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.

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 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 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.

Season Two: Episode Six

MARCH 28, 2021

This week I had an eye appointment for my new glasses. My eyes have gotten a little worse in the last three years. In the past year, I’ve been getting headaches from wearing my glasses so I knew I needed a new prescription. I’m glad I’m getting new ones.

My ophthalmologist said that the pressure in my eye is borderline high. I’m not sure how I can lower the pressure in my eye, but he said that’s the only problem he sees with my eyes right now, so I’m really glad that even though my diabetes still isn’t under control, it isn’t completely messing up my body yet.

On Friday, I had my appointment with my endocrinologist. Not very helpful. He wants to try and put me back on Ozempic. I told him that we were doing better financially but I don’t think we’re that great yet. I mean $800 per pen for only a month’s worth. Not sure how I feel about it but I said I would try. I’m not sure if he’s also giving me the fast-acting insulin too or if I’m even still going to be taking my Lantus with the Ozempic. I have to give his office a call this week to clarify my drug usage.

I’ve been feeling unwell the last couple of days. I haven’t been in to work much but I’m still working from home. I woke up with a sore throat a couple days ago and it went away, then the next morning it was worse and didn’t fully go away. Then this morning at 4:30 I woke up and couldn’t breathe or swallow and I was coughing. And I’m not going to lie to you, I thought I had COVID. I started crying and I couldn’t go back to sleep for a long while. But after sitting up for a while and drinking water, my cough got better and I was able to swallow a bit more.

My husband bought me cold and cough medicine when he came home from work and I took some and felt a lot better. I’m still coughing here and there but I can breathe. I’m still worried it’s COVID. We don’t have free COVID testing until Wednesday and that’s a bit too long to be out of work I think. But we’ll see what happens when I wake up in the morning on Monday, because apparently it happens while I’m asleep.

I’ll give you folks an update next Monday here on the blog or earlier on my Facebook page. I don’t know what’s going on with me, but if tomorrow I feel worse, I’m going to go to Urgent Care to see what the heck is up with my body. Wish me luck folks.

Why I Think Seeing a Dietician is Beneficial for Diabetics

Last year, I wrote a blog post about having your Diabetes Care Team and why it’s so important for you to choose the right people. Choosing the right people that support you and are helpful and sensitive to your current condition is so important. I’m part of a diabetes support group for women on Facebook and it’s always so sad seeing some women being mistreated by their doctors and wondering if what they’re doing is even right because their doctors make them feel dumb and inadequate. Having the right people by your side should NOT make you feel less than the amazing person you are.

Your Diabetes Care Team should consist of a Primary Care Physician (PCP), Endocrinologist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Opthalmologist, Podiatrist, Dentist, and a Registered Dietician. All of them specializing in fields that can help monitor and manage your diabetes.

Since I was diagnosed with Type 2 in February 2017, I have really slowly built my team. Like really slowly. I had my PCP who diagnosed me and started me on oral medication in hopes that by losing weight and eating better would naturally bring me back around,which it didn’t.

In 2018, I went to a diabetes education class with a diabetes educator. I learned a lot at that class and I’m really glad I went, but I don’t know if the lady that headed the class is still working there anymore. Also in 2018, I got my opthalmologist and podiatrist. They’ve been keeping an eye on how my diabetes has been affecting my eyes and feet, which so far has been good.

In 2019, I was referred to an endocrinologist who put me on insulin which I’ve been using ever since. My dose has gone way up to the point that he may have to prescribe me another insulin on top of that.

And finally in 2021, I got a dietician. My PCP was supposed to work it out for me but that never happened so I had to do it on my own. Thankfully I’ve been taking classes and other services from a local nonprofit that provides classes about diabetes, hypertension, and healthy eating among other subjects. They also work with dieticians and other specialists to bring their services to the Native Hawaiian population. I’m very grateful for their services.

Nonprofit organization that serves the Native Hawaiian health care system on Hawaii Island. They provide medical, behavioral health, and community education services.

Here’s why seeing a dietician is so important. Going to classes about healthy eating and diabetes will always go over what you should and shouldn’t eat. You can ask the instructor questions but you can’t have a conversation with them during class because there are others there as well. I suggest seeing a dietician so you can sit with them, one on one, and really get to the nitty gritty.

