Category Archives: Living with Diabetes

Looking Back and Looking Ahead – Good things are happening!


My Journey So far…

My journey so far...The way we humans envision time is a funny thing.

When I start looking back I am often surprised at how much, or how little time has actually passed.

And, if you will pardon a wee bit of bluntness, I’m often surprised by the huge amount of CRAP that I’ve been through!

No wonder my face has some tread marks on it because life done run me over! Several times!

In the colorful vernacular of present times: Life be like — “Boy you done been Bitch Slapped!”

Life is getting Better! Way Better!

2016 is going to be a FABULOUS yearIf things keep going on their current trajectory, then 2016 is going to be an amazing, stupendous, exciting, fabulous year!

It may, indeed turn out to be the best year of my entire life.

Wow!

The truly amazing thing is that my focus has shifted.

I’m no longer focused on the “here and now” locked permanently into “survival mode;” I find that I am only looking “back” to measure how far I’ve come and/or to explain to friends when they ask me “where have you been hiding?”

My focus is firmly pointed toward the future.  A quick rundown of the exciting things that are happening:

  • I’m loosing weight! Yay!
    ..
  • As of this morning I weigh 294.6 — that is a total of 40.4 lbs lost from my highest weight of 335 lbs.
    ..
  • My health is improving on almost a daily basis. My stamina is up. I’m moving more.
    ..
  • I’ve started dancing again!
    • I am back in the studio practicing.
    • I’ve started teaching line dance again — lots of stuff happening there; more on that later in this post.
    • I’ve started an Instructor Training program at a local studio and as soon as I finish that program I’ll be put on staff teaching couples dancing, both Ballroom and Country — THIS IS FRIGGIN’ HUGE!
    • I’ve been put on staff at one dance event already for the coming dance year, 2016, and I’m likely to be put on staff at several others!
    • I’m planning on competing this year in Line Dance!
    • I’m beginning to choreograph line dances and will be competing in Line Dance Choreography this year.

Things are turning around.  But to understand just how wonderful and much of a positive change these and other events and happenings in my life are, I have to go back in time and fill you in on how awful things were… 

Long time readers of my blog will recognize bits and pieces of the story but you’ve probably not seen it laid out so concisely in one spot.

For my new readers, new “dance friends” I just made at Dallas Dance and at Worlds, and for my friends with whom I only recently reconnected…

…in the words of Bette Davis “Fasten your seat belts...”

And, uhmmm… you might want to hit “pause” and go grab a cup of coffee or soda and some snacks.

I never intend for my blog posts to be long. Stop laughing!  It is true!  I really do try to make them short, but somehow…  sigh

Oh, well, it may be long, but it is without a doubt entertaining…and informative… Now git…go grab that beverage…

…back?  Got your soda?  Cool… here we go:

The date my life changed…for the worse

Looking back on one’s life, even on recent events, is much like using a crystal ball to peer into the future: the images are very VERY foggy!

Some events are Read the rest of this entry

Sharing Diabetes and Supplement Information #3: My experience with Niacin


Third post in a series…

How to measure your bodyThis is the third in a series where I go through all the drugs and vitamin supplements that my doctor has instructed me to take and I provide you with a list of links / readings / background information.

For the full backstory and the 411 on Invokana and the ACA, check out the first post:

Sharing Diabetes and Supplement Information #1: Introduction, Invokana and the ACA

For the second post spotlighting Janumet, check out:

Sharing Diabetes and Supplement Information #2: Janumet

I am a fairly new diabetic.  I was diagnosed in June 2015, approximately 6 months ago.  My doctor immediately put me on two diabetic drugs.  This was in addition to the drugs I was taking to control my high blood pressure and dust/dust mite allergies.

A month ago at my last doctor’s visit, because of the results from a comprehensive panel of bloodwork, I was ordered to start taking a HUGE number of mega-doses of vitamin and mineral supplements.

Which of course lead me to having a LOT of questions!  So I started doing research online and since I blog and I was once upon a time a Librarian, I thought “AHA!” — instant blog post series!  Woot!

Standard disclaimer:

I am not a doctor.  I am not giving medical advice.  I’m just sharing my own experiences.
Before you make any changes that could affect your health, you should talk to your doctor first!

