Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sweet Update

A little drop'll do ya: the Victoza which has helped me manage my type II diabetes.
I realize it's been a wee while since I gave you an update on my diabetes. I do hope you haven't been fretting too much. Sorry to have worried you, dears.

But all is well. (There. You really don't have to read further if all you're interested in is the bottom line.)

A little over a year ago, I did a random blood-sugar test and learned that my previously stable diabetes had gone kind of haywire. My glucose was 19.5 mmol/L - quite a bit higher than the normal (i.e., non-diabetic) high of 6.5 mmol/L.

Since then I've made some moderate lifestyle changes and have (at last!) found a really keen family doctor. (She's even written a standing order for quarterly blood tests.)

Moderate lifestyle changes have included:

  • Increasing the fruits and vegetables in the whole family's diet. Our home-delivery of vegetables has made a big difference in this.
  • Cutting down on heavy or greasy lunches. Unless there is a social event, which might happen once a month, my typical lunch might be a small bowl of vegetarian soup or some fruit and a hard-boiled egg.
  • Moving my body. The yoga class that I've started taking with Steve is a far cry from what most people would call a workout, but it does get me off my arse at least once a week, and I do work up a sweat. (Mind you, I work up a sweat just by breathing, so that doesn't really count.)
I'm far from perfect, of course. I haven't cut out occasional desserts or alcohol. And I'm not exercising every day or enough to raise my heart rate.

But one good indicator of success is that I haven't gained any weight since losing about 15 pounds when I started taking Victoza. An even better indicator is that at my last quarterly blood test, my A1C (a 90-day evaluation of blood-glucose levels) was 5.8%. (Normal is anything below 6%.) So, yippee for me!

It was such a good result that my doctor said I could consider reducing my medications - provided I kept a close watch on my blood sugar.

I was hesitant to do so, but then I had a couple of hypoglycemic episodes, so I realized it was time. (I've described a low blood sugar event before. It is scary. And it also makes me overcompensate by "panic eating" - binge eating.)

Through all of this one of the best pieces of advice I can give to someone who is just learning to control their diabetes is this: take your blood sugar frequently and track the results.

There are three reasons for this:

  1. You may start to notice patterns, as when I noticed that the previous day's behaviour had an effect on today's test results.
  2. You can't lie to yourself. You can't pretend that the cookie you had for dessert made no difference to your body: the meter says otherwise. 
  3. Over time, you will start to see positive results on the chart. 
If possible, find a tracking program that includes a graphic chart like the iBGStar app for iPad and iPhone. (You can get the app for free, without buying the iBGStar glucose meter.) Here's why I think it's important.
This is the chart of my tests for the first 90 days that I was tracking.
Even though those results might be alarming, they also showed me that the efforts I was making were making a difference. My meter has an alarm setting which allows me to set it for a two-hour post-meal reminder: an excellent tool for someone who's trying to learn how different meals affect her body. I also bought an extra monitor for at work, so I wouldn't have to remember to bring it back and forth. (I bring it home on weekends to enter the data into my program.)

And just to add to that, here's today's chart.
90 days - up to today.
Would you look at how nicely nestled most of the results are within that blue band? 


  1. Good work. Self monitoring anything is tough. Here's to great health!

  2. Wow! Those are amazing results! I am getting Elvis to download it ASAP.. he doesn't test nearly as often as he should. Sometimes he'll go a week without testing. He needs a stern lecturing and some sort of fun tech thing to poke at him to do it.

    - Melissa

  3. Thanks, Martha and Melissa. I hadn't appreciated how stable I'd been until I looked at the picture.

    Melissa - it is a great app. If Elvis finds entering the data to be tedious, consider getting the iBGStar meter - it plugs right into the iPad or iPhone and updates the chart automatically. Note, however, that you can't go between one piece of hardware and the other.


What did you think? Any comments?

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...