I saw my dietician for the first time yesterday and we talked about when I usually eat, what I ate in the last 24 hours, what my glucose reading was, what my concerns were, if there were any changes recently in appetite or anything really, and she gave me suggestions on what I could change. Talking to someone one on one is really getting the information to sink in better than during all of the classes I took.

I have to go back in and see her in a month to see if any of the changes I’ve implemented are working. The changes I’ve agreed to make are to eat brown rice instead of white rice, try whole grain bread instead of white bread, get more fiber in my diet is the big goal, try to incorporate more vegetables in to my diet, and continue to walk AT LEAST 15 mins for AT LEAST 3 days (the more the better).

I’m going to have to increase how many times a day I check my blood sugar which might now be about six times a day at least. I think my endocrinologist might also want me to check before and after I eat now too. But I’m willing to do this now more than ever! Why? Because I’m so close to breaking 200lbs! I haven’t been less than 200lbs since 2012. There was a short stint in 2019, but I gained it all back because of stress. I want to break 200lbs once and FOR ALL!

If you haven’t seen a dietician, I really suggest you do. They can come up with a menu of things you should eat more of as well as what kind of physical activity you can do to bring your blood sugar down. The one on one experience will also benefit you as well, I think.

I would love to hear your stories about your journey with diabetes. Feel free to submit your story. You can submit it anonymously if you want. I just really want to know that I’m not going through this alone, that others out there are going through similar experiences like I am.

Season Two: Episode Five

MARCH 15, 2021

I have my Endocrinologist appointment set for next week Friday. I just went and got my lab work done this past Saturday. I forgot how much I hate needles. It hurt like a bugger. I had to make an appointment with our lab to do my blood stuff and the whole night before my arm was so sore and I was freaking out about the needle. The morning of I was scared and my arm was sore.

I’m so glad that even though I freak out about needles, as long as I don’t look at it, I don’t flinch. Do you know how much more sore it would be if I flinched? My goodness that would be painful.

I have to wait a couple of days for my results to be available through my portal and I can see what my A1C is. I’m not looking forward to that at all. I’m sure it’s high, like over 9. I’m so upset at myself. Yes I’ve lost weight but I haven’t been watching what I’m eating and my sugar has been elevated. I was in a rush this morning and I forgot to take my blood sugar before I left the house.

I swear my diabetes management has gotten worse this past year. I need to exercise and eat better so I can get my blood sugar down and maybe I won’t need to take the second insulin, which thanks to the Stimulus check I will be able to afford for a short time. But I can’t keep paying for two insulins and I need to work on myself too.

I’m really scared of needles and I don’t want to take two insulins and inject like three times a day. I don’t like this at all. I’ll let you folks know how my appointment goes in a couple weeks. But I’m sure he’s going to prescribe the second insulin.

The Journey: Episode Twenty Two

SEPTEMBER 6, 2020

So I couldn’t afford to get my Novolog Mix 70/30 this week. No shock there. My insurance preferred that I get the brand name insulin which was obviously more, almost $600 a box of five pens. So the pharmacy asked if I wanted to screw my insurance and go with the generic and I said okay. Hah $300 per box of five pens. Then I asked if they could take my GoodRX card, they said sure. That would have brought my insulin down to $132. Which that was still too high a cost this week with all of our bills we had to pay, including the insurance that won’t pay for my medications.

So instead I went back to KTA and refilled my Lantus for $99. So I’ve been taking that the last two nights again. Not sure when we’ll get the money to pay for the Novolog, if we’ll get that money. Unemployment is supposed to give us backpay for August but we don’t know when that is coming. I’ve resorted to selling life insurance to hopefully help pay the bills.

I say it like it’s a bad thing. It’s not. I genuinely think people should be getting life insurance right now, especially with the pandemic going on and unemployment still being high. I’m really glad I got my life insurance before I was diagnosed with diabetes because I could potentially be uninsurable. My husband is on my policy and he’s the only one currently working a stable job. If I were to lose him, his insurance could help me financially which would be great.

