Season Three: Episode Thirteen

MAY 26, 2022

So I just got out of my dentist appointment. I got my teeth cleaned for the first time in like five or six years. As a diabetic, oral health is really important because you could lose your teeth.

I got dental insurance for the first time in years and I found out I have a lot of tartar buildup and two cavities!

It was a bitch to get the cleaning done but at least my teeth are clean. It is so important to see a dentist. Dental insurance is pretty important for us diabetics. If we don’t take care of our teeth or control our diabetes, we can lose teeth to high sugar or worse, gum disease.

My dentist instructed me to brush twice a day and floss down on either side of my teeth to help prevent plaque buildup. I’ve also stopped using water to rinse my mouth out after brushing. I’m using mouthwash for that now.

Hopefully, I can keep up with this routine and in six months she’ll say my teeth are doing good. Here’s to hoping!

Season Three: Episode Twelve

APRIL 11, 2022

So my A1C is at 10.2. That’s not good. Last Thursday I went to do my DOT physical for work. Because of my sugars, the doctor only cleared me for three months then I have to go back in and do a recheck.

I have to get my sugar under control in that time or I will be disqualified. Also, I can’t take injectable insulin because that’s another thing that could disqualify me. But the doctor did say I can take Ozempic so I let my endocrinologist know on Friday during that appointment.

I have another appointment with my endocrinologist next month to check up and see how things are going. Right now my fasting sugar was not great so I have to seriously rethink everything because I want to keep this job.

I got one of those weighted hula hoops to hopefully help with weight loss and lose some inches around my waist. I’m pretty active while on tour, but until tourism is back full force, which I’m not looking forward to, tours will be a little less frequent for now.

I’m hoping I can do what’s necessary to keep my job. I need to get a new glucose monitor. The one I have has to be replaced every year, but I’ve had mine for two years now. I just wanna make sure it stays fresh.

Tomorrow, I have a dentist appointment for the first time in a couple years. I hope my teeth are doing okay and diabetes hasn’t affected them in the mean time. I don’t think I’ve been to the dentist since my diabetes diagnosis in 2017.

I hope I can do this. I really like my job a lot. I can do this.

Season Three: Episode Eleven

APRIL 4, 2022

Health Update!

I got my blood taken last week Thursday to check my A1C. As it turns out the last time I got it checked was a year ago. It was 8.7 last March and wow it got worse since then. I’m at 10.2 now. What a failure. I’m very upset with this and myself. I know what I need to do but it’s so hard to do it.

I’m going to be doing more tours later this week so I hope it’ll get me back on track. I can’t really control what I eat on tour unfortunately but I’ll be more active at least.

I went on tour on Friday and I walked over 8000 steps and I was just training so hopefully it’ll be closer to 10,000 soon.

Also, I just had my eye appointment today and my ophthalmologist said everything looks good. Even with the high A1C my diabetes hasn’t gotten to my eyes yet so that’s a plus. Also my eye pressure is down too. Usually it rides closer to 20 in both eyes but today it was 17 in the right eye and 18 in the left eye. That’s a big plus for me.

Also my visual field was good he said. I didn’t miss anything apparently which I’m sure is a lie because there were some that I know I didn’t see. But this a great place for me with my vision. I have to go back in three months to check up on my prescription. Apparently, I am nearsighted just a little. I didn’t know that.

This Thursday, I have a DOT physical for work and an appointment with my endocrinologist. I have to call my insurance and see if I am able to get any type of insulin covered by insurance. That would be really great.

Next Monday is my dentist appointment. I haven’t gotten my teeth seen since I was like 23 I think. So I hope my teeth are doing okay with my diabetes. Remember diabetes can affect your teeth too.

Season Three: Episode Ten

MARCH 20, 2022

This week I’m going to call around to see where I can get a Department of Transportation physical for work. I also have to get my drivers abstract but the DOT physical is the hardest to get. There are 13 places in Hilo that I can get one done. Besides our Urgent Care, the others are physicians that I’m not a patient of.

