Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wake-up Call

I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, oh, three or four years ago. At first I was panicky, and tested my blood sugar several times a day, only to find that it was really fairly stable. It would spike after a meal, but then gradually settle down.

As a little background, here are some numbers for everyday blood sugar:


   Max mmol/L
(units used in Canada
and the UK)

(units used
in the US)

Target for diabetics<7130

At the time of my diagnosis, my fasting results ranged from 90 mg/dL to about 150 mg/dL. Eventually, I saw an endocrinologist who suggested that I could probably just test my blood once or twice a week. Which, in my case, translated into "never."

Because, whether I like it or not, I am a creature of habit. If it doesn't happen every single day, it is likely never to happen at all. (Except Tiramisu, which I will take at random intervals.)

Then we moved back to Canada and finding a good family doctor was a pain. I visited our old family doctor who wasn't too concerned and suggested I check in once a year for an A1C test. (A blood test that gives a 2-to-3-month snapshot of what's going on with your blood sugar.) A healthy A1C is below 6.5%. Mine was about 7%. So, high, but not scary.

My diabetes was considered "diet-and-exercise controlled." Which, if you know me, translates to "Really not controlled at all. Pretty much random. Might just as well prepare some burnt offerings."

About six months ago, I thought I should probably start monitoring my sugar again. But I procrastinated. My old test strips were expired; my old monitor used U.S. units, not Canadian. I was feeling okay, and my doctors didn't seem too concerned ...

Well, today, I finally got around to buying a new monitor and test strips. Because I like playing with new toys, I immediately tested my blood.

My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the result on the monitor.

That's 19.5 mmol/L = 351 mg/dL
I had NEVER, EVER had results that high. And I didn't feel ill. (Well, except for the constant thirst and the continual emptying of the bladder ... but those are also side effects of some of my meds and, um, middle age, right?) But there is no arguing with the meter. Yes, I tested again just before lunch because ... neurotic! The number had fallen to 13.4 mmol/L. Still not good.

For the record, I had not had a heavy "binge" the night before, and I'd only had a PB&J sandwich with coffee for breakfast.

I couldn't believe my pancreatic health had gone from "worrisome" to "we are having an emergency" in one short year.

To further feed my neurosis (and because I had just "broken up" with my old doctor so that I could  get a better one, and because the better one had not officially accepted me as a patient, so I was stuck in limbo as to OHIP-covered lab tests), I purchased an at-home A1C test.

These are a relatively new thing in Canada, and I'm sure the medical labs all scoff at their reliability, but I very carefully followed the instructions. My A1C was 9.6%.
In the orange zone.
Suddenly, this shit got real, in a way that the original diagnosis never did. It's time to give that diet and exercise regime a serious effort. Cuz the burnt offerings aren't working.



  1. Go Wynn Anne go! You can master this. My Dad was diagnosed in 1996 and a year later he was on insulin... But it doesn't have to be. Just try to get everything refined out of your diet (including "whole wheat bread" - only "whole grain" is ok). Lots of fibre is good. And cinnamon is a great blood balancing herb - sprinkle it on whatever you can!

  2. yikes!

    We let it slide, we'll take it seriously tomorrow. I even go through mentally organizing food, exercise, etc. even mentally do workouts!!!HaHaHa Lota good that is!

    Doug has done a good job of getting it (the blood sugar)right.


  3. I personally think that mentally exercising should count. I mean, I could be fantasizing about Tiramisu instead, right? Which would lead to EATING Tiramisu. So thinking about exercise really results in a calorie reduction, right?


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