I think of all of my friends and family who aren’t insured and have children. If they caught COVID-19, their children would be at risk. It’s a sad thought. So I’m glad I was able to get one of my friends insured, as well as his wife and kids, because now they can rest easy knowing if anything were to happen, they would be okay financially.

If only that line of business was more stable. But that’s alright. We’re making do. I can’t get my insulin right away but that’s okay, we’ll get by. I’m hoping I can make more sticker sales so I can pay for my business expenses separate from my personal expenses. I just have to keep persevering. Good things will come, I know they will.

So I have to wait until my husband’s pay day and hope he gets paid enough for the bills and my insulin. He worked too much hours to qualify for unemployment this week and my unemployment doesn’t get filed until next Sunday. Pay day is Friday. I have a doctor appointment with my PCP for my regular pills. I might have to pay for those because apparently we no longer qualify for QUEST medical and they picked up on the copay that HMSA left me with so that’s probably another $40 right there.

We have over $200 in bills to pay this week and only $40 in our account. Super great fun right there. Healthcare should seriously be more affordable than this. Isn’t America just great? I’m just upset that I can’t afford my medication. It all just sucks, but I will never give up.

My message to all of you out there: Keep on moving, don’t give up, and especially don’t give up on yourself. You’ve got this and I’m right here with you every step of the way. You have some rooting in your corner, always on your side, all the way out here in Hawaii. Never, ever give up. You can fight this and you can make it out of this alive. I believe in you.

The Journey: Episode Twenty

AUGUST 23, 2020

Well nothing really to report. However, I got my blood test done for my A1C and my number isn’t looking too hot. I was at 7.9 in April and now I’m at 8.2. So it’s gone up a little bit and I’m not too happy about that. All the insulin injections and blood sugar checks and I’m no better. But on the bright side at least it’s not at 11% like it was last year so in a year’s time I’ve managed to drop by 3% so that’s good news.

My doctor appointment with my endocrinologist is this Thursday so I’ll have an update by next episode.

I’ve been drinking the cinnamon tea some more. I talked with my diabetes coach and she said there was no concrete evidence it really helps to lower your blood sugar. I decided to make an experiment of it. But I can only do it for a week. Here’s how it would work:

For three days, I won’t drink cinnamon tea, Wednesday I would drink only the nighttime tea, then the last three days I’ll drink both teas. I’ll eat the same food at the same time every day, take my medications at the same time and check my blood sugar at the same time. That means alarms will have to be set on my phone and I’d have to try and sleep around the same time to be able to wake up around the same time.

I have to wait a couple weeks so I can save up money to buy the food for meal prepping and more prescriptions. Plus, I’m not sure if my doctor is going to give me a new insulin and I’d like to give it at least a week to figure out how it works for me. But when I do start my experiment, I’ll record about it here. I’m kind of excited about it because it’s going to make me feel like a scientist with all the note taking and experimenting.

I’m going to try a couple of days without the tea to see if there is any significant change in my blood sugar readings. So far it’s been looking pretty good although I take my tea either right before or after taking my blood sugar right now so I have to figure out the best time to drink and check. I’ll figure it out eventually.

Oh hey a self love update! I bought a t-shirt and lounge pants with The Child on them and I love them so much. However, the pants were way too long for my short legs so I cut them off at the knees, just below the graphics. Which is good because I can’t inject insulin in my thighs with pants on. I love it like this and I can use the cut off material to either make pillows or face masks, I have options.

The t-shirt is kind of thick and big so I cut the sleeves and collar off and I turned it into a crop top. It comes down to my belly button and it’s very comfy. I’ve decided to use it as my new pajama set, it’s been kind of warm lately anyway. Maybe when it gets colder and I get a little bit more confident I can wear it out in public. I might do it with other shirts that I have. I’m totally in to crop tops right now.

I’ve had issues with loving myself lately with this pandemic and my diabetes so finding something that makes me feel great about myself is a win in these dark times. I greatly encourage you to find that something in your life that makes you love yourself and enjoy it. You don’t have to take it out in to public if you’re not comfortable with that but you deserve to love the way you look and who you are. No matter who you are and what you look like, you deserve to love yourself and the body you’re in.