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!

Colonoscopy time

Diabetics have many health concerns and parts of the body that are affected. In my last blog I talked about my visit to the kidney doctor and and how was told I have moderate kidney disease and how I have to maintain my good diabetic numbers.

My next visit to a doctor was for a colonoscopy. My primary suggested I get one for several reasons. I’m over 50 and anemic. The concern of my kidney function was also tied to my blood levels were low. The concern my doctor had was that the low numbers could be attributed to cancer. Fortunately my colonoscopy results were good and no polyps were found.

I was relieved since my Mom had colon cancer and has been in remission for the last 17 years. I have so many health concerns as a diabetic, and cancer would have added to them. I highly recommend getting a colonoscopy for your piece of mind if you’re over 50.

The worst part is the prep. I had to dink magnesium citrate two days before the procedure and take two sets of Sutab tablets the day before. You have to be on a liquid diet the day before. The foods I ate were chicken broth and sugar free yellow jello with lots of water.

An important point for diabetics is that you can’t take you diabetic meds two days prior to the procedure, so it’s very important to keep those numbers at a healthy range. This procedure is essential for anyone over 50 , and being a diabetic it’s so important to stay healthy to prepare for this procedure. I can only speak as a type two diabetic who takes Januvia once a day. You are allowed to take your blood pressure meds on your normal schedule if needed. I have to take Losarten with potassium.

The facility I had the procedure at was very clean and professional. They also request you take a covid test before the procedure to be on the safe side. So keep your numbers stable and get a colonoscopy if you’re over 50 for your piece of mind.

Stay safe and healthy! My next blog I will continue to have healthy suggestions for diabetics.

Warning signs

Happy holidays! Today I’d like offer an update on my visit to the kidney specialist. I’m in no immediate danger, but I have to maintain my stable diabetic numbers. I’ll have to get an ultrasound for my kidneys before my next visit to this doctor in about six months as a precaution to see if anything has changed. The doctor explained how I’m in stage three of kidney disease due to diabetes, and if I keep maintaining my A1C at safe levels I can keep the damage at a minimum.

This is just another reminder of how diabetes can affect your health. I’ve had so many health complications form diabetes. I’ve had toe amputations due to foot ulcers, laser treatments and injections for my eyes to maintain my vision, and now I have to be wary of future kidney damage.

The reason I started this blog is to share my personal experiences in the hopes that it could help someone from making the poor health choices I made and save them from similar health concerns.

It doesn’t matter if you’re pre diabetic, a type 1 or 2 diabetic, take my warning seriously, see a doctor regularly, eat healthy, and exercise daily if possible. Give yourself a chance to fight diabetes and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

I have to exercise more for sure, but at I can proudly say my A1C has ranged fro 5-1 to 5-6 since being treated. Take your health seriously! Stop eating fast food and high sugar desserts before the damage is done. If I only knew then what I know now, it could have saved me a whole lot of pain.

The best advice I can give is keep fighting, and change your eating habits for the better. Join a gym, walk more often, and have a positive attitude. It definitely helps you fight this disease. I’ve learned so much about diabetes since being diagnosed over six years ago.

I’ve been fortunate to have great doctors, nurses, friends and family take care of me. If I have a setback, I remember all the people in my life past and present who treated me with respect and care about my well being. It keeps me moving forward. Embrace whatever makes you smile, and fight to survive!

I will continue to share my personal stories of success and failure from this disease to help others! Happy New Year!

What I’m Thankful for

Thanksgiving day is here and I wanted to express what I’m thankful for. Being a diabetic has many challenges, especially the various health issues. In my case that involves multiple ones

I’ve discussed many times on my blogs about my foot issues. I’ve lost toes, had to go through rehab to walk properly again. I’m grateful for all the doctors and nurses who helped me get well. I’m grateful I can walk and still have both legs and feet. I’m very fortunate.

The next big health issue has been my eyes. Diabetes has blurred my vision and required me to get multiple laser treatments and eye injections to continue to see properly. I’m grateful for my doctor for keeping my vision stable and being able to see.

My newest health concern may be a kidney problem. I’m being checked out later in December because blood levels are low and my lab work shows possible damage. So I’m grateful to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I’m grateful for all my friends who continue to support me in this fight against diabetes.

To sum this blog up I can see, walk and am able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I’m grateful for what I have. I hope all my fellow diabetics have a happy, healthy and family and friends filled Thanksgiving!