Although many see type 2 diabetes as a negative, for me it was the kick in the butt I needed to get my health on track. When I was diagnosed two years ago, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t surprised. I had suffered from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) since I was a teen, both my parents have type 2 diabetes, I was overweight, and Coca Cola was my best friend. What surprised me is how sick I was. My blood sugar levels ranged from 14.5-19.7, so when I was diagnosed it wasn’t just time to make changes. I HAD to change. With help from my family physician, not only is my diabetes well under control but for the last two months I have been medication free.
Even with high blood glucose readings, it doesn’t mean you have to go on insulin.
My doctor said my original blood work results warranted going on insulin right away. But, she said if I was willing to make a life change, take an aggressive course of oral meds, and if I could get my blood sugar levels within regular range within two weeks, there would be no need for insulin. She started me on Metformin 850 mg three times a day, and within two weeks my blood sugar levels returned to normal ranges.
The early weeks of treatment can be very rough.
Especially because my medication levels were high. Even though you may feel like crap, push yourself to make all the changes your healthcare professional suggests. As you get better, set goals for yourself to hopefully bring down the need for the meds. I went from a daily intake of 2,550 mg of Metformin a day down to 1,500 mg, to 1,000 mg, to 500 mg, to no need for meds.
The liver is very forgiving.
For some, diabetes affects their vision, but for me, the condition of my liver was equal to that of an alcoholic (surprising, since I am always the designated driver). The best day was when my doctor told me that tests had shown my liver had shed its fat and was looking healthy again.
Being on medication doesn’t mean that you can go back to your old lifestyle.
As I got my diabetes more under control, I was tempted to slip backwards. I started at a high dosage of medication, so I ate more carbs, figuring the medication would counteract the little cheats. Yet in time my weight crept up and so did my blood sugar levels.
Never let your guard down.
I have been medication-free for two months now, and the previous six months I was taking the meds more for maintenance. I still check my blood sugar levels.
Take it seriously.
When I was diagnosed I had some friends who were dealing with type 2 diabetes at the same time. Some of them thought that small changes to their lifestyle would do the trick. Ultimately I believe you are in charge of your diabetes. Medication, diet, and healthcare professionals are the tools in your toolbox in fighting this disease. It’s up to you to use them.
Tracey Ruiz is the founder and head consultant for the Sleep Doula.