Intro to my Type-2 Diabetes

Photo by Kate on Unsplash

I’ve had diabetes (type 2) for over 10 years…probably closer to 15 years. In that time I’ve learned a lot about myself and how my lifestyle affects my blood sugar. Metrics are central to my life.

When i first got the diagnosis my doctor sent me to a diabetes awareness class. It was an interesting group, most older than me, and most (not me) pretty surprised they were in this situation. I was quite surprised that the primary fear among these new diabetics was the fear of having to inject themselves with insulin some day, my primary fear was of losing a foot.

I have come to the realization that what I do for blood sugar control is not necessarily what everyone should be doing, I am an experiment of one and I make no claims that what I do will help anyone else so don’t follow my advice…which i won’t give…I’ll give “testimony” of what I do and how it affects me; good or bad, with no suggestion it will have the same affect on anyone else.

When first diagnosed my doctor told me that the best way to lower your blood sugar is to test yourself several times a day and keep a log. My initial reaction was, “that’s silly, how can testing fix my blood sugar?”. As any idiot, it took me a few years to realize he was exactly right although he didn’t say the quiet part out loud; test yourself and make note of what you ate or did and how it affected the reading you got. So, after a few years, I started consistently testing blood sugar and logging what lead to whatever number I got. Here are some of my observations.

  1. Candy bars raise my blood sugar
  2. Cardio lowers it but not for a few hours later
  3. Weight bearing exercise lowers my blood sugar faster than cardio
  4. Meat doesn’t raise my blood sugar a lot, especially if I don’t eat like Augustus Gloop
  5. Drinking wine doesn’t appear to have a bad affect on me…it even seems to lower my Sugar reading…I choose not to explore this any further.
  6. Eating in moderation means I can eat just about anything…except maybe candy bars

Number 6 may not seem to be an epiphany to anyone else but to me it has been a hard learned lesson. I am not a type 2 diabetic because I can easily do anything in moderation. Blame it on genes all you like but I had a BMI of 34 and it wasn’t a misleading reading because I was too muscle-y.

I learned that A1C is the most important measure because it tells me (and my doctor) how I’m doing over a period of ~3 months and it’s a test you can’t cram for, I can force a good BG reading if I need to given a day’s notice, but A1C is a truth teller.

I used to keep a copious log in a spreadsheet with charts and all but it was difficult to keep up until I found a Glucometer that automatically syncs with my phone and creates a spreadsheet for me. It isn’t as good as the one I created for myself but it is effort-free and the charts aren’t that impressive to my doctor anyway.

I used the pandemic as an excuse to let a lot of stuff slip and my A1C demonstrates that pretty clearly as you can see in the image below (Thanks Quest!)

A sad story of the pandemic

I knew it was going to be a sad story so you can see that I avoided going to my endocrinologist for over a year! The results were predictable, an A1C of over 10. I’m slowly coming down to my normal levels with a reading of 6.8 at my last blood test. I think I can get it lower. As I mentioned the A1C is about a 3 month average so if I keep my current numbers steady my next blood test should be in the low 6’s.

In subsequent posts I’m planning on covering my diet and how it’s evolved over my post-diagnosis life. Parts of it are not pretty and I still fall off the wagon now and then. It’s a journey as anyone with diabetes will tell you. I am careful where I get your advice from, some of the advice I’ve seen and tried was awful for me. We’re all an experiment of one.

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PJ McWilliams

PJ McWilliams

Software Development Manager

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