Tag Archives: diabetes and appointments

A Sigh of Relief

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I held my breathe for the last week or so because of my annual eye exam.  I’m happy to report that after almost 17 years with type 1 diabetes I’m still hanging on to eye health.  I breathed out a long sigh of relief that literally lifted my headache away.

My pressure decreased in both eyes just as it did last year which tells me to more or less keep doing what I’m doing. There are no signs of the 2 faint blood vessels spotted two and a half years ago during my twin pregnancy which makes me happy but also proves to me how delicate a balance this all is.

A little extra pressure or strain, a little bodily stress and that’s all it takes to get the ball rolling on some damage?  It’s a tough pill to swallow but it makes me that much more aware of how important small daily decisions are.  Of course, the doctor always reminds me that with time I’m likely to meet some obstacles but she has a great point when she says not to worry because worrying is pointless, what matters is what we do with the present.  And currently I’m working hard to maintain good blood sugar management.  That’s the best any of us can do.

On different but related note, I realized I’m probably considered close to being legally blind-vision wise.  I have also realized that no matter how cute my glasses frames are, they can never hide the extreme chunkiness of the lens and as a result I’m extremely grateful for contact lenses.  A sigh of relief there, too.  See?  It’s not always about diabetes. :)

Getting to the Bottom of This

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Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.

Glenn Turner

 

“This” is whatever issue(s) I have going on which have been causing me to feel a lot less than great the last few months.  In the last few weeks I’ve been dealing with some stronger symptoms like frequent headaches and nausea and water retention.  I visited an allergist and we have ruled out Celiac disease but I’m still going to omit gluten to see if it helps in any way.  (Omitting gluten is a small price to pay if I just so happen to feel better!)  I had lots of other allergy testing done and we found I’m not allergic to any new things so that’s a plus.   Although I am allergic to about 30 different things.  No, my immune system is not confused at all. (Dry humor helps, try it!)

I was reminded that I have an asthma diagnosis from about 15 years ago.  It seems I have mild exercise induced asthma and have forgotten over all these years OR was initially misdiagnosed.  Perhaps when I’ve had my “panic attacks” I’m really just panicking over my breathing?  Could be.  I will get a breathing test soon.  In the meantime I’m just glad those symptoms are mild and I don’t require an inhaler.  Although I do get laryngeal spasms from time to time but although those can cause a person to pass out, the good thing there is that if I do, my throat will relax and air will pass once again.  Phew, what a relief.

Next I go get my hormones and ovaries checked.  Before having my kids, when my PCOS was causing more pain and ovarian cysts were growing all over the place, I remember having nausea and water retention-like I am now.  So hormonal imbalance issues may be the root of this.  It wouldn’t surprise me you know?  Lately, my blood sugars have been higher than they have been in a long time and that definitely affects hormones in the body.  My worry about that is how do I fix the problem?  I don’t feel well on birth control.  What else can I do?  Keep perfect blood sugars?  What else can I do?  Sometimes I dislike being a girl.

I also go to the eye doctor soon.  I’m sure my prescription has changed (everything is a tiny bit blurry) and although that is a bad sign of something diabetes eye related…I’m used to my prescription increasing every single year since age 14, so maybe that’s what the headaches are about.

Some of my symptoms could be tied to anxiety so I’m seeing a psychiatrist soon.  I know I said I would do this over a month ago but I have procrastinated.  But no more, I’ve just made an appointment.

I don’t necessarily want to share all of this with the world (Hello! Look at me! I’m broken!) but here is why I do:  Many of you out there are going through similar scenarios where you have multiple health issues going on and you can’t figure out what’s the cause of what and you feel really overwhelmed and as a result don’t do anything about it.

My advice is to just stop.  Breathe.  Write down your symptoms.  Make doctor appointments.  Visit one doctor at a time.  Get tests done.  Get to the bottom of this.  Ruling out different things will be strangely comforting as you move closer to what is making you feel ill.  Symptoms are our body’s way of saying “help!”   We need to listen and play detective and then tweak our lifestyle until we feel better.   We deserve it.

I should not have waited so long.  I’m already feeling better knowing I’m being proactive.

Any of you out there go through something similar?  Did it help?

Dressing Up and Cheering Up for the Endo Visit

Fingers crossed for a good A1c


I went to my endocrinologist appointment yesterday.  I was nervous about this appointment because if they were to find my blood pressure high again, I’ve been told meds will be considered.  And I would like to not have high blood pressure or more medications so I was a bit of a wreck.  I got up early and fixed myself up more glam than usual.  The usual varies according to my mood but I don’t normally wear much make up and I often wear clothes that should have been run by an iron first.  I decided to walk into the endo office looking put together, rosy cheeked, and most importantly-happy because when I was little, I’d see miserable looking people at the office and once home, I’d cry my eyes out.  It’s not that I thought they looked bad, it’s that so many of them looked sad and in pain and I feared I would become like them.  I’d leave endo visits feeling my life was over before it had begun.

