Tag: diabetes

Random Thoughts VI

So I’ve tried to write this post tons of times but for some reason wordpress keeps erasing it.

Here goes again.

Pain- Day 2 of hypthoroid pills has come and gone and so far I am cautiously optimistic.  No major side effects and today I actually felt pretty energized.  Still have the pain but there are things to feel good about (I have learned to be grateful for a good day no matter what the cause of it is).

Something about this photo I really like

I was thinking today of the scripture in D and C 122:7 when God tells Joseph Smith “that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”  That I idea of giving us experience is so interesting.  Every trial I have gone through has helped me relate to a new person in a new way.  It has literally given me experience. (In my new ward I’ve met like 6 people who have chronic pain in some form or another and I can relate to them. My experience gives a connection). Something to think about…

Breakfast- One of the things I have really struggled with is eating a good breakfast.  Lately all food looks gross to me, all the time, but especially in the morning.  Things I normally like such as eggs produce the gag-reflex. Plus, it means I have to get a pan dirty and chop stuff and I’m tired (you get the idea).

I would say more than any other category, aside from maybe dessert, it is hard to make breakfast healthy.  All of my favorite things I can never have- french toast, toast, fluffy pancakes, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, most cereals (the hardest of the list), donuts, bear claws, etc.  Any ideas you have for a healthy, quick way to do breakfast that would be great.

I recently made this breakfast quinoa that was pretty good.  In the rice cooker 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup water.  Then I put nuts and dried fruit on top.

breakfast quinoa. It would be really good with half and half or cream...

Books- I’m on the lookout for cheerful books. I’m talking fun, even silly, happy books. Not the type of inspirational overcome challenges type of books but just overtly happy books. For example, the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency is bright and funny (Alexander McCall Smith is kind of the king of the happy series), or Sophie Kinsella’s books I really love in this regard. Especially The Undomestic Goddess. Is it great literature? No, but it makes me laugh without fail and actually has a few things to think about on the side.

Food- Recently I came up with this list. What are your top 5?
Top 5 Foods I miss:
1. Mashed Potatoes (Potatoes in general are a rarity)
2. Non whole grain cereals.
3. white bread with honey and butter
4. most yummy breakfast foods- french toast, fluffy pancakes, cinnamon rolls, donuts, honeybuns…sigh
5. Pies and fresh hot cookies (and the cookie smell)

On the plus side of food I am finally getting a bountiful basket!  http://bountifulbaskets.org/.  It is this organization that combines farmers produce to get fresh produce at a discount price.  My friend Kate and I are splitting it and it should be delicious! This is what the baskets look like.  Yum and since we are splitting the cost it will only be $20 each including the organic and citrus package!

I am told this is what a typical bountiful basket looks like.

So I might take boxing lessons! I just found out about this club in Salt Lake just for women and boxing. Looks awesome. I’ve always wanted to learn. I took a self defense class in college and it was really fun! It will be fun to spice things up a bit. Lately in my training we’ve been using the punching bag and I love it! (Get out all that angst!). Did I finally think of something that suprises a few of you’all?

Living alone- So in my new ward I am the only never married single person. Isn’t that kind of amazing? Still, things have gone very well. One funny thing is that everyone is so surprised I live alone. I’m kind of used to it. Its really not that big of a deal to me. Yes, friends I live alone and love it! The only time I wish I didn’t live alone is when I’m sick and someone could go to the pharmacy for me (and listen to my moaning and groaning!).

New Calling- So it finally came. I got called into primary.  I was actually quite disappointed because I have loved teaching Sunday School.  I will miss the gospel interaction with adults….However, it will be a new challenge and I am sure I will learn a lot.  It is teaching the 9 year olds so if any of you have suggestions for engaging that age group please pass on.  I’ve heard bring treats from a lot which is hard because I don’t really eat treats but I will see what I can do.

Diabetes- One comment on the Paula Deen controversy.  I do think it is strange that she didn’t come out with her diagnosis for 3 years until she is a victoza spokesperson.  Seems shady to me.  However, I don’t really care about her.  The thing I noticed in the coverage is who the ‘experts’ kept talking about diabetes as this horrible awful thing, and it can be that.  Never do I seem to hear that it is a treatable condition.  I was a borderline diabetic at best but I got my A1C’s down in a year and am no longer a diabetic threat.  When I was first diagnosed I thought I’d have diabetes my whole life and that I was going to die.  That’s what I thought.  I had no idea it was treatable.  Maybe that’s just my ignorance showing but I wish more ‘experts’ would point that out when they discuss the issue.

