My story... PeterHS

PeterHS
May 14, 2001
Gender: Male Ethnicity: - Height: 1.8m Weight: 95kg Onset Age: 41-50 Age Now: 41-50 Family Diabetes: - Treatment: Insulin Medication: - Meter: - Tests: 2-3 times/day Exercise: None Diet: - Supplements: -

I 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.

History

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.

Over Christmas 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.

Questions

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?

Conclusion

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 my questions.