So, here’s the next drug/supplement on my list:

Niacin

Q: When and how should I take Niacin?

A: Talk to your doctor for doses and frequency. — I was taking it 2 x per day, once around 9 in the morning and then again around 9 at night, 500mg Extended-Release tablet.

Q: Any drug interactions that I should watch for?

NiaspanA: YES! as with most drugs there is a big long list of possible interactions, but…

OMG! This drug/supplement interacts apparently interacts with just about EVERYTHING!  And it has some funky side effects too!  After discussing things with my doctor, she ordered me to stop taking it.

The reasons my doctor order me to stop taking it were:

(1) I was having hot flashes.  My whole body seemed to rise in temperature; I could literally put my hand close to an arm or leg and feel the heat radiating from my body.

(2) My face would have a kind of “pin-prick” sensation all over my head, face and ears.  Very similar to the feeling that you get when the circulation returns to an arm or leg that “went to sleep.”

Reasons number 1 & 2 above are actually pretty common side effects. And while feeling weird, are worth putting up with because of the benefits of taking the Niacin.

niacin flushThe reason a doctor will order you to take Niacin is to lower bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol.  Which is something I need to do based on that huge panel of blood tests my doctor did on me.

IF it had only been the funky flashes, then my doctor would have told me to keep taking the drug as long as they didn’t increase in frequency or intensity.

But the thing that caused my doctor to order me to stop was:

(3) Niacin was interfering with the effectiveness of Janumet (50 mg/1000 mg) and Invokana (300 mg), the two drugs I take to control my Type 2 Diabetes.

The day after I began taking Niacin, I noticed Read the rest of this entry

Sharing Diabetes and Supplement Information #2: Janumet


Second post in a series…

How to measure your bodyThis is the second in a series where I go through all the drugs and vitamin supplements that my doctor has instructed me to take and I provide you with a list of links / readings / background information.

For the full backstory and the 411 on Invokana and the ACA, check out the first post:

Sharing Diabetes and Supplement Information #1: Introduction, Invokana and the ACA

I can hear the collective groan from my assembled readers…  “Just give us the short story!” — well as you should all know by now, I don’t do short very well.  But, I shall try.  😀

I am a fairly new diabetic.  I was diagnosed in June 2015, approximately 5 months ago.  My doctor immediately put me two diabetic drugs.  This was in addition to the drugs I was taking to control my high blood pressure and dust/dust mite allergies.

A month ago at my last doctor’s visit, I was ordered to start taking a HUGE number of mega-doses of vitamin and mineral supplements.

Which lead me to a BUNCH of questions:

  • confused kittyAre there any interactions that I should be watching out for?
    ..
  • What are all these things supposed to be doing to improve my health?
    ..
  • Are any of these things the cause of:
    • …a constant low volume ringing in my ears?
    • …a weird pattern I’m seeing in my blood sugar levels? [Since I’ve started taking the supplements, my fasting blood sugar levels have increased dramatically.]
      ..

Standard Disclaimer:
I am NOT a doctor.  I am not offering medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor before making any medical decisions.

Why share such personal information?

Well, I’m a bit of a drama queen.  LOL  I love talking about Moí!

Actually, I’m a retired Librarian.  I enjoy sharing information.  I get a kick out of it.

Since I’m doing this research online no matter what for my own benefit, I thought I’d make a series of blog posts out of it so that others could benefit as well.

Read the first article in this series for more detail on how and why I chose these particular links / articles.

Janumet (Sitagliptin / Metformin)

Q: When and how should I take Janumet?

A: Online, everything I read said “take with meals” — but that wasn’t exactly “helpful.  Sheesh.  I wanted EXACTNESS!  Did “with meals” mean just before the meal or actually when I was eating?  Did the drug need time to be absorbed BEFORE I started to eat?  And if I was supposed to take it “with meals” then wouldn’t that mess up the timing if I’m taking two pills a day?  I mean, logically, it makes sense to take two doses of medication 12 hours apart if you are taking “two per day”.  If I took it “with meals” then it wouldn’t be 12 hours apart — after all, breakfast and dinner are NOT 12 hours apart.  *sigh*

Of course every article also said to “ask your doctor”  so I did.  🙂

My doctor said: to take the 1st pill of the day 10 minutes before eating breakfast (basically I take it when I start cooking breakfast).  For the second dose of the day, my doctor said to take it approximately 12 hours later.  So if I eat breakfast at 9 am, then I should take the second pill around 9 pm.

