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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 #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!

 

 

 

What is a normal Blood Glucose Level?


It is harder to figure out than you think…

confused kittyI’m headed to my doctor’s office on Tuesday, so in preparation for that I’m printing out reports from my Blood Glucose Meter.

I was looking at the reports and started to wonder about those “target ranges”  and what exactly did they mean.  I wanted to know:

  1. “What is a normal blood glucose level?” (the answers I found are in this post)
    ..
  2. “Given that there is a normal RANGE… is it OK for a person who is diabetic and on medication to be anywhere in that range?” (couldn’t find an answer from a trusted source so I’m gonna ask my doctor on Tuesday)

Getting a “good” “reliable” answer…

Depending on where you look, you get different answers.  sigh  And it MUST be correct because it’s on the Internet!  Right?  sigh

All kidding aside, some sites are better than others when it comes to reliable information.  But even with sites you trust, there can be differences.

Take it from a retired Librarian with over 30 years of searching experience: check and double check when doing “research” on the web.  Then check it again, just to be sure.  Not all information resources are created equal.

The ones I’m sharing with you now are, in my professional opinion, on the “reliable” end of the spectrum.

Bayer (as in Bayer aspirin) the maker of my Blood Glucose Meter says:

Bayer Contour Next Blood Glucose MeterThe meter I use is the Bayer Contour Next.  The default settings are:

  • 70 – 180 mg/dL — Overall
  • 70 – 130 mg/dL — Fasting
  • 70 – 130 mg/dL — Before a meal
  • 70 – 180 mg/dL — After a meal

I’ve been testing consistently for about 3 months now and my doctor wants to look at the data when I visit her on Tuesday — which is what prompted my questions and this post in the first place.  🙂

One of the questions I have for her is whether or not the default settings in the monitor are what she wants me to use as my “target” ranges OR does she want me to use something different.

WebMD says:

Read the rest of this entry

Blood Glucose Meters, Strips, and Sticking it to Yourself Daily


SCOTUS Hangover…  (a brief aside before we talk Diabetes)

After yesterday’s Historic ruling on Gay Marriage (Read my post: Justice Arrives Like a Thunderbolt!) I must confess that I want the celebration to continue.  It feels weird picking up writing on this blog post on Saturday, where I left off on Wed evening.

Yesterday my Facebook feed exploded with joy and rainbows!  I had to be part of the excitement, so went out last night, saw the rally at Oaklawn & Cedar Springs and hung out with my cousin and a friend I had not seen in approximately 20 years.  The joy, the love, the relief that Marriage Equality is now law, and the energy last night being around my fellow LGBT folk, was just amazing.

AND when I started writing this post, back on Wed night, the fate of the Affordable Care & Patient Protection Act was not yet announced.  That was upheld on Thursday.  Yay!  So, in less than 48 hours, two of the most important Supreme Court decisions of my lifetime came back to back — both of which directly impact me.  Wow!

I’m now free to marry who I love, assuming I can find a fella!  LOL

And I’m now fairly certain that I will always have access to quality health care.  Yay!

I’m going to do something weird in this post.  The “comments” from Wed night are going to stay, but where I was expressing doubt, I’m going to put an BEFORE label and add an AFTER comment.

Why? Because the ACA law is important.  It is important to me on a very real, very personal, very day-to-day level.  And by doing it this way, anyone who reads my blog may perhaps realize that this is not a philosophical debate.  It is literally about life and death.  Read on faithful readers, read on…

Uhmmm… by the way, we’ll keep the fact that as a newly diagnosed diabetic I should not have been drinking beer last night between thee and me.  Nobody tell my doctor!  Sssssshhhhhhh!

“You Need a Blood Glucose Meter…”

blood meters…said my doctor.  And I said “What’s a Glucose and why is it in my blood?

Ok, maybe I didn’t actually say that.  But to me Glucose is something that is related to Gatorade, a distant cousin of Fructose and Sucrose and… well, you get the idea.  It is sugar.  It is all sugar.  And “sugar” is a special kind of carbohydrate.

Standard disclaimer…  I’m not a doctor –  You should verify everything I say and always consult with your doctor on medical decisions.

What I’m sharing with you here is info I’ve learned since being diagnosed with Diabetes and that info has gone into Tony’s head and been mixed around with all the other stuff up there and seasoned with a bit of my patented “Ton-NAY Drama” and is being blurted out here for the enjoyment and befuddlement of you, my loyal readers.

All two of you —  two, or is it thousand?  the whole number thing confuses me.  😉 Read the rest of this entry

I have Type 2 Diabetes…


Narrowing the subject…

typhoon-odessa-from-spacePerhaps it is just me or perhaps it is a trait common to all people who do a lot of writing but sometimes the ideas, images and words in my head are swirling around in such a huge mess that if viewed from outer space it would resemble a hemisphere spanning cyclone.

Now how’s THAT for an image?  😉

This is about the third or fourth time that I’ve started this particular post and every time I’m like Dug, the dog from “Up”:

“Squirrel!”

I kept bouncing around from topic to topic.  So I’m going to do the unthinkable…

I’m going to keep this post short and only talk about one topic.  OMG!  Aliens have stolen Tony and replaced him with a POD-person!

I have Type 2 Diabetes

I confess that it kinda freaked me out when Read the rest of this entry

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