For the sake of sanity

Today I want to talk about mental issues facing many diabetics everyday, and share some of my personal experiences about how I stay sane.

Diabetes is challenging disease and can affect your body in many ways. In my case I lost toes and have had blurred vision, high blood pressure and kidney issues.

Changing your diet for the better will help, seeing all your doctors on a regular basis, and monitoring your sugars through testing are all good steps.

Sometimes all your health concerns can become a bit overwhelming. It can take a toll on your body from lack of sleep and the biggest obstacle, stress.

That’s why it’s so important to find activities or daily job functions that have a positive effect on your day.

I’m a music teacher. I run a rock band program for kids and adults. When I see how students progress through each rehearsal, it makes me proud of them, and gives me a feeling of accomplishment as a teacher. Yesterday my students performed, and did well.It’s a good feeling knowing your doing something positive for the community. It takes my mind off any problems I may have.

This is what I love to do. I love teaching and watching my students become better musicians and people is rewarding.

This is my niche, now find yours. Do something everyday if possible that makes you feel good about yourself and your accomplishments.

If you have limited mobility, write a blog and share your experiences with your fellow diabetics, so that they can make it through each day.

The worst thing to do is to sit home and cry woe is me. Help people with similar health issues get through their day. It will be rewarding and will help you remain stable.

Stay safe and healthy!

A small victory

This short is a victory update for people with Type 1 diabetes. Congress passed a bill to cap insulin price for diabetics on medicare to 35.00.

There are still millions in this country who can barely afford this life saving medication, and those who can’t.

Make sure you get out and vote for all offices. Local state and federal. You can also contact the American Diabetes Association and any and all local and online groups to find ways to make your voice heard.

It’s a good victory for some, but so many more need this life saving medication. I join other diabetic blogs who support real change to pharmaceutical price gauging. Let’s hope someday everyone can afford this medication.

Stay safe and healthy!

Staying focused

The hardest thing for a diabetic is follow your diet religiously. Any interruption of your normal daily routine can alter your health.

It could be a sweet dessert from a party, that could lead to another sweet dessert or candy. You may check your glucose levels and find a scary drop one part of your day.

I’ve controlled my glucose level quite well since being out of the hospital and physical therapy. My A1C has ranged 5.0-5.7. A few weeks ago my level was as low as 60 and I proceeded to eat some sugary candy to raise level back above 70 and it did. Before I checked the level I ate some sugary candy, a bit of cheating and it must have made my sugar level crash and burn.

This brings me to my last visit at the eye doctor. He said there was swelling behind my eyes. He told me that laser treatments could help correct the problem, but mostly watch what you eat. You can correct the problem yourself by not cheating or going off your diet often.

Listen, no one’s perfect. I’ve done a great job controlling my A1C, but the slightest deviation of my routine could cause future damage. I took this visit as a wake up call. I look forward to correcting this problem as much as I can.

I just wanted to pass this story on to my fellow diabetics. Never take your diabetes for granted. Stay safe and healthy.

Stay organized

One of the most important things to stay on top on as a diabetic is your doctor appointments. We all have different ailments caused by diabetes, and sometimes it can get overwhelming.

In my case I have a foot doctor due my toe amputations. I have an eye doctor which I have to give laser treatments and shots to the eyes to continue to have stable vision.I have a kidney doctor to monitor my kidney function. I have a cardiologist to monitor my blood pressure and heart functions. I of course have a diabetic doctor to oversee all my diabetic concerns, and help me maintain a healthy A1C.

All these appointments can get overwhelming sometimes, but I have remained organized with them all since being diagnosed.

The main thing is to always ask for a appointment card after each visit for the next visit. Provide a working email address, and contact information. Request reminders via email, and if your associated hospital has a patient portal, sign up for that as well.

The patient portal will keep track of your appointments for your doctors, and have health history information.

The other important thing is to keep track of your blood work through an online portal through your lab. This is helpful to monitor your progress and help you ask the appropriate questions to your doctors.

The worse thing to do is to assume if just take your meds, it’s ok to postpone your appointments. I have friends that are diabetics with this mindset, and they struggling with their A1C.

Do your own research online on how to read your bloodwork results and write down any questions you may have for your doctors.

If you wear specific diabetic shoes, as I do, keep up with your care of the shoes by changing your insoles at the right time, and informing your doctor of any redness or pain caused by your shoes.

I know it’s alot to think about on any given day, but it can give you a fighting chance against diabetes.

Stay safe and healthy!

