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...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


My tests came back from January 22:

HbA1c is 5.7. Hooray!

And now for the bad news. Cholesterol is 236, LDL is 137, HDL is 46, and triglycerides are 207.
According to the little form sent by the clinic, desirable for total cholesterol is under 200, LDL shoud be under 100, HDL should over 35, and triglycerides should be under 150. So, three out of four are not in the ideal range.

Here's the note from Ms. Doc on the cholesterol numbers: "A bit too high. Can manage with diet and exercise."

HA! What does she think I've been doing since my diagnosis?

In my opinion, an ideal diabetic diet should be an ideal diet for managing all aspects of health, including circulatory health. In other words, if I were following the ideal diet for managing my diabetes, I believe that my cholesterol and lipid levels would show much better numbers.

And exercise? Again, HA! Why does she think she's been writing me prescriptions for percoset? Hello? Foot pain, here!

And still...

Despite all else, I am still largely responsible for my own health. I am responsible for what I put in my mouth. And I know that I can do better on my diet and exercise, even with all these things in my life.

I also got a call from Podiatrist #1 on the results of the bone scan ($841 retail for this test, BTW). Pod says that the tests are negative. In other words, the bone itself does not show signs of inflammation. Pod concludes that I am not a good candidate for surgery. The inflammation & pain must be coming from a nerve or tendon and I should keep up with the acupuncture, if I find it helpful.

Why, yes, I do find it helpful. And yes, I will be continuing with treatment.

I'm also going to go see Podiatrist #2 tomorrow. I will continue to pursue options.

I owe Allison a picture. I don't want to send it. The weight numbers are up.

Alas. Life goes on. I have to eat another meal and make good choices.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The New(er) Car

Here's our new(er) car. Dr. Parts drove it up to Rocky Butte to get a photo of me and the car. The mountain in the background, over my head, is Mount Saint Helens. Yes, that Mt. St. Helens which erupts periodically. And yes, I was here in May 1980 when it exploded and blew its top. It was a gorgeous perfect mountain, almost cone shaped, and, from where I live, it looks like someone sliced off the top of it. The photo was taken looking to the north. The car is a 2002 VW Jetta. Diesel.
Still haven't gotten the results of the bone scan. I'll go to the 2nd podiatrist in Salem, driving the red car, on Wednesday. It should be good.
Now, I have another reason to keep my job, besides the health insurance. Debt!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's been a week of maintenance

A standard appointment with my internal medicine doctor.

(I told her about the blog. I gave her the address. I felt very brave.)

I made my appointment for the yearly mammogram. And the follow-up ultrasound on Lefty, because of that lumpy area. Yes, the one that's been the same since my middle-twenties.

I got a pneumonia vaccine booster shot. Darn, that thing made my arm hurt for three days! I can see why they only have you take that every five years, to give you time to forget the pain.

I went to the dentist and got my cleaning. The hygienist, the best ever dental hygienist in my humble opinion, tells me that she recently went to a professional conference -- I thought how utterly boring I would find a conference on tooth cleaning -- where they announced that it would soon be part of the standard of care for persons with diabetes to have dental cleanings every three to four months, rather than every six. She's optimistic that this may lead to these extra cleanings being covered by our insurance. I pay out of pocket for my extra cleanings, but my mouth is much happier. And, so the health experts say, is my diabetes. Strange how these things work together, but, if letting Mindy inflict an hour of discomfort and mild pain on me every three to four months will help me stay healthier, I'm willing to do it.

The black leather uniform doesn't bother me much... But I'm not willing to call her Madame Mindy, no matter what the threats.

Also had another acupuncture treatment. Comparing the two, I think the acupuncture was more uncomfortable than the dental cleaning. And yet, my feet feel better for the rest of the week. How strange.

I'm still getting my percoset refill filled.

I'll post the numbers for my test results when I get them.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sorrow Tree