Here’s a great flyer on the subject. http://physical-therapy.advanceweb.com/sharedresources/Downloads/2009/113009/pa_dec2000.pdf

So, there you go.  That’s my thoughts on a bunch of issues.  The most important thing is I am feeling hopeful in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.  Thanks so much to everyone for all your love and support.  I’m sure there is still a long road ahead but to feel hope is grand thing. 🙂

Progress!


in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does things.

Theodore Roosevelt

Well certainty this year I have been doing many things and amidst the continuing struggles it is very rewarding to see genuine progress and growth in my life, particularly satisfying with the physical fitness/health goals.  I share this not to boast but to include you in my achievements.  I am so excited!

Today I had my ‘boot camp’ with my trainer.  This is a meeting we do every 6-8 weeks to diagnose my physical conditioning is improving, staying the same or getting worse.  So far I have seen improvement in every area except for the stairs (I hate those stairs!).  I won’t bore you with all of the routines but it was so satisfying to do more than I did before, to see progress. I am also not nearly as sore today as I was anticipating from a tough work out.

Things are improving and that makes me smile!

After the ‘boot camp’ I weighed in at 261.  That’s 3 lb lost since the end of August.  I am picking up the pace on the dieting through the tough holiday season and hopefully the weight will come off.  (The more it does, the less stress on my muscles which is important for the fibromyalgia).

If you can believe it, I have only lost 10 lbs since the beginning of the year.  On first glance, this might seem like a disappointment but when you think of everything I have been through this year from meds, surgery, swims and everything else it is understandable.

What made me more excited is when I took my measurements for biceps, shoulders, abdomen and hips, there were significant changes in all 4 measurements!

Take a look at these charts.  I believe you will see a great deal of  improvement and much progress! Hurray!

Look at the improvement!!!!!


Down by 3 inches in that critical abdomen area.  Hurray!

Shoulders and torso down by 4 inches!

The hips show the least amount of change but that’s no surprise we Wagners love to hang on to those hips!

Teaching Low GI

Today I had a fun experience.  I was asked by my ward to do an activity explaining all I’ve learned about low glycemic cooking.  It is something I was excited to do because I have learned so much in recent months that I have wanted to share with others.  Teaching all of you on this blog is fun but it is nice to gab on with others in person also.  Part of it is I wish others had shared the information with me much sooner- hopefully I can enlighten someone else much sooner than me.

To help with the lesson I prepared a packet of information explaining how the cell membrane works, what insulin is, and how the glycemic index was developed.

Here are links to the packet info I used.  I hope you find them helpful:

http://www.glycemicindex.ca/glycemicindexfoods.pdf

http://www.diabetes.ca/Files/diabetes_gl_final2_cpg03.pdf

http://www.iristrial.org/teleforms/documents/insulin_resistance.pdf

Aside from explaining the biology of the glycemic index, I also focused on making little choices that have a big impact on our sugars  For example, you can use agave instead of sugar or alternative flours (brown rice, quinoa, or other flour)  instead of regular refined flour.  I showed them many of the different flours and sugars I have and gave examples of healthier choices:

1.  I showed ketchup, steak and bbq sauce and asked which one had the most sugar?  If you don’t know, its bbq sauce (6 gr per tbsp), then ketchup (4 gr per tbsp), finally steak sauce (2 gr per tbsp).  So, by choosing the steak sauce over the bbq saue we are significantly cutting our sugar on that item.   By making a thousand little choices like that we become healthier.  (of course no sauce would be even better but I love a little sauce!)

2. I showed two cans of soup- Chicken and Stars vs.  Split Pea and Ham.  While both have a lot of sodium, if I want a can of soup the split pea is a much better choice with 10 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber compared to chicken and stars with 3 and 1 respectively.  I then explained that by reading labels we can make better choices.

3. I introduced them to quinoa.  One of the problems I noticed as I went low glycemic is my need to have a starch with my meals.  It didn’t seem enough to have a piece of chicken or steak on its own.  I needed rice or potatoes or some kind of starchy side.  This is something I have had to ween myself off  of but I have found that brown rice and quinoa are good alternatives.  Particularly quinoa because it is a complete protein.   Most of the girls had never experienced quinoa so it was fun to see their reaction!

4.  Finally I did some cooking!  (You will have to excuse the bad photos.  I still haven’t learned to take good food photos.  I’d love to learn if someone wants to teach me!).