After I arrived, signed in, and sat down, I saw a 6 or 7 year old girl walk in with her mom.  She was smiling ear to ear and had her hair neatly tucked under a baseball cap.  She wore a Nike T-shirt tucked into some cargo pants along with a few beaded bracelets.  She was adorable and then I practically burst with glee when I saw her pink sparkly shoes.  You gotta love a girl that puts an outfit like that together.  When the nurse came and called a name the little girl ran up and said, “That’s me!”  The nurse said hello and “What cute shoes you have!”  The little girl cocked her head to the side and said, “I dressed up for my endo visit today”.  I had to blink away the water in my eyes.  The nurse followed with, “But where is your dress to match your shoes?”  In my mind I’m cheering “girl power, girl power!” and the girl says defiantly, “This is what I like.  I dressed up because I want to make diabetes look good”.  Then her mom stepped in saying something about how she has been trying to teach her daughter to dress sharp and clean when she doesn’t feel well or is afraid because it will make her and others feel better.  She explained that going to the doctor made the little girl feel afraid.

I was too overcome with emotion to say anything.  I was trying to give hope to little girls like her by appearing happy and healthy and there she was beating me to it.  I wanted to jump up and tell her she was awesome and her outfit rocked but instead I sat and humbly watched the moment play out.  It was a scene that will forever soften my mood whenever I’m sitting in a doctor’s office.

A few minutes later it was my turn and I smiled at the nurse, said hi, and she said, “Geez, you look nice, too.”

“I want to make diabetes look good”, I said.

My Diabetes Yearly Eye Exam

 

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  First, my son woke my husband and I up at 2am.  Then his crying woke up his sister and so my husband and I were up an hour, each with a baby in arms.  After a while we didn’t know how to calm them down so they each got their morning bottle a couple hours early.  It worked although I had to stay on the couch with my little girl because she was glued to me.  Funny mama’s girl. 

Anyway, by 3:30 am when I got back into bed I found myself thinking about my eyes.  I’ve never had a problem with them (aside from worsening vision every year since age 14).  Diabetes-wise I’ve been fine.  I have noticed my eye pressure reading and glaucoma test results creeping up each year though they’ve always been in normal range.

Last year with my twin pregnancy my eyes were perfectly fine until I got really big at around the 7th month mark.  What my doctor noticed was a few leaky blood vessels in each eye.  She said they were small and probably due to the twin pregnancy (double the blood to pump in the body strains the eye!)  She did want to stress that I must not miss the next year’s routine eye exam, however.  And of course she told me to try hard to keep blood sugars steady so those blood vessels would have a better chance at disappearing.

Today I had that exam and we found that my glaucoma and eye pressure exams were better than they’ve been in years (odd but, awesome news).  Then she said it, “Your eyes are fine.”  I said, “What about the blood vessels?  Did they shrink?”  “They did, in fact their gone!  What have you done lately?”

“I don’t know…”

“Well, keep up the good work and remember your best defense is managing your blood sugars well and getting in here once a year!”

<<SIGH>>

I can’t tell you how relieved I am.  Now that it’s been a couple of hours and looking at the computer screen is no longer like glaring at the sun I’ve tried to take note of what I’ve done differently in the past year.

One thing is I feel like my blood pressure has been good this past year.  It’s never been really high but, I have always stressed at work to the point of having panic attacks or heart palpitations and being home with two babies has meant feeling much more calm and relaxed.  (Even though I often seem like a wild, clucking, mother hen).

Another thing is that I’ve been more active.  Instead of working out more I’ve been more steadily active.  Before my babies I worked about a decade and the job always involved sitting at a desk in front of a computer.  Then I’d get home and do a work out (or not).  Now, taking care of two toddlers means constant lifting and squatting.  My shoulders are kind of like an NBA player’s and my thighs are pretty wide with muscle.  All this lifting has created super abs (which are covered with loose skin so don’t ask me to prove it).  Point is, It has probably been beneficial to do more constant and steady moving throughout the day.  Lifting weights seems to help whether this is a child or a dumbell.  (Although I don’t think lifting weights is recommended if there are some problems with the eyes-not good to strain them!)

Last but not least I’ve also really cut out processed foods.  I’ve cut my salt intake considerably and my caffeine intake is very small compared to what it used to be. 