I would like to get the physical done this week but I have to call and set an appointment for it. If they can’t take me in, then I’d have to try and see if the other physicians will take me just for the physical.

I’m really excited to get back to work for this company. It’s been two years since I was there and I loved meeting new people and sharing my home with them. But most of all, I loved when they would go home. There are too many people coming to live in Hawaii because it’s “paradise” and they drive up the cost of homes here. Very disheartening.

I have to take my A1C blood test on the 31st in time for my endocrinologist appointment and I’m not looking forward to it. I think it’ll be easier to get in to the office now than during the pandemic, but I won’t be sure until I get there to see what procedures they still have.

Every time I get my blood drawn, I get on my phone and scroll social media or play a game on my phone or literally anything else but look at what they’re doing to my arm. One time, I counted the little lines on the frosted glass, there were 34 lines. I don’t like to see my blood go in to the little tubes.

I have my visual field appointment in the morning and I’m curious to see if my peripheral vision has changed since I last did it. I know my left eye wasn’t doing so hot last time. It felt really sad to not click when the line showed up on my left side.

But all in all, I’m looking forward to another week of trying to survive life. I hope you’re all doing well out there.

Diabetes and the Workplace

Here’s where you can know your rights in the workplace. Even with diabetes, we may still have the need to be in the workforce, whether it’s for employer-based health insurance or because we just need the money. But did you know diabetes can be considered a disability?

A disability is defined as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Diabetes is a disability because it substantially limits major life activities such as the functioning of the endocrine system.

What are my rights on the job?

As a person with a disability, you are protected from discrimination because of your diabetes. You will be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities.

  • An employer cannot fail to hire or promote you because of your diabetes.
  • They cannot terminate you because of your diabetes (unless you pose a safety hazard).
  • They must provide you reasonable accommodations that help you perform the essential functions of your job.
  • They must not discriminate with regard to employer-provided health insurance.

You also have the right to medical leave to care for your diabetes. The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of leave per year. This can be used for short term problems caused by managing your blood glucose levels or doctor appointments.

What are some accommodations I can request?

Remember these accommodations must be reasonable and not hinder the job description you were hired for. They may include, but are not limited to:

  • A private area to test your blood glucose levels or to administer insulin injections.
  • A place to rest until your blood glucose levels become normal.
  • Breaks to eat or drink, take medication, or test blood glucose levels.
  • Leave for treatment, recuperation, or training on managing diabetes (like diabetes education courses).
  • A modified work schedule or shift change.

To request an accommodation there is no magic words for it. Simply go to your employer and tell them what adjustments or changes are needed. This can also be done by someone else on your behalf, like your healthcare professionals.

What can employers do to help?

Employers can educate themselves on how to keep their employees healthy and maintain productivity. There are programs that can be provided through the employer-based health insurance too. They’re called the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) for people at risk of type 2 diabetes and Diabetes Self-Management, Education, and Support (DSMES) services for people diagnosed with diabetes.

The CDC has resources for employers to maintain healthy employees.

Please Note: These resources are for those living in the United States. I’m personally not too familiar with international resources but, hopefully, it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Look up the disability protection laws in your own country to see what protections may exist for you. Good luck!


References

American Diabetes Association
CDC
US EEOC
dQ&A
diaTribe

Type2diabetes.com

Mission

To empower patients and caregivers take control of their T2D by providing a platform to learn, educate, and connect with peers and healthcare professionals.

Type2diabetes.com

They provide the most accurate and relevant information on their blog. Their articles are contributed by physicians, patient advocates, and other healthcare experts. They encourage individuals touched by T2D to share their experiences with the community.

The website is brought to you by Health Union, LLC, an independent company that enables healthcare industry partners to reach and engage millions of people living with chronic conditions.

There are a number of topics including articles about mental health, T2D and COVID, as well as recipes. It’s another great source of information for diabetics to use.

