Season Three: Episode Seven

FEBRUARY 27, 2022

So far this nothing to report. I have a PCP appointment next week to refill my prescriptions and then an eye appointment later in March to check my visual field.

I have noticed my left eye’s periphery is starting to decrease but I’m still able to see okay. My left eye is definitely my concern as I notice my eyesight getting blurrier as time goes on. I’ve had to depend on my glasses more and more now when they used to be when I drive at night, now I need them during the day too.

My eye pressure has been elevated for the last couple of years and I’m sure that has to do with my diabetes. I have to get my diabetes under better control so the pressure in my eye hopefully can go down without the need of prescription eye drops.

Let’s see what else is there? I have a WordPress blog goal! I want to reach 300 followers with WordPress or email. Hopefully if I reach that goal, I’ll be able to set up a Patreon that way I have the ability to create even more content and reach even more people. I’d love to offer exclusive things to my patrons, including the freedom to choose what you want to read about as well as vote what sticker designs come next and I would love to send you folks stickers every month. Something to think about.

I have a 2022 reading goal of 50 books. Not going to lie, I think I’m going to reach that goal way before the end of the year. I read ten books in January and almost ten in February. I forgot how much I love sitting on my bed and reading a really awesome book. Of course, I also forgot about how it feels to come across BAD books. Like this one I just finished. I’m not even going to bother doing a review on the blog for it, it’s so bad.

My weight loss goal is to make it to 150 pounds by the end of the year. So far the first two months haven’t gone the way I want. I gained some weight, but this week I was able to get down to what I started at at the beginning of the year. So hopefully it keeps going down.

I’m on my last pen of Ozempic from my old insurance. I don’t think my new one covers Ozempic as far as I know. I still hate needles. Not looking forward to insulin that’s for sure.

I’m thinking I want to add something else to my physical activity besides just walking. I’m thinking about skateboarding. I like the idea of cruising down the road. My sisters used to have skateboards in school and they hardly used it so I’d go out and try them out. I didn’t know much and stayed on flat roads for safety reasons especially since I didn’t have a helmet or anything because I didn’t like their heads. But it’s been something I’ve been wanting to do since then.

The days are getting hotter in Hawaii and the nights are also getting warmer. I’m going to have to put away the thick blankets and sweatpants pajamas now. It’s going to be a hot summer.

Otherwise that’s pretty much it. I don’t think there will be much to report next week. Tuesday is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or in Hawaii, Malasada Day! My husband and I will be in Kona on Tuesday so I’m looking forward to getting malasadas from somewhere. Thursday is World Book Day and I will celebrate by reading. Check out my Twitter to see what I’m currently reading.

Hope you all had a great February and I hope you all have a BETTER March. Mahalo! 🌺

Season Three: Episode Six

FEBRUARY 21, 2022

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 51. He died eight years ago now. We don’t know what took him from us but we found him in the morning and it was the hardest day of my life thus far. He had diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease, and probably a number of other things that we were just too naive to know about. He’s the reason why I’m doing this. I didn’t know anything about diabetes until I was diagnosed with it myself. If I had known then half the things I know now, maybe we could have helped my dad better with his diseases.

I miss him every day and there’s always something going on that I wish he could have been here to see. He was supposed to be at my wedding and at my sister’s wedding. He was supposed to be here to help my mom, she needs someone to share life with. He was supposed to be here.

There’s no excuse today to not know what diabetes can do to you. The kind of complications that come along with it. There are so many resources out there and my blog is a way for me to combine the information I find in one place, not just for myself but also for everyone who can benefit from this.

I want so badly for a cure to be found, if there’s one to be found, that I will donate to diabetes research and to organizations that help to educate and manage diabetes. It’s so important for us to know what diabetes is and can do. I thoroughly believe in that.


So far, I’ve got an appointment with my endocrinologist in April, that was the earliest he could take me. I think more and more people are going to see the doctors and since a lot of doctors moved away or retired here in Hawaii, whatever doctors are left are being overwhelmed with patients. We need better healthcare and access to healthcare in Hawaii. We need more doctors here.