Q: Any drug interactions that I should watch for?

A: Yes, as with most drugs there is a big long list of possible interactions.

I discovered that, for me, what I need to be most aware of is a possible interaction with my high blood pressure medication, Enalapril and with my Niacin supplement.  So, I bet you can guess what I’m about to say…all together now:

Note to self: ask my doctor about this when I see her next time!

Janumet (Sitagliptin / Metformin)
Information / Articles / Links

Janumet (WebMD)
Link: http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-148074/janumet-oral/details

Diabetes Medicines You Don’t Inject (WebMD)
Link: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/oral-medicine-pills-treat-diabetes

Sitagliptin (MedlinePlus)
Link: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a606023.html

Metformin (MedlinePlus)
Link: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a696005.html

Medication Guide for Janumet (Food & Drug Administration)
Note: This is a PDF file.  Get the current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Link: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/drugsafety/ucm204268.pdf

Janumet (website mantained by the drug’s manufacturer)
Link: http://www.janumetxr.com/sitagliptin_metformin_HCL/janumetxr/consumer/what-is-janumet/index.xhtml
Note: Yes, you can get lots of information on the manufacturer’s website.

However, when using any manufacturer’s website, you need to put on your “buyer beware” hat.  Think about it:  the company is a business which means that it is to their advantage to emphasis the positives and minimize the negatives even as they do everything the law requires them to do in terms of disclosure of risks.

Trust, but verify be thy motto when reading information provided by the manufacturer.

Discount ($5 copay program / Savings Card for Janumet)
Note: I am on this program. The application process is easy to complete.  Basically the program works like a coupon when you pick up your monthly prescription at the pharmacy.  My copay for this drug is $100.  The pharmacy rings up $100 then they apply the “coupon” and Tah-DAH, my balance due is only $5.
Link: http://www.activatethecard.com/7159/

Free Trial for Janumet (30 day supply)
Note: I took advantage of this when I first started taking Janumet.  For me that was 60 tablets because my doctor ordered me to take it 2x per day. The Free Trial works like a coupon at the pharmacy during checkout.  When the coupon is applied, there is zero cost.  You pay nothing.  Your insurance company pays nothing.

Special Note: If you have trouble redeeming the coupon have the clerk ring the transaction all by itself.  When I did this, it wouldn’t work if I had anything else on the ticket other than just the Janumet.  I have no idea why the computers were not happy but once ONLY the Janumet was on the ticket, everything worked fine.

See ya on the dance floor!

P.S.  If you find any of this information valuable, please “Like” and “Share” it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter etc.

P.P.S.  If you found this information REALLY helpful and/or valuable then please consider helping me out by making a small donation via PayPal to help me

See ya on the dance floor!

 

 

 

Sharing Diabetes and Supplement Information #1: Introduction, Invokana, and ACA


First post in a series…

When I started writing this post two days ago, I had intended it to be just a “quick” post.

SIGH

Well, it is turning into quite the project.  And waaaaaaaaay too long for a single post.  So, here is the “introduction” and the 411 on Invokana.

For those who aren’t hip to all the current jargon…  “411” is what the kid’s these days call “information.”

Questions! I got Questions!

confused kittyBecause of a recent doctor’s visit, I have a bunch of questions.  And I went online and started doing some research, trying to get answers to those questions.

After a little bit, it occurred to me that I should put the information I found into a blog post.  Sort of a one-stop shop with links, where I use my searching skills to save you folks a lot of time.

I know that I’ve had a recent surge of new subscribers who found my blog because of the Diabetes information that I’ve posted.

So, if any of you folks have answers  or comments based on your own experience then, please SHARE them in the comments at the end of this post.

Standard Disclaimer:
I am NOT a doctor.  I am not offering medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor before making any medical decisions.

A bit of background…

How to measure your bodyI was diagnosed with diabetes in June of this year.  I started taking Invokana and Janumet in mid-June and started testing my AM fasting blood sugar levels in late June.