We made individual flavored lemonades with fresh squeezed juice, agave and either ginger or mint (the more flavoring you put in things the less sweetener is required).

flavored lemonades

Then I made homemade cheeze-its!  This is a recipe from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  They were very easy and delicious. Here is a link to the recipe:

http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2009/09/recipe-for-cheese-crackers-with-almond.html

Serving with it I had ranch spinach dip made with greek yogurt.  The point of this item was to show how snacking can actually be healthy (crackers and yogurt have protein, spinach is loaded with goodness).

gluten free cheese crackers with spinach ranch yogurt dip. It was super good!

Finally for desert we had strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Elana’s Gluten Free Cupcake Cookbook.  I think these were mostly a success.  They are made with coconut flour and agave for the sweetener.  They were a little dry so next time I might try cooking them less and I would puree the strawberries because I find their texture when heated to be odd.  Still the frosting is to die for!  It is cream cheese whipped, folded into whip cream sweetened with agave.  Holy cow is it good!

http://t.co/HpJABC0

strawberry cupcake with cream cheese frosting

Any treat should be eaten in moderation but it is so fun to find ways to make things healthier.   If I have learned anything in the last year is that being a healthy person involves a thousand little decisions that cumulatively add up to good health.  I’ve also learned to take ownership of my body.  Only I know how my body reacts to certain foods or medicines and only I can feed it correctly.   With the counsel of my doctor (but mostly my own research) I have learned what it means to truly feed my soul and help make me feel good.  What a blessing that is, and how fun to share it with those around me.

I hope that all of you have fun trying these recipes and enjoy looking at the handouts (if you are close by I can give you one- I have extras).  If you want to learn more call me- I love talking about this stuff!  I would also love to cook with any of you as I am dying to try out more recipes (particularly from Elana’s cookbooks and blog.  They are such good recipes).

Say No to Drugs

Today I want to make an announcement- I have given up my narcotics habit.  Let me explain.  For the past six months I have allowed my physicians to keep piling on the prescriptions to help with my hormone problems, sugar regulations, insomnia and other problems.  It kind of happened without me realizing, one prescription here, another there, until as of yesterday I was taking around 10 pills a day and an injection.

For little spurts I felt improvement from the various treatments but never the large-scale change which was promised.  I seem to have a weak stomach which is upset rather easily (even the anesthesia from the eye surgery made me sick).   As I reported in one of my posts a medicine called victoza made me particularly sick a couple of weeks ago.  I literally couldn’t eat for days and was vomiting non-stop.  It was awful.

With a optimisitic attitude I tried it again and felt good for a couple of weeks but when I stopped taking all my meds for my eye surgery ,and then started them all again, the negative symptoms returned.  From last Thursday to Sunday I could not keep any food down and had terrible nausea, vomiting and other GI problems.  I almost went to the hospital Sunday because I had not eaten in 4 days.  In the end, I went to Instacare and got some anti-nausea meds and an antibiotic for a UTI.

I am sure all of that is an over-share but I wanted to explain how I came to my realization.  On Sunday I had a moment of clarity that said ‘nothing is worth feeling like this.  Nothing’.  At that moment I decided that if it takes me 5 years of grueling diet and exercise  as opposed to the more rapid help from the drugs that’s what I will have to do.  I will have to regulate my sugars and hormones the old-fashioned way.

Armed with this decision, I met with my doctor, and he was very supportive.  We decided to stop the victoza and metformin along with several other meds.  This reduces my meds to about 3 1/2 pills a day.  Pretty good, right?  The doctor is changing me to a different blood sugar med called onglyza that I only have to take 1/2 a pill a day and is better than either the victoza or metformin on the stomach.  I have bcp, lunesta for sleeping and one for my hormones called finasteride.

We may add or take away items as we go, but I feel good about this change.  I am not saying it is the right change for everyone, just for me.  I have felt very connected to the spirit during this whole process (finding my doctors, getting through treatment, trusting the diagnosis etc) and I think this is what it is telling me to do, for my body, at this moment.

The most important thing I have learned from the last 6-12 months is to take ownership of my body.  Only I know how I feel, and as brilliant as my doctors are they can only guide ME to make the decisions which affect ME.   My advice is to be open to try new things and treatments but in the end be brave enough to say ‘enough is enough.  I’m moving on.’

Thank you to all my friends and family for supporting me (and listening to me whine) while trying to figure all of this out.  Some day I hope to make it up to you but until then consider yourself forcibly electronically HUGGED.  I love you all so much!

