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Everywhere you look in the media you will see the words Diabetes and obesity intrinsically linked in the same paragraphs. Furthermore, if you happen to view the comments section on any such article, you will see a whole host of angry Type 1’s aggravated over the fact that the media has it wrong… proclaiming that they don’t cause their own diabetes, unlike the dreaded Type 2’s.
This attitude is wrong. Very, very wrong.
We share a disease, we should not be berating each other for how or why we got to where we are today. We need to stick together to help each other deal with daily life living with a chronic disease.
Where do I stand?
I was diagnosed as Type 2. Then there was some hesitation because I didn’t follow a normal T2 pathway and quickly moved from just Metformin on to SGLT2 (sodium-glucose co-transporter 2) Inhibitors which make you urinate excess glucose. That only marginally worked, so we moved on to sulfonylureas (Gliclazide) which served to make me very fat and hungry almost immediately but had little impact on my blood sugars. We’ve been down the route of GLP-1 injections (3 years: no weight loss, no impact on sugars), more SGLT2 inhibitors, Lantus (massive doses needed), Toujeo, and now Novorapid. I have been diabetic for five years and one month, and there are still some uncertainties because I have underlying issues with my pituitary gland which may have created the monster I am today! But, nonetheless, I've spent five years trying to fight and make sense of this disease.
A lot of that time has been spent blaming myself for being fat, lazy, overweight, unable to control my blood sugars, unable to meet the targets set, unable to be the diabetic that my care team want me to be. I’ve read countless articles where the reporter or author has repeatedly referred to Type 2 Diabetes as being a “lifestyle disease”, like we purposely went out and knackered our insulin-producing cells, and a week on the cabbage soup diet would sort us out. This kind of attitude makes us feel ashamed to have this disease and needs to stop.
Last weekend I bought myself a Freestyle Libre. I went for the starter pack (something like £140 for diabetics), and haven't bought any additional sensors.. as, well, I'm not made of money!
The aim was to get an insight of what's going on with my blood sugar now, and then a comparison three months later. If I learned enough and could see an improvement, then I might consider purchasing more sensors and checking it every three months.
The device arrived quickly, and today is day 4 of using it. I have to say that it has been the single most useful item that I've spent money on in a long while!
I've done a bit of experimenting - nothing too severe - but I wanted to see what happened if I ate certain foods. Brown bread is an absolute no-no. One slice of brown granary (some kind of artisan bread) resulted in a 6 hours surge from 8-something to 15.9. Then on Friday, in the interests of science, I ate a Magnum ice-cream and it barely pushed me up a point. Both experiments were carried out when I'd consumed minimal carbs for the previous parts of the day.
I can only assume that the fat content in the Magnum slowed the absorption of the sugar right down. Either way, I don't intend to make them a regular habit... I was just intrigued with how I'd react.
Night time levels have been somewhat of a surprise. I was certain I suffer from the Dawn Phenomenon. Every day I wake up a fasting reading between 10 and 12, no matter what I've eaten the day before or how much exercise I've done. I go to bed with a reading of around 6.5. So I expected to see a 3am surge of glucose, something in line with all the documentation of what Dawn Phenomenon is supposed to be.
Nah, of course, my body wouldn't be that textbook - it wouldn't be that simple. When I go to sleep, my blood sugar increases steadily throughout the night. No surge, no peaks or troughs, just a steady increase over time until I wake.
This leads me to believe that I have very little in the way of insulin-making cells (what are they called?).
Yesterday, I followed advice that I'd read somewhere on here, where someone said that many type 2's don't eat until later on in the day when the highs of the morning reading have decreased. I did that, and around lunchtime, I'd dropped to 6.9 and then ate. My blood sugar remained between there and 9.1 for most of the day (which is a very balanced day for me), but my carbohydrate intake was around 15g for the whole day... so, low even by lchf standards.
Imagine my absolute disgust this morning when my reading was 11.6 and climbing! It feels like a losing battle!
The one thing I did yesterday was take my Lixisenatide injection with Dinner. I always take it with Breakfast, but as I wasn't eating any, I couldn't take it. Lunch was a zero carb affair - cheese and smoked salmon - so I thought that it would be better to take it with Dinner as I was having a couple of Heck sausages and some black pudding. In hindsight, I'm not sure whether it was the right thing to do as one of the actions of the Lixisenatide is to slow down the transit of food through the stomach. I am now wondering if the higher readings I've got this morning are due to the effects of the injection wearing off, thus during early morning, I am getting the last bits of the glucose from my dinner last night?
I also did have a glass of red wine with dinner last night, and usually that has a glucose lowering effect with me... so I wonder if a high reading this morning is my liver playing glucose catch-up after processing the alcohol?
Today's experiment: No food until lunch time. Then a family day out which includes fish and chips. I'm going to avoid the chips, but will see what a chip shop fish does to my levels. (And clearly, as this is a very rare treat day, I'm not properly carb counting!).