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!

Expect the unexpected

Today’s blog is just my experiences with neuropathy during all the latest up and down weather changes. I’ve been a diabetic for over six years now. I’ve had several operations on both my feet. I’ve had toes amputated, and have had permanent nerve damage, which has caused my neuropathy. Through these six plus years I’ve had some feeling return to my feet, as my foot doctor has told me I would, but overall I’ve had to endure the stiffness, cramping, and sometimes pain when sleeping or walking.

Weather change has been a big part of how my feet feel. It’s like the four seasons of neuropathy. In the winter my feet tend to cramp and stiffen often. This usually occurs during the day. The best defense for this is exercising my feet and legs morning and night. I do leg lifts with an exercise band and foot rolls. I also elevate my feet on two pillows in the morning and before bed, which will help with swelling or mostly helps with my blood flow to my feet and legs.

Spring brings rain, chilly nights, and lately up and down temperatures, which makes every day a challenge to your foots health. The most important thing is to keep exercising your feet and legs and wear the best diabetic shoes that will help you to walk properly. Your foot doctor will write you a script and then you can go to an orthotic shoe store for a custom fitting. I’ve used Harry J Lawall and son.Thy’ve been great. I have to get custom insoles with a toe filler my right foot, since I’m missing my big toe. They give you three sets of insoles which you change every four months.

Summer is probably the most pain free months. The humidity doesn’t affect my feet like the cold. Sometimes the rain will cause some stiffness in my feet, but overall the summer doesn’t cause me much discomfort.

The fall brings colder temperatures, which can lead to the cramping and stiffness to be a continuing struggle, which can be controlled with the proper exercises. My two favorite seasons are fall and winter, so I have to keep up with my exercises, and proper footwear.

So there’s my four seasons of neuropathy as I’ve experienced it. I hope these thought can help someone dealing with the same issues. Stay healthy and safe!

Try something new

The one thing that can drive a diabetic crazy is the routines you go through every day and week to maintain your health.

If you think about your diet , and how you follow it religiously, it can become frustrating to find healthy food choices that you can enjoy. There are some healthy alternatives you can enjoy. I’ll give you an example. My breakfast choices are usually eggs or oatmeal. Last night I was in the supermarket and thought to myself I haven’t had pancakes in so long, and I wanted to see if there were sugar free and low carb options. I didn’t find pancakes, but instead I found whole grain waffles and a syrup made from Stevia and Monk fruit. When I read the carbs on the waffle box they lower than the whole wheat English muffin I usually enjoy on weekends. The stevia blueberry syrup was a good compliment to them. Once in a while, while in the supermarket you can find a healthier alternative to your usual menu.

The other new thing to try would be looking to improve your job, health and outlook. The most important thing to help your mental health is to feel confident in your ability to create positive changes in your life. So exercise a little more, spend more time with friends and family,find a job that challenges you more , and that lets you do what you like. I’m always looking for a job that I could help my fellow diabetics with. Don’t be afraid to take chances. As diabetics we’re always challenged everyday with our health, and maintaining a healthy A1C. So surround yourself with positive people, who will support you.

Stay healthy and safe!

Keep circulating

One of biggest health concerns a diabetic amputee can face is neuropathy in the legs, feet or hands. It’s a condition with poor blood circulation in these areas. I myself have lost toes in both feet due to complications from diabetes.

I’ve found exercises that help with the stiffness in my feet and legs. The first thing is to get an exercise band. They usually come in different tensions. Light, medium, and heavy. These bands are flat. Start with light and work your way up to heavy.

The exercise that helps me the most with my legs and feet are leg lifts. You put the band under your right foot first, extend the band, hold with both hands and then swing your leg up and down for three sets. I do about 42 reps per set. Repeat process for your left leg. Do this exercise in the morning when you get up and before you go to sleep.

This exercise will help you in the morning to get your day going with limited cramping, and at night this will help you sleep with less cramping and stiffness. You can also add foot rolls after you do this exercise for added circulation.

To perform foot rolls, extend your leg and roll your foot up and down. This will help your feet from feeling too stiff. Repeat process for opposite leg.

I never had neuropathy in my hands, but I know a few diabetics who have. When I was in physical therapy recovering from my toe amputations, you spend a lot time in bed and your hands can cramp from lack of activity. They gave me theraputty to help my hands from cramping. You put the putty on flat surface like a table and get some small plastic beads. Insert the beads in the putty, roll it up, and then take the beads out of the putty. This will help your hands from cramping.

I hope all these suggestions are helpful. Consult your doctors before performing these exercises.

Stay safe and healthy!

Think it through

One of the hardest things for a diabetic to do is to change their eating habits. If you were used to eating a high salt and sugar diet, and then all of the sudden you can’t eat that way anymore, it creates a challenge.

I’ve experienced so many heath issues due to diabetes, I had no choice but to change my ways. I look at certain foods as a recovering drug addict looks at a certain drug. You can compare these two scenarios equally.

I used to work with a recovering drug addict and he once told me he would always be an addict, except now after treatment, he has controlled his urges. The same can be said for a diabetic. If you stop eating poor diet, and focus on helping yourself, you can control your diabetes.

