August 26, 2008

Coming Out Of The Denial

I know I haven't been doing much posting lately, here...or "anywhere else" for that matter, and I'm truly sorry about that. But I've been suffering with some major health issues again. The pain I was having in my feet, knees, and hands waaaay back before beginning a low carb diet in January 2007, has returned with a vengeance, but with the addition of numb spots on my left foot/ankle plus heart palpitations and what 'feels' like fibrillation.

I've talked a bit about the shakiness and adrenaline rush I've been feeling lately, the "fear" that I was somehow going hypoglycemic, due to the symptoms I was experiencing, especially after eating low-carb foods, but that wasn't worrying me near as much as this other stuff was. Even though I wasn't talking about it. Anywhere.

One of my readers was kind enough to send me a glucose meter, recently, which I sincerely appreciate. Because not only do I now "see" what it going on with me, and probably has been going on with me for quite some time now, (I'm talking YEARS), but I also can no longer live in the city of ignorance, and hence...denial.

I first found Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution book in the library, back in the 70s, went on the program, and lost all of my excess fat within a 2 month period. My ignorance at that time being the typical dieting mindset. I was either "on" Atkins, or "off" of it. And since my husband lost his job about that time, I chose to go "off" of it. A stupid thing to do, I know, but that's what I did.

Over the years I KNEW the principles of low carb were basically true. But I received a lot of opposition from my "then" husband, who did everything in his power to keep me from dieting. At the time, I didn't realize it was about issues of control. I "believed" it was about low-carb being more expensive, and with 4 sons to raise on a welfare-level budget, I "believed" that we couldn't afford it. I "believed" it was outside of my reach.

When I first got involved with the Internet, and egroups, most of my sons were no longer living at home. So I went in search of Atkins information. I was literally amazed to see the creativity that was out there. Atkins wasn't "just" meat and salad anymore. And I got involved in the Atkins online communities, against my then husband's advice. He still was fighting me every step of the way. But I was able to partially hold my ground due to Sugarbusters being quite popular back then.

It was one of those "Catch 22" type of situations. My husband wanted me to lose the weight, or at least he claimed he did, but he didn't want to make the financial sacrifices necessary to bring that about. But when my fasting blood sugar had risen to 121, he didn't have much of a choice. Pay more for groceries now, the doc told him, or pay for Insulin supplies later on -- what's it going to be?

Now the ignorant thing about that time, is that the doctor told me that if I could lose a mere 10 pounds, the "possibility" of becoming diabetic would go away. That in "most" cases, that's all it took to correct the problem. So when I went on Sugarbusters and lost 30 pounds, I was pronounced cured. Told that I didn't need a follow-up fasting blood test, I didn't need to worry about diabetes...ever.

Well, I wasn't quite that ignorant, but close enough I guess.

At that time, I was working for a group home that took care of Developmentally Disabled adults and one of my fellow staff was diagnosed with Diabetes. The run-away kind. Where her blood sugar was sky high all the time. Not just after eating things she shouldn't. So I had her take my blood sugar for me.

Now...I was eating low carb at the time, but on the night she tested me, I added a cup of peas and a cup of rice to my plate. The most carby things on that night's menu. At one hour, she tested me at 125, and raved about how GOOD my blood sugar control was, then told me there was no "need" to run a second test, because I was already within the guidelines for excellent blood glucose control.

When I came down with Vertigo, I tried to tell "that" doctor about my previous blood sugar issues. He did listen to me, for a second at least, and had a nurse stick me in his office, about 20 to 30 minutes after eating a chicken quesadilla for lunch. The result was 102, so the discussion ended there. He flat out told me my blood sugar was WONDERFUL and to stop worrying about it. That wasn't my problem.

When we moved to central Utah and one of our friends here came down with Diabetes, I began worrying again. Especially since no one had ever been able to tell me "why" I was suffering with vertigo. "Why" I was feeling badly all the time. And "why" I was gaining soooo much weight. So she tested me a couple of times, but like before, it came in at 125 about an hour after eating a couple of homemade, whole wheat dinner rolls.

So it looked like the doctors were right. That my problem was not Diabetes. I was just fat!!!

At which time, I stopped worrying about it. And just concentrated on eating a healthy diet. Or what I believed at the time, was a healthy diet. I was still gaining weight though, so when I reached the point where my feet, knees, and hands were seriously hurting, when I couldn't walk without wearing my tennis shoes. Even to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. When I couldn't wake up in the morning without both of my hands and arms being numb. I went on a low carb diet to try and get the weight off. Thinking that "just" being fat was my problem. And that alleviating the pressure from all of that excess weight was all I needed to do to correct it.

But now...I'm not so sure. Now I'm pretty convinced that my glucose problems were raging even then. I just didn't know HOW to find them. How to pinpoint it all down.

As many of you know, my weight loss efforts on Atkins came to a screeching halt about 3 months in, at which time I turned to Kimkins, and was able to get the greater majority of my current weight loss off. But when the Kimkins scandal hit the fan, I tried to go back to Atkins, but ended up gaining back a few pounds. Afterwhich I tried Protein Power, the Lyle McDonald's diet breaks, refeeds, and free meals. But all of this searching has only made my health issues worse. Not better.

And now what appears to be Neuropathy, is back, worse than ever. Through the help of a glucose meter though, I've found that I DO tend to go a "bit" hypoglycemic when I stick strictly to very, very low carbs, with my glucose readings coming in at 65 to 68, at which time the body "overcompensates" by raising my glucose levels to 92 or 93 within 5 minutes of dropping past 70. Which then makes me shakey, nervous, and feeling that adrenaline rush, like when I take a hit off my asthma rescue inhaler.

So I've narrowed down the fact that my body doesn't like blood glucose changes coming QUICKLY. And whether blood sugar is going from low to slightly above normal, or from normal/slightly above normal to high, both produce exactly the same symptoms. I somehow KNEW this, have known this for years, but have been in denial for quite some time, hoping and wishing my major problem was hypoglycemia, but it isn't.

It's Diabetes. I'm sure of it now. Cuz on the flip side of the coin, a higher carb meal can send my blood sugar soaring into the 200s. When I first saw that, I just sat there in shock. HOW COULD THAT BE??? Everyone has been telling me no, that isn't my problem. But there it was. My heart was fibrillating, my hands were shaking almost too badly to get the blood onto the test strip, and well...numbers don't lie. At least, not to that degree.

So I'm basically coming out of the denial now. Owning my blood glucose issues. And seeing the doctor tomorrow about it.