I heard this story once, not sure of the source. It's probably a very old tale.
God, listening to all of the prayers for relief, from all the people all over the world, got tired of it. God called them all together and said, "You folks. What am I to do with you? I gave you these things, and yet, every day, you pray to me to have me take these troubles, these pains, these sorrows and griefs, you want me to take them back. You say you are not strong enough to bear them." (Does this sound like Deuteronomy yet? Or is it more Minor Prophets?) "So, I have a one-time deal. You write down all these things on a piece of paper and you bring it over to that big tree tomorrow at dawn and we'll see."
So, each one wrote down all their pains, griefs, aches, annoyances, losses, unfulfilled dreams, failures, sorrows, fears, troubles and anything else they could think of. The papers were all different sizes, many different colors. Some writing was the large bold printing of a child. Some was written in the thin wavering script of an elderly woman. Some lists were long and detailed. Some were so brief, but these pages were often the ones most stained with tears.
The crowd gathered at the tree and waited for God. God appeared, as God will, silently suddenly. Someone just realized that He had been standing right there, at his elbow, all along. God walked among the crowd, whispering, "Go, place your sorrows on the tree. You may place your sorrows there and leave them. But you must take away one of the sorrows with you. This time, you choose. If you give up a sorrow, you must take another's sorrow with you by the time the sun goes down today."
Each person went up to the tree and hung a list on a branch. The tree fluttered, but none of the sorrows flew away. The people walked slowly around the tree. They considered. They read carefully. Hands reached out and touched the sorrows, but no one chose. Sometimes several people gathered around one particularly touching piece. A few times, gasps or groans were heard as the people read.
The morning wore on. The people kept walking and reading. Noon came and went. Finally the sun began to descend. The first woman reached up to the tree and chose her sorrow. Then a teenage boy snatched a paper from the tree and sauntered away. A man in a suit and tie carefully selected one, folded it and slipped it into his pocket. Soon, many papers were rustling as the people made their choices.
And what do you think they chose? No matter what awful things they had written on the lists they brought in the morning, each one took home the sorrow that they had wanted most to give up. They chose their very own sorrows.
When compared with what others go through, my sorrow looks very comfortable and familiar to me. My foot pain, it is not as bad as others. I do not mean to turn my blog into a whine-fest. Nor do I mean to diminish anyone else's suffering by bringing up my own.
I often think of the sorrow tree as people tell me their sad stories all day long, hoping that I will tell them that the rules don't apply for them, that they don't have to wait in line, that their situation is truly urgent and difficult. I gotta say, I'm well into jaded when it comes to sad stories. Inside, I empathize. Inside, I say a prayer. But my face remains set and my words are firm.
But, hey, maybe blogdom is the modern sorrow tree.
For fellow Christians, please pray for me this week. I have an opportunity to share about my sorrow and my sins in front of my church next week. This would be difficult, and yet, might prove helpful for others dealing with the same sh** that I've been through. Wisdom, strength, courage, discretion...these things I pray for. Thank for all your support and kind words, no matter what your faith or tradition. And yes, I believe that God does not really get tired of my whiney prayers. I think I wear out before He does.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Beautiful Foot of a Diabetic

Here are the feet that hurt.

Friday they got a bone scan. I don't think the faint raidoactivity is visible in this image, however.

Friday evening they got acupuncture and some incense type treatment, of which I have already forgotten the name. (Moxie? Magji? Something like that. Starts with 'm' and ends with 'ee'.)

By that time, they had taken me through the week of snow, and I figured they deserved a treat.

Saturday morning they got a pedicure and a paraffin treatment. Very nice. Thank you, Marion, for the spa treatment and for saying I have beautiful feet.

Saturday afternoon, Dr. Parts and I looked at a new car for them. Automatic transmission, just in case they get to have surgery. If one is considering foot surgery, for both feet, best not to have a vehicle requiring two good feet for safe driving.

Although I will admit, I have looked into hand controls, thanks to my friend who uses them on his vehicle every day. They're not too expensive, I must say.

When I say "new car" what I mean is "less ancient than the current car". Current car =1992 gas guzzler. New car = 2002 diesel compact. We haven't signed on the dotted line yet, still some details to be worked out, but I'm pretty excited about it.

The car deal will be delayed a day or two because of my visit to my IM doctor. I should have been testing more, to have more numbers to show her. My HbA1c will probably be up (from 5.8 and 5.9) but probably not above 6.5. Also, I have a dental cleaning early in the week.

I've gotta pay up for Allison's OCNew Me Challenge. I feel wussy when Scott has bet himself $100, and I've only bet $10. I blame my pentecostal background. My grandmother would not approve of gambling, even if it is with Allison, and with myself, and with good health as the outcome.

I've promised Allison photos. Sigh.

Since I've posted here about the weight loss, I have to confess. Since Christmas, I've done nothing but gain. Ugh. As of this morning, I was at 177. I wanted to remain at around 170 for the year, and really, LOSE down to 160 for the end of 2007. Not a good direction to start. Alas.

But I must remain in good self-talk (sorry for the psychobabble) and remember that my weight is not a good measure of my worth. And, my weight is only one measure of my health. I'd like my weight to be lower, and there are things I can do to make it lower. Regardless of what number my scale shows, I am still worthwhile. I am still lovable and capable and deserving of good health.

