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 Pexels.com

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.

Two for one

Tonight I want to discuss a common everyday routine we as diabetics perform everyday. We prick our fingers two to three times a day to check our blood sugar reading. I check mine in the morning and and usually at the end of the day. On a Sunday I may check it before breakfast and before dinner. My numbers have remained solid for the past three years with an A1C ranging between 5.0-5.5. I’m proud of myself for keeping my numbers at a safe steady rate. It has helped my overall diabetic health issues immensely.

There is however a frustrating part of checking your blood sugar. Sometimes you may receive a high reading in the morning with one finger and then a lower reading with another finger. You may ask yourself how is this possible?

One possible reason may be your finger may be dirty or contain food residue from something you just ate. So wash your hands throughly before you check your sugar.

The second possible reason could be your meters battery is low or could be giving you a reading that may differ at least twenty points in a given direction. I read this in an article from a diabetic page I follow. Talk to your endocrinologist on your next visit. You’ll have your blood work completed before your visit to compare your meter readings with your bloodwork.

The other reason could be the sample of your blood could differ from drop to drop. Did you ever notice when you squeeze your finger lightly your blood may be watery, but when you squeeze a little harder it’s thicker and more solid looking. I read on a online blog entitled One drop.today where the blogger described how your blood glucose molecules change with your blood flow.

In the end don’t panic! On your next visit to your diabetic doctor bring your meter and compare the meter readings with your bloodwork. The best advice I can give you is to eat regularly. Three meals a day, with each meal two to four hours apart. If you have a small snack before bed this also helps keeping your numbers stable. I’ve found the nights I don’t have a snack my reading the next morning may be higher than normal. Try to stick to a steady meal plan to keep your numbers stable.

If you have to check two fingers to get the better reading for your own sanity, by all means go ahead. Just remember your bloodwork is the most accurate blood sugar reading you’ll get.

My next blog will deal with neuropathy and how seasonal weather changes can affect you.Stay safe and healthy!

Say no to fasting

Tonight I want to discuss why I don’t fast with my diabetic diet. I have some friends who fast as a part of their daily routine. I’ll never understand the logic behind this. I’ve heard it’s because the medications they are on. I’m no doctor, but results speak for themselves. My A1C is 5.5. and I eat three meals a day and a snack five times a week.

The people I know who fast struggle to get their A1C below 7.0. Their doctors have told them to eat when they’re hungry. There’s one flaw in that theory. If you only eat twice a day, you’re extremely hungry by the second meal, therefore you’ll eat bigger portions and your sugar will be all out of whack. You also may have more fatigue, blurred vision, or become dehydrated quicker.

The biggest problem I had when I was extremely overweight was eating larger portions at night after work. Many times I would eat seven hours between meals from lunch and dinner. This is one of the main reasons I was diagnosed with diabetes and had so many health complications like toe amputations and blurred vision

In the end I’d say talk to your endocrinologist about keeping a consistent meal plan, like eating every three to four hours.This will keep your blood sugar on steadier levels and help avoid health complications. It’s worked for me, and I hope it works for you.

Stay healthy and safe! My next blog will continue to talk about staying healthy in a diabetic lifestyle.

Choose wisely

One of the most important things a diabetic can do is meal planning. Eating regularly and healthy can stabilize your blood sugar. I cook and prepare my meals for the whole week usually on Fridays.

I go grocery shopping that morning, and cook in the afternoon. While you’re at the supermarket read labels on every item you choose. Look for items with low sugar, low fat and low salt.

I always start in the produce department, and choose the same fruits every week. Strawberries, blueberries, apples and grapes. I also watch the portion size when I put these items in my lunch and dinner, as well as when I eat strawberries for instance in the morning.

The next items I usually get are water and low fat snacks like nuts(peanuts, cashews and almonds),that aren’t honey roasted. Popcorn you make in a air popper is a healthy snack also once a week. I also buy sugar free candy with Stevia in it.

The next thing I do is pick a main course for the week. I usually choose chicken, pork or fish. I never fry these items, just bake or grill them. I try to buy enough of an item to get five meals out of them. So spread your portions out for the week.

