Friday, July 24, 2015

Today's Update - 25 Jul 2015

Hello.  My name is Kathy.  And I am a diabetic.

No, this isn't some joke but I admit I really wish it were.  Life throws the worst curveballs exactly when you don't need them.  Last month my husband and I were applying for some additional life insurance and it required a medical exam including an EKG and blood work.  Then came the letter a couple of weeks later.  "I'm sorry but you are uninsurable.  Your diabetes is not under control."  Excuse me?!  I don't have diabetes and I'll prove it ... or at least so I thought.

I immediately scheduled a doctor's appointment and explained that something had to be wonky, someone made a mistake, that I had no symptoms of diabetes, none.  So ok, it appears to run in my family but my dad's was triggered by exposure to Agent Orange, my maternal grandfather's was triggered by being a farmer and eating a diet high in fats and sugars his entire life, my paternal grandfather supposedly developed his as a reaction to some TB complication back in the 1940s and he died in the 1950s so nobody to this day can really confirm for sure that he had diabetes.  And there are definitely no women in my family with diabetes.  Well, they did send me each time I was pregnant for blood but the results always came back negative.  And sure, occasionally my cholesterol registers a little high but ... but ... but ...

The doctor was really kind I suppose, but also matter of fact.  It's genetic.  For some people you can do everything to almost everything right and your number still comes up.  Looks like that's me.  My A1c was 10.2 and my fasting glucose was 288.  Talk about being shocked.  I hadn't had any soda at all for almost two months except for one cheat and on the advice of a dentist I hadn't had any fruit juice for over two weeks either.  I shudder to think what those numbers would have looked like if I had still be doing either one.

I was in denial for a bit.  It took me a week to accept reality without throwing a mental hissy fit.  I'm still very uncomfortable with the diagnosis.  This changes things, it changes things a lot.  In a lot of areas.  And has raised questions that could cause even more things to change ... cost of insurance, life expectancy, complications as I age, burdens on my family, a lot of things.  I'm trying to minimize the accommodations that my family will have to make but my husband says to stop worrying it to death, that we'll deal with it like we've dealt with everything else that has come my way.  That isn't exactly taking away my concerns but at least I know he isn't blaming me or anything like that.  Both of his parents had Type 2 and he always thought it would be him but his numbers are almost perfect. Go figure.

I'm still fighting the idea that food is the enemy; because in reality it isn't food that is the enemy.  In reality there is no "enemy" to fight.  In reality there is nothing I can do to change the fact that I have diabetes.  I can manage it but it isn't something that is simply going to go away.  That is a bitter pill to swallow, especially as I have spent the last year really getting myself in shape and healthier so I could head into my 50s with a clean bill of health.  Yeah right. 

And yes, I'm still a little angry about it.  My ability to be thoughtless and carefree is gone, over with, never coming back.  I have to look at everything differently.  I'm not saying that it sucks to be me, but it is going to be a while before I can just casually shrug my shoulders at things ... especially diet and exercise.

It is how I was eating food that apparently is the problem for me personally.  Not that I was eating poorly; I kept my carbs under 200 grams per day which is what a normal, healthy adult female should be able to consume.  Well not if you are a diabetic.  As a Type 2 diabetic I shouldn't be having any more than 125 grams of carbs at most and that's if my numbers were "under control."  Well they aren't right now though they are better and I have to have as few grams of carbs as possible which is extremely challenging.  No bread, no pasta, no rice, no carrots, no corn, no potatoes, no peas, no winter squash varieties, very limited dried beans, and very limited fruits.  All of which were staples in our menu previously, especially the rice and beans. 

There are things I can have and I'm trying to make the most of it.  I can have hard cheeses in reasonable amounts.  I can eat lean cuts of meat in reasonable amounts.  I can eat greens, I can have minute amounts of dressing to choke all of those greens down with but none of the other stuff that I used to make it palatable ... carrots, croutons, bacon bits, etc.  The only thing I'm drinking is water.  I can't drink any tea (herbal or otherwise) until I can find out if they set me off or react with my meds.  Oh that reminds me, no honey either, at least for now.

As I said, this changes a lot of things in my pantry plans as well as my health plans for possible future scenarios.  The one truly bright spot that I've found is that a brisk thirty to forty minute walk after every meal will drop my blood glucose quite a bit ... but I don't always have the time or ability to walk after every meal and snack.  I walk between 10 and 20 thousand steps a day on a normal day according to my pedometer.  Adding more exercise in is a challenge, but it is one that I am going to have to come to terms with and conquer.

Yes I am now on meds.  I'm not completely comfortable with the new routine and I'm aware that some people don't care for metformin (glucose), lisinpril (kidneys), and the statins (cholesterol).  I'm aware that people have reason to have some concern.  But for me this is what there is for now.  I do not ever want to get to the point that I need to be on insulin so it is either fight now or suffer later.  My goal is to be off medication eventually but that is going to take time.  For now medication is the tool I have so medication is what I'm going to use to start with ... but it isn't the only tool.  Diet and finding more time to exercise is at the top of the "gotta do" list.

