Name: Kristy Morrill
Hometown: Mendon, MA
Diabetes Type: 2
Current Life's Work: Artist
When I was 50 years old in 2000, I had two cervical disc surgeries 3 months apart. They did disc excisions from the front of my neck on C6-7 and then C5-6, which blew out during therapy from the first surgery. My thyroid went crazy after the surgery. I began taking meds for hypothyroidism. I began gaining weight, my hair was falling out, and I could not sleep well. I was also going through menopause and had sweats constantly.
I was a mess. My cholesterol began to rise, as did my blood pressure. I was put on medications, and found that after time they did NOT agree with me. I changed blood pressure meds 3 times before finding one that worked and did not cause significant side effects. My meds for high cholesterol began with Lipitor, and then several other statins, and lastly with high doses of niacin. ALL caused significant side effects, especially muscle damage in my right leg to this day! The niacin caused such bad flushing and rash I had to stop taking that as well.
Now, the latest news in medicine is that statins and niacin can be a 33% greater risk factor in getting type 2 diabetes in women. I was diagnosed in Oct. 2011 with type 2 diabetes H1A1c of 7.5. I was put on 2 tabs of metformin a day, at 750 mg each. I did a lot of research at that time and found that perhaps diabetes CAN be reversed. I especially liked what Dr. Mercola and Dr. Mark Hyman say about diet and reversing it. I began to really try to lose weight; I lost 22 pounds in the first year then hit a plateau. At the same time, I also began yoga (only once a week because of foot pain from surgery) and also began to severely limit carbs.
Now, the dietitians in the diabetes clinic at Milford Hospital were telling me that I should be eating 150 grams of carbs a day, and that they should be mostly "heart healthy grains." I disagreed strongly with them, as my glucose meter showed that when I ate that many grains/carbs, my readings were OVER 200 when testing 2 hours after eating.
That was UN-acceptable to me.
In that first year, my H1A1c went down to 6.3. I stopped eating all pastas, rices, breads, crackers, desserts, potatoes, and starchy vegetables completely (aka Atkins almost!), and the glucose readings began to go down slowly. I also stopped all fruits and juices except for berries, which don't seem to affect my blood sugar. I try to keep carbs under 75g a day. Sometimes I go as low as 35 and sometimes up to 100, but we all ‘cheat" once in a while. I try to make a salad my main meal once a day whether at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The ONLY bread that does NOT raise my glucose levels (that I have found) is Joseph's Oat Bran and Flax pita or lavash. It is low cal, high fiber, and tastes great. I use a cup of salad or cole slaw with hard boiled eggs rolled up in a lavash for a breakfast sandwich and find it fills me until 12-1, when I eat lunch. I usually have protein and vegetables of some sort for lunch OR even another roll up sandwich but with deli turkey or tuna with the salad or coleslaw.
I had been using a glucose meter given to me by the hospital diabetes clinic; a OneTouch Ultra mini. I tested daily 4 times: first thing when I woke up, and 2 hours after each meal. I did NOT follow the recommended 6 small meals a day plan, as that seemed to KEEP my glucose readings high. I read about "intermittent fasting" as a means to help your liver work better and detox, (from the niacin I had taken!) so I ate breakfast late each morning, had lunch about noon, and dinner at 5-6 PM with NO eating at all afterwards. Thus, I had a "mini-fast" going from 6PM to 9-10 AM next day. Results began to show after a few months. But I was still having issues with the "dawn effect" and very high fasting readings. I did more research, began to take my metformin before bed instead of in the morning, and finally began to see readings go from 165+ to 135-140. But that is STILL not acceptable to me.
My husband retired, and our insurances changed. I was now unable to get the OneTouch covered, and had to switch to a new meter and test strips. The new meter was a Freedom Freestyle Lite. When I received it and set it up, I began testing with it and found the readings were on average 30+ points lower than I had been getting with my OneTouch.
I called the Freestyle Lite techs and they helped me use the Control Solution to check the meters veracity. It was working fine AND accurate. I also called OneTouch and told them my findings. They promised to mail me some Control Solution to test their meter. It was supposed to come in 3-7 business days. That was 3 weeks ago…even though I did email to remind them once.
Ok, now I was feeling better about myself. My A1H1c is 5.9 at last reading and in April this year when I get retested, I am thinking it may be even lower. And I have broken the weight loss plateau and seem to be losing again too, which makes me also feel better. My new style of eating was a bit of a challenge at first, especially since my hubby is a solid meat & potatoes guy who loves his carbs. But I have become accustomed to this new style of eating. When we dine out, I get a nice sirloin steak with a large salad, skip the rolls, the potatoes and ask for a steamed broccoli. Or I get broiled chicken breasts with double broccoli on the side. With a glass of wine or a light beer!
So, all in all, research and follow your own guidelines to better health.
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Today marks 22 years with type 1 diabetes for me. It doesn’t seem real. When I see other diabetics who have had it for 40, 50, 60 years, it just makes it feel like there is so much further to go. An endless amount of this life. 22 years is a lifetime for me. It is 85% of my life…22 years out of just 26. And I don’t even remember the first four diabetes-free years. Do not get me wrong. I am grateful for a fairly healthy 22 years. I do not have complications. I have been blessed to...