Next month, I have another appointment with my PCP for refill of my prescriptions and an eye appointment to test my visual field. In April, I have another eye appointment to go over the test results. I also have my endocrinologist appointment to discuss insulin options and I also have an appointment with a dentist for the first time in years.

I’m getting my healthcare in order this year now since I have my own health insurance. I really need to get it together because I think I need insulin again. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it. I hate needles. Hopefully things get better from here.

Diabetes and Your Kidneys

Do you know how terrifying it is to learn about diabetes? Learning about it and knowing there are millions out there that aren’t making the necessary lifestyle changes that can help them avoid the complications could befall them with this diagnosis.

We have gone over what diabetes can do to your teeth, your eyes, your feet, and now we’re looking at what it can do to your kidneys.


Diabetes can cause diabetic nephropathy, or diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease amongst adults. About 1 in 3 adults with diabetes has kidney disease. About 30% of those with type 1 diabetes will develop kidney disease and about 10-40% of those with type 2 diabetes will do the same.

The main job of your kidneys is to filter wastes and extra water out of your blood and create urine. Your kidneys also help control your blood pressure and make hormones that your body needs to stay healthy.

Diabetes can damage the small blood vessels in your kidneys causing your kidneys to not be able to clean your blood properly. This can cause your body to retain more salt and water than it should resulting in weight gain and ankle swelling. Waste material can start building up in your blood.

Diabetes can also damage the nerves in your kidneys that can lead to difficulty emptying your bladder. Pressure from your full bladder can back up and injure your kidneys. You can also develop an infection when urine remains in the bladder for too long.

You are more likely to develop DKD if you are a smoker, are not physically active, are overweight, don’t follow your diet plan, eat foods high in salt, have heart disease, or have a family history of kidney failure.

Some early signs of kidney disease include weight gain (from water retention), ankle swelling, frequent use of the bathroom at night, and high blood pressure.

Some late signs of kidney disease include nausea, vomiting, leg cramps, loss of appetite, weakness, anemia, increase fatigue, and itching.

Those with diabetes should have their blood, urine, and blood pressure tested at least once per year. Your kidney doctor, nephrologist, can plan your treatment with you, your family, and your dietician.

End stage renal failure, or kidney failure, is when your kidneys are no longer able to support you in a reasonably healthy state. Your kidney function has fallen to 10-15% leading to drastic measures. This will be either dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Dialysis is the process of removing excess water, solutes, and toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally. They will remove the blood from your body, put it through a machine for cleaning, and put it back in to your body. Most patients require 1-3 dialysis appointments a week.

To keep your kidneys working in proper functioning order, you need to work with your healthcare team to control your diabetes and high blood pressure (if applicable), get treatment for any urinary tract infections, correct any problems in your urinary system, and avoid medications that can damage your kidneys.

If you have a suspicion that something is going wrong with your kidneys like frequent or infrequent urination, go to your doctor as soon as you can to have it checked out. Better to be safe than sorry.


References

NIDDK
National Kidney Foundation
Mayo Clinic

Season Three: Episode Five

FEBRUARY 13, 2022

For the 15th year in a row, my Super Bowl luck has come through. For the 15th year in a row, the team I rooted for LOST. Without fail, I root for the loser. I tell my family, “If last year was any indicator, if you want a team to win, tell me to root for the other team!” I really was hoping the Bengals would win.

Now I’m sitting in my room at 10pm recounting the past Super Bowl halftime shows. This year’s was great it was like all the concerts I’ve always wanted to see rolled in to one. I wish it was longer though. Last year’s was awesome even mid-pandemic. Maroon 5 though. I’ll leave it at that.

Let’s see, I still haven’t set an appointment with my endocrinologist because I only just got my insurance cards a couple days ago and I have to update my profile eventually and see what’s available, probably nothing in the near future.

