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Living with Type 2 Diabetes – My Journey
Who Am I?
- I am a person living with Type 2 Diabetes
- I am not any sort of medical professional
- I am simply one person navigating life with this disease who loves to read, research, experiment and share
- I view life with Type 2 Diabetes as a challenge to be conquered one day and one choice at a time
My Personal Journey of Living with Type 2 Diabetes
My introduction to the world of being a type 2 diabetic was when I was informed of my diagnosis shortly before the holiday season in 2015. I now know that I was likely undiagnosed for 5 to 10 years prior.
At the time of diagnosis, my numbers were dangerously high, and with few symptoms I recognized. My immediate response was to ask the doctor what lifestyle changes I could make to manage the situation as much as possible with as little medication as possible. I am sure he was initially skeptical and somewhat hesitant to agree with my idea but agreed to give me two weeks to show him if I could make some progress toward controlling things.
During that two weeks, I made great progress toward understanding what my options were. I did not make enough progress to totally avoid medication at that time, but I was able to begin understanding how my body was or was not processing glucose
My instructions from the doctor at the time were to lower my carbs to less than 100 gm per day, to avoid all sugars, natural or added, especially in any liquid form, and to steer clear of all types of processed carbs. And to test my blood glucose levels once a day, alternating between fasting in the morning and before bedtime.
To most people, that would have seemed a dramatic difference, but to me, it wasn’t. I needed to knock off fruit juices and soda, but the rest of my diet wasn’t that far off. Other than an occasional meal out or special occasion, I wasn’t in the habit of consuming a lot of processed carbs. I was, however, a consumer of lots of homemade whole-grain bread, pasta, beans, and lots more that for a healthy person would be considered healthy. At one time, my children had even teased me about having a kitchen that was nothing like their friend’s kitchens because of all the Mason jars filled with things like beans and quinoa and brown rice. So it left me with the question, “how much can I change?”
Research, Experiment, and Research Some More
So I went home with my new diagnosis and the determination to learn everything I could as quickly as I could. I was determined to master living with type 2 diabetes as soon as possible but I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like. It did not take me long to discover that there was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the treatment, management, and control of type II diabetes.
I initially cut my carbohydrate consumption to under 100 gm per day, as recommended by the doctor. I did not find that too difficult to do by just eliminating soda and fruit juice. But as I was doing that, I had found the Diet Doctor website and I was reading information suggesting that a lower carbohydrate limit could be beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes. And I also discovered the concept of “eating to your meter”.
I worked through my two weeks of experimenting, keeping the doctor’s office informed of what my blood sugar levels were running. At the end of the two weeks, I had made significant progress, but not enough progress to avoid medication for the short term.
Beginning the Practice of “Eating to the Meter”
We scheduled a follow-up appointment for three months later. And in the meantime, I received nearly 300 test strips as a gift. Time to try out the “eating to the meter” method and learn what my body was reacting to!
At the three-month appointment, there had been a significant improvement in my glucose numbers and my A1C. The doctor commented, “I wish half of my patients would listen half this well and put in half this much effort”. He was very pleased with my progress and so was I.
At that same appointment, I asked the doctor if he had any problem with me cutting my carbs further. With what I had been reading, I planned to cut them down to about 50 to 70 gm per day. His only response was, “my only concern is whether you can maintain that level”. I told him the only way we would know is if I was to try it.
In the following three months, I worked on keeping my grams of carbs under 70. I continued to research. I continued to notice the discrepancies between the different recommendations for what patients with diabetes should or should not eat. And I continued to do what was working for me.
At the end of six months, my A1C was at a level considered acceptable. Considering I had started at twice that amount initially, this was significant progress. I had ultimately settled in at staying somewhere between 35 and 50 gm of carbohydrates a day and following a low-carb, high-fat diet ( which was further adjusted after a few years). Also, by the six-month point, my weight moved into an acceptable range.
Daily Living with Type 2 Diabetes
So now to bring things quickly up-to-date, after doing more experimenting, I have settled in at approximately 35-50 carbs a day, moderately high fat and higher protein. I exercise regularly. My A1C currently stays in the mid 5’s. All of my lab results are good with my A1C now hovering at the high end of normal.
I know that I have made a conscious decision to follow a path not largely supported by mainstream medicine, but a path supported by large bodies of anecdotal evidence and emerging science. I know that I have seen greater and greater support for this style of management since I first become familiar with it in 2015. And I know that I feel better following it.
So why am I here, and what does this website offer you? In all the research I’ve continued to do, I have become more and more aware of a growing group of individuals who are daring to challenge the status quo, are experimenting with themselves, and are having excellent outcomes.
The information presented here is just that, information. I and many others have taken a different path in taking charge of our health. We are challenging the traditional recommendations for type 2 diabetic care. We are seeing significant improvements with less (or no) medication and are feeling great!