These small and subtle changes just might have done more than I ever expected them to.   

Wishing you great eye health today…:)

Why diabetics hate going to the doctor

“An apple a day” definitely doesn’t cut it.

I don’t know about you but, whenever I would  go to the doctor for a check-up of some sort I basically wanted to throw up.

It didn’t matter if my A1c had been great lately.  I’d be nervous and sick to my stomach with fear of test results.

Most days I’ve felt pretty positive about how my life as a diabetic is going.  Yet, those doctor visits seemed to pull me down and help me feel lost again.

This is all reasonably expected though.  What is sad is leaving the doctor’s office feeling just as bad as when I arrived.  I hate going to the doctor because my doctor doesn’t understand what I’m going through.  He/she doesn’t have a clue.  One third of us are dealing with diabetes in some way.  Some of us want the cold hard truth about how to stop our pre-diabetes.  Some are looking to control type 2 diabetes without insulin if possible.  And we type 1 diabetics are just trying to go an entire day without a high reading. 

Why can’t doctors really help us?

First of all lets debunk a myth.  Doctor’s don’t know it all.  They know what they are taught, first of all, and secondly, they know what they experience and learn along the way. 

They are taught less about diabetes than they are prescription medications.  So, knowing this, we have to hope they have at least deeply observed all of their diabetic patients and listened to them. 

I don’t know about you but, all the doctors I’ve been to don’t have much time.  I feel sorry for them.  They are forced to run from patient to patient and thus often say generic things like, “I’m going to prescribe you…” and “You should eat healthy and exercise more…” and “I want you to quit smoking”. 

Without much time to really talk to each patient a doctor cannot possibly fully understand the particular problem a patient has because often, there is a serious emotional/mental factor which is underlying a situation.  Maybe a patient can’t control their blood sugars because they are genuinely depressed.  Maybe a patient can’t control their diet because they are confused about which diet is the right diet to follow in the first place.  Maybe they can’t contol their blood sugars because they don’t believe it is their responsibility or that they have what it takes. 

I think many of us leave a doctor visit feeling disappointed.  I know I have.  That is why I took matters into my own hands.  I thought seriously about why this diabetes epidemic blew up and decided I needed to simplify my life and not do what everyone else was doing.  After all, “everyone else” is getting diabetes.  So I broke away from what was popular to do and have been much happier and healthier ever since.

You’ve probably experienced this in some way.  You did something different and felt special and lucky for having done so.  It’s time to try that again.  It’s time for all of us to quit hating doctor visits so much (we’ll probably always hate them to some degree but, I can promise you I no longer dread them so much and this can be you, too).

The first thing you need to do is educate yourself.  Then you need to discipline yourself.  Then you need to help your doctor help you

We’ll talk about all this in posts to come.  Stay tuned and let us know what you think in comments!  Do you handle doctor visits well?  If so, fill us in.  You don’t?  Tell us about it.  You’re definitely not alone.

Things you need to make appointments!

 

     I keep a running list to remind me of appointments and reminders regarding my health and mostly my diabetes.  Here is what I do:

1. On a planner,calendar, or some kind of digital system, keep track of all doctor’s appointments-you don’t want to miss these. It is ideal you see your general practitioner or endocrinologist, a dentist, and an ophthalmologist at least once a year.  Depending on your particular needs you may need to see other specialists, too.  Write it all down so you don’t forget.

2. Also make reminders for yourself such as, “Call and schedule next appointment with endocrinologist”. Often, we forget to do this and finally when we remember, the doctor is unavailable for weeks or months at a time.

3. Check all the re-order dates on your prescriptions and write those dates down as well or have your phone remind you of them.

4. Make yourself notes on random days like, “Are you eating right?” or “How do you feel today?” or even, “Are you testing enough?”. It would be helpful to have a robot pop up every so often to ask us these helpful questions-especially since life tends to get real hectic sometimes. Since we don’t have that robot yet, write up these questions or have email reminders to catch you off guard and make you stop and think, “How AM I doing?” Life gets busy, try to outsmart it.

5. Another thing I do is make small notes about how I’m feeling. If I notice constant pain somewhere I make a note of it. Or I may track the number of days I go feeling a certain symptom. I do this because diabetes complications show up slowly and sneaky so bringing attention to tiny possible clues could make all the difference. The earlier something is dealt with, the better the outcome.  Plus, I figure it’s helpful to a doctor to be able to tell him/her how long a symptom has been going on.

Do this and don’t let your diabetes be forgotten!  Add any helpful tips you’ve got in the comments.

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