Season Three: Episode Nine

MARCH 13, 2022

I have apparently gained two pounds since my last doctor visit on February 11. What a shame. I am currently 194 lbs. I’m a little disappointed in that since my lowest weight last year was 186lbs and since then it’s kind of gone up. It’s definitely because I’m eating more. I’ve been finding myself to be more hungry these past couple of months.

However, I have recently gone back to my job as a tour guide. We all got laid off when the pandemic started and now since our case numbers are lower, I feel a bit more comfortable to go back to work with them. It’s more active. I went on my first training tour on Friday and I walked over 8000 steps! I usually don’t walk more than 2000-3000 steps per day, 6000 when we’re doing the grocery shopping.

I can’t wait to get back to work with them. I really did love working for them and meeting new people from around the world. They’re kind of short staffed though which means I’ll be expected to do the longer tours that I didn’t do last time. But I’m looking forward to it.

I have my visual field eye appointment on the 21st. I’m hoping my visual field hasn’t changed too drastically since last year. I’ve never had to do that appointment until last year and I assume my diabetes is a bit of a concern for my eye doctor, which is totally understandable. I’m concerned too.

Please enjoy this picture I took while we were on tour at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park overlooking the glow of the lava lake in Halemaumau crater of Kilauea volcano.

I got the lab paperwork from my endocrinologist. I’ve got to do that a week before my appointment on April 7. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to let my ophthalmologist about my A1C as my eye appointment will be April 4. I’ll probably have to call them to update them on my newest A1C. I’m not looking forward to what it’ll be though.

And then my first dentist appointment in years will be on April 12. April is going to be a very active doctor appointment month. And I’m not looking forward to my A1C update nor am I looking forward to getting my blood taken. I hate needles!

Thankfully, the mask mandate for Hawaii should finally be lifted on March 26. At least I won’t have to wear a mask while I’m getting my blood taken and I think they’re also rolling back on social distancing and indoor max capacities. But I’m still a little scared about all of the rollbacks. I have lasted two years without getting COVID and I want to keep it that way.

Also the blog has reached 196 followers! I’m almost to 200 people who appreciate the information I share with them every week. I appreciate every single one of you always and forever. I love sharing my journey and the information I’m learning about diabetes with all of you.

If I can get to 300 followers, I will seriously consider trying to start a Patreon to help pay for the monthly and annual bills as well as bring more than just stickers to my blog shop. I’m thinking acrylic pins and window clings. Who knows really? It’s so exciting!

Thank you for each and every single one of you readers out there. Don’t forget to share my blog with your loved ones. And don’t forget that you are so loved and you matter, if not to the people in your life, then you are loved and matter to me. My inbox and DMs are always open, feel free to reach out if you need someone to talk to. I’ll be there.

7 Little Ways to Care for Your Diabetes

Whether you are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been living with it for years, you can make small changes to your life that could potentially turn your life around. You could come off the insulin injections, you could stop taking tons of medications, you could potentially reverse your diabetes.

Be warned, it will not happen right away. You will need to have patience and persevere. You need to set your goals, keep them in your heart the entire time. It will be hard. You will feel devastated and tired and frustrated, but you can do this. My favorite quote from wherever I had heard it, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

1. Lose (Just A Little) Weight

As your body gains weight, it can have more difficulty regulating blood sugar levels with the insulin your body naturally produces. This leads to insulin resistance, your pancreas will produce more and more insulin to move the sugar from your blood into your cells. But it will become less effective and can cause damage to your pancreas.

Insulin promotes fat storage and weight gain. It causes an infinite cycle of weight gain, insulin resistance, more insulin production, more weight gain. But modest weight loss, 5 to 10% of your body weight, can lead to huge improvements. Just a 7% loss can improve insulin sensitivity by 57%!