My foot doctor appointment went well. Nothing strange or crazy with my feet thankfully. I hope I can keep my appointments annually for a long time. Not gonna lie, I do get some pains and tingles. I have a suspicion that my big toes are losing some feeling but I can still feel and the pains aren’t long lasting and they aren’t frequent. So until they get worse, I’ll keep going. If something changes, I will head straight to my doctor.

So far everything else is going okay health-wise. I have gained a couple pounds since the year started. But I have plateaued and I haven’t gained anymore weight thankfully. But I’m not losing it either. I’m at 191lbs now. And I wanted to badly to be at 180 by now. My weight loss goal is to lose 15 pounds since starting which was a start of 195. If I reached 180, then I would be rewarded by my husband. He was gonna build another Gunpla model for me to display and it’s a pretty one.

But alas, I didn’t lose the weight. I’m still trying though. I think I stopped when I left my job and started working from home again. With access to food at my fingertips instead of being too bust to eat, I’ve gained some weight back.

I’m still making the time to walk my dog every day, but with the rainy season and all the slippery sidewalks and roads, I’m pretty limited but I still try to stay active by walking around in my house every so often. So I’m not sitting and vegetating. I’m also drinking water with the occasional juice and staying away from soda completely.

It’s a work in progress, but I’ll keep working at it. I can and will get down to 130 lbs and make healthier choices. Also remember to tell your loved ones that you love them. Life’s too short not to love the people closest to you. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Diabetes and Your Feet

Diabetes can lead to many complications that affect other parts of our body, like our eyes, teeth, and even feet. With feet, it is very important to check them daily. Why?

About half of all people with diabetes have some kind of nerve damage, or neuropathy. Nerves in the feet and legs are most often affected. This nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet and legs. If you can’t feel anything in your feet and you step on something sharp and penetrate skin, how would you know you’re injured? That’s why daily checks are so important for those with diabetes.

Symptoms include numbness, tingling, or pain, but also you may not be able to feel pain, hot or cold.

Other diabetes complications like slow healing can lead to cuts and wounds on your feet to become infected. If infections don’t get better with treatment, it can lead to amputation to keep the infection from spreading.

Factors that can increase your risk of neuropathy include, blood sugar levels that are hard to manage, being overweight, having high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, and being older than 40 years old.

Some ways you can keep on top of your foot health is:

1. Check your feet every day for cuts, redness, swelling, sores, blisters, corns, calluses, or any other changes.

2. Wash your feet every day in warm (not hot) water. Don’t soak your feet, it can dry your feet and cause your skin to crack. Dry your feet completely after you wash them and apply lotion. Don’t put lotion between your toes.

3. Never go barefoot. Always wear socks and shoes.

4. Make sure your shoes fit well and don’t rub your feet too much. Also before putting on your shoes, check them to make sure there’s nothing sharp hiding in them.

5. Trim toenails straight across and smooth any edges with a nail file. If you can’t do them yourselves, have your doctor or a trusted pedicurist help you.

6. Don’t remove corns and calluses yourself. See your doctor to have them removed.

7. Get your feet checked at every health care visit.

8. Keep the blood flowing. Put your feet up when you’re sitting and wiggle your toes for a few minutes several times per day.

9. Choose feet-friendly activities like walking, riding a bike, or swimming.

10. Protect your feet from hot and cold.

You should see your doctor if there are pains or cramps in your legs, thickened yellow toenails, dry or cracked skin of your feet, or if you have a callus with dried blood inside it. If you have a cut, blister, or bruise on your foot that doesn’t heal after a few days, you should seek medical help. If you have a foot infection that becomes black and smelly, you definitely need help.

If anything looks funky with your feet, give your podiatrist a call and get it checked out. Check your feet every day and make sure they’re okay. Also, remember to get your blood sugar under controlled levels to decrease your risk of neuropathy.


References

CDC
NIDDK

Season Three: Episode Four

FEBRUARY 6, 2022

Happy Black History Month!