I then choose side dishes like veggie pasta, vegetables, brown rice and once a month pork and beans. Again you should be able to make these sides last all week. I usually get frozen veggies, but as always fresh are the best.

If I buy a dessert it’s usually sugar free ice cream with Stevia or monk fruit in it. Try to limit your ice cream to twice a week at most.

The last thing I get is my breakfast items like eggs, low fat cheese for an omelette like mozzarella. I also buy low fat mozzarella string cheese as a snack item. I always buy unsalted butter for cooking and as a spread to help with my cholesterol and lowering my blood pressure. The only english muffin I buy for breakfast are whole wheat, which I have on weekends only.

Once I have cooked on my items at home, I then portion out each meal into small containers for each day. Try to portion each item according to serving sizes. I’ve been following this plan since I’ve got out of the hospital and rehab for almost six years now, and my A1C has been in the 5.0-5.5 range. This plan is based on a six day work week, with one day eating at home, except for lunch on a short work day. It’s helped me stay relatively healthy and avoid further surgeries and setbacks. So give it a try.On the weekends try to treat yourself to dinner or lunch via takeout or dinning with a local small business restaurant. You have go off your normal schedule at least one day, but remember the next day get right back on your normal diet.

I hope these tips help and look forward to continue to share my advice and experiences as a diabetic. My next blog will continue to stress healthy habits as a diabetic. Stay safe and healthy!

Lowering your A1C

One of most important stats for a diabetic is their A1C. This determines how high your blood sugar is and there are ranges you and your doctor can keep track of. I see my doctor twice a year and have bloodwork done to see how I’m doing.

I was first diagnosed with diabetes in 2016. When I entered the hospital my A1C was 9.0. Currently it’s 5.5. It took a complete overhaul of my diet, rehabilitation, several operations and amputations on both feet for me to lower my sugars.

The first thing you must do is change your diet. No more fried foods,processed foods,fast food, sugary desserts, or excess alcohol. Say hello to sugarless candy or desserts, a healthy meal plan with chicken , pork and fish. Make vegetables and fruits apart of every meal when possible. If you must snack, eat nuts, low fat mozzarella string cheese and sugar free candy. Stay away from dried fruits as much as possible.

Holidays can be challenging for your diet. You can treat yourself to small portions of holiday desserts, but get back on your diet the next day.

I also try to treat myself to lunch out on Sundays with healthy choices. The most important thing is to do it for yourself and your family and friends who support you in your fight against diabetes. Check your sugars two to three times daily. Consult your endocrinologist for when to check your sugars. I check mine before and after meals. Find a good meter to check your sugars with. I use the one touch Verio flex. Check out the prices of test strips and lancets, and how much your insurance will cover.

I hope these suggestions help, and would be glad to answer any questions and would like to hear your stories of your diabetic journey.

Stay healthy and safe. My next blog will continue to talk about ways of making diabetes bearable.

Comfortably Numb

Today I want to talk about neuropathy in the feet and how I have dealt with it. I’ve had many operations to both my feet due to damage caused by diabetes. I’ve lost toes, and I was lucky to have a good rehabilitation program to learn to walk properly again.

Unfortunately the nerve damage in my feet was severe and like many diabetics I suffer from neuropathy. My feet are numb most of the time, so I have to be extra careful when I bang my feet into something by accident. I always check for swelling, bruises or blisters on a daily basis. I have regained some feeling in my right foot, which my foot doctor said would happen, but for the most part my feet are stiff.

There are several exercises and bedtime routines I have found that help your feet feel less stiff, and help me sleep better.I always due a few sets of foot exercises before I go to bed. The first one I use an exercise band. I put the band under my right foot with my slipper on and perform two sets of leg lifts. Repeat the process for your left foot.

I then roll my feet up and down one at a time without the band. Two sets of 34 reps per foot. These exercises help with circulation and less stiffness in my feet.

I then prop my feet up on two pillows. I usually do this if I have swelling in my feet, but I’ve found it also takes some of the stiffness away, which in turn helps you sleep better.

