, the road was one-lane only. I think they split the east-west traffic, to avoid having to pass other vehicles, so the Kims may have been on a different road. The road we were on was gravel & packed dirt. It was narrow and, in parts deeply rutted. A vehicle with less clearance might have become high centered. In several spots, large rocks (read: boulders that a human would not be able to move by himself) had fallen into the road and had not been cleared. At least we were out of the clouds and the sky was blue again.

My heart leapt when we saw the first home down in the valley below us. We hadn't fallen off the roadway. No one had been injured. We would make it back to the city and cell phone range. At last there was pavement to drive on and a beautiful section along the Rogue River.

Oregon has great beauty in it. Occasionally, it remind us, that nature is a very powerful force and humans are much less powerful when in its grip.

We finally got to Grants Pass and to our relatives' household. We explained that our route had taken us much longer than we thought (probably twice as long as the mileage on the map might have caused us to guess-you can't drive fast on a narrow, windy, gravel road with steep dropoffs in the mountains). They asked a few questions about our route.

"You went which way?" They exchanged glances. You could tell from their eyes and expressions that they were worried. Mrs. Dad blurted out, "People die up there. Every year."

Here's a map from the Oregonian, from earlier coverage of the search for the Kim family. The drive from Gold Beach to Agness is beautiful and paved. The rest of the route, from Agness to Galice, requires preparation.

Dr. Part's Dad went on to talk about their search-and-rescue team's recent training in the mountains, although it was south of the route we took, in the area where the Biscuit fire was, some years back. He talked about cars and bodies that would only be found years after they had disappeared.

I am so happy that three members of the Kim family survived. I am so happy that they were found.

I am satisfied that Mr. Kim's body was found, and found relatively quickly. He died trying to ensure that his family survived. This is one of the duties of a parent. He fulfilled it in the highest manner, in my opinion.

I wish for comfort and healing for the families and friends affected by these sad events. I hope that they remember loving words exchanged. I hope that they remember his courage and bravery in attempting the difficult feat of walking out to seek help.

They have my condolences and my prayers as they walk through their journey of grief.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's an honor

I've had a lot of thoughts about diabetes this week, but not a lot of time to be jotting them down.

The grandparents have finally gotten out of their house, with 100% of their items removed from the home. They were supposed to be out on November 20. I think the actual final 'out' date was December 3 or 4. We drove up to pick up a large tool that Grandpa wanted to give to Dr. Parts, but no, we needed to pick up some junk from the yard and drive it to the local dump. A nice little errand turned into 4 sweaty, smelly hours.

I've been nominated for an award in the Diabetes OC's 2nd Annual Diabetes OC Blog Awards. I'm nominated in the category Best Adult with Type 2 Blog. It's an honor to be nominated, with my odd, irregular little blog and my less-than-apt technical skills. Thank you for the nominations. Please vote for me. Please, please please!

Or vote for someone else. I do read all (well, most) of the other nominees in this category on as regular a basis as I do most anything. Go to the link above and, when you're ready, click on the VOTE link.

I'd love for there to be so many Type 2 diabetes blogs that such an effort as mine would not be worth the mention. As an example, I may offer my knitting blog. There are so many interesting and talented knitters that my knitting blog does not stand out. That, and the fact that my photography is awful.

But knitting blogs require photography. With knitting, one must show one's work, one's yarn, one's projects. What is there to photograph or show about my diabetes? Would you like to see a copy of my medical bills? A copy of my lab reports with HbA1c numbers? A picture of my dinner?

I was a little distressed again at the projection that, worldwide, we will be part of a diabetes community of roughly 380 million people by the year 2025. That's awful.