Something a little different for a journey update this week. I have mixed feelings on Black History Month. I don’t think we should relegate African American history to only one month. We shouldn’t highlight black history and black businesses and just general blackness to one month. It should be celebrated every day of the year. Black history is American history and we should all know this history.

I saw a TikTok a while ago that was upset about how our education system doesn’t tell all of the United States of America’s history, the good AND the bad. Always focusing on the history as if there are winners all the time in this country. Trying to erase all of the bad. The TikTok user had issued a challenge, the American History Challenge.

In it, she challenges you to research the topics, learn about it, and share it with others. So I’m going to take this month to learn about America’s history and share it with you. Feel free to do your own research and I would love some suggestions on things you think I should research and learn more about. I will create a new page just for the American History Challenge.


As an update on myself though, I am doing a challenge for myself this month. I am going to read every day this month and I will only drink water this month. The water drinking is a little hard because I’ve been having sugar cravings off the wall, but if I ignore them and just keep drinking water, they go away.

This year I decided to get back in to bullet journals. January’s layout sucked. So for February I decided to change it up. I love the appointment book style planner so I can keep track of times easier so I incorporated that. I’ve also added a ton of habit trackers that I didn’t have in January and I’m trying it out in February to see if I’ll continue them on. I’m keeping track of how much water I drink and how much rice I eat. I’m also tracking if I eat breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner, as well as how many steps I’m taking and if I’m doing my facial routine.

It’s a lot more fun to do than January’s spread that’s for sure. I’m still very bad at taking my blood sugar though. I haven’t taken it in quite some time. But I’m trying to figure out my habits so I can make changes to them.

I’m still waiting for my insurance cards to come in so I can set up an appointment with my endocrinologist. I have an appointment with my foot doctor tomorrow. I have a eye appointments coming up in the next couple of months and a dentist appointment in April. I’ve gotta call my PCP to schedule my next appointment to refill my prescriptions and birth control. Our healthcare system seriously sucks. Hopefully I’ll be able to get insulin again. Fingers crossed.

Diabetic Retinopathy

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects eyes caused by the damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). It can cause vision loss and blindness. It develops in type 1 and type 2 diabetes and can also affect those who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and less controlled your blood sugar is, the higher your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

What causes diabetic retinopathy?

When there is too much sugar in your blood it can lead to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels in your eye, cutting off its blood supply. This causes new blood vessels to grow but they aren’t developed properly and can leak easily.

Are there any conditions that can be caused by diabetic retinopathy?

Yes, there are a couple of conditions that can be caused by diabetic retinopathy.

  • Diabetic macular edema: 1 in 15 diabetics will develop DME. DME occurs when the blood vessels in the retina leak fluid into the macula causing blurry vision.
  • Neovascular glaucoma: the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels can interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye and pressure can build in the eyeball, this heightened pressure in the eye can cause damage to the optic nerve that carries images from the eye to the brain resulting in glaucoma.
  • Retinal detachment: the leaking of the new blood vessels causes scars to form in the back of the eye. The scars pull your retina away from the back of the eye.

Can diabetic retinopathy be treated?

There are several treatments for diabetic retinopathy.

  • Injections: anti-VEGF drugs or corticosteroids can slow down or reverse diabetic retinopathy.
  • Laser treatment: to reduce swelling in your retina, lasers can be used to make blood vessels shrink and stop leaking.
  • Eye surgery: if retina is bleeding a lot or you have a lot of scars, your eye doctor may recommend a vitrectomy.

Having high cholesterol or high blood pressure along with diabetes can increase your odds of getting diabetic retinopathy. You can start to see floaters in your vision, blurred vision, fluctuating vision, dark or empty areas in your vision, or vision loss.

Early diabetic retinopathy or non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), is when the new blood vessels aren’t growing properly. They are weakened as more vessels become blocked.

Advanced diabetic retinopathy or proliferation diabetic retinopathy, the damaged blood vessels close off causing the growth of new abnormal blood vessels in the retina. They are fragile and leak into the clear jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye (vitreous). The scar tissue from the growth of new blood vessels can cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye or cause a build up of pressure in the eye.