Victoza is not quite so evil

So I just wanted to do  a quick post to update how my second run of Victoza is going.  To my shock I have responded well!  I have only had one day of nausea and no vomiting (thank goodness for that!).  I guess the doctor was right (go figure?).  Perhaps I did have a stomach virus when I tried the Victoza before.  I was skeptical because it seemed like such a coincidence but with such a great response this time I’m beginning to believe.

Not that I have had no side effects.  My appetite has been low but that’s not too bad when it isn’t coupled with the nausea.  I have also been a little bit weak and tired.  Let’s just say it has not been my best 2 weeks exercise-wise.  At least I’ve been meeting with my trainer weekly so that’s helped.  Not every week will be a perfect exercise week.  The most important thing is to consistently keep exercise in my life, and that I have done.  Yesterday I went swimming and it felt great! Today I’m meeting with Michelle for a session so that should be good.  (I will probably be sore later on).

Anyway, I had so many comments on my ‘Victoza is Evil‘ post that I felt I must own up to my better response this time.  Hopefully it continues and I will feel well for weeks to come.  The last two weeks have been great and I feel very hopeful for the future.

Next Wednesday is my strabismus surgery.  I’m a little nervous but my doctor is a pro (this is the main surgery he does in his career) and I feel confident in his skills.  This is my doctor:

http://rmeyecare.com/biopetersen.html

There are always risks in surgery but the greatest risk in this surgery is possibly needing follow up surgeries later on.   On the plus side my mom is coming to help me! She will be here from Tuesday to Saturday.  Being from a family of 6 it is a rare treat to have my mom all to myself, almost worth going through surgery for!

The doctor expects there to be 2 days of the most pain with it lessening each day, with most of it being gone by a week’s time.  However, my eye will be red for several months.  The doctor said ‘now would not be a good time to get married.  All your photos will have red eye!”.  Obviously that is not an issue for me but I will have red eye in Hawaii. Oh well!  A small price to pay…

Please keep me in your prayers and thoughts. I am sure I will love calls as I recuperate but I probably will be off the internet for several days because I won’t be able to see out of one eye.  Thank you in advance for your love and support.

Also, I am going to be taking a couple days off of my meds and would love treats, food and especially company.  Please come by for a visit if it is at all possible.  Love you all!

Victoza is Evil

Today marks day 10 of my type 2 diabetes treatment with the injected medicine called victoza.  If you can indulge me for a second I need to vent about how awful some of the side effects have been.  I have been lucky so far and responded well to the other medicines I’ve taken.  This was not the case with victoza.

To begin with I have no appetite at all for anything.  Everything looks and tastes gross.  While this might seem like a good thing, it really isn’t.  I also get full extremely quick- one apple will completely fill me up.  I feel nauseous most of the time and nothing seems to settle my stomach.  (Plus, I can’t eat any of the simple carbs that a sick stomach wants- such as saltines crackers or ginger ale).

Without being too graphic I have had vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems.  Not wanting to experience these side effects, I have become naturally hesitant with forcing myself to eat.

The most depressing side effect of all occurred yesterday.  As most of you know I love entertaining and had such a good time planning my party for the royal wedding.  Unfortunately I overdid it and felt awful yesterday.  I was truly miserable, in bed, all day.  I couldn’t eat and then when I did I immediately began retching. All day I was either in the bathroom or my bedroom.  I had a splitting head ache and my entire body hurt.  Sorry for the overshare but it was a terrible day. (I still haven’t eaten today.  I’m nervous to have a repeat of yesterday).

Most of all it was emotionally discouraging and spiritually testing.  I know God has His purpose behind these trials but I couldn’t help but ask Him some questions yesterday- When am I going to be back to myself?  When am I going to be able to lead a full life?  Will I ever be able to throw a party without being bedridden for 2 days?  Why is my body breaking down on me?  Will true health ever come? How come I seemed healthier at 313 then at 254? What’s the purpose behind all of this pain?

I wish I knew the answers to all these questions but I don’t.  I’m still searching but am also confident in God’s plan for me.  I know this will all make sense some day…

From everything I’ve read online about 1/3rd of victoza patients suffer from nausea and vomiting for the first month of treatment and then they adjust.  I don’t know if I can do this for a month. We will see.  It has helped me to lose a lot of weight fast (in 10 days lost nearly 10 lbs but I don’t know if that is from not eating anything or the meds!).   Surprisingly my sugars have not been noticeably lower (in the 90-110 range which is about what they were with just diet).

I have an appointment with my endocrinologist the first week of June and if I am still having these side effects then I may want to stop with the victoza.

