was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes two days ago (March 27, 2001).
Looking at some
of the posts at alt.support.diabetes,
I reckon if I had your blood glucose (bg) levels I'd probably be
dead! My bg was initially measured at 26.4 mmol/L (475.7 mg/dl)
so I think that placed me on the upper level of concern as far as
my doctor and practice nurse were concerned. I'd like to share my
experience as I'd like to see if it is typical to some of you out
there on the net.
In October 2000
I started to diet as I was potentially unhealthy at 95kg (209lb).
For my height, 1.8m, my weight would have been fine if it were muscle
mass, but it was not! My diet was initially 'unplanned'. My wife
rightly decided we needed to make an adjustment to our diet so losing
5kg went unnoticed by me. Once Caroline noticed we then started
to weigh every Monday morning before having tea and breakfast etc.
First week in October I was about 90.4kg. I lost fairly quickly
as the diet became part of my life style and I soon was down to
80kg. At that point, I thought about an initial target of 72kg -
75kg as that would give me a bracket in which to control my weight.
In other words, I could enjoy pig-outs and basically have room to
manouvre. What I did not know then is that my controlled weight
loss also had the weight loss of diabetes in its slipstream.
2000 I lost 5kg in 10 days and that was not a healthy (controlled)
loss. At the time, I had a painful mouth infection so the inability
to enjoy food and drinks was not an issue. As I lost weight, I became
more encouraged and optimistic, especially when I had to buy new
pants and jeans, and shirts I'd confined to the back of the cupboard
(on account they'd shrunk) began to fit again! From late January,
my weight had stabilized. I still lost but now the loss was only
about 4kg in three months and occasionally a slight rise, but the
trend was still downward. Then my wife Caroline, noticed I was beginning
to look a little emacipated and gaunt. Over time of course, we both
got used to it, but thankfully she noticed as did friends. I had
a dry mouth, but not a thirst. I know what it is like to be really
thirsty and I increased my consumption of soft drinks and other
'wets' (like custard and so on) as this gave relief to the dryness.
As a result, nighttime was disturbed by having to get up once or
twice for a pee. Again, I put that down to the flawed logic that
if I drank a lot to fix the dryness in my mouth, then inevitably
I'd have to get rid of excess, and as we all know, when a bladder
wants emptying it lets you know about it big time! Cramps began
to affect me, and the tiredness I began to feel was nothing more
than the product of broken sleep cycles. I soon adjusted to this
and I did not give it much more attention.
As my weight neared
73kg, I had to eat like a horse to keep it stable. Again, I lost
touch with my body and put that down to an overactive metabolism!
I occasionally found myself walking off the line. That is, I walk
to the station and sometimes I'd suddenly wobble as if my internal
navigation gyroscope deviated as it were. I put that down to the
cold weather (UK) and the fact that as I was tired in the morning.
Not a unique experience, eh?
At some point,
about 4 to 6 weeks ago, my wife mentioned I should go for a check-up.
I didn't deny the value of it, but I never got off my butt to make
the appointment either. She did, and that was Wednesday this week.
My visit to the doctor was two-fold. More painfully, I had a very
infected finger that needed lancing and antibiotics. No problem
there. I mentioned the weight loss to the doctor and showed him
the dates and weights recorded. He did an instant bg test, and having
seen the 26.4 mmol/L on the meter, he began to probe more deeply.
When my wife badgered me to see the doctor about having my bg tested
the immediate thing was that diabetes might have been a factor.
But, I traded off the symptoms to other reasons and factors, such
as getting 'older' - 47 years, male.
All of this is
rambling on perhaps, so I' ll speed up a bit! I surfed the net and
looked at many sites on diabetes. I began to appreciate the difference
between Types 1 and 2, the symptoms (I seemed to satisfy 80% of
Type 2) and in general, found the net an invaluable source of information.
I was sent to hospital for immediate insulin treatment and I have
to do bg checks and insulin injections twice a day. This morning
(18 hours after diagnosis and first treatment) I am down to 11.4
mmol/L (205.4 mg/dl), so the effect of the three injections has
been amazing to observe. The diabetic nurse took me through all
the ins and out - although it was an information overload. In short,
the information I got from the net and what I'd read in the alt.support.diabetes
newsgroup and that I also got from the doctor and nurse prepared
me for what I had to accept was going to be the diagnosis. So, it
was less of a 'body blow' than I expected and I am actually very
peaceful about it.
You've got the
history, now I have some basic questions that I know many in the
alt.support.diabetes newsgroup have had to endure a 1000
times or more! My questions are:
- I've been taking
taking insulin by injection for at least two weeks. Once my bg
has stabilized I will probably be put on oral medicine to stimulate
the pancreas or to get my body to better use what it has. Is this
typical treatment for Type 2? From what I've read, I get the impression
that Type 2's should never need insulin injections. If I have
insulin now as a quick means to control bg in the short-term,
does this mean that once it is down to normal that I will never
need insulin injections again?
- If oral medicine
does not stimulate insulin production, then is the ultimate control
to be found in diet alone, cutting out excessive sugar for example?
Do other Type 2's have to take insulin injections as part of their
treatment program? Do I need to measure bg twice a day as I'm
doing now for all time? Or is it subject to how I feel day-to-day?
For example, is a periodic check sufficient or should it only
be done on demand as needs dictate?
I suppose that
I've waffled enough, and I apologise if that is the case. I felt
obliged to give as much detail as I could. What I would like to
conclude is that my experience getting to know diabetes was easier
to get a handle on. Namely, the net was a great place to get to
know diabetes better. The alt.support.diabetes newsgroup
was invaluable for seeing how other people have coped with it. It
proved to me that diabetes can sneak up on you when you think it
isn't an issue! And finally, there is tremendous satisfaction knowing
it is 100% controllable. Thanks in advance for your comments to