Diabetic retinopathy is preventable with proper management of your diabetes. Having uncontrolled high blood sugar over a long period of time can increase your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy. So in order to prevent it, you need to stay physically active (150 minutes per week at least), eat healthy, and always take your medication when you are supposed to.


References

Mayo Clinic
NEI
American Academy of Ophthalmology

Files

Season Three: Episode Two

JANUARY 17, 2022

Things are slow going. I’m still trying to get health insurance through Healthcare Marketplace. I’ve got it but they need to verify my credits used towards it and that takes a hot second. I’ve already got my dental plan going. I have to wait until after February 1 to do any doctor appointments.

I haven’t seen my endocrinologist since, I think, last September. I haven’t gotten my current A1C done since then.

I saw my eye doctor last month and I can push my appointments to four months apart instead of three but I need a visual field test in March first. Not gonna lie I think my visual field is a bit bad. My peripheral has some blank spots, not good. It’s mostly my left eye that’s giving me problems. If I don’t get my diabetes under control I’m gonna need eye injections and those don’t look fun AT ALL!!

My feet have been okay lately. I still get random cramps but I can still feel things so that’s a good sign. I don’t want to lose feeling in my toes.

I can’t wait to find a dentist. I haven’t seen one in three years. My teeth may need some help to be honest. I found our my family on my mom’s side has teeth problems. Not sure if it’s genetic or not but my mom, her siblings, and her mom all have missing teeth for whatever reason. I need to take care of my teeth.

I’ve lost two pounds last week since the week before. Weigh in days are Thursday mornings so we’ll see if I’m still losing. I am taking advantage of being at home and having a dog. Yesterday we went on a half hour walk around the neighborhood. It’s the longest walk we’ve taken in a while and we were both exhausted afterwards. I need to make it a regular thing. She needs to lose weight too.

Thanks for sticking around. I really appreciate you.

Season Three: Episode One

JANUARY 9, 2022

Happy New Year! It’s been a long while. 2021 was not a good year for me. I lost myself a little bit and it took me a little while to get back to myself. My insurance switched prescription providers or whatever and they no longer authorized insulin. My endo and I tried to get authorizations for all kinds of insulin and they were all denied. Meaning I’d have to pay out of pocket for my insulin. Like I could afford that. But you know what they did authorize? Ozempic, that $400+ pen that you inject once per week. Yea they said I could get that. But Ozempic IS NOT A SUBSTITUTION FOR INSULIN. So I could get Ozempic but not insulin. I’ve had to try other ways to manage my blood sugar and I felt defeated when nothing I was doing on my own was working so I stopped checking my blood sugar and I’ve just been injecting Ozempic.

I am trying to turn my health around. I made a weight loss journal to track my weight loss. I’ve lost ten pounds since starting so I’m glad that I’m losing weight and maybe if I lose enough, it’ll make a great impact on my health. I’m down below 190 pounds and that’s great for me. I will continue to lose weight and exercise as best I can.

I need to be more present with my health. I want to get better because I want to be here for my family. One day I want to start my own family and I want to be as healthy as I can when I do. I feel like I’m running out of time. I’m 27 now and I feel like it’ll be harder after 30. I need to make lifestyle changes now. My sister is also trying to get her life together so we’re kind of doing it together. My husband is also losing weight with me so I’m not alone here. Also we made weight loss goals. When we reach a goal amount of pounds lost, we get to reward ourselves. My first reward is at 15 pounds lost. When I reach it, my husband will buy and build a gunpla of my choice and let me display it. He’s the one who loves building them but I like looking at them. They’ve been coming out nice and I want one for myself. I might even help him build it too if he’ll let me.

I am very hopeful for this year in my health. I will make the changes I need to this year. It just feels all very overwhelming. But I will make it through. I’m not alone in this. I know I’m not and that helps. Thanks for hanging around. I really appreciate you.