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!

World diabetes day

Today is World diabetes day! If you’re a diabetic like myself this is a day to be thankful for all the great doctors, nurses, friends and family who have taken care of me since my diagnosis in 2016.

I’m grateful to be able to walk and see well even with all my complications I’ve endured being a diabetic. The foot operations, and blurred vision were a wake up call to take better care of myself.

There are many of my fellow diabetics who have gone through similar complications. I pray for them as well, and wish them nothing but good health and a better tomorrow.

Unfortunately though, there are many diabetics who can’t afford the proper care and medications needed to give them a fighting chance to control this disease. If you a family member or friend that are pre-diabetes or a type 1 or 2 diabetic, and are unable to endure the endless barrage of bills from medications, or vital equipment and supplies needed to help fight this disease, and if you’re able to help, please do.

Donate old medical equipment, or unneeded medical supplies to your local hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities to help your fellow diabetics.

They’re are many people who need to be helped tothe right direction to find programs that provide low cost or no cost diabetic supplies. So local hospitals offer financial assistance for patients who are having trouble paying their bills and receiving life saving equipment and medication .

My local hospital near me in Bucks county Pa.named St.Mary medical center provides financial assistance to help with inflated medicine and hospital bills. They helped me when I needed it, and I am eternally grateful.

So today if you have a family member or friend suffering from diabetes, lend them a helping hand. If they just want to talk, or need a ride to their doctors and you’re able to help , please do!

Stay safe and healthy!

Safe Holiday indulging

Well it’s that time of the year again. The holidays are approaching, with all the cookies, cakes and candy. If you’re diabetic like me, you look for sugar free and low sugar alternative goodies.

Attending those family gatherings also means many homemade traditional family dishes. The big dinners and high calorie desserts that we all have trouble saying no to. You can enjoy some of these traditional favorites through small portions and following one simple rule. Don’t let one day of indulgence turn into two, three or four days. I’ll give you some examples.

Yesterday was Halloween. I attended a Halloween party which the traditional quick dinner, cider, candy, and snacks. Yes I indulged in all of the above treats, but today I go back to my normal diabetic diet. One day won’t ruin your progress, but letting it turn into continued days and weeks may cause more damage and revert to bad habits. So enjoy through moderation,

The next example will be the ever popular Thanksgiving. The turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, and the healthier veggies. A big meal like this always puts you the couch afterwards feeling like a bloated blob. Don’t forget the pumpkin pie with whipped cream. You can enjoy this day as well, but return to your diet the next day. Take a walk after you eat this big meal to make you feel better and less of a blob.

The biggest, delicious, and most difficult holiday of them all is Christmas. All the big meals, and of course those traditional homemade cookies and cakes. This to me is the hardest and most challenging holiday for diabetics. Enjoy these treats with small portions, and try not to take a cookie tray home with you . Explain to your family and friends that you’re diabetic and you can’t go overboard.

In the end enjoy these holidays through moderation , not gluttony. Try to stay active during the holiday season, and always return to your diet the very next day after a holiday gathering. That’s the best way to maintain good diabetic eating habits.

My next blog I will have more healthy tips to help maintain your diabetic diet.

Stay safe and healthy!

Walk it off

It’s my favorite time of year. Fall and winter are fast approaching here on the east coast. Fall foliage, Halloween, Christmas and snowy weather. I love it all, except how it affects my neuropathy.

If you suffer from neuropathy, you know what I’m talking about. Your legs and feet stiffen up more, and you have to find new ways to ease the pain and stiffness. Exercise is the best way I’ve found and I’d like to share with you some of the ways I help myself to feel as little pain as possible.

One of the best thing you can do is to exercise your legs and feet before bed. Get a quality exercise band and try three sets of leg lifts on each leg. You can sit at the edge of your bed while performing this exercise. It definitely helps your blood flow and can help prevent cramping and stiffness of your legs and feet during the night.

The other exercise I perform before bedtime are foot rolls. Just raise and lower each foot for a few sets. It helps my feet from cramping or stiffening up.

During the daytime try to take a brisk walk, which will help your circulation. You’ll sleep much better the days you exercise. I also prop my feet up on two pillows in the morning and after my nightly exercises. It helps reduce swelling, if there is any, and makes my legs and feet feel more comfortable.

Photo by Artem Saranin on

If all these exercises and daily routines still don’t help you that much, seek help from your podiatrist and get some physical therapy. Stay safe and healthy!

My next blog I’ll discuss preparing for the upcoming holiday season and how to indulge in those holiday goodies safely and still maintain your diabetic diet.