A Will to Change
Making changes for better health, longevity, and my type 2 diabetes.
By Kalimah Johnson
October 2011 — What becomes of the person who is determined to change? Change is a concept that at times is not easily embraced by some people. I am one of those people that will embrace, encourage, and promote change among others, as long as things in my life can stay the same. I say that with tongue in cheek. For the most part, as a person who has type 2 diabetes, it is very important to be open to make changes for better health, longevity, and to keep complications away.
In my last dLife installment, I promised to make some changes and I have. I need to make even more changes, but for the most part, I am pleased with what I have done and I am more than happy to share!
First, I hired a personal trainer to help me exercise more effectively for the purpose of losing weight and getting heart healthy. I also want to increase my stamina for a 5k walk that I will be participating in during the Fall. The trainer and I exercise together three times a week, and he has combined strength training, cardio, and something that resembles boot camp in terms of his expectations and how he speaks to me, which really sucks! However, I am a willing participant and I am beginning to notice changes in my body in terms of the way my clothes fit already.
Second, I scheduled an appointment with an endocrinologist for the first time and was put on 24 units of long acting insulin once a day before bedtime. This change has helped with my morning sugar readings tremendously. I was hovering around 200-240 in the morning before Lantus, now I am around 120-150. It is still on the high side, but I am working on it. My goal is to range between 80 and 120 in the morning. I can't wait to see if my A1C has improved since making the changes.
Third, I have changed my eating habits. I have started limiting my carbohydrate intake. Hold on, I have not eliminated carbohydrates altogether — I personally don't think that is healthy — but I have started to monitor my intake. I am eating more fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and grains. As a result, I believe that I am having more energy, and even sleeping better too.
Also, here is the most controversial event that's happened since checking in with you: I attended an informational meeting for bariatric surgery. According to some studies I have read and other information I gathered from the Internet (as well as patients and friends who have had the surgery), many who have had the surgery have also experienced better results with managing type 2 diabetes.
Some of my family and friends are resistant to this kind of change. I guess they prefer me overweight and battling with my sugar numbers. I say this with tongue in cheek as well. My family is usually supportive of me, but I think they know how serious surgery can be and they just want to be sure that I am considering all of my options first. Surprisingly, they were quite unaware that I am actually overweight (this phenomenon is a cultural thing) and that I have two co-morbidities (high blood pressure and diabetes).
Humph — this is a shame! However, I have no pity, just a will to change.
At the bariatric surgery meeting, I learned so much about how obesity is a disease, how the surgery is not a magic bullet or pill, and how your behaviors will have to change to be successful. My intention is to seek out as much information about the surgery, to follow my own lifestyle changes throughout the summer, and determine after I run/walk the 5k in October as to whether or not surgery is for me. By the way, the next time we meet I will be reporting from Ghana, West Africa.
In the meantime, I will be working very hard at trying to incorporate these changes in my everyday life, and I hope and pray that these changes will improve my management of type 2 diabetes. I also encourage you to embrace and personalize your own change, as it can positively impact your life, health, and wellness.
Got it Sugar?
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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