So that, in part, in addition to working to meet the needs of my parents, husband, and children is why I have been unable to post more story time.  It is possible that my father will be released to return to their home this upcoming week.  He still has a challenging time ahead of him and my mother right along with him. 

Below is what I have.  I'm sorry that there isn't more but I'm wrapping my head around a lot right now.  Sometimes life changes are challenging even at the best of times and right now isn't the best time to have to deal with something like this.  But it certainly isn't your fault, dear friends, so as always please forgive me.  I will try and have more between now and Monday.

Emi on the Caloosahatchee
Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!
A Girl Called Jack

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Today's Update - 7 Jul 2015

I feel like I've fallen down a well and I'm just now climbing close to the top ... or at least close enough that I realize I still have a bit to go yet but at least it is lighter than the inside of a black cat.

For those that don't know my father was hospitalized ... again, though I've lost count which one that was ... for severe chest pains while in the hyperbaric chamber.  Turns out that it was from two things ... dehydration and some type of blood pressure problem that I can't remember the name of where it fluctuates based on whether you are lying down, sitting down, or standing up.  The blood pressure issue will have to wait until he is healed enough to determine whether it is permanent or a temporary aberration due to his heart surgery/valve replacement.  The dehydration means changing his habits ... again.  He is so cranky about constantly being told what to do but he forgets whether he is drinking enough ... he'll say yes I just finished a glass of water only we know he finished the glass of water with his morning pills and it is getting close to lunch.  He feels like he is being treated like a child.  While I sympathize it doesn't change the fact that he still needs help remembering and monitoring so many basic things.  He tries to not be foul all the time but his patience for this whole situation is wearing thin.

But the good news is ... his open wound is now healed enough that he no longer requires the wound vac.  I would show you the before and after pictures but they are fairly disgusting and I'm not sure Dad would be comfortable with it.  Suffice it to say ... ewwwwww.  He still has what is considered an "open" wound but not the kind that goes down to muscle tissue.  Its depth is measured in millimeters now as opposed to inches.  He still goes to the wound center every day and on most of those days I drive though Mom has become much more independent about transporting him places.  Mostly it is just she wants me there for moral support and I suppose she just gets plain lonely.  At this point Dad is more ready to go home than Mom is.  Unless something comes up I figure they will return home no later than the end of July.  Dad keeps saying "one more week" but I'm not sure how realistic that is or whether his wound doctor will have released him in "one more week."  Mom doesn't want to leave until he is released because she worries what that will do to their insurance and their ability to get him additional treatment if/when it is needed.  On that at least I agree with her.

On other fronts I have stayed very busy as well.  My parents in the house has made keeping house a huge challenge.  Mom and Dad both are pack rats and tend to procrastinate about cleaning up their stuff.  I can't live like that; it is the wrong kind of chaos for me.  At the very least a dirty dish/glass needs to make its way to the sink or dishwasher rather than just lying lazily where ever it was last used.  My mother's sewing stuff and other half-finished projects keep migrating all over the house as well.  About the only thing that I now have better control over is my frig and freezer and the canning supplies.  My kitchen counters are still cluttered but at least the produce has been processed and is ready for canning this week.

I'm not going to show what a disgusting mess the rest of my storage area is ... shudder ... but at least I can show that I have been doing some canning.

This isn't even close to all of it.  There are quarts of soup on another shelf, pints of mushrooms, pints of apple bbq sauce, jelly jars of various jams and preserves, etc etc etc.  I was going to do some more canning today but got a call first thing this morning that they had to take my daughter who is away at summer camp to a walk in clinic.  Turns out to be not strep as suspected but a sinus infection that the doctor up there decided didn't warrant sending her home but did warrant a z-pak.  Her brother is flying her home on Friday so at this point all I can do is accept it and try not to be helicopter mom and worry it to death.  It isn't like this same brother - who is working the boys' side of the camp for the summer - wasn't quarantined last week because he caught pink eye from one of the campers in the preceding session.  Seems like it if isn't one thing it is another.  Every year I have to relearn just why I come out of the summer months traumatized ... between the business and the kids it is a wonder hubby and I aren't bald as a cue ball.

My normal stress relievers aren't as available as usual.  The kids have been gone a lot more so my helpers are otherwise occupied.  I haven't had as much time to write as I would like.  I've said it before but it bears repeating.  It isn't because I don't want to write but because when I have the time to my brain won't cooperate.  The stories are like trying to hold onto slippery electric eels.  The tighter you try and grab them and make them do what you want them to, the more they fight and bite to get away.  However, I think I do have enough to post an update so here it is:

Will post late, late tonight or sometime tomorrow.
A Bunch of Wild Thyme
Dark Days
Emi on the Caloosahatchee
Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!
A Girl Called Jack

Tonight's vids are examples of the soups that people can.  I am definitely going to give the recipe for French onion soup a try though I'll can it in pints instead of quarts.  I'm also going to can some garbanzo bean soup, my chili mix that had kidney beans and group beef in it, and my grandmother's recipe for vegetable soup that has beef in it.  Finding beef soup bones has been a project in and of itself.  I'm also going to can some chicken soup base and a few other odds and ends but that's for later.  For now, here are the vids.


Making and canning French Onion Soup

Split Pea Soup

Chicken a la King Soup