Saturday, April 3, 2010

Distracting myself

Well, this is one of those posts that's in the interest of full disclosure - or, as my mom says, The Truth Will Set You Free. This drawer contains pieced small quilt tops waiting to be quilted and finished:Wow.

On the left is my bag of bindings, then sixteen small quilt tops ranging in size from 16" x 20" to 60" x 60", one Project Linus quilt that's 50% pieced, and then two queen size quilts that are 25 - 30% pieced. Some of them are from last year, but quite a few are 2010 projects.

I guess you can tell from this that I like the piecing a lot more than the quilting. But I suppose there's more to it than that.

Sewing is my relief. As well as sewing to accomplish projects, I sew to relax and to distract myself from stuff on my mind. It's soothing to feed patches through the machine and watch blocks and then quilts emerge. And if you are working on a quilt, you have to concentrate or things will go awry. It's a nice thing to do to keep yourself from brooding on problems. And since the first of the year, I've been dealing with a new problem.

I had my yearly check-up on January 5th. That evening, the on-call doctor from the practice called me at home and asked me to come back to the office the next day for some more blood tests. "What tests?" I asked. I figured that my cholesterol, which was trending higher, was up and they were going to try to talk me into taking cholesterol lowering drugs (which I was leery of).

"We want to redo the blood glucose test," he replied. "Yours was over 300."

300????? In case you don't know, that's BAAAAAAD.

I have to say now that this was out of the blue. The results of my physical twelve months before were perfectly normal. I had seen the doctor during the summer and fall because he was watching my cholesterol test results, but they did the blood chemistry panel then and my blood sugar wasn't high.

So back to the office I went in the morning. The lab tech stuck my finger and showed me the results on the meter. 345. Oh my. The doctor's nurse came and got me and set me in an examining room. Doc came in shaking his head. "Well, we have a problem."

No kidding. And what's that "we" stuff?

He told me that I had developed type 2 diabetes, the insulin resistance kind, where your body's beta cells may be producing less insulin as you age, but the main problem is that your body is not metabolizing it correctly, allowing your blood glucose to rise. He was going to do another blood test call an A1C, which would show percent glucose levels in my red blood cells and, since red cells stay in circulation 2 to 3 months, would give a snapshot of historical blood sugar levels better than a one time test.

He also gave me a diet guide, a coupon for a free meter, booked me into a diabetes education class and wrote a prescription for a drug which you take my mouth that helps the body metabolize the insulin you make. If your body is not making insulin, this drug will not help, so it's also a way to see if it's an insulin resistance problem or an insulin production problem. You can also do a blood test called a C-peptide test to assess beta cell function, but luckily I respond well to the medication so I guess my little beta cells have not pooped out yet.

So that's my life now. My blood sugar is back in the normal range, my A1C result (which was absolutely awful in January, by the way) is almost back to normal, and I have finished the classes. I walk two miles a day on my treadmill. I've adapted my diet to the new rules, which wasn't very hard except for just about giving up bread and cutting out any refined sugar completely. I've always been a big veggie eater and we almost never eat out, so my cooking didn't really change. I don't want to downplay the difficulty of the transition; it does turn your life around. So that's why I've been sewing so much - to think about something else for a while.

It did hit me a few weeks ago that I don't get a birthday cake this year. I think I need to figure out how to bake with Splenda. I made my husband a German chocolate cake a few weeks ago (just because I can't eat it doesn't mean he has to do without) and that was difficult. Makes me realize that I'm a taster when I cook!

I have a routine in my meals, exercise and such. I check my blood sugar several times a day and I've even gotten used to pricking my fingers. I guess I had a lot of practice with all the pins I've stuck myself with through the years.

And I've lost 20 pounds since January. As my husband says, "The way you're eating, you'd HAVE to lose weight." This is not a diet I recommend.


paula, the quilter said...

Wow, what a blind side, huh? I am going in for my physical in a couple of weeks and there is diabetes in my family too. Good luck to you and me.

G'G'ma said...

So sorry to hear that. My husband has been diabetic for quite a few years and on insulin the past 10 years. I applaud you for getting "with the schedule" right away. My husband didn't and now has some of the side effects. I know you will do great with your determination.

About the car...too bad an over the counter pill couldn't take care of that!!!

Kathryn said...

Wow! That's a big chunk of news, and I'm really sorry it's happened. One of the things it illustrates is the benefit of regular checkups and blood tests with your doctor - you've caught this swiftly and immediately made changes to adapt. So sorry to hear about the moratorium on baking - that's tough. But 20 pounds lost - hey, that's terrific! Paradoxically, the diet you're eating now and the exercise you're doing with the Devil's Footplate (;-) mean that you are doing really well health wise, especially if further weight loss continues. My dear great aunt has late onset diabetes (diagnosed in her mid 80s) but has managed to control it with good weight management and diet, so that she now occasionally allows herself a treat when on holiday or at Christmas, and doesn't actually need any specific meds on a daily basis. She is now a very perky 92. Good luck with the continuing adaptations.

Tanya said...

Oh dear. That does sound life changing. But if this was out of the blue for you then I guess you hadn't been feeling badly right? And all the wonderful things that can moniter diabetes! So different ages ago. Even diabetes education classes! I think you've got a head start over a lot of people.