Be prepared

In the five plus years I’ve had diabetes I’ve controlled my sugar quite well. My A1C has been in the 5.0-5.7 range after all my surgeries and rehab. Your whole diet changes, hopefully for the better. You try to avoid high sugar snacks and candies as much as possible. Unfortunately with the holidays and summer barbecues you sometimes you eat candy or sugary desserts or snacks. The key is portion control.

For instance some candies may contain sugars that will spike your blood sugars and then crash them later.

I check my sugars whenI get home from a barbecue or holiday gathering. On one such occasion I had too much candy and when I got home and checked my sugar it was at 60. My doctors told me a healthy range would be 75-100. So 60 definitely is a concern.

The most important thing to do when your sugar is that low is to be prepared in your home with a quick sugar fix to elevate your blood sugar to a safer level. I always have candies and apple juice in my apartment in case of an emergency.

The key is to eat some candy and juice , and a small snack like nuts or string cheese, and wait about a half hour to recheck your blood sugar and see if at a stable level. My level went up to 92 and I was relieved.

Keep and emergency only supply of sugary candy and juices in your home in case of trouble. Apple juice, or cranberry juice are ok, but stay away from orange juice. It will have a crash and burn effect to your blood sugar.

You should also have sugary candy in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

This is just one of the crucial things you have to deal with as a diabetic. So watch your portions, and also be ready to expect the unexpected.

Stay safe and healthy!

A friend in Fear

This past week on the many diabetic blogs and websites I follow I read many articles about the grief of being diagnosed with diabetes. It’s definitely a life adjustment in many ways.

In my case I lost toes on both feet and have dealt with blurred vision from time to time. I’ve learned through physical therapy and keeping my blood sugars under control how to walk again, and keep my eye sight stable. Every morning I wake up being able to walk and see is a blessing to me. This is one of the many positive thoughts I have everyday.

The most important thing to do when you’re diagnosed is to keep a positive attitude. Yes, your diet will change. You’ll have to learn to function everyday differently now due to what physical limitations you may have. All these thoughts will be going through your mind due to diabetes.

It definitely helps to have a group of supportive friends and family to help you through this, as I’m lucky to have. Whether it’s a ride to the doctors or just a phone conversation, it all helps you deal with your new situation.

They’re also many online support groups and blogs to follow that can help you cope also. Check Facebook or LinkedIn for local or global support.

Getting back to the subject of grief, it’s up to you not to get overwhelmed by diabetes. I remember the first day I was diagnosed with a diabetic foot ulcer and my doctor told me to go to emergency room, and then later on I was admitted. I went from being free to go where I wanted to being stuck in a hospital. All the fears and bad scenarios were going through my mind like, will I lose my foot, how long will I be out of work, and most importantly how will I adjust to my new physical disabilities. It’s very overwhelming laying in a hospital bed not knowing what could happen.

Fortunately I had great therapists, top notch doctors, nurses and the best friends and family anyone could ask for to help me continue moving forward in my life. The most important thing is that I wanted to keep fighting and to get back to my life.

Remember all the positives in your life while you’re lying in that hospital bed, or learning to walk properly again through therapy. It could a friend from the past or present who liked you for who you are and not what you could do for them. It could be a passion you have. I enjoy teaching music, and someday hopefully I’ll be able to be a diabetic mentor to others. Think what lights you up inside and go with it.

It’s like my buddy Yoda from Star Wars once said. “Do or do not, there is no try”.Stay healthy and safe.

In the family

Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads out there and to all the fathers no longer with us!

Today I would like to talk about how diabetes can originate from a part of your family and how important it is to keep up your physical examinations every year.

Every diabetic has there own story about when they were diagnosed. In my case it was over seven years ago. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was eating poorly and drinking too much alcohol, which led to my condition.

The question I had when I was diagnosed was how did I get it? My father was a borderline diabetic and my mother never had it.

On my mothers side of the family none of my relatives every had the disease. On my fathers side of the family his brother had it and my cousin also had it. They were both type 1. This should have been a red flag for me to get a physical yearly, but I ignored it and I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The point I’m making is if diabetes runs in your family, take care of yourself. The genes in your family may catch up with you someday. Talk to your diabetic family members about how they were diagnosed and what foods and drinks they had with there daily life.

This is especially important while your young. If I treated myself better in my later teen years into adulthood maybe I would have never got this disease. If I had talked a doctor about my concerns about contracting the disease someday and how to prevent it, I may been in better shape today.

Take care of yourself. Watch what you eat and drink. Watch your portions, and try to control how much sugar you eat. Read about diabetes, and learn about steps to help prevent it.

If you are diagnosed, ask your fellow diabetic family members for advice and support to help control your sugars. Get a diabetic doctor appointment immediately and have them manage your diabetes.