That being said, my feet will look really good in my new car if they're only carrying around 160 lbs of Lori. And I can get them manicured to match the paint, too!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow = Exercise

We're having a snow day in Portland. It's actually quite beautiful, lovely powdery snow. 3-6 inches, at my guess.

Dr. Parts and I were up in the mountains, well, the coast range, the little mountains between Portland and the ocean. And I caught this photo of him exercising:

I also got this photo. This is what I usually see when we're travelling:

This is Snickers, the crazy little brown dog. She spends a lot of time on my lap when we're driving.

I've been to the acupuncturist twice now. And it's helping! It's not a miraculous 100% cure, but the foot pain is much better. Of course, he has an entirely different idea of what kind of orthotic I need in my shoe than does the podiatrist. (I think I'll stick with the podiatrist on this one for now.)

I was supposed to have the bone scan today, but I spent the time putting chains on the vehicle. I had a no-problem commute, though. I rescheduled the bone test to Friday. I'm told that our neighbor Nancy got a photo of me putting chains on the Ford. Is she thinking blackmail?

I was scheduled to drive to Salem to see a second podiatrist tomorrow. They've got black ice down Salem way. I rescheduled the appointment for two weeks out.

And, just regularly scheduled medical stuff, I have an appointment with my Internal Med doc on Monday and a dental cleaning on Tuesday. I am high maintenance, am I not?

Dr. Parts shoveled the sidewalk and the driveways for both us and for Nancy & Sue next door. More exercise.

At the moment, for Dr. Parts, snow equals snoring.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year, Old Pain

The foot pain is back. Yuck. It's not foot pain, it's FOOT PAIN.

I think I'm a little desperate. I've seen an acupuncturist.

He's a good guy, short, round, bearded, just the way I like my men. He said something about liver, gallbladder, and dampness. I liked the Chinese semi-massage, didn't so much like the needle part of it. My legs got restless.

I feel about the same today as I did before the treatment. Footwise, that is. Standing is killer. Walking is tough. I'm thinking of asking co-workers to go and fetch my diet pop for me.

I liked the holistic approach, talking about body systems, and all those little minor complaints from various parts of my life...headaches, heartburn, diabetes, gum disease, insomnia, and FOOT PAIN.

I'm thinking about getting a scooter for zipping around the office. It works for my buddy with the spinal cord injury. (He's a C5-6 quad-who am I kidding-I get zero sympathy from him. He keeps asking how my 'sigmoids' are.)

Is it diabetic nerve pain? Is it complex regional pain syndrome? (Nah, mine is bilateral and most descriptions of CRPS do not mention bilateral symptoms.) Is the DPM going to recommend steroid injections? Is six months of pain enough to register as chronic? Should I head right up to OHSU Pain Clinic? Their intake form is 24 pages! Nice and thorough. Again, I like their holistic approach.

I go to see the DPM & the LAc next Thursday again. DPM in the morning, LAc at 5:30 pm. And then later in the month, I get to see the Internal Medicine doc on Monday and the dentist on Tuesday.

I got a spiffy new computer, so that I can blog, and I haven't blogged much. Bleah. I've taken the Diclofenac as prescribed and taken one Percoset this evening. They still ache like a [bad word here].

I am thinking of joining Allison's new challenge. I'd like to be down to 155 in 2007. I think a more realistic goal is 160. But, hey, being gentle with myself, remaining at 170 for all of 2007 would be a very successful thing to do. Very health supportive. I'm glad she's including parents of PWDs. They have their own special kind of stress.

I want to tell all of my medical professionals that I blog. What difference do I think that that might make, I wonder? Would they want me to mention their names, or prefer that I not? I wonder.

I'm watching ER, a show I have watched for a long time. (I think it's not the same since Dr. Carter left) On today's episode, they've got a diabetic (type 2) who's had an unexpected amputation on this episode. She's got osteomyelitis (bone infection) in the toes and insists no amputation. They talk her into it, and yet the surgery discovers more damage, she wakes up with a lot more amputation than she expected. Good discussion, good character. In her, they have an association of her series of losses in her life, with her current situation-the amputation, etc. (The series also has a type 1 teen who's discovered, in this episode, to have stolen from his mother's co-worker. Interesting.)

Diabetes can be a series of losses. Life can be a series of losses. How can I deal with the things that life sends my way, including diabetes, including my current state of health, including todays crisis, but not taking on any losses that may occur for tomorrow? Can I see a silver lining? There must be an up-side.

Hmmm. Either I need to blog more, pray more, or go back to talk therapy. Or maybe some combination of the above.

God bless you. I know He is blessing me. Even if my blessing comes cleverly disguised as FOOT PAIN.