I’m visiting my doctor once a month right now so that my doctor can keep a close watch on things not only because I’m a newly diagnosed diabetic, but because I’m “obese” (workin’ on that!) and I have high blood pressure (workin’ on that too!)

One bonus of going to see my doctor monthly is that it really helps me; just knowing that I’m going to weigh in and will have my blood pressure checked, keeps me on track.  To date, I’ve lost 27-30 lbs since my heaviest weight of 333 lbs.  Yay!

My weight fluctuates a little, of course.  This morning I weighed 305 which gives me a 28lb loss to date.  But the good news is that I’m nearing at a threshold / plateau breaker of 300 lbs.  Unfortunately my body is resisting going past that hurdle.  Grrrrrrrrrr

At last month’s regular visit, about four weeks ago, I had a really BIG blood work panel done when I was at my doctor’s office.  That visit was the 3 month anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis; which is why she did the big blood work panel  — 3 months after I had been taking the two diabetes medications.

Well, last week, at this month’s doctor visit, she gave this multi-page report that were the results from the blood work.

OMG!  It was huge.

Who knew that you could discover so much about a person just from their blood!  A bit overwhelming actually.

Good & Bad News in the Report

Read the rest of this entry

My shortest post ever… “I’m on a Positive Feedback Loop”


In completely random order…

really_yay_lolcatsOK, folks this is going to look more like a “Facebook” or “Twitter” post than one of my usual blog posts…

BUT…  Sqqqqeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!   I am feeling AWESOME at the moment and I just had to share

The past couple / three weeks have seen some NOTICEABLE improvements in my health and fitness.  A few months ago I felt as if I had hit the very bottom; I just didn’t see how it could get any worse.

Now, a few months further along, I think I was right.  That was the “bottom” — why?  I’m glad you asked.  Because since then things have been getting better, a little at a time.  A TEENY tiny LITTLE itty bitty bit at a time, but better.

So, in no particular order, these are the things that I’m happy about this morning:

  • My weight on the scale this morning was 300.6 lbs.  OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!!!!  Sooooooooooooooooo close to being under 300lbs!  I can almost TASTE it!
  • I went shopping at Kroger this week.  Which is a HUGE step.  I’ve been shopping at this tiny grocery mart called “Braums” for the bulk of my food.  Because frankly I didn’t have the strength or stamina to go shopping at a large grocery store — the distance I had to cover to do my shopping was more than I had the strength to do.  Literally.  No exageration.  But this week I shopped at Kroger, AND I was able to carry ALL of the groceries up the stairs without having to ask my room mate for help!  Yay!
  • I did a two loads of laundry on Saturday.  And it wasn’t until I was done that I realized that it wasn’t an ordeal.  Which is FRIGGIN’ AMAZING!
  • I have met my Out of Pocket Maximum with my insurance for the year, which means that for the rest of the year everything is covered at 100%  Yay!  Even doctor’s visits copays and Rx copays are all zero!  Yay!
  • Did I mention that my weight was 300.6 lbs?
  • I sold my bed!  Yay!  That means that I no longer have to pay $29 a month for a storage unit.  Yay!
  • And the money from the bed ($150) covered the gap between my monthly pension and the amount I need to pay bills.  Now all I need to earn is money for food for the 2nd half of the month.  Yay!
  • I did a chart for my doctor — I have an appointment tomorrow morning (Tue Oct 6).  My blood glucose numbers are on a downward trajectory which means that the diabetes medication is doing its job.  I think it will do an even better job once I start taking it on a completely regular schedule. I sometimes forget to take the night-time dose.  (My bad.)  My doctor is going to give me a “Mom Look” tomorrow when I see her.  But she’ll give me a hug for loosing more weight!  😀
    • Avg for Last two weeks: 125
    • Avg for Last four weeks: 126
    • Avg for Last Last eight weeks: 127
    • Avg for Last twelve weeks: 130
    • Avg for Sept: 126
    • Avg for Aug: 128
    • Avg for July: 137
  • And finally.  This is the week.  Come hell or high water, I am going to get to the dance studio three times this week!  Well, technically, I’m not going to a “dance studio” — For me my “dance studio” is actually 24 Hour Fitness aerobics room, butcha know what I mean..  🙂

See ya on the dance floor!

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