If you experience blurred vision, or have any ulcers on your feet , make and appointment to see a foot and eye doctor immediately.

Take care of yourself while you’re young. It would possibly save you poor health in your adult future.

Stay safe and healthy!

Natural relief Part 2

Last week I talked about how oranges help with Neuropathy and ease nerve pain. The biggest concern I had was would an orange a affect my A1C ?

Friday I had an appointment with my diabetic doctor and she said a small orange per day shouldn’t hurt my diabetic numbers. Emphasis on small. She recommended if I was concerned about my sugar numbers going up, to check my sugar an hour later after eating the orange to see if it would affect my numbers. It doesn’t. My A1C was 5.6 after my blood work.

Remember it’s about portions and the time of day you eat certain fruits. I eat my orange for lunch, so I have the rest of the day to burn it off.

In the end I’m glad I found a fruit to help with my Neuropathy . It’s a natural way to help ease the pain. All of my doctors recommend natural foods and treatments over over medicating. I hope this will help my fellow diabetics with their nerve pain.

Stay safe and healthy!

Natural relief-Part 1

One of the many sometimes painful side affects of amputations is neuropathy. In my case I lost a few toes on my left foot, and my big toe on my right foot. After several operations you have to learn to adjust to these amputations and the permanent nerve damage that follows. There are many ways that neuropathy can affect you after these procedures.

In my case I have stiffness in both feet. The left being worse due to multiple amputations. The right foot have slightly improved over time, as some feeling has returned, as my foot doctor said it would.

Weather change can be a big adjustment to your feet. I usually experience more stiffness in the colder months. I do exercise my feet and legs to help ease the pain, but I have to be careful not to bang my feet into an object, which can lead to swelling or infection. .

I recently starting eating a small naval orange once per day, and my feet have felt better. I read several articles about how citrus fruit can help ease nerve pain. It definitely worked for me.

The questions you may have as a diabetic is oranges aren’t typically a safe fruit to help your blood sugar. I used to drink orange juice if my blood sugar went too low, and it had a crash and burn affect. Small portions of sugar candies tend to work better if your sugar goes too low. So I basically wrote off oranges and orange juice as being dangerous to my blood sugar control.

I have kept my blood sugar levels in the 5.0-5.7 range for the last five years, with very little episodes of low blood sugar. I tried oranges again, and this time they worked for my neuropathy. My blood sugar levels remain stable.

In part 2of this blog I will talk about what my diabetic doctor thinks of this after I see her Friday. Again I’d say try small oranges to see if it can help your nerve pain as well, and continue to monitor your blood sugar.

Stay safe and healthy!

Stay focused!

The hardest thing about being a diabetic is the toll it can take on your body. Sometimes no matter how careful and mindful your are about your daily routine, you can have bump in the road.

I had that bump in the road the last couple weeks. I had a form dermatitis on both feet. Dried skin , redness, mild swelling. Fortunately I saw my foot doctor and got a good steroid cream to put on them and it cleared up. This is my example of a bump in the road. It frustrates you because you do everything possible to keep yourself healthy and this happens.

I follow many pages on Facebook with various diabetic challenges. I follow many neuropathy pages, and many general diabetic pages. The thing in common with all these pages is the amount of frustration people vent about setbacks in their diabetic health.

It could be swelling of their feet, blurred vision, or a difficulty walking due to neuropathy. The worse thing you can do is get depressed or throw your hands up and give up. Talk to your friends, doctors, and family members about your issues. Seek medical help immediately if your condition worsens.

If your feet are swollen, prop them up on pillows and elevate them. Call your foot doctor immediately if the swelling remains. It could be an infection and needs to be treated quickly.

If your vision is blurred, make an appointment to see your eye doctor. It may time to get a new prescription for your glasses or contacts. It could also be you may need treatment for diabetic retinopathy. It may require laser treatments or shots to your eyes to keep your vision stable. I’ve have both treatments, they work well.

If you suffer from bad neuropathy it could be many things. Lack of exercise, nerve damage, and even weather change can affect your ability to walk without pain. Talk to your foot doctor and cardiologist about treatments and medications that can help. I always do leg and feet exercises in the morning and before bed, and it helps with the stiffness and cramping associated with neuropathy.

In the end don’t feel different or limited by diabetes. Help your fellow diabetics with personal experiences and the support they need. Remember you can still make a difference in this world, and live the life you want if you believe you can. Get a job helping diabetics with all kind of disabilities. That’s my goal. I’ve controlled my diabetes for over six years now with a low A1C range.5.0-5.7. You can do it too, with eating healthy and portion control. Believe in yourself!

Stay healthy and safe! I hope everyone had a nice Easter or Passover!