2. Water Down Blood Sugar

The more dehydrated you are, the more concentrated the sugars in your blood become. Those who drink less than 16 ounces of water per day have a higher risk of developing elevated blood sugar levels compared with those who drank more. You can drink water, herbal tea, and milk. Coffee should be limited to three cups a day, caffeine can dehydrate you.

3. Try Exercise Snacking

Instead of doing 30 consecutive minutes of exercising, try to spread the physical activity throughout the day. Maybe three 10-minute walks throughout the day. Research suggests that these bite-size bits of activity can help control blood sugar better than one longer workout.

Don’t forget to do various types of exercise, like aerobics and strength training. Adults naturally lose 8% of their muscle mass every 10 years between ages 40 and 70, diabetes can double that. Try spending 10 minutes a day building strength by using weights, resistance bands, or body weight moves.Another 10 minutes doing aerobic activity such as fast walking, swimming, jogging, etc. Then another 10 minutes of stretching, which will improve joint movement and reduce chances of injury.

Walking as much as possible throughout the day matters!

4. Muscle Up With Protein

Protein is important for maintaining muscle and stimulating several hormones that contribute to blood sugar regulation. Focus on fish, white-meat chicken, plant-based sources, and lean cuts of beef. Make sure you’re eating protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

5. Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

People with diabetes, obesity or both are at increased risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19. Research suggests that COVID can worsen diabetes by causing damage to the pancreas and system-wide inflammation that increases insulin resistance.

Even if you get COVID after having been vaccinated, it should indirectly result in less COVID impact for preexisting diabetes. You can get a milder case of COVID with the vaccine. Also don’t forget to stay up to date with your other vaccines as well.

6. Don’t Focus On Sugar

After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for the first time, people often go to extremes, like drastically limiting carbs. But too few carbs can lead to fatigue, nutritional deficiencies and dangerously low blood sugar. Women should aim for 30-45 grams per meal and men should get 60-75 grams.

Proper nutrition is so important after a diabetes diagnosis, meaning consulting with a registered dietician or certified diabetes care and education specialist is very important.

7. Let The Meds Come As Needed

It’s common for people who are trying to their diabetes to feel like failures if they can’t get off their medications. Even if you do manage to come off your medications, medications could still play an important role in your life, like insulin. Don’t feel defeated by the amount of medications you have, hopefully one day, you’ll knock them out. You can do this!


References

AARP Magazine, Dec 2021/Jan 2022

Season Three: Episode Eight

MARCH 6, 2022

I have my next PCP appointment this week for a refill of my prescriptions. I wish I could get an earlier appointment with my endocrinologist. I’m wondering, the mask mandates in Hawaii are supposed to go away by the end of the month. Supposedly. So does that mean my doctor will no longer do telephone appointments. Does that mean I have to fly to Oahu for my appointments again?

I mean I’d love to go to Oahu and stop by Ala Moana Center for sure, but the price of flights are ridiculous right now. The cheapest round trip being just under $200 per person. And I don’t like to go to Oahu by myself so obviously my husband would go with me.

I could do a travel reimbursement for our flights. That would have to go through my endocrinologist’s office to put the request in for me and then hopefully it gets approved. But knowing HMSA they’ll probably only reimburse if we take the cheapest flights, which means first flight in the morning and last flight in the evening.

Usually we take an Uber or Lyft from the airport to the doctor’s office because it’s quicker. Then it’s a decent walk from there to Ala Moana for lunch and some shopping. Then we take the bus back to the airport.

The last time we took the last flight out of Honolulu, the bus didn’t run after 6 so we had to take the 4:30pm or thereabouts. And we waited at the terminal for HOURS, it was so freaking boring especially because we took Southwest and that side of the terminal all the shops close early. Lame.

I’m not going to lie. I don’t really want to fly to Oahu for my appointments. It’s really draining and I hate flying. The motion sickness is unreal. Plus that’s a whole day that we’d have to take off and with the way things are going, I’m still afraid of COVID. But only time will tell I guess.