Walking is also a good way to relieve stiffness. I understand everyone has different degrees of neuropathy , and that these exercises may or may not help. Everyone deals with neuropathy and its pain in their own way. These exercises work for me, and I hope they can help you.

My goal with my blog is help others through my experiences. I will continue write about things that help me with my diabetic life.

Stay safe and healthy!

A healthy state of mind

The most important factor in fighting diabetes and all the life changing surgeries and diet choices is to keep a positive attitude. I follow many online diabetic groups and I read many stories from people who have given up, or find living with diabetes is more than they can handle.

In my case I lost several toes and have problems with my vision as a result of diabetes. I was in a rehabilitation facility and had to learn how to walk again after losing several toes. I started in wheelchair, then a walker, a cane, and finally I learned to regain my balance and walk again. I have stated my times on previous blogs about how grateful I am to my trainers, doctors and nurses who helped me gain my independence again. During the whole process, I never doubted I would be able to walk again. I am fortunate to have great friends and family who continue to support me to this day. In the end though, you have to believe in yourself and keep telling yourself you want to live and be able to walk..

The most important thing you can do for yourself is eat right, try not to cheat, and keep your A1C in the 5 to 6 range. Remind yourself daily about the alternatives if you cheat regularly and your sugars are high. You can lose a limb, go blind, and most importantly lose your independence.

People find inspiration from many different places. In my case I have great friends and family. There are also so many things I’d like to do in my life still. I’d like to get a job helping my fellow diabetics with similar issues I have dealt with. I’d like to fall in love again and get married someday to a great girl, and enjoy a happy life. Staying healthy and doing what ever it takes to take care of myself is essential.

Everyone has their own idea of happiness, a better job. relationships, and a sense of accomplishment. It’s up to you to fight diabetes, and not to let it ruin your life. Find the one thing in your life that makes you happy, and keep that thought with you everyday. It could be a great memory from your past, a favorite song, or a person in your life that inspires you.

I’m a music teacher and guitarist. Music has saved me many times. I love it. Find your number one reason to want to live well and keep it on your mind when you feel down. Stay positive!

My next blog I continue to talk about more ways to maintain a healthy diabetic life. Stay healthy and safe.

Make it yourself

Today I will continue my anti fast food and processed food rant. Most of these foods are high in salt, sugar, fat and are prepared fried. Basically, take them off your menu.

The average fast food burger joint prepares burgers with less meat, and more filler. Then there’s the french fries, milkshakes, and don’t forget the chicken nuggets, which are fried. All these foods are high in fat and sugar, so say goodbye to the slop, and prepare your own foods.

Cook foods like grilled or roasted chicken, roast pork, or grilled fish. Instead of fries and a shake or soda, prepare vegetables, and drink lots of water.

Prepare these meals up to at least four days a week, so you can control your portions, and there will less of a temptation to pick up something fast and unhealthy.

Make fresh fruit part of each meal as a healthy dessert. Watch the portions! If you enjoy Ice cream, try a healthy choice like Halo Top, which uses a natural plant based sweetener like Stevia.

Processed foods should also be avoided as much as possible. My diabetic doctor always says, if it’s the ingredients are a paragraph long, don’t eat it. There are some processed foods and snacks that are low in sugar, or naturally sugar free with plant based sweeteners like Stevia or Monk fruit.

The best snacks would be low salt peanuts, cashews, and almonds. Try a low fat mozzarella cheese stick. If you crave something sweet, try a plant based sweetened candy like Russell Stovers, which make many delicious chocolate varieties sweetened with Stevia. Watch the portions!

You should treat yourself once a week to a healthy lunch or dinner out. Make sure you don’t go overboard with the sugar or salt, and make sure what you eat has a fruit or a vegetable in your meal. Purchase your food from a small business instead of a chain, the food will be prepared safer and healthier, and small businesses could use the support!

I hope these suggestions are helpful, and will help you make healthier choices in your diets as a diabetic.

My next blog will deal with more healthy diabetic lifestyle choices. Stay safe and healthy!