I don’t have to look any further than all my health issues that a poor diet caused me. I’ve had several toe amputations, blurred vision, and kidney issues caused by diabetes. You just have to tell yourself that you want to live a healthier lifestyle and limit your trips to the doctors.

The next trip you make to the supermarket, plan out a good meal plan for the week , and only buy those particular items. Eat foods with low fat, sodium and sugars and watch your portions.

I was fortunate to have doctors who have warned me if I went back to my old habits, I’d be dead within months. I remember these words when picking out my food for the week. Hey, nobody’s perfect. The holidays, summer cookouts, and family gatherings can be a challenge. You can let yourself go once in a while, but remember to get back on that diet after a day of holiday cookies, cakes, and rich foods. You may treat yourself on a weekend day, as do I without goin overboard.

Surround yourself with positive friends and family who will support your efforts. Think of your poor diet a a toxic relationship. Try everything possible to get out of it. If you’re in a good relationship with someone, it gives you confidence to achieve your goals. Gravitate towards people who respect you for who you are, and not what you can do for them. All these things will help you fight your diabetes and stay alive.

Stay positive and healthy!

Grab some fruit

I recently received a concerning reply to many of my blog entries saying that a diabetic should avoid fruits because of the carbs. That’s definitely not true. Certain fruits have low carbs, natural carbs and actually help a diabetic control his or her A1C. I’ll continue by going through each fruit I eat during the day.

The first would be strawberries or blueberries. Both contain antioxidants and are low in carbs. The obvious red flag would be the portion size. I tend to cut up 3 to 4 medium size strawberries for example to add to my egg breakfast. If I have blueberries I put about 10 in my whole grain oatmeal along with Stevia and cinnamon for flavor. Both of these examples are a safe way to enjoy these fruits.

At lunch time I’ll eat one medium apple. I usually eat red delicious apples. These are full of fiber vitamin c and antioxidants. Yes apples have carbs, but natural carbs as opposed to carbs found in processed sugars.

My dinner dessert is usually about 12 red grapes. Naturally sweetened and containing natural carbs their red skin is also healthy for you heart. I know it may seem hard to eat just 12 grapes per day, but trust me it’s possible.

On a weekend day I may eat some fresh pineapple, honeydew or watermelon. Again once a week , with small portions. In the end you control the portions you eat. Any fruit should be eaten in moderation. I’ve found strawberries, blueberries, apples and grapes eaten in small portions work well for me. My A1C range has been 5.0-5.7 for the last five years and my doctors are pleased. Everybody is different, so talk to your doctors about fruits that they recommend for you and your diabetic lifestyle.

Stay healthy and safe!

What food means to me

One of the biggest things a diabetic worries about after being diagnosed is how will my diet change? What foods can I eat? How will I satisfy my sweet tooth? All these thoughts are just some of your concerns as a diabetic.

I had to change my eating habits right from the get go. Fortunately I received a crash course on meal prep when I was in the hospital recovering from multiple amputations of toes due to complications from diabetes. I was receiving this care at St. Mary’s medical center in Langhorne Pa. The doctors there were excellent. They prepared me for my new life as a diabetic by showing me how to eat healthier and what foods were beneficial to my diabetic diet.

The first plan of action as a diabetic is to plan on what you’re going to eat for every meal for everyday. The days of eating cheesesteaks, pizzas, fried foods, and sugar filled desserts are over. You rely on yourself to cook everything, with maybe one weekend day off to enjoy lunch or dinner out.

Choose healthy choices like eggs or whole grain oatmeal for breakfast. Try to eat your biggest meal in the middle of the day for lunch. Your dinner should be small but sensible. Include fruits and vegetables with every meal. Try to limit your snacking to four days a week. Your snack should consist of protein like string mozzarella cheese, lightly or no salted nuts, and a sugar free candy with natural sweeteners like Stevia or Monkfruit. A good example would be Russel Stovers chocolate candies made with Stevia. Treat your once or twice a week to sugar free ice cream with natural sweeteners like Stevia. A good example would be Halo top. Watch your portions!

I used to eat poorly before I was diagnosed with diabetes. I ate to excess. I never watched my portions or cared about my health. I also drank way too much beer and other alcohols. I only drink alcohol now in small portions for a holiday or festive occasion.

The difference on how I eat now and before I was a diabetic is night and day. I eat now to maintain good diabetic numbers. My last A1C was 5.7. Eating healthy to stay alive and avoid further foot or eye complications are at the top of my list. I also have watch my weight to avoid a heart attack or stroke. I need to work on this more. At least I can proudly say my numbers are good, and I have currently limited health issues. They’re under control with good A1C range.

In closing my priorities in my life have changed. I’m grateful to be alive and walking and still have have my vision. I will continue this blog to help my fellow diabetics and hopefully soon get a job that can help the diabetic community. The most important thing that should matter to you as a diabetic is to be happy, healthy, and be fortunate enough to have wonderful friends and family who care and support you. I am grateful I do!

Stay safe and healthy! Next blog: More diabetic tips!