Please say a prayer for me that I will begin to respond better.  I want to get back to my regular life so badly. It’s beyond frustrating. Who knew the road to health was so paved with peril?

Thanks to Megan for calling me yesterday- providing the one bright spot. Love you! The rest of my family has been in Europe for the last 2 weeks (I know tough life!) and I must say I’m excited for them to back.  Even though they don’t live in Utah I have missed their support over the phone during these tough weeks.  Poor Megan and Emily have had to absorb all of my venting! Thanks!

Evil Victoza

Memories

To flee from memory
Had we the Wings
Many would fly
Inured to slower things
Birds with surprise
Would scan the cowering Van
Of men escaping
From the mind of man

Emily Dickinson

Memory is a strange thing and there are times I wish I could flee from mine.  Isn’t it odd how most of us  remember the painful moments with stunning clarity while the joyous times go by in a blur? Why is that?

In the excellent movie After Life (1998 Japanese film) the recently departed are required to choose one memory to be recreated and filmed for them to take on to the next stage.  After viewing the films the participant vanishes to an unknown fate.  The movie does a great job presenting different types of people who struggle to come up with a memory.  What is most important? What is the happiest memory in life? Some chose Disneyland or their weddings but others refuse to choose and feel their life is not worthwhile- not one memory.  If you have not seen After Life rent it on Netflix.  I promise you will get used to the subtitles.  It is well worth the effort.

The great Thornton Wilder play, Our Town, has a similar plot.  The lead character Emily must pick a memory to go back and view before moving on.  She tries to pick an inoxuious day- her 12th birthday but in reliving it she understands that no moment in life is without meaning and value.  In fact, it is the routine and ordinary that are often the most important.  As I mentioned in a previous post there is a filming of a Broadway version of Our Town staring Paul Newman that is worth checking out.

I bring this topic up only because lately I have found myself drifting to memories, some of them painful.  As much as I’d like to focus on the family vacations, hugs goodnight and nearly constant reading aloud, some of the memories that are the most vivid are the taunts, teases and frustrations.

There are two memories in particular that I can’t seem to erase from my mind (not that I want to).  The first one happened in the 5th grade (so around 10?).  As the chubbiest girl in school, I was repeatedly teased and called a ‘fat dog’ by my classmates.  One  day I was drinking from an outdoor water fountain and was trying to ignore the taunts.  Eventually one kid decided it would be funny to push me into the water and shove my dress above my head so my underwear showed to the world.  I remember this moment so well I could tell you the dress I was wearing.  It was nautical with little flags.  I’m a 30 year old woman and yet I still remember with pain the taunts of stupid 10-year-old punk kids.  Why?

The other memory which stands out I am almost hesitant to bring up.  My parents did such a great job with me that this was a rare misstep.   Around the same time of the teasing my parents sat me down for a talk.  I remember it as if it was yesterday.  We were on our deck in Salt Lake and they told me I needed to go on a diet and that ‘I weighed as much as some grown men’.  Then they gave me a tuna fish sandwich on pumpernickel bread with baby carrots.  It was the first time in my life  I was told I was fat by someone I loved and I think a bubble of childhood was burst.  I remember feeling confused and puzzled at how I had let this problem occur and what I was to do about it?  In the 20 years since, there has always been a part of me which has accepted my weight as my fault- as my great flaw, the one thing I couldn’t figure out or conquer.  How could a little girl be expected to overcome such a problem?

Of course, now I know that I likely suffered from insulin resistance problems back then.  In fact, with the early puberty, weight gain,  and fatigue, the diagnosis is obvious.  However, I did not know this information then- nor did my parents.  To their credit they did take me out of school almost immediately after they found out about the teasing and put me in Reid School– a decision which changed the way I learned and boosted my self-confidence at a critical junction (and made me a passionate supporter of alternative schooling for my entire life)

In addition, my parents have been unfailingly supportive of me, no matter my size.  The funny thing is I can only think of two other time’s growing up when they mentioned diets or losing weight again.  No parent is perfect and no child is ideal.  They did not know I had an insulin resistance problem and considering it took me the last 14 months to figure it out I do not hold it against them. I wish we had decided to get healthy as a family, instead of singling me out, but I know they did the best they could.  I always knew they loved me.  Like the Dickinson poem says I wish I could flee away from the memory.  I wish I didn’t have it and certainly that it wouldn’t be so vivid.

Perhaps, however, I would not be where I am today without such memories?  Who is to say?  I don’t know, but I think part of this life-changing process is coming to terms with how I arrived here- the good times and the bad.